My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! ep 6 – The Devilish Count Makess His Move

Rini 2020 (3)

 

It was snowing yesterday but today is sunny and warm. Seems the universe is confused in my little corner. We’re also slowly considering unquarantining in these parts which I am a little unsure about. I understand the economic pressures but we aren’t exactly in clear waters yet. If you are someone who has to go back to work physically, you have my sympathy, and thanks for keeping things going. I’m going to stick around my home a bit longer. I get sick really easily and there’s no point in clogging up our healthcare system if I don’t have to. 

How about you Crow? How’s the weather and the news where you are?

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We had a hard freeze last night, which is really unusual for Ohio. Though weather extremes are becoming a bit more frequent… We’re talking about reopenings, too, and like you, I am concerned. My wife sent me a great discussion of the topic by someone who’s not only credentialed, but who is really lucid and articulate! Basically, I’ll work from home as long as they let me. I, too, have no desire to clog up the health care system.

Let’s talk about more pleasant things. And what could be more pleasant than My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!? It’s a trick question, don’t worry about finding an answer.

I’m not entirely sure a show like Villainess can have filler episodes but if so, I would say this was one. It’s the middle of the season and I figure the series wanted to take a little breather with this small collection of vignettes. Everything was in tone with the show but it’s the type of episode you can skip and not really miss anything. Except for the very end but we’ll get to it.

This said, just because I didn’t think the episode served much narrative purpose, doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. It was a nice little vacation and it’s always lovely to see these characters. Any opening thoughts Crow?

Alan, Mary, and Nicol had some interesting moments in this episode. I’ll be interested to see if you mention them! I’ve been trying to get a handle on what Nicol’s thinking, and we might have gotten a peek!

Full disclosure, I don’t really have much to say about this one and even though I just finished watching it, I’m going over my screencaps to remember what happened.

I think my favourite part was the opening tag. There is something so fun and so “Catarina” about having a fake snake artisan make her replicas and then practicing the throws with the actual thing. For someone so oblivious, Catarina sure is prepared. And I adore her poor exasperated maid! And her mom. Catarina is in fact a lot like her isekai mom despite having different sensibilities and I like that a lot!

That little scene where the maid and mom were reflecting on how much better everything became after little Catarina planted her forehead on the paving stones was really interesting. I figured the maids and butlers would have been happier with Catarina’s change. I didn’t realize that even mom (and apparently dad) felt so much better off, too! So far, it’s like Catarina is making the world a lot better! Though a few ominous hints showed up later in the episode. Well, as ominous as this show can be.

The lake scene was fine. It was cute and Marie got to throw in some yuri. I realize that although we see him often, Geordo doesn’t ever get the chance at any proper development. 

His biggest development? I am starting to feel sorry for him! Nicol even said that his smiles are more open and honest now that Catarina’s with him. But no one’s letting him be alone with her. Not Keith, and not Mary. Mary in particular seems to be getting kind of fierce! Gotta say I am a fan.

However I did call it last week when I said they might want to give Nicol some air time. This was more fun than I thought it would be. To me, all the boys’ character designs are pretty much equal and it’s just a question of your particular hair colour preference, but that show has made it clear that Nicol is supposed to be much more attractive than, everyone really… Still I always sort of forget about it and seeing Catarina physically swoon was pretty funny! I’m also starting to dig the running joke about how inexpressive Nicol is.

Don’t get me wrong, he still doesn’t stand a chance. However, I’m glad that he went from an unrealized prop supporting character to a slightly developed one.

I’ll give him credit. What he said to Catarina and how he said it was really romantic! I thought it was hilarious how Sophia urged him on, then was shocked to find Catarina practically catatonic in reaction to his near confession!

And then we had Alan’s time in the spotlight, both as the vignette was about him and as he quite literally was in the spotlight. From what we know of Fortune Lover, this is probably the biggest sign that he is no longer the same character as in the game. That Alan would never have had all the attention on him like that, and even enjoyed it. 

