My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 12 of
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X (TV 2) ?
Poor Geordo – once Larna/Susanna clapped eyes on Spot (formerly known as Pochi; I have mixed feelings about the translation), there was no way that Catarina wasn't going to end up at the Department of Magic. Well, that and the fact that there was a sequel to Fortune Lover, the in-world otome game that Catarina found herself reincarnated into. Yes, if you were wondering where the recently announced movie plot was going to come from, there's plenty more source material for them to adapt, meaning more death flags for Catarina to eat and sleep her way around and more potential additions to the harem. Poor everyone, really.
It's perhaps not surprising that this feels less like the final episode of the season and more like a transition to the next chapter. Novel readers already know that there are more books than could have been reasonably covered by twelve episodes, and when the Keith arc ended on episode eleven, it was easy to assume that we wouldn't be getting a solid ending this week. The basic plot is that everyone graduates, fawns over Catarina (or swoons over Nicol asking her to dance), and then she and Maria start work at the Department of Magic. Also she eats a lot and there's bad anime ballroom dancing, which at this point I feel is its own special style of dance. It's fun, but not much beyond that – only Keith really gets any moments with her (of dubious consent, naturally), and we move on.
I'm probably making this sound less good than it actually is. In reality, there are plenty of entertaining moments, with Alan watching Catarina chow down on a carefully piled mountain of meat being the standout. The way he goes from adoration to resigned surprise to trying desperately not to laugh in her face is not only a good distillation of how her relationships with everyone tend to go, but also of Alan as a character. He's not nearly as stuffy or uptight as the other boys in the harem, though he is aware that his position as a prince means that he ought to be. Catarina throws him off every single time, and that's what we see in the scant moments they're together at the ball. That he's the only one who doesn't dance with her (of the guys, anyway) also says a lot about how they relate to each other. Alan's not as comfortable with that sort of traditional romantic gesture as the rest, but maybe that's why he and Catarina get along so well – because I think if you asked her, she'd say she isn't either. She may be Catarina on the outside, but on the inside she's still Acchan's friend, the outgoing girl who died too soon.
That does make it particularly nice that we see Acchan again this week. (And I do wish the show made more of the fact that Sophia is Acchan, which was kind of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in season one.) Yes, it's important that we learn that there was a Fortune Lover II after Catarina's previous death, but maintaining that link to her past life is a bit like keeping her heart beating. Plus how else could we reasonably be introduced to the fact that the harem is potentially getting a glasses guy and a shota character added in? Or that Sora is official? (Are we missing any other archetypes at this point? I'm sure we must be. Don't worry, I'm sure they'll show up now that Catarina has a whole new venue to charm people.)
And so we come to the end. Catarina has gained a dark magic familiar, a dark magic device, and a job, thus avoiding having to marry Geordo for a bit longer. The specter of Sarah (she has a name!) and trafficked children is still out there – and that's definitely a plot thread to keep in mind going forward – so even without Fortune Lover II's bad ends there's plenty of danger for Catarina to worry about. But don't fret – she'll have seven square meals a day to distract her and keep her happy.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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