My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! ep 12 – Finale

Rini 2020 (3)

 

Remember when I was all excited about the fact that it was starting to get warm here? Well that’s all over now! It is hot and I mean humid and sticky and just plain old tough to breathe summertime in Montreal hooooot. I do have air conditioning. I’m not sure why I whine all the time. It’s just a thing we Canadians do. We complain about the weather. It’s our claim to fame. How are things in your neck in the woods, Crow?

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Also hot. Also sticky. Glad I recently got the air conditioning repaired. It’d be a real bummer without it. Wait. Why am I bold? I shouldn’t be bold! I stick out too much!

Oh, there will be spoilers.

And so here we are. Can you believe it’s been 4 months already? And we are now finally at the last episode of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Now for me this was a show that started out real strong but lost its footing somewhere at the halfway mark. However, before we get into all that, let’s just quickly resume what the episode was about. Actually no wait before we even resume what the episode was about, Crow, is there anything you want to get out up front?

19,800 meetings seems excessive. Glad we didn’t have to sit through all of them! I’m talking about Catarina’s internal Council of the Wise-ish. They made an appearance in this episode! But seeing them again made me realize how much I missed them. Glad we got to see that 19,800th meeting.

You know what’s always a great sign? When the series decides to, at the very last episode, bring in a whole new side plot with dramatic history to develop. I’m not really sure why we had to bother with the whole Sirius side. Actually, it was kind of worth it just to get the pronunciation of his name down though. This said it was over really quickly and it all seems a bit inconsequential now.

Oh, when you “great sign,” you were being sarcastic! I was momentarily confused. But it’s all good now! 

As you may remember, last week, the episode ended on a cliffhanger as Catarina and the gang were about to burst into Sirius’s house just as he was getting consumed by the darkness. Well, this week picks up right there. First, we get Sirius being all like gwaaahhh things are going all wrong. Then we quickly find out through flashback, that Sirius is not in fact serious. Sirious’s mother was a maid who was raped by her master and gave birth to a kid, but then the Master’s wife kidnaped them both and murdered the mother in a Dark Magic Ritual to stick the soul of her own dead kid into not Sirius, whose real name is Raphael and Sirius is the name of the dead kid but the thing didn’t work out and Raphirius only got the memories and he’s just been pretending that it worked all this time so that he could get revenge on the Dieke family who killed his mom. Cause they’re huge Diekes. I’m not sure why he wanted revenge on Caterina or what that was about but you know, I’m sure he had very good reasons. Anyways it doesn’t matter cuz Caterina says his real name out of the blue for some reason and now he’s all better and doesn’t want revenge anymore and all the PTSD is gone. Hurray! That was just the opening act of the episode though…

Now, to be fair, it was only almost all gone! The Entity Within made a “surprise” attempt to come back! But the Power of Friendship banished him. Either that, or not-Sirius was just happy to be holding Catarina’s hand.

 And then everybody goes back for a party at school because it’s graduation time. Caterina is right back to worrying whether she’s going to be all doomed so she decides to finally just ask Maria who she wants to… Let’s say… date. In response Maria confesses to Caterina and then everybody else confesses to Caterina and then everybody’s happy then they go to another room and have some more tea and cake because, I mean growing bodies, they need to keep hydrated and sugared up, and not Sirius comes back in and he also confesses to Caterina and everybody lives happily ever after, the end of the series…

Um…spoilers…

I got your back! Mentioned the danger of spoilers earlier. Though really, things went pretty well as expected, so maybe we’re more confirming things than spoiling them?

Is there a difference?

Speaking of growing bodies — did it seem like Catarina was, let’s say, more mature than even just last episode? Just what kind of sweets is Maria feeding her? Maria could build a fortune for her own family if she marketed it!

You always like your busty ladies. She was back to normal in her usual dress, just standard fanservice, I think.

I’ll be honest, although I did not dislike the Black magic plot, I also just feel like it belongs in a different story. It didn’t really, for me, mesh with the rest of the series. And that backstory of Sirius’s was deeply deeply tragic, yet it had this weird cheery music going on. It was all kind of uncanny. The tone was off, the pacing was way too abrupt and it just didn’t add anything to the light romantic comedy we’ve been watching for all these months. What do you think Crow? Did you like it as is, or do you think like me that it wasn’t bad in any way, it just would have been better in a different story that had the same sort of themes and tone that it was going for?

I like how you put it — that it would have been better in another story. It might have worked here if more of it had been foreshadowed, even thematically, earlier. But as is, I agree with you. It felt grafted on. In contrast, how Catarina brought him back was completely consistent with the rest of the show. She basically said that she wasn’t the heroine, so she couldn’t save him. Then she explained that “all” she could do was stand by his side, listen to him when he wanted to talk, and try to cheer him up. Which is to say, “save” him. The baka was strong with this one!

