My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! ep 8 – Simple Pleasures

Rini 2020 (3)

 

It might actually finally truly be summer here. I get paid by the adverb! But it really is a rather nice weekend. Sunny and bright but not too hot. The type of weekend that makes you want to just be lazy and not do a ton of paperwork. I have a lot of paperwork to do… I have been putting it off. But I absolutely must get this review out first. Right? Right! How are you doing Crow? Everything good for you?

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I am doing mostly fine. It’s getting very summerly here (we’re splitting the adverb bounty, right?). Did you know it takes a week and a half to get the replacement valve that feeds refrigerant into my air conditioner? I just learned that myself. It arrives Thursday. The joys of homeownership…

We are now at episode 8 and going into the final arc. Unless My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Is planning on getting another season, we should be starting off the denouement right about now. Any thoughts before we get started?

I’m really curious to see what you thought about this one. I had fewer notes, but it’s taking a lot longer to process. And poor, poor Mary! I’m glad Maria was… Well, I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves…

Because the school year is nearing the end, Catarina is studying for her exams but she soon decides to take a little break and change things up, by doing some gardening. I was always fairly good at studying and absolutely horrific at gardening. I’m just a notorious plant mass murderer. It was a very upside down notion for me to have Catarina actually choose shovels over books. Like my brain had to adjust.

I grew up on a farm, so I had to make sure fields of plants lived or we had no income. It wasn’t easy, I can tell you! Fortunately, I just had to plow, disc, and cultivate. More experienced folks applied the nitrogen and other dangerous chemicals. Then the plants would not have been the only ones in danger!

In the garden, she runs into Alan and spying on them s from the school windows, Mary gets the wrong idea gets very worried and decides to go interrupt them. 

She’s my favorite. I think that’s why I felt so sorry for her even through the after credits scene!

At this point we get the OP. I’m not sure if I’ve ever gotten a chance to mention it but I really like the opening song, for what it is. It’s quite bouncy and puts me in a good mood whenever I hear it. I think it really suits the series quite well. The visuals are fine but not that interesting all things considered, but when you pair them with the music, everything seems to come together so well. It’s sort of a nothing special really but solide and fun OP. 

It’s a very uplifting song. Apparently, the artist is named angela, and Crunchyroll did a writeup on her. Very interesting video, by the way!

Fortunately for Mary, Catarina was in fact just going in, and the two meet up right away and go to the student council room to study for a bit. I quite like the squiggly writing they use. It looks a bit like drunken sanskrit. Sirius is there and they exchange a few words. Do you like his voice actor?

You know, I didn’t really give his VA any thought until this episode — and I thought that he’d done a particularly good job. Toshiki Masuda managed to sound friendly and helpful while giving off an ominous vibe! 

At this point, the two girls (Mary and Catarina that is) decide to switch over to the library and start heading that way. I just wrote a post on anime libraries so this was very topical for me. On their way the first run into Geordo who decides to invite himself much to the chagrin of Mary. She really is not very good at hiding her emotions and her disappointment at losing her alone time showed on her face perfectly. Geordo teased a bit about it but was generally a very good sport about someone with romantic aspirations trying to spend alone time with his fiance. He’s impressively not jealous which you would think would be a big part of his archetype. 

I wonder how this library compared to the ones in your post? About Gerald, though, he’s really surprised me. He has every right (socially speaking) to be upset that everyone’s horning in on his fiancée, but he’s generally been very patient! 

Next, the tree of them ran into Keith who immediately decided to join in as well.  From there, a series of quick vignettes showed all the main characters in turn decided to tag along, namely Maria, Sophia, Alan and finally Nicol. I really loved how Nicol was basically just a still shot of him without any dialog and the next scene was him walking with the group. That made me giggle. The entire little montage was fun.

The group finally makes it to the library which is surprisingly cozy, or maybe this was an offshoot or something. The room they were in only had one table and it was just big enough for the 8 of them. 

