WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 2 of My Next Life as a Villainess, now streaming on Crunchyroll.
The new Katarina Claes found herself in her favorite otome game, Fortune Lover, at the start of Season 1 of My Life as a Villainess, and she embarked on a quest to dodge all her doom flags as the villainess and make all her friends happy. She succeeded, and the relieved Katarina looked forward to a peaceful year. That wasn't what she got in Season 2.
Season 2 of My Next Life as a Villainess begins on a cheerful note as Katarina Claes savors her Season 1 victory with her mixed-gender harem of lovers, but soon enough, shadowy villains descend upon the group and dark magic makes itself known once again. Katarina fights back, but she doesn't cover much new ground in Season 2 until the very end.
Season 2's Best Moments: Nicol Ascart's Dilemma, Keith's Progress & The Department Of Magic
Overall, Villainess Season 2's downsides slightly outweighed the season's better aspects, although it still had a variety of fresh material to offer to viewers. The second season finds time to deepen the background stories and emotions of several harem members, and it also introduces a few new characters along the way, who fit seamlessly into the narrative.
For example, Katarina soon meets Jeffrey Stuart, the oldest of the four Stuart brothers. Jeffrey is like his own Katarina Claes, being a selfless and helpful person who can't abandon anyone in need. It is good to see someone besides Katarina working so hard for the sake of others rather than their own self-centered romantic interest. The season also introduces Lady Larna, Jeffrey's fiancee and a member of the department of magic. She goes to great lengths to aid Katarina and her family in this season.
Villainess Season 2 also expands upon Nicol Ascart and his dilemma between getting engaged and wanting to have Katarina to himself, and while this plot thread isn't concluded, it is satisfying to see the turmoil raging behind Nicol's perfect exterior. The season also dives deeper into Keith's ever-stronger feelings toward his foster sister, and he becomes Geordo Stuart's #1 rival in the race for Katarina's heart. At last, Keith is standing up for something, even if his goals are somewhat selfish.
This season also fleshes out the department of magic, where Sora, Larna and Raphael Walt work, and the season's final scene establishes Katarina and Maria Campbell as the department's two newest members for a possible Season 3 and/or the upcoming Villainess movie.
Season 2's Drawbacks: Tedious Plots, Unresolved Issues & A Lack Of Momentum
My Next Life as a Villainess Season 2 does have some bright spots, but as a whole, the season fails to measure up to the first, partly because Katarina doens't have a clear end goal. In Season 1, she was on a mission to avoid all doom flags and rearrange her friends' love lives to create a new ending for Fortune Lover, but in Season 2, Katarina goes with the flow whenever anything happens. Things occur around her, but few things occur because of her. She does, however, help take charge of the Keith rescue operation.
This season has two identical plot points, making it feel even more tedious. First, Katarina gets herself captured by Sora and his unwitting assistant Selena Berg, and not long after that, a dark magic girl kidnaps Keith Claes so that her client, Thomas Coleman, can get revenge on him. It almost seems like Villainess is running out of ideas, and overall, this makes for three dark magic-related captures in the franchise thus far. There need to be some stakes aside from rescuing kidnapped friends.
Moreover, Season 2 does too little to resolve the harem race for Katarina's heart, even when characters such as Ginger and Sora are added. Keith and Geordo make some progress, but otherwise, this major plot thread simply teases viewers without anything conclusive happening, and the narrative can remain coy like this only for so long. Given how much idle material Season 2 includes, there is more than enough room for serious progress to be made in the harem race, such as certain members dropping out or even Katarina tentatively choosing a winner. Season 3 and/or the movie need to reach a turning point in that race soon, or the novelty will wear off and at least half of Villainess' events will end up meaningless.
It's true that Katarina's goal is to keep everyone happy and avoid any major drama, but for the narrative's sake, this harem race has to end one way or another, even it means Katatina announcing an end to the race and sending everyone home. She has to take responsibility for this situation eventually -- once she takes stock of the situation and figures out a solution, that is. They don't call her "Bakarina" for nothing.