I wonder if there’s a discussion to be had on how Catarina’s view of herself as a villainess contributed to her baka-ness?

I reread some of the things I had said about the series in the first episodes and I was a little sad.  After episode one, I distinctly said how excited I was that Catarina seemed to break the mold of the usual otome heroine. She was a little dorky and a little clumsy sure, that’s a romantic archetype that’s super common, but she was also resourceful. Right off the bat she figured out what her situation was by herself, analyzed what danger she was likely to be in based on her own knowledge, and did so really well I should add, then started to put together contingency plans in order to ensure that she would be able to be okay in the future. And she did that by herself and for herself. It was refreshing. I think I’ve said word-for-word that it was so great to have a heroine that wasn’t an idiot constantly relying on the men around her to save her.

I can’t deny that I’m a little disappointed the series turned around and made being an idiot kind of a defining trait of Katerina’s personality. To the point that even the characters in the story refer to her as such without hesitation. And the fans have nicknamed her Bakarina. Even Crow, who really likes the character, uses the Idiotrina nickname because it fits so well. And frankly, I really can’t see the Katerina we got in the last 6 episodes or so, coming up with all the brilliant plans and situation assertions as the Katerina of early episodes.

It does seem like a disconnect. Reaching deep to try to defend what happened (and it kinda hurts!), I could build on the idea earlier about her own view of herself as the villainess degraded her abilities over time. Our abilities are often limited by how we view ourselves. Catarina perceived herself as the villainess who needed to do everything in her power to save herself. She probably thought she was selfish. Over time, that view narrowed her perception of what was possible. By the end, even when the whole harem clearly and concisely confessed their love for her, it wasn’t enough. Was she stupid? Or had her self-perception limited her so much that she couldn’t accept the idea that they honestly just loved her that much, and simply because she was herself?

Even after saying all that, did you notice that before the graduation party, the event that she saw as the final chance for doom to strike, she’d prepared? She had her toy snake, now perfected and looking completely real, ready to throw and distract Geraldo. She had her garden implements packed and ready. As narrow as she had allowed her perception to get, she was still fighting to the very end. It’s an echo of the full coolness we had earlier, but that little Catarina is still there, even if buried deeply!

 She’s still a very charming girl, but a much less memorable one as far as I’m concerned. The characters also went through a bit of arrested development which made me realize that I’m not sure why they all like Katerina. I understand why Keith does and potentially Alan. We legitimately see how her presence has affected them and changed them. But Geraldo doesn’t seem to have changed much. He’s different from his game counterpart, but he’s pretty much the same charming and commanding prince he was when we first met him. And Katerina has not been the nicest to him. I guess all the girls fall into the “because of the you were nice” trope. Still, it’s a bit thin. And Nicol likes her because she’s nice to his sister? It’s not that there’s no canon motivation given but we really don’t see it develop much, which is odd since that’s the actual core of the story. 

Of all of them, Geraldo’s continued affection seemed the most difficult to understand. Overall, it would have been more fulfilling had Catarina had chances to be good to them more after they entered school. As characters, they really did seem to stall. On the plus side, the show stayed true to its core concept: to the very end, Catarina struggled against her doom, and that was kinda cool.

I still really like those early episodes, I think I’m going to rewatch them.

I noticed that Katerina didn’t end up with anyone (although I suppose she still is engaged). I thought that was kinda cool. I guess very few harems end up in couples but I’m o.k. With that. How about you Crow? Did you want to see a couple form? Who?

Only in my imagination! I still think she and Mary would be a good match. Though maybe I’ve been affected my anime to the point where I wonder, why don’t they all just live together? It’s not like there’s no historical precedent! Well, in this world, anyway… A show where they have to work through the social expectations and legal biases might be fun. I mean, how would you figure out who inherited what estate, if everyone’s mingled? 

Will you be watching a season 2?

I think so! I still like the characters, and honestly, I’m curious to see where they’d take the plot. The core concept’s gone. The game’s over. Where’s it go from here?

What about you?

Like you, I’m curious what’s left. I guess it depends on what direction they take.

Well there you have it folks. My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom is all said and done. I hope you all had a good time with the show despite whatever flaws it may have had. Are you gin to be watchin a second season?