Yes, it looked comfortable. But I thought it was awfully suspicious that neither Mary nor Catarina (okay, Mary…) had heard of the library when Sirius mentioned it. I wonder if he knew what was going to happen… 

I think it’s at this point that I realized that I would probably like this show more if I was binge watching it. It’s great as is but I do think it loses a bit of its momentum having to wait a week between episodes and the repetitive nature of the narrative stands out more. It’s so light and airy I would probably have blown through an entire season in a day or two and have been left in a good mood for the rest of the week. What do you think Crow?

You know that I look for moments to celebrate, and I love the characters so much that I’ve been trying to ignore it. But, in all honesty, you’re right. As you said, it’s nothing against the show! Catarina’s Baka side is part of its charm. But it might flow more smoothly viewed all at once.

It seems that being part of a group does help Catarina focus on the books, but only for a short while. As she starts to get fidgety the Maries (that’s what I have decided to call the duo of Mary and Maria – it’s sort of a misspelling of both their names so no one can get mad. That makes just perfect sense) Where was I? I got lost in my own parenthesis. Oh yeah, seeing Catarina getting distracted! The Maries figure it’s a good time for a bit of a break. Maria decides to get them some sweets she made while Mary makes the tea. Both of them would make good maids.

No argument here!

Catarina jumps on the occasion to do something else and peruses the shelves next to the table when she spots a specific book that seems to glow for a minute. When Catarina she opens the book out of curiosity it glows a LOT more and we find out her voice stress has an impressive set of lungs on her. I was watching the show with my windows wide open and I’m sure my neighbours got a little worried there.

At this point, everyone in the library disappears, apparently having been sucked into the book, leaving behind the Maries. Maybe this will be their chance to save the day and redeem themselves after doing nothing but almost killing Alan last week!

This was the Bakarina moment for the episode, I think. I mean, if a book went all glowy for you, would you open it right in your own face? Especially if I couldn’t read the title (which I doubt Catarina could read).

Mary garbs the book and starts looking through it. Fortunately, it doesn’t also suck the two of them in for some reason, and they can sort of see what’s happening in the book’s universe through the pictures. Or maybe those are illusions? In any case they cannot seem to directly interact by touching the pictures. I’m not sure why they didn’t try writing something in the book. This whole idea is a little meta, Catarina getting sucked into the universe of a storybook from the universe of an otome she got sucked into….

I love Re:CREATORS. This is almost normal for me! Seriously, though, it is delightfully Inception-like! Or maybe I should say Paprika-like… 

For some reason, Catarina is the only one who seems to realize something is amiss. Maybe because she comes from a different world to start off with? The Maries get to briefly watch a scene that seems to be taking place right after Geordo and Catarina’s wedding as the two of them start their first evening as husband and wife. Understandably, Geordo is eager to romance his one true love now that they are legal and after a 15 year courtship (I’m not actually sure how old they are but they seemed older than they are now and they have been engaged for a long time already…) but since for Catarina she was in the library a few minutes ago, it’s a bit of a shock. Nevertheless she doesn’t seem that opposed to it. I was looking through my screencaps of the scene and it ends on her smiling face. A visual I missed when reading the subtitles I guess because  though she was a bit more hesitant than that expression seemed to indicate.

The scene gets to be a bit much for Mary and she slams the book shut not wishing to see her beloved Catarina with someone else in a romantic way. The Maries talk over what they have just seen and decide to open the book again not knowing what to do.

Honestly, I felt bad for Mary in this episode. It had to be very difficult to her to have to watch others acting on their romantic desires for Catarina! 

I got a similar vibe from Catarina and Geraldo. She seemed more surprised than anything. Maybe from his perspective, his imagination had experienced the wedding ceremony. But she was still fresh from the library, so the scene was a complete surprise to her.

The next time Catarina is at her desk in her room, trying to study, with Keith standing over her shoulder. Except Keith looks a little weird. Like he got lip injections or something. Then he sort of flirts with her and tries to feed her a cookie. Which he immediately succeeds in because Catarina has never said no to a cookie, but before she gets to taste it, the book slams shut agan and Mary is  exasperated. We learn that the book feeds on desires and we are actually seeing the characters deepest desires realized.

