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My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 8

My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 8 – Quick Summary

In My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 8, “I Had an Arranged Marriage Meeting…”, the focus of the episode is not on the arranged marriage of Gerald and Catarina. The focus was on Nicol! Having decided he could not betray his best friend Gerald, and having decided to give up on Catarina, Nicol told his father he was ready to find the best marriage for his family. So he asked his dad to arrange to meet potential brides. Was there even a chance he could find someone to dislodge Catarina from his heart?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Introduction

Crow: I’m really curious to hear what you think of this episode, Irina and Kirandi! But before we get into that, how were your weeks? We had 4 ½ inches (almost 11 ½ centimeters) of rain in 90 minutes this week. Did you know a push broom is useful for getting water out of a garage?

Karandi: Rain would be good. I was told this year was supposed to be another flood year for my town but we’re pretty much still completely dry (not that I wanted a flood, the ones ten years ago were enough). 

My week has pretty much been a non-event as I’ve either been at work or resting up  with another round of miscellaneous unwellness and fevers culminating with spending most of Friday in bed. Planning on spending the weekend catching up on anime and blogging. I will admit, the focus on Nicol was a great way to start off a weekend of anime.

Irina: I hope Nicol does find someone. He seems like a nice guy so it would be cool if he could pursue a relationship with mutual feelings. Maybe find someone he can discuss something other than food with. And pretty much all the girls he met seemed perfectly suitable. 

My week was generally fine. Except for last night. I live in a highrise condo and we had a fire alarm last night. It was a false alarm but still it went on for close to an hour. Oh and it went off at 2 a.m. So I’m looking forward to bedtime!

Review of My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 8

Ginger: Another Potential Harem Member?

Ginger didn’t know how she felt about Catarina’s random acts of kindness. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I’m beginning to think of Catarina as an adorable gas giant planet — colorful, dense in the middle, and constantly attracting new satellites! Because unless I miss my guess, Catarina picked up a new potential harem member in Ginger Tucker. But that was the B plot this week. The main plot revolved around Nicol deciding that Catarina would remain beyond his reach. So he approached his dad and asked him to arrange for marriage meetings.

What did you think of this development?

Until Sora’s appearance earlier this season, Nicol was my favourite of the guys in Catarina’s potential harem (closely followed by Alan). An episode mostly focused on him, particularly as he has been sidelined a bit this season now that he’s graduated, was really welcome.

Even though it was obvious Nicol wasn’t going to find someone that would match up to Catarina, I was pretty curious as to how this episode would play out, particularly as Nicol is usually so lacking in visible emotions.

I think it’s just more filler. At least that’s what it felt like. I doubt we’ll ever see any of those girls again or hear about Nicol getting married or having to secure a future for his family. I might be wrong but somehow the episode just felt detached from everything else so it didn’t give me the impression that anything that happened was likely to have repercussions beyond this one episode.

Nicol’s Marriage Meetings

The meetings went pretty much as I expected. Nicol’s Smile of Enchantment was so powerful that one poor young woman collapsed. Others showed remarkably good poise and grace. But all of them shared one trait: They had to endure uncomfortable silences because Nicol couldn’t stop thinking about Catarina. 

Until Frey. Frey appears to be Suzanna’s sister, and she seems to have inherited her sister’s poise. She was the only one to try to put him at ease. Frey did it by saying that she had no intention of becoming betrothed to anyone, which captured his attention. She also drily observed that he didn’t seem to be into these meetings. 

“I consider myself to be approaching this meeting with enthusiasm,” he protested. 

“Enthusiasm,” huh? You’re not fooling anyone, Nicol. Especially not Frey! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

She didn’t believe him any more than I did. What did you think of Frey/Fray’s introduction? Any thoughts on her character?

Reactions to Frey and Nicol’s Meeting

I would totally ship Nicol and Frey. I know she’s not looking for a guy and he’s hung up on Catarina, but these two were kind of adorable and got each other. Plus, even if she married Nicol he doesn’t seem like the kind who would tell her she couldn’t pursue a career.

Outside of that, we’ve seen how cute Mary and Alan are when they team up together. While they are both hung up on Catarina, the two make an adorable couple and hopefully they will eventually realise it and move on together. So Frey’s introduction is great because it means that even when Catarina does end up with someone else (as much as I like Nicol it never seemed likely he’d win out in the harem) Nicol could match with someone else. Now we just need to find someone for Sophia and Keith.

Personally I liked Frey and Ginger as a couple. I thought they were cute together and the implications were very insistent. However, I still don’t think we’ll see her again. Maybe as a background character or something. We have hardly seen Mary, Maria, Keith or Alan this season and I figure they might want to give them more screen time.