I guess it indirectly speaks to the growth in Geordo’s character as well, since he’s letting his brother take the glory and not interfering in any way.

That was a great scene, wasn’t it? I could even feel the romantic tension when Alan’s eyes locked with Catarina’s! So could Mary, too, I think — or at least she suspects.

Often these types of episodes will have something to tie back into the main plot and get the viewers excited again about the ongoing narrative. This episode was no exception. At the very end, we got a small flash of Catarina’s previous life while discussing Fortune Lover with her classmate.

Her school friend is really cute. My favourite design and I’m sorry we see her so rarely. 

It’s really common practice for dating sims to have a secret or true route that is unlocked only once you’ve finished all the other routes. Frequently that route will not be openly advertised although most experienced otome players will spot it right away. More recent games also have DLC routes that come out later. It’s a smart business model. That’s what was implied in Catarina’s memory. I think Sirius is the unlockable character. That line about him not liking anyone was given way too much importance for it to just be random dialogue.

And it’s clear that Catarina has gone from rival to MC, so guess she could play that route. What do you think Crow?

I think you’re on to something. The scene was really prominent, and his expression too neutral to be trusted. And did you see the crowd of young women glaring at him as he watched Catarina join Geraldo to dance? They were furious. I think there’s some trouble brewing there, in fact.

Though with the caliber of people surrounding Catarina, I think she’s safe.

I’m impressed by the staying power of the premise. Sure, the series is somewhat repetitive, but 6 episodes in and I’m still really enjoying it. The charming cast helps that a lot, but the story itself has more to offer than I would have thought. Way to go!

Even the repetitive jokes, like Catarina completely misunderstanding why Keith and Geraldo were fighting over the boats, still works. The setup is clean, the characters are true to themselves, and the timing is good.

I think we need to keep an eye on Mary, though. Looks like she’s starting to feel a bit desperate — and that some of her plans are starting to go awry. I wonder what part that’ll plan in the coming episodes?

 

 

 

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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27 Responses

  1. garylthmp says:

    ,,,///I’m not entirely sure a show like Villainess can have filler episodes but if so, I would say this was one. It’s the middle of the season and I figure the series wanted to take a little breather with this small collection of vignettes. Everything was in tone with the show but it’s the type of episode you can skip and not really miss anything. Except for the very end but we’ll get to it.\\\…

    I was already wondering by this point how the show was going to be finished, since there didn’t seem to be time and room to start on another light novel (once those angry girls make their move, the show is going to move pretty fast toward its climax, and I couldn’t see it taking up half the season), so it would seem some filler would be necessary.
    I think the original web novel would have more than covered a 12-episode season, but the difficulty is they chose to drop all the chapters which fully detailed the characters’ backstories and their true reaction to Catarina (which of course she always misunderstands to one extent or another, so the readers likely wouldn’t fully understand either without being given these extra points of view). They don’t seem to be adapting all the side stories in the manga and light novels, either, though they obviously are adapting some.

    …///I think my favourite part was the opening tag. There is something so fun and so “Catarina” about having a fake snake artisan make her replicas and then practicing the throws with the actual thing. For someone so oblivious, Catarina sure is prepared. And I adore her poor exasperated maid! And her mom. Catarina is in fact a lot like her isekai mom despite having different sensibilities and I like that a lot!\\\…

    Catarina’s snake-throwing practice is constantly referenced in the light novel and manga–but give the anime credit for coming up with the idea of having Catarina doing a mound windup at a target! After Isekai Quartet, I’ve wondered whether the next idea for small-deformed isekai characters could be (and it isn’t as if it hasn’t really happened in shows to another world) to gather them to field a winning baseball team in say, Isekai Diamond 9. I guess after this episode, there’s no doubt who would take the mound! (Seriously, just want to add a little note here. Catarina’s co-conspirator is Tom the gardener, whom Bakarina has charmed into helping her till her field, and who has a side story himself in the light novel…).