I laughed at Catarina’s reaction to Keith: “he’s giving off an oddly sexy vibe…”

I have to say, I can see it for Geordo. He is very much in love with his fiance and has worked hard for years to be the proper companion for her. I can see him really looking forward to their wedding night. I also figure he would be the type of guy who sees himself as debonnaire and smooth. But Keith’s scene was a bit baffling to me. 

Sure Keith likes Catarin a lot, that’s no secret. And I completely believe that his deepest desire would involve her. But I can’t see him wanting to be a sleazy playboy type. Wouldn’t he have been horrified if not slightly repulsed by that version of him? It seems much more like what we are told game Keith is like rather than what the Keith we have come to know would fantasize about. This felt like they lost sight of the character a bit.

Unless the book is acting more on the characters based on their normal game routes? Nah, that’d be too subtle. I always saw Keith are more earnest and straight forward. I could see him helping her study, and getting closer and closer to her. But doing the who “open wide” thing? I’m with you on this one.

I don’t remember if this is where Alan comes in. His sequence is extremely short. We just see him playing piano next to a standing Catarina before Mary slams the book back shut, obviously not wanting to even think about it. I believe we are meant to understand that Mary also cares about Alan. It bothers her way more when he is with Catarina than when anyone else is and it’s not like Catarina shows him any favour.  Think it may have hurt her feelings just a bit that she wasn’t any part at all of Alan’s desires.

Her eyes were completely blank. It’s like that was the last straw for her. I loved how Maria kept trying to comfort Mary. They worked well together in this episode!

The next scene was Sophia’s, and it was rather sweet. I like little dreams. Sophia and Catarina were in a library again but not the same library. This was Sophia’s private library and Catarina was really impressed by the wealth of romance novels available. She even mentioned wanting to live there which stirred up something in Sophia. The latter reacted by pinning Catarina to the wall with her arms on either side, all aggressive boy in a shoujo type. It was pretty funny to watch, especially as Sophia is markedly shorter. I’m not sure if they were going for actually romantic feelings here or a very strong friendship but either way, it was cute. Cute enough for Mary to slam the book shut again.

That library was probably too small to qualify for your list, wasn’t it? I agree that Sophia was just darling in this scene. She loves her time with Catarina, and the idea of the two of them living together with a stocked library seems to be a dream of hers. 

Finally, we get Nicol’s fantasy sequence that was my favourite of the bunch. First, it really looked like an old school Sailor Moon episode with Serena fantasizing about Tuxedo Mask. In case that sentence didn’t make it sufficiently clear somehow, it looked amazing! Second, it was hilariously ridiculous. It seems even in his own desires, Nicol is pursued everywhere by a veritable army of swooning fangirls. I like this openly conceited Nicol. Second, he has the imagination to pretty much forgo realism. Unlike the others, his sequence wasn’t something that could happen and it made it all the better!

Leaping off the balcony into a gondola; sweeping Catarina into the air to bound from building to building, then telling her he’d love for her to be in his arms forever with the moon as a backdrop — yeah, he’s the most imaginative! 

Mary is starting to get really worried about Catarina and how hungry she must be by now. Staring longingly at the sweets, she mentioned that Catarina hasn’t eaten in a while. At this point, the Maries suddenly remember that the magical book that feeds on people’s desires will let them go if their desires are fulfilled somehow. Unfortunately since they don’t really know what to do about it they decided to just open the book again and check on Catarina’s own desire next.

I really loved their teamwork this episode. Maria also showed that has a shrewd, inquisitive mind. Very cool!

I have to admit, the Maries seemed to believe that sweets were Catarina’s deepest desire (a reasonable guess), but I was sure that she would put them all to shame and they would see a scene with absolutely everyone, themselves included and realize that Catarina’s deepest desire is for everyone to be together and happy. 

Catarina’s sequence opens with her walking alone through a grim looking forest and complaining about being hungry when she suddenly chances upon a life sized gingerbread house just like in the Hansel and Gretel fable.  Of course, she goes right for it and starts devouring the walls. Soon the house turns into a tornado of candy which a rapidly fattening Catarina more or less vacuums up. The scene goes out of control quickly and the Maries try to shut the book again but something is going wrong as it distorts and bubbles. Suddenly everyone explodes out of the book.