I would love to see Nicol develop a friendship with her. Actually, I think it would be awesome for any of the characters to get some cool friends they can talk about other stuff with. It would add this new dynamic to the story and you could do some really great things with it.
This said, I do hope we get to see more of her. I guess in a way she is more or less the same as Maria as far as serving the role of the calm level headed one but I like her view on how limiting her role is. It’s a good contrast to all the other noble ladies who seem to either have a lot more freedom or just be generally happy with their expected roles.

Sophia Gets in Trouble

Three things struck me in a very positive way about the next scenes. Frey suggested they take a walk around the estate. Whoever the Stuart estate employs as gardeners? They’re not paid enough. Those flower gardens were stunning. I got the sense that the animation supervisor told their animators to indulge themselves. And they did.

Even the skies showed a rich palette, varying from golds and blues to indigo and whites toward evening. Gotta say, I was impressed.

The backgrounds in this episode were vibrant and inviting. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Second, Frey flatly declared that she wanted to earn her own way in life, and that she didn’t want to stay at home as a dutiful wife of nobility. I respected that approach to life.

Third, she seemed to know a lot about what Nicol wasn’t saying. Like, a lot. It seemed that Sophia was the source of some of it. Frey came out and said that Sohpia wanted to see Nicol end up with Catarina. 

“Sister of mine… Just how have you been behaving at school?” Nicol said. 

Did Frey seem to know too much? Or is she just that perceptive of a woman?

Reactions to Frey and the Artwork

I think Frey just pays attention, and let’s be honest, Catarina’s harem isn’t subtle, or quiet, in their affections. 

However, I do totally agree with you about the garden. Those scenes were beautiful and I absolutely loved how they framed Nicol and Frey during this walk. If you weren’t listening to them and just watching the scenes you would think this was some farewell before one of them went off to war scene where one was promising to wait for the other. 

The conversation was very different though with them both more or less agreeing that Frey wasn’t interested and Nicol was already pining for someone else.

I didn’t pick up on anything weird either. I mean she’s friends with Sophia so she knew the general stuff from her and the rest was pretty obvious just by looking at Nicol. 

These scenes were a nice break after the series of dull unsuccessful dates. It was like a breath of fresh air.

However for me, I have to admit, it wasn’t really special or anything. Frey was just introduced so it’s not like she has gotten a lot of development for now she’s sort of a stock nice girl character with determination. I like it. It’s an archetype I enjoy. But I can’t say I’ll remember her next in a couple of months. And the scene played out like a standard vying for time. 

Seriously, the artwork for the gardens was really special. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I personally enjoy the show more when it’s being goofy. Like playing out silly fantasies in a doll house or flashbacks to childhood ghost chases. The more serious romance aspect is less interesting to me.

Catarina Sticks Up for Ginger

Towards the end Ginger had been about to enter a room when she overheard two young women complaining about her. Like Frey, Ginger wanted to succeed based on her own merits. That put the other two women off. Ginger was about to slink away when guess who stuck up for her? Yep! Catarina.

“She’s so caring, and sometimes she gets all shy, and it’s so cute! She’s tsundere!” Catarina said. No one knew what tsundere meant, but Ginger got the message. Catarina had once again invoked Harem Capture, as Frey almost confirmed when she observed that Ginger loved Catarina, too. And Ginger didn’t deny it.

I’m not sure how I feel about Ginger. While this was the B plot of the episode with Catarina being her usual self and Ginger being yet another character who is more or less won over by her dense charms, we’ve had no time to really connect with her and so it felt almost like an empty way to fill up a few dead minutes of the episode. There was nothing wrong with it, but it didn’t make much impact overall. Or maybe that’s because I really just focused in on Nicol.

I would have really liked to know why Catarina says that. And also why the other girls are calling Ginger stuck up. It all seemed sort of out of the blue. Very convenient though. From what we saw, Ginger was a bit cold to Catarina because she was irked by the preferential treatment she was getting, but she was never particularly mean and she seemed to be nice to everyone else. And why would Catarina make those assumptions about her character instead of going with, she’s really hard working and has a strong sense of fairness or something that we’ve seen?

To me this scene was weaker than the rest of the episode. I did like the aftermath though. I thought they were cute.

A New Tactic for Nicol?

The other outcome was that Sophia had tried to push romance novels on Nicol to lighten his mood, and he liked them. So Sophia invited him to sit down with her and Catarina so they could talk about romance novels! This could be a great strategy for Nicol to win Catarina over! I thought that was interesting. What did you think?

Oh, poor Nicol is permanently friend zoned now. 