    …///lake scene was fine.\\\…

    In the manga, the lake scene was limited to just Geordo and Keith, though it was nice to see the whole gang spending the day boating. However, I think if you’re going to change the story around a bit, you might as well punch it up as much as you can. The scene of Catarina running after a thieving goose wasn’t that visually compelling and mildly amusing at best. How I would handled it would have shifted the camera angle back and forth from Catarina and the goose, and when the goose happens to glance back, he sees Catarina’s legs really pumping and raising cloud of dust, and Bakarina’s face clearly communicating that if she can’t retrieve her food, she’s going to put the goose on the menu ahead. I think the goose fleeing in terror from approaching doom would have been a whole lot funnier.

    While the anime did keep the conclusion of the day from the manga, again I think the way the manga handled it was a bit funnier:

    • garylthmp says:

      (stunned prince) Keith…What kind of education IS she getting at home?

      Keith: Well, she’s being molded into a refined and genteel lady

      (pause)

      …in theory.

      …///Nicol is supposed to be much more attractive than, everyone really… Still I always sort of forget about it and seeing Catarina physically swoon was pretty funny! I’m also starting to dig the running joke about how inexpressive Nicol is.

      Don’t get me wrong, he still doesn’t stand a chance. However, I’m glad that he went from an unrealized prop supporting character to a slightly developed one.

      I’ll give him credit. What he said to Catarina and how he said it was really romantic! I thought it was hilarious how Sophia urged him on, then was shocked to find Catarina practically catatonic in reaction to his near confession!\\\…

      It’s rather interesting how the print and animation approaches differed in their approach. In print, though the point of the scene remained the same (Sophia setting up the hoped romancing by her brother of Catarina), Catarina merely had trouble remembering a word Nichol had said to her afterward (I guess the comatose Catarina was a bit funnier). On the other hand, while Catarina was struck by Sophia’s looks in their first encounter, and startled by Nichol accompanying Sophia on her first visit, in print she was JUST BLOWN AWAY by her first sight of their parents when they came to greet her and Keith. For some reason, the anime showed barely any reaction from Catarina at all when she met the prime minister and his wife (that I thought was a mistake, it would have put an exclamation point that the Ascots at least roughly matched the Claeses in their place at the top of the nobility).

      …///And then we had Alan’s time in the spotlight, both as the vignette was about him and as he quite literally was in the spotlight.\\\…

      Yes, it was pretty evident that those setting up the concert set up the lighting in order to enhance the audience’s enjoyment of Alan’s performance–but I believe the animators took advantage to do some subtle foreshadowing. Take a look at the audience being panned. Keith, Catarina and Sophie are standing fully lighted, but the student president is standing a bit apart from them and seems to be receding a bit into the shadows. And then the camera pans to some girls in the audience scowling…at Catarina? (Your speculations on the hidden route and Sirius are pretty much on the right track, but that’s all I’ll say for now. You’re also right that Catarina is perfectly safe, which is probably why those girls are so angry because they know they can’t do anything about it! There’s a recent fanfic which had an interesting plot point, in which Catarina confronts a mob and gets a serious wound for it, but she saves herself and the situation by disrupting the intended lynching with her earth thud. That in itself doesn’t seem that would do it, but I think this would have been an ironical case that the assumption that sparked the disturbance in the first place, and had made Maria’s life so miserable (ONLY nobles have magic), actually saved Catarina’s bacon in the story because the mere use of magic (even if weak) blew her cover and made the crowd realize she was a noble. As it turns out, a noble of SUPER HIGH status with way too many friends in high places. However, in THIS STORY just wait until the hidden route finally surfaces in the anime…)

      The final scene I think was a case of sacrificing the story a bit for the sake of a gag. I think the gag already hit target when Keith holds up the “work” his sister said she had done that summer. Pushing beyond that I think bordered on being cruel, and contradicting everything else on Catarina in the story’s canon–is that the girl may struggle academically, but she manages to scrape by in the end (with the help of her friend in her other life (as we will see), but especially in her current life with all the help she gets from all the friends around her).