We are told that because the book candy wasn’t real, Catarina couldn’t get full no matter how much she ate, so her desire just kept getting bigger and bigger until the book couldn’t handle it anymore. I’m not sure what they did with the book next but everyone was happy and they had tea and snacks. Too bad the Maries didn’t get a chance to do anything in the end. 

I think I’d be at least a bit curious about the book — and why it decided to get my attention! It was interesting that they said it was one of the 7 mysteries of the school. Put me in mind of Yamada and the 7 Witches

I’m not sure if I’m understanding this right, but if Mary had just let anyone’s scene play out, they would all have been freed from the book right away. Like it’s not really a trap. You get sucked in, it plays out your deepest desire and when it’s fulfilled, it lets you out. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. I wish I had a bunch of those books lying around. Last week, Crow and I discussed potential My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Merchandise. I’m saying a fully functional desire book will make them all millionaires. I hope someone is working on that! Oh man, I would spend every second I could in anime worlds… probably watching anime…

My luck, no one would open the book, and I’d be trapped! Bit of a downside, there… But with the appropriate safety equipment, it could be a complete blast. There’re several worlds I wouldn’t mind visiting! As several I’d very much want to avoid…

Does anyone need to open the book?

Finally, the after credits scene showed a broken hearted Mary watching what she believes is her long time fiance betraying her with her best friend and not so secret unrequited love. It stops a bit abruptly so maybe it’s a lead in for the next episode?

I wondered for a moment if it was part of the book fantasy! But it doesn’t look like it. I thought Catarina might be more interested in Nicol! But that moment in the tree seemed so comfortable!

Crow, how did you enjoy episode 8 of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!? Are you looking forward to next week?

Yes, I did. Your earlier comments about some of the situations being repetitive was spot on, but I like the character so much that I’m really looking forward to the next episode. I really don’t want this comfortable, supportive group to change, though I know it has to! It’s just so rare to see a group like that being good to one another!

My Next Life as a Villainess ep8 (45)

      

 

Irina

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

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15 Responses

  1. Justin says:

    So I believe at this point (and you two likely figured it out) it’s straight up filler at this point (as in, the last two episodes did not have this material in the LN). So yeah, anime had to fill in the gaps before setting up its final arc. Guess we’ll have one more filler episode to go, do hope it’s fun. The kabedon scene was hilarious though.

    • Irina says:

      hmm I wonder if they’ll just fill up the rest of the season to set up a second one?

      • Justin says:

        There is a clear stopping point in the LN (in fact, the LN author intended it to only be two volumes but yah popularity) so chances are since this is 12 episodes, the last three will likely be from the LN.

        That said, you’ll know it’s not filler when you see it xD

        • garylthmp says:

          Well, the web novel was only one volume originally, but the books publisher did what was done with the Lord of the Rings, the initial book was split into more than one light novel, and they’ve added more books since.

  2. Am I getting senile or did Nicol turn into Tuxedo Mask in his fantasy?

  3. Yuu says:

    Oh, I watched this one and thought ‘it’s a filler’
    I’ve read the manga and I can’t wait for the next awesome development
    Existing couples just rehashing and not progressing is boring really, go and topple more love flags Bakarina!!

    • Irina says:

      I think it’s been that way for a few weeks now. I’m also looking forward to that next flag!

  4. Dawnstorm says:

    For me, the magic’s worn off a little. I still quite enjoy the show (Nicol’s fantasy was so awesomely over-the-top), and it’s still among my favourite shows this season, but it’s coming with diminishing returns.

    • Irina says:

      Same here. It’s starting to get into much more standard reverse harem territory. It’s still very cute but the latest episodes haven’t added much.

      • garylthmp says:

        Like I mentioned a couple episode reviews ago, the decision to drop some of the original web novel, and some of the light novel and manga side stories in volumes covering the time period of the original web novel, made some anime-only filler inevitable.

