It's another villainess isekai. The protagonist finds herself playing the role of the villainess bitch from her favourite otome game and must find a way of averting her character's bloody fate! That's a genre these days.
I quite enjoyed this one, but it annoyed me in its middle section.
It's very obviously based on a novel series, with four episodes per book. What's more, events move fast. I was shocked at the end of ep.4, because the show was doing things you'd only expect from the season finale and I had no idea how they were planning to continue from here. (Answer: the heroine does something dumb and annoying in ep.5, then wipe someone's memory for a few episodes in ep.9.) This is bracing, but I've heard it said that the original novels are quite dense and that the anime discarded quite a lot to fit this many of them into this episode count. So the source material might be better than the adaptation on this occasion.
Anyway, our heroine, Aileen Lauren D'Autriche, is sort of borderline villainesque. She's the protagonist, she does good deeds and we're on her side... but she's definitely got a Villain Mode in which she's hard-nosed and slightly scary. Notice how in ep.11 she unnecessarily chooses to deliver a Bitch Queen from Hell speech when she's been backed into a corner. Ep.1 sees her being publicly dumped and humiliated by her fiance, Prince Cedric... so she stomps off to seduce a Demon Lord instead. (His name's Claude and they've never met, but she proposes marriage in the same breath as "hello". She also cheerfully denies being in love with him, then to my surprise tells the full truth about herself when asked.)
I think the show missed a trick in not making her dad scarier, though. He's perhaps mildly Machiavellian, but he's also a cuddly old bloke who doesn't get much screen time and hardly matters.
NOVEL #1 (eps.1-4)
I liked it more than I expected. It has surprising moments (e.g. showing humanity to Cedric in ep.3 after he'd been so unfair and nasty) and it feels more truthful and interesting than I'd expected. It's funny, it's engaging and I liked the cast.
NOVEL #2 (eps.5-8)
Gyaaaah. It's good stuff, but I couldn't stomach the way it sidelines Claude.
So, you're Aileen. You've captured the heart of a Demon Lord with possibly unlimited magical power. His emotions change the local weather (which is one of the show's better jokes). Angering him would be a bad idea. Aileen wants to infiltrate a school... okay, no problem. Her sensible options are to tell Claude and to tell Claude. Nothing else is on the table. He might even be omnipotent, for all we know. I'd expect him to know if she sneezed in Australia. Sneaking off behind his back is a dreadful idea for every imaginable reason... but, of course, separating them is plot-convenient, so the show makes it happen.
After this, I was already on a short fuse. Then, though, Aileen needs to talk to him without letting him learn the truth. Again, just talk to him. Tell him. Please. Does she? No, she puts on a comedy duck costume and I realised that I'd be ditching this show the moment I finished it.
Apart from that, this is another strong story. We also learn the Big Bad's identity.
NOVEL #3 (eps.9-12)
Again, there's the odd moment I didn't buy. There's an animation failure or two. Someone pulling out their own eye in ep.12 isn't nearly as gross as it should have been, although admittedly magic is involved. That said, though, again the story's wholehearted and I like what it does for Aileen. She's a dynamic protagonist and it's great to see her dealing with her enemies. The more trouble she's in, the more we're looking forward to watching her handle it.
It's pretty good. I can imagine also enjoying a deeper version of this (e.g. the novels) and I can also easily imagine those fixing some of this show's problems and hiccups. Nonetheless, this is a show that's trying to tell dramatically meaningful stories instead of just being empty fantasy. It's not brilliant. It's not a 10/10, or even probably an 8. It looks and sounds like a fairly bog-standard isekai adaptation, with no real attempt to transcend what it is. I'd rate it at a good, entertaining 7 that would have scored higher if it hadn't been for a few flaws here and there.