• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

The Winter 2024 Anime Preview Guide
7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life

How would you rate episode 1 of
7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life ?
Community score: 4.2

What is this?


Rishe can't catch a break. After being spurned by her fiancé, she fled her home country to make a new life for herself - six times. In each case, she chose a different path to happiness, only to die at the age of twenty, five years after setting out – and each time, she reawakened at the moment of being dumped. She's about to start her seventh loop, and this time, she thinks she's got it figured out: each death was somehow related to a war started by Emperor Arnold. This time, the plan is to stop the war before it starts, and when Arnold himself proposes to her the night of her escape, that seems like as good a way to do it as any.

7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life is based on a light novel series of the same name by Tо̄ko Amekawa and Wan Hachipisu. The anime series is streaming on Crunchyroll on Sundays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

I'm sixteen anime into the season and this is easily my favorite premiere so far. Now some might say it's my predisposition towards villainess stories—and they're somewhat correct. But even more than that, this show appeals to my predisposition for something even more important: good storytelling.

This first episode is spent introducing us to Rishe and the complexities of her life. But when it comes down to it, the problem is simple. She is stuck in a time loop and always dies five years in—seemingly due to the direct or indirect actions of Emperor Arnold Hein. This time, her plan is simple: do everything she can to survive past her predestined end.

This plot is supported by the fact that Rishe is an excellent character. At this point in the story, she has been trapped in her time loop for 25 years—meaning she's spent more of her life in it than out of it. Almost nothing remains of the meek noble girl raised to be a queen (and framed as a villainess). Instead, we have a woman who is supremely confident and knows exactly what she is capable of. She has been a knight, a scholar, a merchant, a doctor, and a maid. And while Rishe has chosen six different paths, that doesn't mean she has rejected any of them. She still retains the skills from each of them—even if her body isn't quite up to the task of using them all at the moment. Many people haven't even lived one life to its fullest. She's lived six.

It's easy to root for Rishe—but more than that, it's easy to see why Arnold is so captivated by her. He meets a woman who has all the manners of a queen, is intimidating enough to make him instinctively loosen his sword in the scabbard, and is sure enough of herself and her abilities to jump off a second-story balcony. And when he sees for a fact that she has been cast out of her kingdom, is it any surprise he does whatever he can to bring her to his side (after testing her with a surprise attack)?

Now we have Rishe being courted by the man who killed her in her past life. And perhaps, through their interactions, she will be able to break the loop—or maybe she'll end up dying by his hands yet again.

Rebecca Silverman

If there's any one thing I love about this series (and I just finished reading the fourth light novel yesterday), it's that Rishe is no fool. Even in her first life, when she's unceremoniously dumped by her asshole fiancé Crown Prince Dietrich, she figures out relatively quickly how to make her bad situation better. And again, in her second life. And her third. And her fourth…by the time the series gets going, poor Rishe is on her seventh time through the same set of years, and while she's getting sick of this, she's also got a lot of knowledge to call upon. The implication is that ever since her third life (scholar, which was inspired by her second life as a medical practitioner), she's been building on everything she's learned, all in the hopes of not getting killed in the same damn war again. And this time? She's either in the best or worst position ever, because the crown prince, who will eventually become a warmongering emperor, has just proposed to her.

Make no mistake, Rishe is the best part of this episode. That may be because she and Dietrich are the only two people we see carry over from life to life. Dietrich is just looking worse each time she rewinds to the classic denunciation scene; he has, he says multiple times, spent an entire week planning his speech, and he is not happy that she's depriving him of the chance to spew verbal venom at her. (Amusingly enough, in her seventh life, we hear him even complaining to her parents about that.) But Rishe is making increasingly informed decisions, including not leaving via the front door when she exits the palace this time. It's this decision that puts her directly on a course to meet Crown Prince Arnold Hein of the neighboring nation Galkhein – the eventual author of her death. Arnold also recognizes that Rishe is something special, which sets this latest time loop in motion because rather than just killing her for crashing into him, he takes a very different route.

Although Rishe hasn't said as much, we can see that this could work in her favor, assuming she accepts him, because if she marries Arnold, that might put her in a position to stop him from ever going to war in the first place. From what we've seen, he only killed her himself once, in her sixth life when she was a knight, but that still means that marrying Arnold could come with some new dangers. After all, if she's right there in front of him, she could be the death that kickstarts his warmongering. But given what we've seen from her thus far, it feels like Rishe would have the knowledge to work with to prevent that–after all, she's no sooner finished moaning about how she'll need to retrain her body than she's managed to pull out someone else's sword and block Arnold's (teasing?) attack. She has the skills to keep herself safe.