        That being said, I think that this property theoretically ought to be more well-suited for that type of treatment than most. One thing I discovered in looking at a site of fanfics is that Catarina is a classic comical character. What I mean is, she’s the same timeless type as classic characters like the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies crew; teams like Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello; an actress like Lucille Ball who developed a character in taking the stage with Desi Arnaz and doing the radio show My Favorite Husband, and parlayed it into a quarter century of success through I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy; and a cowardly Great Dane teaming with a gang of teenagers to investigate haunted mysteries. For all the recent complaints on later My Next Life as a Villainess volumes that the character and story isn’t really progressing, I think Catarina Claes is more a type of character that (like the others I mentioned above) that you find some outlandish situation, and then just trot her out to just run with it. The better fit the character is for the situation you dream up, but better chance the episode is going to be a comedy classic.

        However, I also have the impression that “Destruction Flag Otome” was a first effort authorially, and thereby tended to be rather underwritten. I think the ideal approach would have been for the creators of the manga and anime to take the basic story points of the original en toto, but try to develop them more fully. Actually, that’s probably a good rule of thumb with any light novel adaptation.,

        In another isekai series, Demon Lord Retry, the MC met with holy maiden Angel White in episode 8; after the attack on the capital by a satanist army and the demons they summoned had been defeated. White asked Hakuto Kunai point-blank if he intended to harm her kingdom. Interestingly, Kunai would only say that his own country had an old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, which he said meant personally seeing something is better than having something explained to you, and White had to admit it was a very good way to look at things.

        She was right, not merely for judging Kunai on his actions and his achievements, but it could also be applied to adapting any printed literature into other media. The old saw, “Don’t tell, show” still holds true, which means using “acting” in characters drawn by the animators and voiced by their seiyūs, the musical score, and the quality of static backgrounds and action scenes will bring the original story to full-bodied life. Of all the shows I’ve seen this past few seasons similar to “My Next LIfe as a Villainess”‘s type, I’d say that up until the filler material began, this show was doing the best job of that.

        More commentary on the episode:

        …///Because the school year is nearing the end, Catarina is studying for her exams but she soon decides to take a little break and change things up, by doing some gardening. I was always fairly good at studying and absolutely horrific at gardening. I’m just a notorious plant mass murderer. It was a very upside down notion for me to have Catarina actually choose shovels over books. Like my brain had to adjust.

        I grew up on a farm, so I had to make sure fields of plants lived or we had no income. It wasn’t easy, I can tell you! Fortunately, I just had to plow, disc, and cultivate. More experienced folks applied the nitrogen and other dangerous chemicals. Then the plants would not have been the only ones in danger!\\\…

        Well, I recall Catarina herself ruefully recalled she had always killed plants in her previous life. If some help from friends and hard work made Lady Claes a competent farmer, then maybe there’s hope for anybody.

        …///At this point we get the OP. I’m not sure if I’ve ever gotten a chance to mention it but I really like the opening song, for what it is. It’s quite bouncy and puts me in a good mood whenever I hear it. I think it really suits the series quite well. The visuals are fine but not that interesting all things considered, but when you pair them with the music, everything seems to come together so well. It’s sort of a nothing special really but solide and fun OP.

        It’s a very uplifting song. Apparently, the artist is named angela, and Crunchyroll did a writeup on her. Very interesting video, by the way!…\\\

        Pop songs with passages that drastically shift in style and beat tend to be the very best. By the way, I ran across an English version of the opening on YouTube, I’d say it’s the best I’ve heard since the English version of the Your Lie in April OP theme.

        …///At this point, the two girls (Mary and Catarina that is) decide to switch over to the library and start heading that way. I just wrote a post on anime libraries so this was very topical for me. On their way the first run into Geordo who decides to invite himself much to the chagrin of Mary. She really is not very good at hiding her emotions and her disappointment at losing her alone time showed on her face perfectly. Geordo teased a bit about it but was generally a very good sport about someone with romantic aspirations trying to spend alone time with his fiance. He’s impressively not jealous which you would think would be a big part of his archetype.

