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The isekai genre is so oversaturated with series that even some of the sub-genres have a few works that are noticeably similar to each other. MNLV isn't the only story about someone reincarnating as the villainess of an otome game (Accomplishments of the Duke's Daughter comes to mind), but it prseents a unique twist on the story, even if the writing doesn't always do the concept justice.
The story is one of a high school girl dying and being resurrected as a villainess in an otome game who gets exiled or killed in most of the endings. She then sets out to avoid the various "doom flags," resulting in her unwittingly building a harem out of the game's protagonist, suitors and rivals.
As with other harem series, the story lives or dies by the strength of its characters. Catarina is an endearing protagonist whose denseness not only results in many comedic situations, but helps to show that despite her goal of avoiding her doom, she's not bright enough to tailor her personalities and actions to win people over. She often helps people by accident, but her personality is simple-minded yet genuine, which helps people fall in love with her.
Most of the rest of the members of Catarina's harem are relatively well-written, particularly if you consider how they changed from the game. Maria turns out to be a more complex character with a sadder backstory than one might expect of an otome game protagonist, while Mary is a good example of how much Catarina's influence can change someone(if not always for the better). On the down side, Nicole seems to be a Satellite Character to his more interesting sister Sophia, and Geordo seems a bit too manipulative and possessive of Catarina to be likable. Keith has a good dynamic with his adoptive sister Catarina, but for obvious reasons, he isn't someone I'd like to see end up with Catarina.
Unfortunately, while the concept is solid, Yamaguchi isn't the best storyteller, and it shows. One recurring problem with the series is the tendency to tell, rather than show. This is especially common in the LN, but the anime isn't immune, either; for example, Catarina narrates about how after she befriended Sophia, Mary also became friends with Sophia.
The first person narration in the light novels is a mixed bag. On the plus side, it can be funny to watch Catarina miss rather obvious subtext in other people's actions. On the other hand, switching to other character's PO Vs often shows exactly the same scenes that the reader witnessed through Catarina's POV, to the point of repeating dialogue verbatim.
To sum it up, the author is good at coming up with a concept, but not as good at making it into a well-written story. If, however, the problems I mentioned aren't deal-breakers, I recommend watching the anime; only read the light novel if you want additional details on the story.
Note that I only giving this review based on the manga and not the ligh novel which I am not readin yet and I will be giving it a shot. After seeing the manga, it is a twist instead of the supposed protagonist of the game take the stage, its the antagonist that given focus for the story as to avoid all of the red flags from the original intention
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