Karandi: Hi Everyone, Karandi here. This week I am hosting as Crow, Irina and myself discuss the latest episode of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 3… Okay, that title is just way too long and it includes a semi-colon and an exclamation point.
Crow: Hi, Karandi and Irina! It’s the end of a very long work week, but there’s hope: I’m on vacation next week! Maybe I can finally get through some of my anime backlog… Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll just end up starting a new series or two!
Irina: Oh wow! I hope you get to enjoy your vacation. That sounds really nice. And starting new anime is always a great time. You can find something that the whole family will enjoy! I started Hyouka not that long ago and I’m having a really good time with it. I hope you find something just as fun!
So how did we find Villainess this week?
Karandi: I’m just going to say, I was genuinely surprised that this episode didn’t resolve this latest drama and for the most part, all of the characters except Catarina, are taking it pretty seriously. While I didn’t get to the point of actually being concerned for Catarina’s well-being, this is probably the closest to a sense of danger Villainess has given us.
Of course, with Catarina flopping on the bed and rejoicing at the supply of desserts and romance novels it was kind of hard to really take it overly seriously even while every other character sits around tensely and wonders how they can help.
Crow: I thought it was hilarious how much fun Catarina was having. So was the maid Lana, who went on about how Catarina didn’t seem worried at all — then realized that Catarina had been enjoying the food and romance novels she much she had completely forgotten she’d been kidnapped!
Irina: Catarina’s love of food is a constant source of amusement. Whenever anything serious is happening you can count on her to stuff her face and break the tension. I am really looking forward to seeing her slowly getting chubbier and having to ask Ann to let her dress out. It’s something we almost never see in anime and it would really set My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X apart!
I know it’s a long shot but it would be a fun running gag.
Karandi: As for the rest of the gang, Geordo is pretty concerned but would happily follow the kidnappers demands if he thought it would actually help but renouncing the throne apparently takes a bit of time and effort. Not entirely sure why you can’t just kind of walk up and declare yourself no longer in line but hey, paperwork is a convenient reason to delay this.
Alan and Mary, as happens more often than not, actually really shine in this episode as they pretty much agree to do whatever they can to help. I loved the flashback where they both pretty much agreed that they both like someone else but they were going to stay together for now. Those two are so perfectly suited for each other.
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Crow: They really are! And I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan of Mary. I noticed that of all of them, Mary was the one jumping up and heading out the door to comb the kingdom for Catarina!
I know that it’s a comedy that relies a lot on misdirection, but I would have loved for the scene where they declared to each other that they loved someone else to be just slightly different. I would really enjoy seeing where the story would lead if they’d confided in each other that they’d both fallen for Catarina. It’s be against tropes, but I think it would have been interesting.
Karandi: Interestingly enough, other than flashes in Catarina’s own mind, we don’t see the reaction from her parents to her being kidnapped. I mean, it is great that the scooby gang are on the case, but what are the adults doing about the missing noble girl who is also the fiance of a prince? Surely there’s an actual man-hunt going on in the kingdom.
Crow: It was another example of Catarina’s near neutron-star density that she thought her mom would like to get rid of her! I wonder if the omission is intentional, and Catarina’s parents are active behind the scenes? Maybe working with Sirius Deek? Though that’s probably not going to happen…
Irina: I thought Catarina’s image of her mom, (although I personally do not think she is giving her enough credit and her mom is probably devastated) was surprisingly self aware. She’s usually not that great at picking up on what’s happening around her so the fact that she realized her mom was getting a bit exasperated with her is pretty impressive for Catarina.
I would have liked to see her parents’ reaction, or at least Anne, since she got mentioned so much this episode. Maybe we’ll get that next week?
Karandi: However, as for the kidnappers themselves, can I just say I fell head-over-heels for the butler as soon as he appeared at the door? I mean, okay, I kind of get he’s evil and he’s certainly doing some jedi-mind-control (dark magic) to lady Selena (though it doesn’t seem like she had all that much free-will to overcome) but wow he’s just gorgeous. Totally blew away all the other pretty boys in this anime in one appearance. Or is that just me?
Crow: He’s not quite my type. Though maybe this is the part where I step back and let you and Irina talk through this point? I’ll go and contemplate screen caps of Mary or something.
Irina: Not really my thing. I guess kidnappers aren’t my biggest turn on although sadly it’s not a complete turn off either. At least when it comes to anime characters. Please don’t send me weird DMs, this is only good for fictional characters.
Like I mentioned, I’ve been watching Hyouka and there’s this character that has the same single swooping strand in the middle of their face (Irisu). So when I saw the guy the first thing I thought of was hmm, that’s a classic KyoAni design. Then I thought of Asuka and it was all over. Not many characters can hold a candle to Asuka!
This said, there was a really weird scene with the butler guy. Over dinner, Catarina called him Sebastian. Then she said that it was just force of habit since she called her butler Sebastian, except that wasn’t his name and she just called him that because he reminded her of a Sebastian. It was this little throw away joke maybe? But it actually makes no sense when you consider Catarina.
The one thing My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! has been pretty adamant about is that Catarina is special because she treats everyone equally and with respect, regardless of stature. It’s one of the aspects that makes her so well liked. A girl like that would not spend close to a year now living with someone and not even bother to learn their name. Not only that but actually just give them a new random name.
That’s pretty awful and it doesn’t mesh with Catarina’s character at all.
So I think that the scene is in fact pure fanservice. A sort of devilish butler being called Sebastian??? Yeah, that’s going to appeal to a section of anime fans for sure! To me, what’s really interesting is that if I’m right, it gives us a pretty big clue as to who the production team thinks their audience is. Or at least who the target audience is.
And that’s not a bad idea. Black Butler is a hugely successful show, getting a part of that fandom is bound to be a good thing for any new anime.
Karandi: All things considered, I really enjoyed this third episode of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X. It wasn’t quite as bubbly and fun as so many episodes are but the slightly darker tone with occasional moments of levity worked and I quite enjoyed this development.
I am curious about what they will do next and whether there will be any long term consequences or whether this will all just resolve itself but for now I’m just looking forward to the next episode.
Crow: I’m curious, too, and I think your phrase “long term consequences” is spot on here. As you mentioned earlier, this is a little different. Catarina is probably not in real danger, but it feels like these events might actually affect the direction of the plot.
And I’m not just talking about adding Selena to the harem. She’s still clearly in love with Ian, but Catarina’s support seemed to move her. No, I’m wondering if we’re taking a step into the kingdom’s political sphere. That could be fertile comedic ground!
Irina: I’m not sure how I feel about My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X turning into a serious political thriller. I do like it a lot more when it’s being goofy and light.
Karandi: Well, that’s all from us this week but we will catch you next week for episode 4 over on Irina’s blog.
Images from: My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X. Dir. K Inoue. Silver Link. 2021
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