This first episode does a very nice job of showing us who Rishe is and what her position is without overloading the plot with the backstory. There are nice details in the art and animation – her skirt moves like she's wearing a hoop, which is very different from how layers of petticoats move – and even the whole "villainess" angle isn't overdone; it's more window dressing than anything. As a novel reader, I'm very happy with this, and if you like your heroines with a brain, definitely give it a try.

Nicholas Dupree

Once upon a time, it felt like the whole "reborn as a villainess" sub-sub-genre of isekai was a breath of fresh air. Nowadays, though, it seems like we get at least one of those every season to go along with the 3-5 shows about a loaf of white bread turning on God mode in the fantasy world. It's to the point where even shows that aren't about characters in otome games are getting slapped with the title just to be trendy, like this one. In any other era, this would just be a classic time loop story, but now we have to staple the word "Villainess" like we're cheating SEO or something.

As annoying as that part is, the pitch here is pretty solid. The idea that Rishe has gone through the same five-year loop six times already, learning and experiencing new things in an attempt to survive the war that keeps killing her, is a good one. While this first episode spends a bit too much time establishing it all, the concept itself brings up a lot of possibilities. Instead of being granted unlimited powers and knowledge by plot contrivance, our heroine merely puts 30 years of experience and training into practice. Her speech to her dipstick ex-fiance and his new squeeze hammers home that she's long moved past the person and station she inhabited back when this began, and that gives off a very different vibe to most of her (tenuous) Villainess peers. If the show can capitalize on that, and give Rishe a rich personality to go along with her intriguing situation, this could turn out very nice.

Unfortunately, while this isn't an isekai, it still carries a lot of the same issues that I have with most Narou adaptations. Any character who isn't Rishe or her mysterious new fiance are cardboard cutout with the collective IQ of a dented paint can. The prince is an annoying dumbass who soaks up way too much time, a cartoonishly petulant twerp that only exists to make Rishe look better. The optimistic angle is that he's just a goofy joke to facilitate Rishe going her own way, and that future cast members will be more engaging, but in the context of this premiere, it makes the world feel small and contrived, existing only to show us how much better Rishe is than everyone else. I find that kind of writing painfully boring with dude-led stories, and it certainly doesn't get more interesting just because our protagonist is wearing a fancy dress. Also, I just hate the weird shading on everyone's hair. It's like every noble in this kingdom styles their hair with floor polish to get that lacquered, quick-shine look. Rishe needs to spend this life learning to mass-produce shampoo and conditioner, I swear.

In all, there's promise here – there's a lot you can do with a character who's lived vastly different lives in succession, and who's far wiser than her years. You could dig into the psychology of finding different ways to live one's life or the trauma of constantly having the life they've built destroyed. Rishe has traveled across the whole world through her multiple lives, so surely she has great knowledge of history and the political landscape, which could be interesting. Yet I can't shake the feeling that we're in for what is effectively the same story as always and that even without the game gimmick, this will earn the "Villainess" subtitle by being just as boring and over-saturated as its kin.

James Beckett

If there's one thing I appreciate about 7th Time Loop, it's that the show puts some real effort into giving its story a proper mood and sense of mystery despite its somewhat limited resources. If we're being honest, the characters are barely even animated most of the time. So much of this first episode consists of narrated montages of Riesche's previous life loops that the episode mostly falls back onto glorified slide-show presentation techniques. Still, not only are the character designs nice, but most of the shots contain at least a little bit of pizzazz so far as their framing is concerned. Combine that with Riesche's likable narration and the genuinely interesting circumstances of the constantly repeating five-year cycle that she's found herself in, and you have yourself a first episode that adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

It's a good thing, too, because I generally tend to love time-loop stories, and I was disappointed in how straightforwardly this anime seems to be treating that aspect of its premise. I'm sure we'll get flashbacks to more fragments of our heroine's past attempts at living past her twentieth birthday (call them: "Rieche's Pieces"). Still, this first episode is primarily an exposition dump of what got Rieche to the place she's currently at in Loop 7, so there isn't much of that playful puzzle-making that some of the best time-loop stories get into. The intrigue surrounding Prince Arnold and his mysterious motivations to either kill or marry Riesche, depending on the timeline, is at least enough to hold my interest for now.

It's a shame about the show's visuals, though, because this is a solidly "good enough" first episode that could have been downright great if there was more to its production values. Alas, we seem to be stuck with minimal character animation and a lot of night-time scenes that look like the studio cranked down the brightness settings in post-production, which makes the whole thing look washed out and muddy—this is especially a bummer since the otherwise bright and eye-catching color composition is one of the things that 7th Time Loop gets right, at least so long as someone remembers to turn on the lights.

This isn't one of those premieres liable to blow anyone away, but it certainly gives the impression of a diamond in the rough that only needs a bit of polish to bring out its true potential. Hopefully, the story can realize some of that potential in the coming weeks.

discuss this in the forum (483 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

back to The Winter 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Season Preview Guide homepage / archives