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?
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….
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!