Originally published on The Fandom Post
What They Say:
“War of Words”, “Preparation for War”, “Another Battle”
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Overlord’s third season heads into its final act as Ainz’s plans start bearing fruit. Emperor Jircniv comes to Nazarick to attempt to avoid a war, which Ainz uses to his advantage. Through a combination of force and manipulation, he convinces Jircniv to at least superficially support Ainz in establishing his own kingdom. Jircniv pretends to support Ainz while secretly plotting to form an alliance to oppose him. As part of his support, he sends a letter to the Kingdom demanding that they give Ainz the land near E-Rantel. The Kingdom refuses, as expected, and begins preparing for war amidst the various nobles, as well as Crown Prince Barbro, plotting against each other. Barbro is sent away for his safety and given a mission to investigate Ainz’s connection to Carne Village, which he decides to attack so he can use the villagers as hostages against Ainz. The villagers are initially outmatched, but Enri uses the horn Ainz gave her to summon more goblins to help. To both her and Ainz’s surprise, the horn summons a massive army of elite goblins that easily drives off Barbro’s army, which is then wiped out by Lupisregina and her forces.
If this synopsis sounds a bit thin for three episodes of content, that’s because it is. Each episode here feels like it’s built around a single event, regardless of whether that event is actually meaty enough to fill an entire episode. The setup for Ainz to found his own kingdom is the most interesting, as his manipulations are actually pretty clever. He uses a disguised Demiurge to intentionally breach etiquette and give himself an excuse to forgive the invasion of Nazarick, as well as to demonstrate his power. Jircniv is well aware of Ainz’s manipulations but is smart enough to pretend to go along with it while he plots against Ainz in the long term. While he obviously isn’t a match for Ainz’s power, Jircniv’s intelligence and perception actually make him a more interesting adversary than Overlord usually has. There’s not much time left for him to play a substantial role this season, but hopefully, we’ll see more of him if/when there’s a fourth season.
Compared to the meeting between Ainz and Jircniv, the preparations in E-Rantel, which take up almost all of episode 10, are pretty dull. We’re introduced to a lot of nobles in various factions plotting with and against each other, but there’s not much reason to care. Now that Ainz has set his sights on E-Rantel, their role in the story has essentially been pre-determined: they’re pawns for Ainz to roll right over and show off his power. Overlord’s trademark showing off is just fine, problems like this only arise when it spends time trying to build investment in characters we’ve just met who are obviously going to die or lose badly. Gazeff, Brain, and Climb fare a bit better since they’ve already been established as characters and are likely going to have a little more of a role. There are some hints that at least one of them isn’t going to come back from the battle, as well as foreshadowing that Brain and Shalltear are going to have yet another confrontation when Ainz finally attacks. Still, this is pretty thin content to fill up an entire episode.
We get a bit more action with the attack on the village, but even that falls prey to the same issue as the previous attack: Ainz and Lupisregina exist. There’s not much reason to get invested in a seemingly hopeless battle as long as Lupisregina exists as a get out of jail free card. Still, we get some sweet moments between Enri and Nphiria, as well as getting to see Enri continue to grow into her role as Chief. The episode picks up a lot when the goblin army arrives. Ainz’s complete and utter shock at that is priceless, and the army’s introduction gives us a bit of Overlord’s trademark showing off. The animation is pretty low quality here, relying too much on clunky CGI for the armies, but it’s still fun watching the show highlight each corps of the army like they’re units in an RTS. Of course, Lupisregina’s arrival at the end completely steals the show. Her sadistic glee as she taunts Barbro before unleashing an army of redcaps is exactly what Overlord does best. It’s pretty silly, but far more entertaining than political machinations that aren’t going to have much impact in the long run.
The main thing I took away from these three episodes is that Overlord is saving the juiciest content for the season finale. Too much of this comes off as the show spinning its wheels and dragging out exposition so the story can conclude with Ainz’s attack on E-Rantel. There are a few good moments to spice things up, but the episodes still feel pretty lean on story progression. Still, the high points are there, and it looks like we’ll be in for a treat next week.