The guy you can discuss romances with probably isn’t the guy you end up dating, sad to say. While Nicol will always get to hang out with Catarina if he joins her fan-club of romance books, he’s more or less out of the running for stealing her heart. 

Or maybe I’m just too cynical.

A good tactic? Or an invitation to friend-zoning? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I don’t know that I agree with Karandi’s comment about who you can discuss romance with but I also don’t think Catarin will end up with Nicol. I don’t think she’ll end up with anyone until the end of the series because that’s sort of the nature of the story but even then, for some reason, I don’t see her with Nicol. Like I think once the honeymoon stage is over, they would both be miserable and too nice to hurt the other person. 

Considering Catarina’s personality and her interests, I see her with just about anyone else before Nicol. Now that I really think about it, maybe Alan is the best match. I think they would be most likely to find things they both enjoy to do together.

What’s Up with That Post Credits Scene?

I didn’t get the closing shot — who’s surrounded by evil magic candles? Whoever it is, they looked pretty happy about it! I really hope that’s not Frey…

Yeah, epilogues like this that are clearly just teasers for upcoming events are largely meaningless without context and generally I just ignore them entirely. I guess if you’ve read the source material maybe it would get you excited if it was something you’d been waiting for, but for anime only watchers it may as well not be there because it tells us pretty much nothing.

I couldn’t tell either. Hopefully they’re not introducing yet another new character. Maybe we’re all wrong and Frey is actually super evil. That would be a fun twist. Spending an episode to really lull us into a false sense of security just to yank it away. Fun!

Closing Thoughts

Any closing thoughts?

This was another fun episode of My Next Life as a Villainess and honestly I really did enjoy it. I kind of want to see more of Frey in future episodes and I really wouldn’t mind it if Nicol and Frey became an item, as unlikely as that is.

I’m sort of neutral on this episode. I didn’t dislike it but I was left with the feeling that it didn’t matter. As in I could have skipped it and I wouldn’t have noticed next week. 

Watch me be entirely wrong and Frey and Ginger become main characters with pivotal roles in the finale. I wouldn’t mind that at all. I would love to see them in more fun circumstances. And I’m curious to know what their magic powers are.

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6 thoughts on “My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 8

  1. I quite enjoyed the scenes with Nicol and Frey. They had good chemistry and could easily engage in a marriage of convenience. They won’t because the show’s a fluffy romcom, and marriage is really more about love than linage (which isn’t taken seriously as a worldbuilding trait, I feel – more like some minor antagonistic force in the plot sense; not even Nicol’s father pushes marriage on him).

    I thought the Ginger part was pretty weak; not bad exactly, more like some sort of set-up, and if this goes nowhere it’s going to feel pretty pointless to me. I agree with Irina about what Catarina said about her, though the other girls talking badly about her is something I understand as a usual anime trope. The girl who’s here on a stipend and has to work harder than everyone else for that, has less time to socialise and comes across as standoffish (maybe because she’s a little socially awkward, as she may have moved in different social cricles). It’s pretty much a familiar trope. Even being friends with Frey is part of that.

    If I’m not mistaken candle girl is in the opening? At least I think that’s her: the occult-club stereotype. They’re usually weirdos rather than mean. Though I’d expect dark magic to be involved. The plot’s going that way with the department and job offers and such. We’ll see.

    I hear a lot of people liking this season as much as the first one, but to me it’s clearly inferior. It’s fun, but it doesn’t quite have the same energy.

    1. I really enjoyed Frey and Nicol’s chemistry, too. I had to chuckle, because “marriage of convenience” popped into my mind just a few minutes into their conversation. It felt like both could support each other in a good-will kind of relationship even if they weren’t romantically entangled.

      “but to me it’s clearly inferior.”

      On one hand, I shy away from saying inferior or superior because it implies an objective standard. The more I learn about literary criticism, the more I think there are few objective standards. That said, I have to agree. I think Irina was on to something when she mentioned the lack of focus (I think that was in her post about the Flanderization of Catarina):

      https://drunkenanimeblog.com/2021/08/17/the-flanderization-of-catarina-claes/

      I miss that focus. Without it, the series feels unfocused, and I don’t know how to interpret events.

      I’m still having fun with it, though. I wish all series that decided to throttle back were as enjoyable as this!

  2. I rather enjoyed the focus on Nicol and I didn’t mind Frey at all. Right now I see her as a kind of Mentor character for him. Mentor was not a big character in the Odyssey, nor was he in it for very long, but we remember his name.

    Those garden scenes were amazing.

    1. Interesting reference to Mentor! It would make sense, too. She seemed very wise and serene to me. I’d love to see her added to the cast.

      And I’d rewatch the episode just to look at the gardens. Man, those looked beautiful! Peaceful, too.

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