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New Anime Trend? The Rise of the Villainess Trope

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After My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead To Doom, we thought we wouldn’t get any more villainess anime, but we were wrong. We finally got our second villainess anime that was adapted: I’m A Villainess, So I’m Taming The Final Boss, and a few announcements of villainess anime in production. We also got a movie sequel for our beloved Catarina coming up next year.

From the success of the two villainess anime and the announcements, we can see a new trend is on the rise within the anime industry: the villainess.

While this might not be the genre/trope you are interested in, it’s hard to ignore this new trend, especially when the anime industry started to pick up on it. So, how did it start? Why is it popular?

How It All Started?

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We weren’t sure how this all started. From what we know, most villainess works were adapted from their light novel counterparts. Our research found that most Japanese light novels were from self-publishing sites for novel writers, such as syosetsu.com. Even My Next Life As A Villainess was originally from the self-publishing site syosetu.

We also found that we weren’t the only ones curious about this topic. Many people were also interested in this topic and have researched it. They even stated that the villainess trope first appeared in a manga in 2011, but it was less popular than it is now. We couldn’t find reliable sources to help us confirm this information. Still, this information might be true with many people who have done the research and said the same thing.

If that were the case, we think that the “villainess” gained its current popularity thanks to the popular web novels being adapted into light novels, manga, and eventually anime. Others even say that My Next Life As A Villainess was one of the big reasons the villainess became so popular. Being the first villainess work to be adapted into an anime, we agreed that My Next Life As A Villainess influenced the villainess trend that eventually helped the rise in popularity in the anime industry.

Is It Like Otome Games?

Our answer to the question is no. We have our fair share of playing otome games, with some being regular otome game players. We do not remember any otome games that we could think of that have any villainess in the game. The only one that we could think of is Amnesia, wherein one of the love interest routes; there was a character that fits the villainess archetype. If you search through sites like Reddit or meet with other otome game players, they would also say that the games usually never had a villainess character. Even in games with other girl characters, such as Angelique, and Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side, they acted more as friendly rivals than villains. It is pretty rare to have a villainess in an otome game. Not only that, otome games come from a wide variety, not just the fantasy or isekai style-setting we see in today’s works.

Why Otome games settings?

Many believed these works were all written without considering what an otome game is. Some speculated that they took a reference from the first otome game, Angelique, whose setting is a fantasy, medieval-like setting, and a rival character. Others think that they were written by people who haven’t played an otome game before and write them because it’s interesting, with some going as far as thinking that the authors were all guys and they wrote their works for just the fun of it. Again, these were just speculations, as we cannot confirm whether this information is true.

Why The Popularity?

We think that it depends on the person’s reasons. The reasons might be because it gives a fresh and interesting take to the isekai genre; another might be that the main character is female, or it gives an interesting perspective in the romance department, etc. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that the villainess trope is popular and has a niche audience. It might be the combination of those reasons that made the villainess trope popular. While late to this trend, there is no doubt that its popularity made its way to the anime industry.

Why so late? It might be because they were hesitant to try something new. The studios want an anime that could bring in viewers and would be hesitant on a project that is likely to fail. Another would probably be that they might not have known or have picked up on its popularity. As you can see through, My Next Life As A Villainess, it just takes one anime to eliminate those hesitations.

More Anime Adaptations?

Yes. We will likely get more villainess anime, adaptations or not. We already have a good handful of villainess anime confirmed to air, such as Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte airing this coming winter. We even got news of villainess anime in production, such as I’m In Love With The Villainess. Since the anime industry has just started to pick up this trend, there is no doubt that we will get more villainess anime in the coming future.

Final Thoughts

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While many of the things we say are our thoughts/opinions, and information/speculations found on the internet, there is no doubt that the villainess trope is the new anime trend. After the success of My Life As A Villainess, we are already starting to see villainess light novels getting adapted into anime. We are unsure how and why this is gaining popularity, but this trend is on the rise, and we expect to see more villainess anime works soon.

What do you think about the villainess trope trending? Do you know anything about it? Let us know in the comments below. We love to hear what you think!

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