    • Irina says:

      Maybe I should read the light novels – Is the translation any good?

      • garylthmp says:

        I replied to you before, but somehow it apparently didn’t go through the first time. But in answer, I found it so in reading the original web novel, and I’ve read the light novels through partway through the fourth novel. However, that reading could have been fan translations (I’ve purchased the first three light novel volumes, and plan to purchase the others through volume 6 soon, but unfortunately I can’t currently read them until I figure how to get my nook to connect on-line through wi-fi). Right now, unlike Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities AVERAGE in My Next Life?!, My Next Life as a Villainess has no print volumes that I know of. However, from what I read of the books’ sneak preview samples on Amazon.com, those translations seem to match pretty well with the material I’ve been reading so far.

        I would highly recommend reading the original novels, because the story has a plot problem in its inception. The stories are told in first-person, a good choice because Lady Catarina Claes is no bland generic MC for-all-game-players-to-identify-with (like the Fortune Lover game developers intended Maria Campbell to be), but a vibrant alive character both hilarious and touching. However, the central joke of the story lies in Catarina continually failing to read her real situation and her new friends. The light novels solve the problem of the story being narrated by a dense baka by putting in alternating chapters in which the characters Catarina meets give their own sides of the story, so the reader can understand the true story situations. However, the manga and anime don’t offer that kind of help to their audience, so they don’t know the full story (the anime is trying to fill that gap by doing little shorts in which each character is explained–but so far they don’t seem to even have fan subs yet).

  2. Dawnstorm says:

    Someone posted a top ten ships of week over at animesuki forums. Catarina X Maria made the top spot and then Catarina took places 5 to 10 with… pretty much the cast. That’s Catarina taking 7 ship-spots in a top 10. That has to be a record of some sort.

  3. Justin says:

    Just will point out that most of the vignettes were in the light novels themselves. So it’s definitely filler, but filler from the original source lol

    Also, one more thing to add: at this point in the LN and the manga, we still didn’t get a name for Sirius. He’s just called the President. Think the anime staff had to make a call on that one, so we’ll see how that pays off.

  4. The angry audience of girls is ominous. Someone who is so perfect will make enemies.

    • Irina says:

      I have to admit it’s a super tired trope and sort of the most boring part of the show but since the rest is so charming I think it kinda still works

  5. Skully_Kyri says:

    Seems like a heartwarmingly fun ride! I’ll check out the first episode sometime soon.

  6. foovay says:

    All those inching along character growth moments, especially with Nicol, really made me feel that this may someday in hindsight become a very important and revealing, or at least foreshadowing episode rather than a filler.

  7. Mari says:

    This anime is so cute. Catarina is a fun main character and I love the shoujo art style. Is there such thing as a wholesome harem anime? Cause this is pretty close haha

    • It really does feel like that.

      I mean, even though Geraldo is supposedly super evil hearted in the game, he hasn’t destroyed Keith’s life yet, despite how many times Keith has interjected himself!

      • Irina says:

        He’s been pretty harmless really and hasn’t played the jealousy card even if his fiancee is spending all this time with other boys who clearly like her. I’m impressed

      • garylthmp says:

        Well, yes, but the whole game has been thrown clear off kilter by its supposed villainess, so Geraldo is clearly different, whereas he would have been viewing Caterina as a millstone he needs to keep other females from mobbing him, and Keith would be avoiding Caterina as much as possible (typical Bakarinish logic, even Caterina can’t deny the vast difference she made in Keith’s life, yet can’t stop being leery of Geraldo because she can’t comprehend the effect on him being twisted),

    • Irina says:

      I think we have found a wholesome harem and there should be more!

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