My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, Vol. 6

By Satoru Yamaguchi and Nami Hidaka. Released in Japan as “Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei Shite Shimatta…” by Ichijinsha Bunko Iris. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Marco Godano.

At last, our cast has managed to graduate from school and become real adults. That said, working at the Ministry seems to be giving Katarina and company the same opportunities that they had in the 3nd and 4th books, which is to say going around investigating magical problems. More importantly, though, Katarina has discovered that Fortune Lover had a sequel that came out after her death (courtesy Sophia’s still unconscious memories – Sophia herself sadly seems to function only as a plot device this book) which features the return of villainous, one-note Katarina Claes… and this time there’s no exile involved, it’s jail or death. Now she has to charm new characters (read: new love interests) all while dealing with being put into the Magical Department that all the weirdos go into… not that Katarina is weird, of course. Oh no.

So yes, be reassured that the plot is moving forward at last. That said, I’m not sure how I feel about Fortune Lover II, which seems like a convenient way to simply have the same stuff happen. It certainly widens the cast, albeit at the expense of the original “harem”, who all get far less to do this time around, with the exception of Maria, who is in Katarina’s group for the practical exam they’re taking. (She does not end up in the department of weirdos.) This includes a trans character, though I’m not quite sure how we’re supposed to read her. The “girly macho” type is a Japanese stereotype mined for comedy, and there’s quite a bit of that here as well – she clearly makes Katarina uncomfortable. That said, Katarina does at least gender her correctly and use her preferred name, which the rest of the cast does not. (I’m not sure how much of that is down to translation, though.) It remains to be seen if this is progressive or just awkward.

As for the new “love interest” we meet in this book, Dewey, he’s meant to compare and contrast with Maria, being a younger boy from her hometown, also poor and relatively unloved, who studied hard and got into the Ministry at a young age and is not fond of a) people who pity him, b) asking for help, or c) nobility. Naturally, Katarina rubs him the wrong way. Fortunately, their practical exams blows up into a major crisis which turns out to involve a dragon (something thought to be mythical, even in this “magic exists!” world) and Katarina knows the best way to deal with it… throw rocks and sticks at it. OK, that didn’t work, but it distracted the dragon long enough for her magical darkness puppy (from Book 4) to get REALLY BIG and defeat it. (Katarina’s relationship with dark magic is something I hope we get into in future books… there’s already Ministry officials wanting to examine her.) I’m not sure Dewey has fallen in love with Katarina like everyone else in her orbit, but at least he knows she cares.

Despite the gimmicky Fortune Lover II jumpstarting the plot, this is a good volume in the series, and I’m happy we’re away from school life. Whether the author can handle the huge cast is another question – Jeord gets a chapter to himself here (and it’s good – the anime did him no favors, frankly) but I suspect we’ll be dealing with Katarina’s workplace friends more and more. Fans of the anime should still enjoy it, however.

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