        I wonder how this library compared to the ones in your post? About Gerald, though, he’s really surprised me. He has every right (socially speaking) to be upset that everyone’s horning in on his fiancée, but he’s generally been very patient!

        Next, the tree of them ran into Keith who immediately decided to join in as well. From there, a series of quick vignettes showed all the main characters in turn decided to tag along, namely Maria, Sophia, Alan and finally Nicol. I really loved how Nicol was basically just a still shot of him without any dialog and the next scene was him walking with the group. That made me giggle. The entire little montage was fun.\\\…

        You know what that little bit reminded me of? The Golden Goose fairy tale, in which the hero cuts down a tree and finds a golden goose–and from there, a girl touches it and gets stuck to it, and then her two sisters, and then the parson and then his sexton, and then two farmhands, before the hero drags the whole procession into town, and the kingdom’s princess laughs hysterically when she sees the stumbling train pass by… (You know, I could easily see our Bakarina easily being cast for the role of the protagonist Simpleton. A person viewed by his family as a bit of a fool, yet proves to be severely underrated by everyone as his kind heart and good fortune somehow always brings the hero out on top.)

        Since I previously gave you my best reckoning on why Nicol acts the way he does in pressing (or not) his suit with Catarina, I can give my evaluation on Gerald as well. Frankly, I think a lot of his behavior can be readily explained by the infamous “bug bite” scene at Catarina’s social debut. Gerald was being perfectly serious back then, he thinks he can sit back and bide his time because he will inevitably find the opportunity to lure his clueless bride into being ravished (or if proves necessary, bundled up and toted into the king’s place for the nuptials). Unfortunately for Gerald’s plans, he’s vastly underestimating the determination and tenacity of Catarina’s harem (or–the ominous sounding of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony notes here–its capacity TO GROW).

        (Extra note: it will be an absolute crime if this anime skips the side story (or two side stories really) regarding Catarina’s fearsome toy snake at the anticlimax closing the story. If they handle it right, the ending will not only give great promise for a sequel, but be absolutely side-splitting.)

        …///This was the Bakarina moment for the episode, I think. I mean, if a book went all glowy for you, would you open it right in your own face? Especially if I couldn’t read the title (which I doubt Catarina could read).\\\…

        Yep, 100 percent pure Bakarina. Another folktale role that she would make perfect casting for would be Pandora.

        …///The next time Catarina is at her desk in her room, trying to study, with Keith standing over her shoulder. Except Keith looks a little weird. Like he got lip injections or something. Then he sort of flirts with her and tries to feed her a cookie. Which he immediately succeeds in because Catarina has never said no to a cookie, but before she gets to taste it, the book slams shut agan and Mary is exasperated. We learn that the book feeds on desires and we are actually seeing the characters deepest desires realized.

        I laughed at Catarina’s reaction to Keith: “he’s giving off an oddly sexy vibe…”\\\…

        Is this episode trying to say that if Keith were truly given to his deep-down secret forbidden desires, he would revert to his original persona in the game Fortune Lover? Again, it seems that the anime-only material doesn’t quite square with the original story, which seems to view Keith as gentle and kind by nature, but distorted and twisted into a playboy by his upbringing in the game–but thanks to his sister’s early and determined intervention, Keith reverted to what he would have been raised in a stable and loving family in the first place.

        Or maybe it wasn’t really the deepest desire of Keith, but of THE WORLD ITSELF? Remember this world somehow seemed to come out of a computer game, and a computer would tend to regard the alterations Catarina made to the story (and Catarina herself) as glitches, and would aim to get the original story back on track.

        Another thought–could it be that Gerald and Maria have been on the wrong track all along in their efforts to win Catarina’s heart by stuffing her with sweets? Could Keith have the right idea by instead of giving the treats, he eats them so he grabs Catarina’s undivided attention?

        …///I don’t remember if this is where Alan comes in. His sequence is extremely short. We just see him playing piano next to a standing Catarina before Mary slams the book back shut, obviously not wanting to even think about it. I believe we are meant to understand that Mary also cares about Alan. It bothers her way more when he is with Catarina than when anyone else is and it’s not like Catarina shows him any favour. Think it may have hurt her feelings just a bit that she wasn’t any part at all of Alan’s desires.

