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My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2 Review

Review of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2

Hey, everyone! Welcome to the collaborative review of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X, episode 2, “I Turned into a Villain…” As Irina explained in our review of episode 1, Irina of I Drink and Watch Anime, Karandi of 100 Word Anime, and I have decided to combine our powers to bring you the most amazing review that has ever been written. 

Or a pleasant way to spend a few minutes. I get confused on that point. But it’s important to have goals!

So, how are the two of you doing this week? Anything of note happening in Canada or Australia?

Introductions

Hi Crow, hi Irina.

Um… Well Australian politics are getting a little out of hand between state and federal with the whole COVID vaccine rollout, so I’m just going to ignore that for the moment and focus on anime. I find it helps.

And My Next Life as a Villainess is certainly a worthy distraction as it is really hard to be concerned about anything too real while watching this bit of silliness.

Hello everyone. Let’s see Canada…we lost the Stanley Cup so there was that. Otherwise it’s been a really pleasant summer so far so fingers crossed that it stays that way. 

The vaccine rollout has been a bit of a mess here as well. They’re handling it like it’s one of those super exclusive pop up speakeasies, where you have to go to some obscure back alley and give the bouncer a ridiculous password you can only get by text if you know the right people and also happen to randomly use an emoji at a specific hour. Only the speakeasies are easier to find info on. 

Also my neighbours are celebrating something. I live in a really quiet neighbourhood. Heck I didn’t even know I had neighbours up until now but there seems to be a rager tonight. 

Cinderella-Ish, Anyone?

CROW: Did this episode remind either of you of Fruits Basket Season 2, episode 23, when Saki kind of played Cinderella? I’m by no means saying this episode copied Fruits basket. But it had that kind of vibe. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

KARANDI: I’m curious as to why everytime a school anime puts on a play it is a variation of Cinderella or Snow-White? This has come up a lot. And yes, it did kind of have a similar vibe to Fruits Basket.

IRINA: I didn’t watch Fruits Baskets and I don’t remember them putting on Cinderella in the manga. So the short answer would be no.

I’ve seen a lot of Snow White and Romeo and Juliette school plays in anime. Especially genderbent ones. I think it’s because those plays have kissing scenes so it makes for drama and romance and such.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2: Catarina seems honestly dedicated to her friends.

It’s pleasant how much Catarina cares about her friends. She decided to be in the play because she wanted the play Sophia had worked so hard on to go well. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2 — Avoiding the Doom of Sequels?

CROW: I’m curious to see what the two of you think, but last week, we all voiced a fear that this series would go the route of How Not to Summon a Demon Lord’s second season or even — heaven forbid! — The Promised Neverland Season 2! I’m seeing signs Catarina and company are on a better track. This episode basically followed the cast as they put on Sophia’s original play. Well, original play based on Catarina’s life, down to the field boots she wore when working in the garden. Yet, for me at least, the time just flew by! What’d you think of the episode overall?

KARANDI: I had so much fun with this episode that I was genuinely surprised that the final scene before the end credits wasn’t just the final season before an eye-catch and the second-half. Time just vanished while watching it.

And everytime I thought the best moment had happened, something else came along that was just great. Though, I think the chemistry between the characters is kind of what sells most of this episode because it could have been a real mess.

IRINA: I liked it a lot more than the first episode. But that was mostly because the first episode was just a recap. And I think it’s a pretty charming little harem. I thought the play shenanigans were fun. They were mostly tropes, nothing new, but I like that sort of silliness. I also really liked the ED. The imagery was really nice. I loved those art cards.

However, the characters seem a bit more bland so far this season. It took me a while to realize it was Mary in costume. I thought for a moment it was just an extra. I hope she gets that spunk Karandi mentioned back in the next episodes. 

Mary was a little less Mary this week

Mary was a little less intense — and therefore a little less Mary! — this week. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Catarina’s Cue Card Follies

CROW: There were several scenes that stood out. First, Catarina knew there was no way she could memorize the lines on such short notice. So she made herself some cue cards. She placed them on the back of her hand fan. But as she entered the stage beside Mary, the cue card blew off onto a table. Mary delivered her lines to belittle the Cinderella-ish character played by Maria. When Mary finished, it was Catarina’s turn — and she froze! She couldn’t remember anything. Then, when she looked down to read her cue card, but it was missing. She could only gaze at it half way across the stage.

