Welcome one and all to our weekly discussion on My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X! In episode 4, we once again caught up to Catarina as she deals with the potentially very dangerous situation of having been kidnapped as part of a grand nefarious plan. Will her unending natural charm be able to get her out of this one unscathed? Surely such a cold and calculating enemy won’t be as easily tamed! It’s another heart-pounding adventure for the plucky young heroine… I feel like this type of paragraph belongs at the end of a post, not at the beginning. 

Oh well, let’s try this again then: How are you guys? Anything fun happened since we last spoke?

Hi Irina, hi Crow. Honestly, not a lot has happened this week (other than my discovery of a live action version of Given). That and I was a bit late watching the most recent episode because Crunchyroll went down. Otherwise, I think I took way too many screen caps of this episode.

I know the character wasn’t your favourite Irina, but I absolutely loved Rufus this episode as he had tea and chatted with Catarina. Those two are super cute and I now have a new favourite character in this story even if I know logically he isn’t one of the actual main choices and who knows if and when we’ll even see him again.

Hi Irina, hi Karandi! I was on vacation this week, so I spent a lot of time working on my second book. That, and doing stuff around the house. I never knew replacing a refrigerator’s ice maker was so expensive… 

That, and I’ve picked up a couple more series to watch this season. Seriously, I need to get on my daughter to finish making her time machine. I think she finished it, but since I never bought her a pony, she’s getting her revenge. 

This week, we got a bit more of an explanation about what exactly is going on and once again, it all comes back to the kingdom’s succession. This has now been mentioned in one way or another in every episode so far this season! Can you guys believe we are already a third of the way through!!! So I have a feeling it’s important. 

How do you feel about the succession storyline?

Honestly, the succession storyline, much like most of the other plot points along the way in this series, feels more like a backdrop for the characters than actually being important. It is hard to take all that seriously when even in this instance, sure the magic guys were there in the end but where were the royal guards or at least the personal guards for one of these noble families when they came to rescue not one but two potential princesses?

If the story isn’t really going to actually commit to its own drama I don’t really feel the need to get too invested and realistically I’m pretty indifferent to which of the princes ultimately becomes the heir. Still, it at least gives a sense of things happening in the world while we spend time with Catarina.

Since Jeffrey was the First Prince, I thought he’d be the first in line of succession anyway. So I agree with Karandi’s take: The political framework and related details are just the framework in which we get to see the Charm of Catarina(™) claim yet another victim this week. 

It was fun to watch Rufus/Sora slowly succumb. At least it took two major power charms to make him want to run off with Catarina! He lasted longer than any of the main cast.

Once again Catarina’s stomach came to the rescue and cut the exposition short. Is Catarina getting more oblivious or did she just get a case of instantaneous Stockholm Syndrome? I get that not Sebastian is cute and all but girl, you got to respek yourself more! She didn’t even get the sob story we all got and she was willing to forgive him. That’s a bit much, he wanted to kill your friends…

Maybe she’s just really intuitive and realised that he wasn’t actually going to go through with it… Okay, it’s anime logic at work and the sparkle eye attack came to the rescue and everything is fine. 

Seriously though, I did find these two pretty adorable together and I’d happily have her go visit him wherever he ends up. Or, they could run away together, travel the world, try all the pastries. I’d watch that.

I’m torn between wondering if Catarina, who’s originally from our world, got a glimpse of the script and so knew he Rufus/Sebastian/Sora was safe; or if she is just Catarina and her singularity-strength cluelessness blew through their reality and rendered him safe. I mean, she seriously seemed to think a bug had bitten her!

Which reminds me: We really need to talk about Gerald’s courage before this post is done.

It hit me at about the midway point, this episode really reminded me of the ridiculous idol shows I like so much. Am I the only one who watches those? I’m pretty sure I am…

Yeah, I don’t do idol shows.

If you enjoy this you might like them.

I’ve only watched The Idol Master, and it did have that “reality gets more stretchy the closer it gets to the idols” feel to it. 

