Twelves episodes of unwarranted seduction and such has finally led us to the end of the season. The villainess is well and the “good ending” was reached! What more can there be in the final conclusion?
Alright, I’m gonna level with you. The whole “Sirius Dieke” stuff was never going to be the story’s strongest material, because My Next Life as a Villainess is, (and always will be) strongest when it is functioning as a gentle parody. Fortune Lover, seems to be an incredibly generic and straightforward game. If the anime kept going down it’s vanilla routes of the gameplay, it probably would have been very fun to watch. The whole gimmick of My Next Life as a Villainess is the thing that makes it so fun. Catarina’s very nature and presence in her friends’ lives has flipped the script in amusing and silly ways for the better! My biggest problem with the Sirius Dike story is that it is played almost entirely straight. Tragic past? Check. Part-time criminal? Also check. Angsty exposition monologues? Check! And it all ends with everything being solved by the power of friendship. There’s absolutely nothing here you haven’t seen done before, and more interestingly to boot.
Oh, and the dramatic climax to Catarina’s “Doom Arc”? Sirius Dieke has a bridge’s worth of spooky backstory to sell you. It’s pretty convoluted, as we learn that the boy known as “Sirius Dieke” is actually Ralph Walt, the bastard son of Baron Dieke and a house maid (there’s a lot of that going around this kingdom, huh?). The real Sirius Dieke was Raphael’s half-brother, until a vague illness threatened the young brother’s life, which is when Marchioness Dieke hired a Black Mage to perform a demonic spell or other that would transfer the dying Sirius’s memories and such into Raphael’s body. The catch was that the spell required a human sacrifice (as all good spells do) and so Raphael’s poor mother was the one who payed with her life.
…and the Marchioness stabbed the mage.
It was on account that the whole ritual being a profane abomination to all things decent, which probably wouldn’t go over well in the Dieke’s social circle if word got out. Then, as we later discover, the soul of the murdered mage also invaded Sirius/Raphael’s body, influencing him to do his dark deeds and altering his memories to convince him that his dying mother demanded vengeance. The ghost mage forgot a teensy little detail, however, that being Catarina can win over literally any soul with the power of just being kind of nice, so she gives Raphael a hug and everything goes well. Lesson: don’t forget about the protagonist. They will seriously mess up your evil plans.
If all of this dark and shoe-horned stuff had been one episode, or even just two, I might have an easier time accepting it as a necessary evil, but the whole first half of this season finale is devoted to resolving a problem that we all know is going to end up just fine, and it’s not like Raphael is a compelling enough character that we desperately need to see his story play out. The only thing the dude is even good at, apparently, is making tea. Tea? Really?
But hey, at least we get one last hurrah with Catarina’s Harem, and it’s pretty cute, so I’m not too disappointed. Catarina gives Nicol a “veggie bouquet,” which is a legitimately great gift, and Geordo and Alan play a concert together. It’s fun. Given that this is where Maria is supposed to finally choose her romantic partner, though, Catarina notices that something is off, and naturally she completely misses the fact that everyone is simply happy (and exclusively interested in Catarina).
In fact, we get the most direct love confession of the series, so far, when Catarina asks Maria who she like likes. Maria, of course, spells it out plainly: She likes Catarina. She objects, yadda yadda yadda, a bit weird coming from someone with an apparent obsession with dating games and otaku culture. When Catarina specifies whether there is a boy that Maria is romantically attracted to and wants to be in a relationship with, not only does Maria say no, she gives as straightforward and obvious and answer that any character could possibly give: “The only one I love, admire, and want to be with for all time is you, Lady Catarina. So please allow me to stay by your side from now on.”
Now that’s a confession!
Catarina even acknowledges that this is, word-for-word, the same line Maria uses on whatever boy she happens to conquer in Fortune Lover. So what does she make of it? Why, this is the “friendship ending” of course! Everyone is just good friends, nobody falls in love, and doom avoided. Fin.
It’s an obvious (but still appropriate) punchline to the whole show, and a perfectly fine note to end the series on (I was never going to be convinced that the show would end with Catarina actually picking someone; I know what kind of game this is. Ugh.)
That poses an interesting question: Why on Earth would the show need a second season, and what could it possibly be about? Do we really need another 12 episodes of Catarina accidentally seducing people and being utterly incapable of picking up on the most obvious “I’m horny for you” signals a human can possibly receive? I can’t be sure sure. Although I must admit, the first season was a fun little ride, though, so I won’t write off the second season without giving it a fair shake. As Catarina notes as the season comes to a close, she’s about to enter territory that never even got covered in the Fortune Lover game. These here are uncharted romantic waters, which means anything is possible, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little curious to know what happens next.