Well, it seems this show is just going to stubbornly refuse to not be charming. Fine! On top of that it is an absolutely stunning sunny early spring day here which is saying something as it has been snowing, dark and miserable all week… I guess I’m just going to have to deal with a wonderful Saturday…. and I have to work all weekend ARRRRGGGHHH. Not gonna lie – I’m pretty bitter about it! I know I shouldn’t complain and I am grateful – I’m just a bit tired, is all.
How are you doing Crow? I hope the weather is just as great where you are and that you are getting a chance to enjoy it!
I’m very sorry to hear you have to work this weekend! At least you don’t also have to deal with a blizzard. That would be even worse. Though that probably doesn’t help much! I’m doing well, and thanks for asking. I, too, am trying to deal with Villainess’ stubborn charm. It’s tough, but I think these reviews will help! Oh, I’m in normal font and there will be spoilers.
Let’s get to this episode. I took notes and there are a few things I want to talk about, but let’s get the summary out of the way, first.
Catarina is now 15, I think, and just starting magical boarding high school with all her friends, which is also where the game Fortune Lover actually starts. And so, it is finally time to meet the great Maria. The influence Catarina has had on the people around her is quite impressive, but she doesn’t seem to quite realize it. She does call herself a dummy and her grades aren’t as good as her friends so she may just have a tendency to underestimate herself.
Not to interrupt, but “doesn’t seem to quite realize it” is a really, really kind way of saying she didn’t feel the mighty wind as the clues passed right over her head! In rapid succession. For hours at a time.
This said, the group is as we know them. Ketih may be attractive and therefore draw the attention of women, but he’s pretty much the opposite of a playboy. Catarina keeps calling Geordo “dark hearted,” but he has been patient and kind with everyone from what we have seen. Alan is relaxed and has no particular need to constantly prove himself and Nicol… well we never got to know him much, so I can’t say. In any case, these are certainly not the archetypes we started with.
So when Maria makes her entrance, she doesn’t have quite the effect on them that she is supposed to, but Catarina is blind to all that and still very worried about her future. A worry she deals with in her traditional way: Farming. However, when Catarina and Maria fnally do meet, Catarina can’t help but be charmed as well, and the two become friendly to the point that Catarina protects Maria from bullying when other students were picking on her for her commoner background. An event that was supposed to have happened with Gerodo.
Keep your enemies closer is a fine strategy, but what now!
The theme you mentioned of Catarina still being so worried is giving the show so much opportunity for humor and happenstance based on misperceptions. Like when Catarina and Alan were looking at the student rankings, and he “casually” mentioned he was asked to give a piano recital and wondered if she’d attend. Still wanting to avoid doom flags, she enthusiastically said she’d love to. It was only then that he actually agreed to do it — pretty much just for her.
Or when, after saving Maria from the bullies (and may I say that I now have a strong appreciation for Catarina’s Resting Villainess Face and how effectively it scared the bullies away?), Catarina scarfed down all of the muffins. Which had been on the ground. Catarina misinterpreted Maria’s expression and apologized all over herself. But when Catarina said how delicious the treats had been, Maria positively glowed.
Or how about Mary coming right out and saying that if Catarina didn’t feel well, “I’ll look after you day and night.”
Catarina seems like she’s already conquered the entire main cast! And yet she’s still terrified.
One thing I kept thinking about, if Catarina was a 17 year old girl in a 9 year old body, is she in fact 23 now? Will she outgrow these games? I’m not saying she should, I haven’t…
I haven’t outgrown games, and I’m more than 3 times her age! Heck, now I can afford a better gaming rig than I could when I was a young ‘un. I still think disposable income is cool…
We only see him for a second, but I am very intrigued by the student council president. He’s the final character in the OP, which makes him fairly memorable and I have been wondering who he is for 3 episodes now. He didn’t have a big role this week or anything, but I’m really curious what his part in the story will be. Any guesses?
Catarina seemed quite taken with Sirius Deek (to use Anilist’s spelling; Crunchyroll used Sirius Dieke). I wonder if her actions will turn the game on its head? Will she actually develop a romantic interest in Sirius — and the rest of the cast becomes his rival? Or will he get swept up in Catarina’s harem hurricane like everyone else?
Maria finally got a face after she met Catarina. I really like this on a couple of levels. You could easily write off her facelessness up until now as a stylistic choice to add some suspense and mystery to the character. Keep us on our toes. But it also fits well with the tome theme as main characters (especially in older games) are often faceless. I think it’s for that the people who play them can just project their own features on the character, or something like that. Even the mystic messenger MC is faceless and that’s a fairly recent game.
I don’t like faceless MCs. It’s a little creepy and it really drives home just how shallow and substanceless these “characters” usually are. Yeah, I hesitate to call them characters…
So I’m choosing to read way too much into it and say that her meeting with Catarina allowed Maria to become more than an empty vessel. Not just a stock character whose entire purpose revolves around getting herself a man but an actual person, with friends! Awwwww!
Including a friend who, with a fierce look, drove off four or five other young women who were probably upperclassmen. Maybe I could make the case that Maria is still close to the trope of a shrinking violet, but it looks like the closer she gets to Catarina, the more comfortable she becomes with herself.
Bit of a trend, isn’t it?
And once again Maria stole one of the boy’s scenes. That’s at least twice now! I got to say, the boys only seem happier for it. We could always overthink this one as a gentle commentary of socially imposed gender normative roles and how we are better off just being ourselves.
But it may also be an excuse for some more implied shoujo-ai.
Heck it can be both!!!
I’m going with both. I’ve never been one to embrace false dilemmas! There are enough real dilemmas to be embraced! Or something…
So what I’m saying is that this is a very fun show. My favourite anime about tree climbing so far!
I cannot think of a funnier or more enjoyable tree-climbing anime ever. It’s quite the distinction!
And I’m still laughing over Catarina’s mom’s parting words of advice: “Don’t lift up your skirt, eat food off the floor, or throw your toys even accidentally.” And Catarina’s already eaten food off the floor! Well, the ground, anyway.