Overlord III Episodes 1-2 Review

Originally published on The Fandom Post

What They Say:
“A Ruler’s Melancholy” “Carne Village Once More”

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After taking a season off, Overlord is back like it never left. Like last season, this one starts off somewhat slow; episode one focuses on Ainz trying to give his minions a day off so they don’t work themselves to death and what the floor guardians do when they’re not serving Ainz. Episode two has us return to the plot, with Demiurge and the other floor guardians mistaking Ainz’s plan to spread his name across the world for a plan to take over the world, which Ainz just goes along with to keep up his all-powerful image. The latter half of the episode returns us to Carne, the village Ainz saved at the start of season one, and shows the inhabitants rebuilding and going about their lives as rumors of a new threat start to arise.

While it’s pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, episode one is still plenty fun. Season two gave us more of Ainz Ooal Gown, ruler of Nazarick, but it’s also nice to be reminded that Ainz is primarily just an ordinary guy faking it for his minions. In one of the episode’s best scenes, we get to watch Ainz practice his cool poses and lines in front of a mirror in his room. There’s something gleefully surreal about watching an evil-looking skeleton practice giving speeches like a nervous high-school student, especially since we’ve already seen how powerful Ainz is. The female floor guardians are also given a fun scene of them trying to figure out how to ride a bicorn, which it turns out only accepts impure maidens. The best part is when they realize that, even though Albedo is a succubus, neither her nor Shalltear can actually ride it since they’re both virgins. The episode ends on a bath scene, with the twist being that the girls are more likely to spy on the guys than the other way around. All in all, it’s a fun reintroduction to the inhabitants of Nazarick that does its job without being particularly noteworthy.

Episode two brings us back to the main plot as Ainz desperately tries to keep up his persona while his minions unknowingly drag him into their plans to help him take over the world. The way it juxtaposes an ominous coir with Ainz’s confused inner-monologue makes this scene far funnier than it sounds on paper. The idea that Ainz and co. are going to make their existence public has a lot of potential since Overlord’s best moments have always been Ainz and the other inhabitants of Nazarick showing off how powerful they are and destroying their opponents like it’s nothing. Once they do make their existence known, the entire world of Overlord is going to get shaken up.

The second half of the episode switches to show us what the people of Carne are doing, which is less interesting than Nazarick’s scheming. It’s pretty solid on its own; Enri and the goblins have a strong dynamic, even though we haven’t seen them in a long time, and seeing what daily life is like there helps flesh out the world quite a bit. It’s especially fun watching the goblins bicker over which one Enri likes the most, citing all sorts of random incidents as proof. The main problem with this segment is the same as with the Lizardmen arc: the characters’ actions here aren’t going to matter in the long term. We already know that Ainz plans on coming in and taking over, so even hints of monsters preparing to attack don’t carry any dramatic weight. Ainz and his floor guardians are so powerful that they can just step in and eliminate any conflict with the wave of a hand (sometimes literally), so there’s not much reason to get invested in supporting characters who Ainz is just going to conquer anyway. Overlord is at its best when it’s indulging in pure showboating, like Ainz showing up in front of the Lizardmen or Sebas utterly destroying the Six Arms after they were built up so much. Plotlines that revolve around characters outside of Nazarick just don’t have any weight to them when we already know that they’re small-fry in the grand scheme of things.

On a more positive note, the new opening is Overlord’s best opening yet. Overlord has always had catchy openings, but this one takes the cake in terms of visuals. The dim filter it uses as it cuts between Ainz’s various minions walking towards him gives the whole thing a sense of menace that fits perfectly with Ainz’s image and the wildly insane lyrics of the song. It’s not as action-y as the other openings, but it has so much flare that I’d call it one of the best openings of the year so far.

In Summary:
Season three starts off on a similar note as season two: we’re reintroduced to the denizens of Nazarick and their plans for world domination before switching to a group of supporting characters who seem set up to be the anime’s focus for the next few episodes. Overlord is far less interesting when it gives characters outside of Nazarick the spotlight, but that’s likely only going to be for the next few episodes. Once it returns to Ainz as he and his minions go public with Nazarick’s existence, I fully expect Overlord to return to the same levels of fun as before.

Grade: B-

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