Karandi: My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 9 brings us the case of the missing Keith.
I wonder why when Catarina goes missing she gets to sleep in and gets tea and cookies and yet the reveal of Keith’s circumstances seems to indicate he won’t be getting cookies anytime soon. Yet I’m jumping ahead a lot.
Hi Irina, hi Crow! How has your week been?
Irina: The week has been fine. A little busy but I’m sure glad it’s the weekend. And another Friday is here so we get to do another collab! Yay! I actually went to dinner with friends yesterday and it turns out they are also watching this season. So I got an early discussion on the subject.
I don’t get that many comments about villainess this season. Most people mention not having started the season yet. I found that pretty surprising.
Crow: My week’s going well. Very, very busy at work, but then, I would hate to be bored. I think; I’m beginning to wonder!
I’m getting a few comments about this series, but not as many as The Detective is Already Dead, which really surprises me.
What happens this week on Villainess?
Karandi: This week our episode of Villainess begins with Keith being a little saddened as he walks in to find Catarina surrounded by gifts sent by her fiancé prince. Part of me wondered why he would be surprised given Catarina claims the gifts had been arriving every day and it seemed weird that Keith wouldn’t have already been aware of them. More than that, part of me wondered if Gerald understands the concept of overkill.
Maybe it was just me but I got a sense from this scene like we had just walked onto the set of Lily Allen’s music video for The Fear (skip to 1.30 and you’ll see what I mean).
Anyway, we soon head off to school, meet up with Alan and Mary and realise that the whole group are more or less conspiring to keep Gerald too busy to hang around Catarina in a not so subtle effort to slow down his advances. It all seems business as usual but episode 9 then takes a bit of a turn with Keith disappearing and a letter being left to say he had run away.
Irina: We haven’t gotten to spend much time with the core group this season. And although it’s not like most of them had anything to do this episode either, it was nice that they were there at least. I was a bit sad that Mary was sort of just brushed to one side and she basically only had a single animation. Then again, the others didn’t really fare much better but because she was at the front it was a bit more obvious, I guess.
I always quite liked The Fear video and the song in general. It’s been a while since I listened to it. That was fun!
Crow: Gerald might be trying overkill, because let’s face it: Subtle doesn’t work with Catarina! Though I did find it really, really interesting that when Keith point-blank asked her if she wanted to marry Gerald, she didn’t hesitate to say she didn’t.
That video had a great feel to it. I’d never heard it before.
I was bummed that Mary didn’t get to go with them. She had a few snarky moments this episode with Gerald, but I would have liked to have seen more.
Karandi: I’m not sure how I feel about the parents here. When Catarina went missing they were mysteriously absent from any of the rescue attempts and you have to wonder what they thought about their daughter getting kidnapped (given we never actually saw them involved in the situation at all).
Likewise, here Keith has left a letter saying it was the stress of inheriting a title that has caused him to leave (not that anyone believes that) and instead of sending out the servants or seeking help in finding her son, the mother firmly points the finger at Catarina and blames her for causing Keith’s misery and sends her to find and apologise to her brother (like finding him is that easy).
Even if she actually believes Catarina is to blame, surely the mother should be working to find her son before laying blame and demanding Catarina make amends. It is almost as if she thinks he’s just sitting in the back garden waiting to be found. How did you two take the scenes with the mother?
Irina: I think you might be guilty of the same thing I am, namely overthinking this show.
I just thought it was a clumsy hamfisted catalyst to get Catarina into action. Namely going to rescue Keith herself. The thing is, if Catarina’s personalisation was consistent then she wouldn’t need any catalyst, she would have been running out the door before her mother finished reading out that note. Actually if the mom was more similar to last season, she would then have tried to stop her daughter for fear of her getting hurt or lost as well.
The thing is, Keith never actually showed any signs of being stressed out about his responsibilities. He was bummed out because he has a crush on his own sister who’s engaged to someone else… As you do… but that was like one time for like 15 minutes or so. No one at all is suspecting the note to be a fake?