I got yet another reason to like Mary this episode! She thought fast — she knew Catarina needed the paper, so, staying in character, she announced she wanted to practice her dancing. So, she started to waltz with Catarina! Alan, playing the soundtrack live, just went with it: he started playing a waltz. Mary dipped Catarina just a little too short, and she knocked the cue card off the stage.

What scenes stuck out to you?

Catarina’s Villain Face in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2

KARANDI: I loved the moment Catarina got her villain face on. I mean, first we had the council of Catarina’s convening an emergency meeting and then we saw her just go full on villainess. It was brilliant. 

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2: Catarina's Villainess face makes its public debut

Once Catarina decided to embrace her inner villainess, the play went much more smoothly! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Though there was another scene later on that also caught my attention.

Pretty sure all of the cast forgot that the evil-stepsister isn’t supposed to be the lead given even in the final bow Catarina ended up centred and in front of Maria. 

IRINA: I liked that Catarina’s character in the play was called Katarina. As if it wasn’t confusing enough with different sources spelling the name differently as it is. It felt as if the show was trolling me and I have to wonder how the distinction was made in Japanese. 

I also liked that Sophia put her brother in a Tuxedo Mask costume. I am not a fan of the character but it was nice to get a nod to the series. A lot of the kids who grew up with Sailor Moon might be animating shows like Villanesse right now. So it was a nice little homage and a sort of passing of the torch. 
The cue card thing reminded me a lot of the play in Kamigami no Asobi. Nowhere near as silly of course. I liked it then and I like it now.

Sophia’s Writing Skills

CROW: Sophia also impressed me in this episode. She completely rewrote the script around Catarina’s ad-libbed lines where Catarina embraced her inner villainess. Guess all that time playing the game paid off again! 

IRINA: Did she completely rewrite the script? I thought she just added one fight scene that had two lines and that one line at the end.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2: Sophia adapts the script quickly!

In my defense, I assumed she’d rewritten more than those two pages. And yes, I know what “ass-u-me” means! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

CROW: Given the one shot, there was a ton of red — but thinking about it, we only saw two pages. Hmmmm… I may have jumped to a conclusion. Like that’s never happened!

Sophia didn’t just rewrite the script to take advantage of Catarina’s breakout role. She added a new character, the Tuxedo Mask-like character the dark knight, and she’d arranged it so only one character could play that role: her brother Nicol! I have to admire her tenacity.

Her rewrite called for the dark knight to take Catarina hostage. Gerald took exception to how close Nicol stood to Catarina, and he said so. Nicol responded by pulling Catarina even closer. When Keith showed up, the situation almost went out of control. What did you think of the confrontation between the three of them?

Mary with a Sword?

KARANDI: I loved it. I found the boys getting way too into their sword fighting utterly hilarious. Plus, like Crow I had a moment where Mary stood out as she wistfully murmured that she wished she could join the fight.

The animation wasn’t great but it didn’t need to be. 

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2: Mary wanted to fight for Catarina!

Now, this was more like the Mary I remembered! She wanted to grab a sword and join the fight for Catarina! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Nicol and Gerald were way too serious and the lead character of the play was utterly forgotten by all the boys fighting over Catarina.

I will say though that Keith didn’t add a lot to the scene. He did push it into the realm of truly absurd given his character wasn’t even in the scene but at the same time his contribution was pretty minimal and it was Catarina who really saved the day with her quick thinking.

IRINA: This felt a bit standard harem to me. All the support characters fighting over the main. I actually thought the same thing was done a bit better when they were fighting over who would play the masked knight. I just thought there was more fun and tongue in cheek in that scene. The reprise on stage wasn’t as fun and the girls couldn’t get in on it.

