It’s Canada Day and what better way to celebrate it than writing about a isekai power fantasy! Since both are about...new starts...and...being bad ass? Whatever. Canada’s awesome, Overlord’s fun, let’s get on with it.
As Overlord season 3 will be premiering very soon (July 10 in Japan), I figured it would be a nice diversion to write a recap about what the current state of the world is at the end of season 2. However, as it’s season 3 of the anime - and a Madhouse production to boot - those who are likely going to watch it probably already know the state of affairs.
So let’s have a generic “favorites” list post. Plus, if you were curious about Overlord, try reading this list and see if it’s your cup of tea. It’s definitely a (unfortunately male) power fantasy, but it’s consistent within itself (i.e. the protagonists are level 50+ whereas their enemies are level...20? At most?).
Usual disclaimers: there will be spoilers for seasons 1 and 2 of Overlord, and order of events does not indicate ranking, except for the last three.
Let’s have fun.
Event: Lizardman sexy times.
Episode: Season 2, episode 5
Reason: one thing that Overlord season 2 did really well was world building. Ainz (the titular Overlord) himself appears only a few times during the season, which instead focuses on other places and characters. The first arc of season 2 focused on the lizardmen arc, following a lizardman trying to unite the 5 different clans in order to unite against Ainz’s forces.
So it was hilarious when, at the end of episode 4 one of the clan leaders, Crusch, tells a fellow lizardman, Zaryusu, to impregnate her. This leads to Ainz using a spy mirror to look at the lizardmen’s war preparations and he accidentally stumbles upon Crusch and Zaryusu having hot, lizard sex (within reason for a television show).
I love this scene because 1) it’s a hilarious accident on Ainz’s part to accidentally peek in on the act and 2) it demonstrates that the world doesn’t just revolve around Ainz and company. Sure, there’s acknowledgement in other shows that characters have life events that we don’t see, but in Overlord, knowing that Zaryusu might die in battle, Crusch asks him to have sex in order to conceive his child. Like an insurance policy in case things go wrong, that way Crusch can have a bit of Zaryusu around if he kicks it. It’s a nice touch that shows the autonomy of the tertiary characters.
FYI: the image is from the end of episode 4. I am not putting an image of lizardman sex.
Event: Stabby-stabby/Losing his head
Episode: season 1, episode 3
Reason: Two events in one episode that take place a few minutes apart. One thing Overlord does really well is to inflict terrible, horrifying violence against terrible, horrible excuses for human beings. In this case, it’s a Death Knight that was summoned by Ainz, repeatedly stabbing an enemy henchmen who tried to order his men to be his personal shield so that he could escape. While getting stabbed he also kept pleading for someone to save him. Ha ha, no.
The next moment occurs a minute or so later.
It was a neat cinematography trick, where we briefly see things from the eyes of an enemy henchmen that charges against the same Death Knight. He rushes in to battle only to see the sword fall down on him and he falls back to see the sun....and then his body?! Oh yeah, we just saw how things look like from a decapitated head.
Event: Don’t pull yet, need to buff
Episode: season 1, episode 12
Reason: As the premise of Overlord is that the main character got transported while playing his favorite VMMORPG (the V is for virtual), it makes (some) sense that there’s some bleed over of game mechanics. Here, Ainz is getting ready to face a mind-controlled Guild NPC, so he takes the necessary precautions. Of course, when I say precautions, I mean he uses various spells to buff himself up for an actual minute of runtime. That’s a minute of Ainz saying various spells, complete with JRPG sound effects, that range from “Greater Resistance” to “Triple Maximize Magic: Explode Mine.” It’s a lot of buffs, but it’s the same for what you’d do before a raid boss - check your timers and refresh everything as needed. I love the sheer absurdity of it.
Event: you lowly bug
Episode: season 1, episode 9
Reason: Almost none of the Guild NPCs have a very high opinion of humans (since they’re all not human, except for one), but Narberal Gamma takes the cake when it comes to insulting her opponent. Throughout her fight with the baddie during the “Dark Warrior” arc of season 1, she continues to refer to her opponent as a lowly organism (which, compared to her, he was). It’s quite amusing and charming, in a cruel and snooty manner.
Event: Her true face
Episode: season 2, episode 10
Reason: If there’s a trope/cliche I am guilty of loving, it is the duplicitous character cliche. I love it when characters put on a facade in front of others in order to achieve their own plans, and when the real personality is revealed it’s always fun to compare how far apart the two personas are. Sometimes the execution is a bit lacking, but when it works, it works well. Extra points if the real personality is a yandere one. So of course, when it comes to Princess Renner, she quickly became one of my favorite new characters introduced in season 2. To most of the castle, she’s a kind princess that’s stuck in her room. To her compatriots in the mercenary group the Blue Roses, she’s the brains of the operation. However, to only a select few, she’s a full on yandere for Climb, a knight that she took in off the street (or something). The wonderful thing is that none of her personas are in contradiction to one another, but it’s still unsettling to hear what her plans are for Climb in the future.
