Two stories with nearly the same synopsis – a woman dies and is reincarnated as the villainess of the last otome game she was playing – both the only daughters of a duke. How much more similar could they be, I wondered! The answer? Not at all, really.
With the anime for My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! now airing, I caught up with the manga. It’s still ongoing, so of course after I caught up, I still thirsted for more. Remembering Seven Seas also localizes another story with a similar summary, I decided to catch up with that one as well. Imagine my whiplash when they were vastly different, despite starting with the same idea!
Spoiler-Free, Basic Comparison
I would say Katarina’s story (My Next Life as a Villainess) is more light-hearted. There’s a lot of humor and none of the social drama we would usually find in a typical shoujo manga. Our villainess is pretty dense! Her “method” (be it intentional or unintentional) is changing how she herself interacts with the other characters – the main heroine, the love interests, and other rivals. She avoids her bad ending by strengthening her relationships with the rest of the cast. Since the story starts out with Katarina’s childhood, we meet the rest of the cast as she does, making it easy to remember everyone.
Iris’s story (Accomplishments of a Duke’s Daughter), takes a more serious tone, with political intrigue and more emphasis on the society’s hierarchy. It’s the struggle of a high-ranking daughter recently cast out by the nobility, and what she must do to keep herself from her bad ending. Iris herself is extremely competent, and her method of changing her future is by improving the lands her family governs over. She has a good head on her shoulders and understands the true weight of the current position she now holds. The story doesn’t hold your hand starting out, either. It thrusts you right into the universe, characters showing up left and right that you’re supposed to know but don’t. This makes a lot of sense if you got thrust into the world suddenly as Iris did, but it’s still a bit confusing remembering all these names and faces all of a sudden!
If you like: silliness, stupidity, misunderstandings, or bisexual diasters, you will enjoy My Next Life as a Villainess.
If you like: political intrigue, changing corrupt societies, or drama, you should enjoy Accomplishment’s of a Duke’s Daughter. Just be warned there’s a lot of mmm, heavy conversation? If business and accounting talk is boring to you, well, maybe skip this one.
Despite starting out the same, both villainesses have different ways of handling the situations they’re currently in, which makes them both fun reading. I love and enjoy both, and can switch back from one or the other when I feel like reading something with higher or lower stakes.
There will be light story spoilers in the following comparison sections, so if you wish to go in completely blind, please stop here and go on and buy the books. 😀
Further Comparison (Light Spoilers!)
1. The point in their lives where they realize they’re the villain.
Katarina is lucky enough to realize she’s the villainess at a point in her life where she has a better chance of changing the future; she’s 8 when she hits her head and regains the memories of her past life.
Unlucky Iris doesn’t regain her memories until her bad ending is already happening, coming to her senses right as her own fiancé chooses the main heroine instead. Despite getting thrust into the worst possible situation at the last minute, Iris’s quick thinking and smooth words to her father save her from her bad ending.
2. The experience of their past lives.
Katarina’s past life was that of a high-schooler. A socially-awkward shut-in, obsessed with manga, anime, and otome games. Iris, fortunately, had a career that helped her out in her new life – she had been an accountant in an office. This discrepancy between their life experiences help explain why Iris handles things with such grace, and Katarina… doesn’t.
3. The severity of their bad endings.
Surprisingly, the heroine (villainess?) with the worse possible ending is actually Katarina. She can be exiled in the “good” endings, but killed in the bad ones. Iris’s bad ending is actually being sent to the convent, which compared to poor Katarina’s, isn’t that terrible. Despite that, the stakes in Iris’s story feel much heavier than in Katarina’s.
3. Everyone loves the
Both women have a cast of characters that do love them. They’re just different!
Katarina ends up building better rapport with the other game characters (yes, all of them. even the girls!). Meanwhile Iris, her relationship with the other game characters ruined, returns to her (already established) relationships with her household servants.
4. Love interests
Katarina’s story is very bisexual diaster-feeling. Eventually it’s obvious all of the cast has feelings for her, and she herself doesn’t favor any over the other. They’re all hot. Life’s so hard. 😥
Meanwhile, yes, all of Iris’s servants love and dote on her, but there’s none of the same comedy involved. Being as she just got dumped by her longtime fiance and nearly exiled for it, she’s not interested in love.
Current Thoughts (Major Spoilers Ahead)
I mentioned reading Accomplishments right after My Next Life gave me a kind of whiplash, right? The biggest offender was how I feel about the “heroines.” No no, not Katarina and Iris, I love them both! Maria, the “main character” in Katarina’s game, and Yuri, the one in Iris’s game – i.e. their rivals.
I love Maria. She is best girl. Her design is adorable. When she smiled I was in tears. Every time Katarina fawns over her I absolutely feel it, because I feel the same way. Katarina is so relatable.
Meanwhile, I went into Accomplishments thinking the (other) main character/s might be more or less the same thing, but after finishing volume five, let me tell you – I do not trust Yuri. Something about her is so off. Her airheaded-ness isn’t endearing at all, it feels more… manipulative. Iris’s ex-fiance Edward is a royal pain in the ass who doesn’t deserve Iris anyway, and his friends are prejudiced and corrupt. Meanwhile in My Next Life I’m like nobody can get hurt I must protect them all.
As someone who also runs her own business, seeing Iris’s hard work and struggles really makes me want to work harder, even though my husband says I already work hard enough… she’s so cool and competent, and that’s what I really look for in men/women I like, HAHA. Her and Dean will be suuuuuch a power couple, I’m begging them pleaaaase squash Yuri and Edward and fix the ailing kingom. :’D You know it’s serious when his grandma is on your side too.
For now, I must wait, as the next volume of My Next Life as a Villainess comes out in October, and the next volume of Accomplishments of a Duke’s Daughter comes out in August. See y’all in fall!