This is one of those anime that starts out strong, and coherent, but then completely biffs it because it tries to do too much and go in too many directions at once.
I’m the Villainness, So I’m Taming the Final Boss is a “romantic” isekai anime where the main protagonist died and was reincarnated in a fantasy world that seems to be based on an otome game (a dating sim, mostly) she played in her previous life. Reborn as Aileen d’Autriche, she finds that she is the villainness of the game, the one that was mean to the heroine and, among the various possible endings, always met a grim and early death. As her memories of the game become clear, she realizes that her survival depends on avoiding all of those endings and to make a new one. To that end, in order to negate most of them, especially the last one, she decides to “tame” the final boss, aka, marry the demon lord who would otherwise turn into a dragon and kill her.
This follows two years in the wake of a very similar anime, My Next Life as a Villainness: All Routes Lead to Doom, wherein another girl is reincarnated as the villainness of another otome game and seeks to survive. She mostly does that by being innocent, if I recall correctly, and, incidentally, amasses a bisexual harem which she is entirely clueless about. Obviously, someone decided to copycat an apparently successful idea, and I would not be surprised if we get more of them in coming years. That is how trends begin, after all.
Among the similarities between the two, apparently they don’t know where to go after achieving their primary objective the first time around.
Aileen manages to accomplish her goal, at first, surprisingly quick and easy. As she does, her wits and her strong, independent personality shine through. She earns the respect of others and shines so brilliantly that the demon lord himself is soon ready to come to her rescue in a time of distress, all gallant and dashing and very handsome. It’s romantic like something out of a fairy tale, and a very, very good start to their relationship.
If the story had kept its focus on their relationship, I think it would have turned out very differently, and probably much better. Heck, there was a moment in an early episode that seemed to foreshadow a moment where the the demon lord feels such a terrible hurt that he goes berserk and turns into a dragon anyway, and I thought that would be if, say, he and Aileen grew closer, and then something happens to her which he thinks kills her, and so he flies into a rage born of sorrow that she needs to risk her life to save him from. It might have been predictable, but it would have also been believable and kept the focus on him and her, especially if she survived and needed to calm him down with her true love, thus truly “taming” the final boss. Even if things simply threatened to do that, if the dire future Aileen feared almost came to pass, it would have been a most riveting tale of true love’s triumph.
Instead, what we got – after they initially get together – is a confused, meandering mess.
The human prince who rejects Aileen in favor of the story’s heroine goes nuts with envy, until he eventually comes to his senses and turns himself in for his misdeeds. The heroine herself tries to frame Aileen, and that’s just the start, as her schemes reveal that she, too, was reincarnated, and sees everyone in this world as her plaything. Aileen infiltrates an all-boys school, with a number of ensuing hijinks, to stave off the bad ending of a sequel game, and incidentally recruits a girl and a number of boys as her followers. All sorts of things happen just to happen, with overly complicated, melodramatic problems having very simplistic solutions, and so on and so forth. Instead of reaching towards any sort of intense, personal climax, it actually feels pretty boring instead.
The love story between Aileen and her demon lord, which is the primary selling point that gets the audience invested to start with, just falls by the wayside.
Thus, what begins as an anime perfect for Valentine’s Day, ends on a dull note which, despite the happily ever after, is practically devoid of romance.
It was a huge letdown, ya know? It’s rather surprising for one like myself to admit, as I generally avoid most chickflicks, but this one actually drew me in at the start, and then failed to deliver. Oh well.
At the very least, I can say that this anime is far cleaner than many others – I having long since grown weary of all the ecchi, over-sexualized content of anime in general, not to mention its more gruesome aspects. Those are not to be found here, which makes this, for all its narrative flaws, one of the more wholesome anime I’ve seen. It’s animated fairly well, nothing jarring there, and the music is at least acceptable, though it hardly stands out at all. The humor may be over the top at times, with ridiculous scenarios, but it’s not so bad, and it is, again, very clean. And I must always applaud the work of quality voice acting, especially when they so perfectly convey the characters across a language barrier to me, who does not speak a word of Japanese.
So, it’s not “bad,” per se, just a bit disappointing in the incoherent story it tries to tell.
Rating: 7 stars out of 10.