Event: Pay 2 Win
Episode: season 1, episode 13
Reason: Just like how Ainz takes the time to buff himself before the big boss fight, he also makes sure to take those precious cash shop items with him to help. It’s so absurd that “cash-shop items” made its way into another world but here we are. The fight against Shaltear Bloodfallen was generally quite fun (if not a bit explanation heavy) but it’s here when the sheer fun really gets going. Truly, cash shop items are pay to win.
Unlike the other moments (which have no particular ranking) these are my top 3 moments from Overlord season 1 and 2.
Event: “Are you the most important person in the mansion?”
Episode: season 2, episode 11
Reason: It’s Mare, a boy dressed like a girl (I will never not chuckle at that), asking in a calm and demure voice if Hilma, one of the heads of the underground criminal organization Eight Fingers (Hilma is leader of the drug trade) if she is the most important person in the mansion. When Hilma confirms she is, Mare uses his staff to break Hilma’s leg and subsequently drag her along the floor because they have to go.
Any media that uses voice acting depends on said voice acting to add another dimension to the dialogue. Good voice acting does that. Bad voice acting can harm the material by mistakening the tone or changing the inferred meaning behind the words. Fantastic voice acting elevates the material by adding a visceral feeling to the scenario. This scene has a fantastic juxtaposition between Hilma crying in agony over her broken leg (which was also shown to be quite mangled) and Mare very calmly saying they have to get going. Aside from being a recurring instance of the main character’s NPCs-turned-living-beings being so much stronger than....almost everyone else in the world, it is always so very sweet to see terrible things happen to horrible people.
Episode: season 2, episode 6
Reason: What, you thought this entire list would just be violence (or akin to violence)? Overlord can have some pretty touching moments, such as the one above. Alright, this maybe the only touching moment in Overlord, the rest really is just violence (or humor related to violence). Initially, when Sebas, the only human Nazarick NPC rescues Tuare after she’s thrown out of the brothel she was forced into, I wasn’t quite sure where Overlord was going.
Holy carp, did Overlord go for the jugular.
Tuare’s voice actress did some phenomenal crying and her one line of dialogue is voiced so earnestly. This is a girl who spent who knows how long in a brothel, getting beaten and raped countless times. As Solution recounts earlier, she has a lot of injuries from there. So when a man suddenly saves her, has her healed, and then presents a homemade meal for her? Yeah, she’s going to have a breakdown. Plus, that line...I’m sure that’s something everyone’s thought of at one point or another in their lives, whatever their circumstances.
It was a solid scene. Sure it took a few animation shortcuts by zooming in on character eyes so that they didn’t have to animate the mouths moving, but the tears were very much Madhouse quality (though the camera pan from above showed simple animation there). It was a great scene that showed that Overlord could be more than just sheer power fantasy, it could have heart.
Event: Death by hugging
Episode: season 1, episode 9
Reason: Could there have been any other moment that was just pure Overlord? The climatic battle between Ainz and Clementine in the “Dark Warrior” arc ends in dramatically brutal fashion, with Ainz crushing Clementine to death in his arms. While the event itself is quite bog standard for power fantasy, there were a few elements that really elevated this scene.
First, the ridiculously long set up. The “Dark Warrior” arc was 4 whole episodes and at many times it felt long. It felt like the wheels were spinning in place for at least an episode, however by having it for so long, Madhouse could also slowly build up Clementine as a fearsome foe with the odd scene here and there.
Second, how her death plays out is a great showcase for revenge. Clementine had killed the mercenary group Ainz was grouping with, taking their merc tags as trophies. When she’s slowly being crushed, those same tags pop off her uniform, with the last one symbolising the one member that she evidently toyed with.
Third, the voice acting sold Clementine’s depravity and desperation at escaping. While the music was appropriately bombastic to showcase Ainz’s strength, it was Aoi Yuki’s voice acting that really sold the show. Her sneering, screaming, yelling and disbelief when Clementine finds out Ainz is an elder lich really helped sell the scene. I couldn’t believe it when I found out it was Aoi Yuki voicing Clementine, the same actress that did Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magicka?! Seriously?! Side note: if you want to hear more great Aoi Yuki voice acting, check out The Saga of Tanya the Evil. So good.
There you have it, a super self-indulgent post about my favorite moments from Overlord. However, I want to hear from you! If you’re following Overlord, what were your favorite moments? Are you excited for season 3? If you never saw it before, is your interest piqued in any way? Come forth in the comments!