My Next Life As A Villaness p12 (30)

Irina

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

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16 Responses

  1. I’m okay with all the faults, because I didn’t really expect anything more from the series– I went in fairly certain that it was going to be a standard reverse-harem: Just wholesome fluff and cute characters, with artificial stakes for the sole purpose of moving the characters along. Of course, that doesn’t invalidate any of you or Crow’s criticism. The fact that she becomes a the standard clumsy, outspoken, sweets-eating main heroine seems like a bit of a tacked-on afterthought, as though they thought nobody would like her if she diverged from the archetype. Odd choice. Still watching season 2, though.

  2. moyatori says:

    I also agree that earlier Katarina was much less of a baka and more interesting to watch. I also tend to think of the divide as being Ep. 6, after which the same antics get a bit stale. Hmm, wonder why!

  3. foovay says:

    Overall I still liked the show and I’m happy to hear a second season is confirmed. Yes, I’ll watch. I’m curious now as to where they go from here. I like the idea of one big happy polyamourous marriage 😀 That would be fun and different and as such, I doubt we get to enjoy that. I just hope it doesn’t descend into bickering over Caterina. The show has been a little up and down, but overall I’m happy with it.

    BTW, I’ve inflicted the Sunshine Blogger Award on you. Hope you don’t mind 😀

  4. Dawnstorm says:

    Hm, I didn’t feel Catarina was a particularly smart character so much as someone who’s naturally inclined to think outside the box. She’d repeatedly get in trouble with her mom over her antics, and as far as I can remember it always came as a “oh shit” moment. It’s not particularly ingenious to smash down a door with an axe. I think the early episode worked best because the formula was her winning over the characters. After that, she was tackling imaginary problems, because she didn’t realise she’d already solved her problem.

    Ironically, it’s exactly that tunnel vision and lack of consideration for consequences that both allows her to win over people and come across as an idiot (once she’s fighting imaginary problem no-one can see). Re-interpreting all those confessions as the friendship ending is perfectly.in line with her character.

    I utterly loved her Catarina moment of the episode: the vegetable bouquet. Other people might think of it and dismiss it as a joke. I’d have loved that bouquet. Other than being delicious, it was also pretty well arranged, wouldn’t you say?

    As for the black magic side-plot: far too complex for so late a plot, and far too dark for the general mood of the show. Perfectly in line with dark VN routes, but they tend to get their own focus. I never warmed up to Sirius/Raphael. Also, a little disappointed that didn’t let Maria do anything, considering she’s supposed to have light magic. That’s something you should really look out for in a multi-character narrative. All Maria got to do is point out the dark miasma no-one else could see, which is less impressive for the viewer than the characters present. So, yeah, my least favourite arc, definitely.

    • Irina says:

      I still think that side plot would have been better served if they replaced a few of the filler episodes with build up for the dark magic. I would have been fine without it.

  5. I was happy to hear that a second season has been confirmed for Bakarina/HameFura. It’s the kind of story that does really well animated, and the studio and director have experience with cutesy anime of this style before. I’ve read ahead in the light novels and I’m expecting some very good things to come out of season 2.

  6. Pinkie says:

    I haven’t watched this yet but I do have it planned to be a part of my saturday line up when I am done with Tower of God or if I drop it (currently not really liking that show to much ..but only 3 episodes in) it feels like something that is nice for saturday mornings!

    • Irina says:

      I loved ToG much more than Villainess. This said if you don’t like it at episode 3, it doesn’t change all that much.

      • Pinkie says:

        I have some of issues in how ToG is paced, set ups are really obvious..like we see Khun worry about trust..then suddenly a weird guy shows up who he might have to trust and we get a trial around trust? It felt a bit convenient to me, I really get hunter x hunter vibes from the show which is good..but what it mostly does for me is make me thing it’s less awesome hunter x hunter. I don’t hate it at all but I can’t stop feeling I’d rather watch something else. I might really just be burned out on the genre. It’s fine but it doesn’t do anything new for me. It doesn’t help that I don’t love the animation style either. I do like Anak and Rak though they amuses me.

        Not sure, I just can’t really get into the way the story is told. A bit obvious ‘ my first anime’ like. I honestly think I would have loved it 5 years ago though. I’d say it’s a tribute to “classic” anime which is nice but I don’t need the tribute right now?

        I am being weird again. I am watching it next to Slime and Samurai Flamenco (like in terms of how many episodes in) and those really grab me so much more. So it might be that it is just the weakest in the marathon of five shows.

        But its’good if we are all different because than we get lots of different shows, really enjoying watching Saki for example, I never would have expected I would like that!

        • Irina says:

          It doesn’t really change much.

          • Pinkie says:

            Well I made a rule for my Saturday Anime Adventure that I will drop off stuff if I do not like it by the sixth episode, so it has a few episodes will. I like the over all story and the tower administrator guy but oh well it I drop it there are so many more miracles for me to try. So much stuff i havent seen yet!

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