I’m the villain, so I tame the final boss was a delightful, if conventional, otome isekai adventure from the Fall 2022 anime season. The star, villain-turned-hero Aileen Lauren d’Autriche, became the next Katarina Claes when she was reborn in an otome game world and rewrote the script to avoid her own downfall.
However, this was no My next life as a villain knockoff. The basic premise was the same, but I’m the villain had the benefit of a stronger, more cohesive plot that aggressively went in bold directions to challenge the strength of Aileen’s love time and time again against an array of devious foes. The plot twists came hard and fast, and a few of them really stood out as otome game changers in Aileen’s bizarre love story.
When Claude defeated Prince Cedric to become the next Crown Prince
From the anime’s trailers, I’m the villain fans knew ahead of time that Aileen would be cozying up to the demon king Claude, but they didn’t know what would come next for these two misunderstood villains. Soon enough Villains anime ended its first arc with a bang, pitting Claude against his scheming half-brother, Prince Cedric, and his fiancée, Lilia Rainworth. Aileen had been doing well up to that point, but when Cedric and Lilia caught her, Claude swooped in to save the day with an impressive display of power, and Cedric and Lilia were defeated. In exchange for Claude keeping all this a secret, Cedric agreed to let his half-brother Claude be next in line to the throne, restoring Claude’s legitimacy as a royal prince. This also benefited Claude’s fiancee Aileen, who could walk freely in the empire not as an abandoned villain, but as a proper princess.
When Aileen decided to tame James Charles/Ashtarte, Half-Demon Student
Aileen’s second adventure brought her to the chauvinistic Mirchetta region, where she posed as a boy named Ailey Calois and enrolled in the elite Mische Academy. The original otome game’s sequel took place here, and Aileen knew that the student council president, James Charles, had a sinister secret. Like Claude, he is a half-demon who can potentially sob out in his demon form if provoked, so Aileen attempted to tame him just as she tamed Claude. All this proved that demons and half-demons are more widespread than one would think and that these people are badly misunderstood and mistreated. Aileen used all her detective skills to uncover Selena Gilbert’s and the church’s plot to avert disaster at the school festival, and the day was saved once again. James Charles and his student council fellows became Aileen’s loyal allies not long after that.
The dust had barely settled on the Mische Academy school festival match when Aileen’s true enemy stepped forward. Selena Gilbert had only been a pawn in Lilia Rainworth’s manipulative game, and Lilia explained herself fully to Aileen there in the garden. Lilia, like Aileen, is a real girl who was reborn in this otome game world, and she can use her meta knowledge and strong charisma to play with each game character as she sees fit. In Lilia’s eyes, the likes of Claude, Selena, and James Charles are just game characters, not real people, so there’s no harm in manipulating them for fun. Aileen protested strongly, but there was little she could do other than brace herself for Lilia’s next trick. This offered a whole new perspective on video game isekai anime — who is a real person when Japanese people meet their favorite game characters face-to-face, with one having the human spirit and the other reading the game’s scripts and coding?
When Lilia wiped Claude’s memories to turn him against Aileen
Lilia’s third and final plan pitted Aileen against Claude himself, and she did so by wiping all of Claude’s Aileen-related memories. Now he forgot his life as a demon king and Aileen’s lover, and began to identify only with his human half and wanted nothing to do with Aileen or demons. Aileen had to fight not for survival, but for true love, meaning the stakes were more personal than ever in this final arc. Aileen and her many allies fought a lot even when they were labeled enemies of the Empire, and in the end, Aileen fought Lilia directly like other sword maidens. Aileen won, Claude regained his memories, and Aileen and Claude later married while Lilia and Cedric ended up in a dungeon together. This twist proved that even when Aileen had her much-needed plot armor and had secured her own safety, true love was still worth fighting for and she wasn’t just a selfish villain looking out for herself. That’s what made her a true isekai hero.