Great, now I’m overthinking the show. It’s difficult not to.
Crow: Okay, I’ll try not to overthink it!
Hmm. As a dad, I’m struggling with that! The best I can come up with is that they’re nobility, so they have people to do the worrying for them? No, that’s not right. I’d actually expect a Duke to have a couple of assassins on retainer for just such an emergency.
That’s getting a bit dark for this show, though. Unless the assassins fall for Catarina, too! Then Mary would have some worthy opponents!
Karandi: On the bright side we do get the return of Larna and she’s got a newly developed magical tool (living teddy bear) that is going to help them locate Keith. Eventually. For all that Larna talks it up as being able to find anyone its directions are kind of vague and even with a magical pointing bear it seems finding Keith is still going to consist of a lot of walking around and asking people if they’ve seen him.
Crow: It’s a short range teddy bear. It’s obviously a prototype! I’ll bet the next one is twice the size with twice the range.
Karandi: I did like that Catarina is so caught up in the search that she forgets to be self-conscious around Gerald. It was a nice bit of characterisation and it would have perhaps been a more dramatic moment if the other characters hadn’t felt the need to point it out. It was a case where the audience had already picked that up and smiled and drawing attention to it just didn’t feel necessary.
Though despite being so worried about Keith she has forgotten her apprehension around Gerald, Catarina hasn’t lost her appetite and there was still time for tea and cookies with Larna while out on the search.
Irina: I wouldn’t put it beyond Bakarina to have just forgotten about the kiss. Seems in line with her character.
Larna looks like she could be an interesting character if they developed her a little. She was a cutie pie when she was younger for what we saw. And I do like her. But I sort of don’t get why she’s tagging along. Especially since her subordinates are so busy they literally don’t have time to sleep. And I also fear that this is just another way that the main characters are going to get sidelined into basically just being background extras.
I would watch another season where Larna being around makes sense or maybe even a spinoff with her. I thought her contribution with the bear and the explanations was perfect, and should have ended there.
Crow: A spin-off would be a lot of fun, especially if it delved into the way magic works in this world. Maybe some of the history, too. Be kind of cool if the history doesn’t get back very far, because it’s based on a game! I wonder how that would look in the fossil record?
I agree that I’d like to see a reason Larna tagged along. I hope a) there is a reason and b) it’s more than she just wanted to see the bear in action.
Karandi: The final part of the episode finally shows us what Keith was doing when he went missing and a few shots of his current predicament. Poor Keith. As I said, it seems unfair that Catarina had such a cruisy kidnapping when you compare it to what Keith is going through. I hope the group find him next week and I really hope his kidnappers actually get some kind of consequence (though given every villain so far has mostly ended up friends with Catarina it seems unlikely).
What are you two predicting for episode 10?
Irina: Well it seems that a Keith rescue is pretty obvious. Unless they drag this out to three episodes. I know I said I was ok with nothing but filler for the rest of the season but maybe I was wrong. For me this was a meh episode. I’m not mad at it but I was bored on several occasions. I’m not that thrilled that we have to watch another episode of this arc. Especially since it’s not going to make a difference. Catarina won’t suddenly realize her love for him and Keith wont learn that life’s too short to be pinning over an unrequited crush.
However, hearing that you guys loved the episode makes me happy. I’ll get vicarious enjoyment.
Crow: What I enjoyed most about this episode was Catarina’s voice actor, Maaya Uchida. There were several spots where I thought she sounded remarkably natural and in character.
I think Irina’s right about the rescue. What’s most up in the air for me is whether Keith’s brother and (apparently) deranged sister get a comeuppance or a massive dose of Catarina-fueled forgiveness. The whole thing with kicking Keith when he was in shackles didn’t sit well with me because it felt so out of context for this show! But we’ll see.
Karandi: Well, that’s it for episode 9 of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X and we’ll catch you next week on Irina’s blog for our thoughts on episode 10 where hopefully all routes have not led to Keith’s doom.
Images from: My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X. Dir. K Inoue. Silver Link. 2021
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