        Her eyes were completely blank. It’s like that was the last straw for her. I loved how Maria kept trying to comfort Mary. They worked well together in this episode!\\\…

        I’ll address Alan and Mary later, but right now I’d like to observe that the original Maria Campbell player character overcame her commoner status through her genius and personal aplomb, and it is nice if occasionally we get to see a flash of that Maria like here.

        …///The next scene was Sophia’s, and it was rather sweet. I like little dreams. Sophia and Catarina were in a library again but not the same library. This was Sophia’s private library and Catarina was really impressed by the wealth of romance novels available. She even mentioned wanting to live there which stirred up something in Sophia. The latter reacted by pinning Catarina to the wall with her arms on either side, all aggressive boy in a shoujo type. It was pretty funny to watch, especially as Sophia is markedly shorter. I’m not sure if they were going for actually romantic feelings here or a very strong friendship but either way, it was cute. Cute enough for Mary to slam the book shut again.

        That library was probably too small to qualify for your list, wasn’t it? I agree that Sophia was just darling in this scene. She loves her time with Catarina, and the idea of the two of them living together with a stocked library seems to be a dream of hers\\\…

        Now that kabedon was WAY out of character for Sophia (which, I agree, made it hilariously funny and cute). However, it would not be out of character for Atsuko Sasaki, so this plumbing of Sophia’s secret desires is another moment where you have to wonder if the slumbering Atsuko within just might be starting to stir. I don’t mean Atsuko’s feelings for the monkey girl were stronger than Sophia’s are for Catarina (at least not until the death of her friend made A-chan realize what she lost), but that Atsuko had a far stronger personality back in her previous life compared to Sophia’s. Remember if she had done the kabedon on her friend in their previous life, her friend definitely did not tower over her back then the way Catarina does over Sophia now. As I’ve said before, in Japan I think they had a similar vibe like Bofuri’s Sally-Maple pairing, but in Sorcier their relationship has flipped and Catarina now possesses the bigger body and personality of the two.

        …///Finally, the after credits scene showed a broken hearted Mary watching what she believes is her long time fiance betraying her with her best friend and not so secret unrequited love. It stops a bit abruptly so maybe it’s a lead in for the next episode?

        I wondered for a moment if it was part of the book fantasy! But it doesn’t look like it. I thought Catarina might be more interested in Nicol! But that moment in the tree seemed so comfortable!\\\…

        From what I’ve seen from other reviews, you aren’t the only one who thought it was a lead-in for the next episode. Well, to tell the truth, it should have been obvious that it was the capper to the episode by ending things with a big laugh–except, face it, it was badly executed.

        A big part of it is rooted, frankly, in the way they’ve handled Mary Hunt through most of the series. Look, I have no problem at all with Mary losing interest in and even becoming gruff toward Alan after Catarina enters the picture, or even becoming a shade manipulative and even a touch yandare as she gets older. That was clearly the intent of the original story.

        Because the Fortune Lover Prince Alan complimented the Mary on her green thumb back when she was little and totally into her garden in order to escape the misery her life had become, she loved him with her whole heart, and was determined to become worthy to stand beside him. When faced with Maria Campbell, she never persecuted her the way the Fortune Lover Catarina did, but faced her with her elegance of a grand lady (even conceding Alan in the end with sorrow but still with magnanimity in wishing the new couple well).

        Since Catarina threw the game routes off-track by stealing Prince Alan’s lines, Mary’s devoted wholehearted love turned to Lady Claes instead, with the same determination to become the elegant grand lady to be worthy to stand beside her. But remember the point I made at the beginning of this post that the rule of thumb for adaptation is to “show” not “tell”?The problem with the anime is that we’re TOLD that Mary is supposed to be an elegant lady; but little effort has been to draw her, voice her and shine up her surroundings that viewers get the deep impression that “this is one elegant grand lady of a girl” without having to be told. In fact, the way her jealousy is portrayed tends to detract from that impression–well, look at this episode, if a viewer had never seen the Maries before, which girl would he or she have assumed to be the elegant upper crust girl?