It did make me wonder a bit why everyone was so crazy about Catarina. Don’t get me wrong, she’s cute, and nice and fun but I can say that about every other lady on the show. I realize it’s simply how the genre goes but I still think it would be fun to have a bit of variety.

Catarina’s Mom Millidiana

CROW: Personally, I think they should be crazy about Mary, but that’s just me.

I also want to call out Catarina’s mom, Millidiana Claes. Before the play began, she and her husband Luigi Claes sat in a box seat with Anne. Luigi off-handed said he wished he could see Catarina on stage, because at that time, they thought Catarina was a stage hand. Millidiana almost panicked and said, “If she was in the play, she would find a way to ruin it for sure!” It was kind of nice to see her tell Catarina how much she enjoyed the play at the end.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2: Millidiana and Luigi were proud of their daughter and Keith

The Duke and Duchess both said how much they enjoyed the performances. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

KARANDI: Catarina’s mum has been consistently pretty entertaining. So many of the characters in this story are just super nice all the time and Millidiana is one of the few who is pretty blunt.

I’m amazed she didn’t critique some of the antics of the play but it was a nice moment given Catarina usually hasn’t had overly calm interactions with her mother.

IRINA: I really didn’t remember her mom being like that in the first season. But that may just be my faulty memory. I wonder if she just got exasperated as events kept building.

CROW: If the previous episode’s goal was to reintroduce us to the characters, this episode’s goal seemed to be to reacquaint us with their group dynamic. They’re all still after Catarina, and they all have their individual ways of expressing it. That’s why it seemed appropriate at the end to introduce what looks to me like a major conflict: Catarina got kidnapped!

What’d you think of that development?

Reactions to the Cliffhanger in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2

KARANDI: I was pretty surprised by that ending to be honest. I really expected the festival to be more or less wrapped up and given all the images in the OP of new characters I expected them to be transitioning to the next part of the story.

Instead, it seems like we’re going to stay in school together for a bit longer and this festival drama is going to extend with the kidnapping occurring. 

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2: Did Catarina just get kidnapped?

Well, this took an unexpected turn! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I will say, whoever is responsible is going to get a lot more trouble than they bargained for. Catarina has a whole harem of influential girls and boys from high class families who are going to come to her rescue, assuming she doesn’t sort the issue out herself.

Still, this definitely gave me a reason to look forward to next week.

More Than Meets the Eye?

IRINA: Oh man, I watched the episode a few hours ago and I had literally forgotten about the cliffhanger. I liked it. It genuinely piqued my interest. But they did give us a phony cliffhanger last week where they made it seem like evil Catarina was back only to show us that it was just a play this week.

So it’s not impossible that the first scenes of next week’s episode are going to show us that it was just Keith that is going to lecture her about going out after curfew and how she would have been in big trouble if someone other than him had caught her or something like that. 

That could be a fun little game the show plays with the audience. Every week they give increasingly intense cliffhangers just to immediately resolve them and reveal them as misleading in the next episode. That would be really cool.

CROW: That could be really cool! Guess we’ll have to wait another week to find out! So, see everyone next week!

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9 thoughts on “My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 2 Review

  1. If you have read the LN source material, you’ll know that this episode played fast and loose with the whole student council drama, and made it much better. The LN version was a simple Katarina becomes a stand-in, Katarina forgets her lines and ad libs it, Katarina is praised by all.

    BTW, my favorite shot was Katarina’s old boot lying on the stairs like it was a glass slipper. I half expected they would find that it fit her and she would get the prince.

    1. I haven’t read the LN, and from what I’ve heard, the anime’s humor is more enjoyable. I’m getting the same feeling from what you described.

      I think I prefer your boot interpretation! That would have been funny.

  2. Irina, I don’t think it’s Keith who is there during the end credits. I’d find it very out of character if Keith were to try and knock Catarina out. The woman who led Catarina out was also very suspicious. I’d say it’s, more likely than not, a real kidnapping.

    1. It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out. I like the idea of the kidnapping being something other than what it appears. This show has done some great misdirections before! But I figure it’s some inner-family politics going on.

      Or maybe Mary finally got fed up waiting and decided to take direct action!

Please let me know what you think!

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