Towards the latter half of the episode, we got some background info on not Sebastian and also not Rufus. I have to say, it’s the type of story I have seen a lot in anime and as such it just didn’t make that much of an impression on me. So I will let my talented collaborators take over on this part!

Again, Rufus/Sora’s backstory really was just filling in a detail and time. It didn’t leave me feeling anything more for the character but it just kind of rounded out the details we knew about him. 

From all of that though, I was still unclear about who the master was and while there is an obvious candidate I wonder if that’s something that will become actually important later in the story or whether its just another throw away plot point.

I’ll give the show a little credit: After the fact, they foreshadowed why what Catarina said hit him so hard. She reminded him of someone who had been important in his past. So they put a little more effort into it than just making it a sob story. 

Which is good, because as a sob story, you’re both right: It didn’t do much that dozens of similar scenes haven’t done in the past.

There is one thing I noticed though because I think it might have been foreshadowing for what’s to come. It seems the kingdom has some very serious class warfare issues. We didn’t get to see that much in season 1. What do you guys think they’ll do with the poverty storyline?

Realistically, My Next Life as a Villainess isn’t going to do well if it tries to delve into real social issues. It’s frothy and fun and just silliness with the noble characters chatting and eating way too many sweets. 

If it actually tries to make this issue of class discrimination a prominant feature it will probably fail at making it in anyway convincing as a storyline and it may very well damage the happy and upbeat nature of the story. It should definitely leave bigger social issues to stories with stronger narrative focuses and just stick to being a silly rom-com story.

It does seem like the show’s tone wouldn’t support serious social commentary. Last week, I had wondered if they were going to play the kingdom’s politics for laughs, and I think that could be funny. Not a deep dive; just a causal survey.

But poverty? That’s heavy, and it deserves a weighty treatment. It could be handled through comedy, but it would have to be more biting and sardonic than Catarina’s gentle humor.

Thankfully, everything turned out fine in the end. Catarina managed to thoroughly entrance not Sebastian or Rufus and so she got rescued before any harm came to her. Selena also got to return to her own prince and they are now super in love. Well they were before but didn’t know it.

We can’t relax yet though. Whoever was pulling the strings behind the scenes is still at large and they still might strike. 

Oh and at the last minute there was finally a kiss. So both intrigue and romance are getting kicked into high gear. I expect there will be a lot of jealousy and trying to one-up each other next episode!

What did you guys make of this episode?

That kiss at the end… I actually didn’t expect that given the boys and girls in Catarina’s harem have all more or less avoided going there despite their endless devotion to her. I wonder how that’s going to change the dynamic in the group? Honestly, the looks on every other character’s face in that instance was just golden.

I had a great time with this episode. It was utterly ridiculous when you think about Catarina’s reaction to her kidnapping and kidnapper but it was undeniably fun and that ending was pretty awesome. Looking forward to the next one.

That was my favorite moment in the episode, and honestly, it changed my opinion of Gerald for the better. First, he had deliberately kept things slow to stay at Catarina’s pace. I give him points for respect and more pity points, because the poor guy would have been waiting forever! Second, he had major courage to kill (Crow meant kiss. That would have been a very different scene) Catarina right in front of the entire harem — especially Mary! I’m really curious what happened 10 seconds after the scene ended!

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7 thoughts

  1. I thought Prince Ian was incredibly cute in his scene with Selena. The scene itself would have been so-so without him.

    Class issues have so far centred around Maria, so now we’ve taken a peek into the slums with a different character, but the mood is telling. There’s rich-people-could-have-afforded-the-medicine drama, but it’s played personal rather than social. It’s not impossible that the succession arc will tie into it somehow, but I can’t see us ever getting a detailed run-down on how state administration works in this setting. At least I hope we won’t. I don’t think Villainess would profit from an unintentional comedy layer á la Realist Hero (“Let’s look at the finances, and then make a decision.” – “Look at the finances? You’re a genius. Please be king.”)

    1. I figure it’s going to be part of a speech or something. The “good” heir will care about the issue and want to help type of thing. Or maybe like Crow and K think. it will just be dropped and it was set dressing for the episode.

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