        The pity of the anime’s approach is that if they had gussied Mary up to the nines, the show would have been even funnier than it already was. The irony would be that the girl Mary wants to be worthy of standing next to is ANYTHING BUT elegant and graceful much of the time (well, sometimes she is, but the moment Catarina is distracted by the next shiny thing…).

        And if you think about it, the same applies to her royal fiance! Of the Stuarts, Alan kind of has a shaggy dog kind of look, who often operates bluntly without a filter. I think the reason it hasn’t occurred to either Alan or Catarina that they are more than buds who like to engage in friendly rivalry is because of all the members of Catarina’s harem, Alan is the closest one to Catarina in being somewhat like her in personality, at least her casual side. And it ought to be a source of constant humor that they both could be an incongruent contrast with Mary’s cool elegance! And I think Mary’s possessiveness of Catarina would also be funnier with a less-is-more approach, usually communicating Mary’s jealousy by hinting through the smallest change of voice or expression, just the slightest crack in her usual aplomb–so when her noble facade does finally shatter on occasion, it’s much funnier.

        For example, if the anime was taking this approach to Mary Hunt, I would do the end quite a bit differently. There wouldn’t be any intervening ending credits yet when Catarina and Alan casually walk the grass and climb a tree, and Mary Hunt would be moving gracefully attending to her garden in a stunning outfit with full accessories. Some onlookers would come by (maybe Catarina’s mother happening to drop by the campus for some reason to talk to Ann Shelly, or maybe some faculty and office staff from the school walking the grounds, etc.) They might happen to glimpse Mary as she gardens, speaking in open admiration about how perfect a lady she is, wishing that their own children would follow her example–or certain students (disapproving nod given toward the distant tree with a certain two students sitting in its branches).

        Mary finally straightens up after completing her garden rounds (a broad hat has hidden all but her unperturbed smile from viewers), and catching a glimpse of the distant tree, calmly lifts her opera glasses to get a better look… Suddenly the sound track is sounding a much different note, as viewers see Mary’s eyes for the first time as she lowers her opera glasses, her arm is trembling and her eyes are stunned swirls as she sputters and stutters about the horrible sight she’s just seen.

        Then Mary suddenly springs into action–only to do a face plant when she trips. Mary angrily gets back up and kicks off her high-heeled shoes and hikes up her skirt to thigh level, and races off, scattering her accessories to the winds as she heedlessly flings them away or have them fall off as she runs. Her admiring onlookers now look in stunned confusion, wondering if it could really be possible that their elegant Mary–might actually going to climb that tree in her dress???? Ann is musing in thought that maybe it was Mary who was really being influenced by her mistress, as Mary goes into her final desperate leap as the final closing credits come on screen…

        Then the final scene comes on after the credits. Closeup of Caterina Claes wondering if her close friend might actually be in love (she clasps her hands delightedly at the thought) with her prince after all? Closeup of Alan Stuart, looking in wonderment whether his fiance could actually be more in love than he would have believed? Final shot pulls back to reveal a very disheveled Mary, her outfit totally disintegrated, perched on the branch between Catarina and Alan. Mary is accurately reading Catarina’s and Alan’s expressions, and her own expression is very sour…

        “Geez! Could you two be any MORE DENSE!!!!” Mary thinks at fadeout…

  5. Wow — that brings back memories! I used to use a Bobcat to clean off the dairy lot and dump it into a spreader. I’ll never forget that rainy day when my foot slipped and the Bobcat started rocking — with the full bucket in midair.

    I didn’t think my dad would ever stop laughing…

  6. David Boone (moonhawk81) says:

    I grew up on a dairy farm, Crow, so our cows provided our fertilizer. Every morning after milking we’d scoop it up by shovel and haul it–wheelbarrow load by wheelbarrow load–to the garden, spreading it betwixt furrows and covering it with hay. Those were the plumpest vegetables I’ve ever seen or eaten, and don’t even get me started about having fresh-churned butter!

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