The formula is, without a doubt, becoming increasingly stale. Thankfully, the show still has its moments of surprise that keep things interesting.
A new arc generally means catching up with familiar faces, introducing new characters, some world building, and having a main conflict that gets resolved by the arc’s end, sometimes with a plot thread or two still hanging.
A new arc in Overlord means catching up with familiar faces, introducing new characters, getting mildly familiar with said new characters, a lot of world building, and a slow set up for the big conflict at the end that often ends with the death of at least some of new characters that were introduced at the start. New characters are oftentimes villains, but sometimes are unlicensed, unregulated, illegal adventurers that do things for profit but sometimes have a heart of gold.
The final arc of Overlord season 3 starts like any other, though it picks up immediately after Aura and Mare “cracked” into the Empire’s HQ, killing a whole bunch of people (including one of the Black Knights!) and demanding that the Bloody Emperor pay apologies to Ains.
Escorted by a number of knights and his advisor, the magic-user Fluder, Emperor Jircniv Rune Farlord El Nix travels to Nazarick, contemplating how to handle such a powerful opponent while his people offer advice. By the end of the episode, he thinks of a plan to unite the other Kingdoms against Ains, and also realizes Fluder’s betrayed him.
My biggest issue with episode 9 is not that it’s slow and not much happens (but that is very true), it’s the sheer amount of “holy carp, Ains Ooal Gown is really strong!” Yes, Overlord is a power fantasy so having the protagonist get fawned over is par for the course...
Except we’ve seen it so, many, times, already. It always happens when people unfamiliar with Ains meet him for the first time, and it is getting increasingly stale. Considering it was almost eye-rolling at the start of season 1, having it repeat the umpteenth time is starting to grate.
Am I being a bit ridiculous complaining about this aspect in a POWER Fantasy? Absolutely.
Does it change the fact that Ains getting showered with praise from both enemy and ally is getting ridiculous and excessive, especially when it’s done in such a straightforward manner (as opposed to the instance of comedy with Demiurge saying Ains’s actions have been planned, without saying what actions)? Nope.
There’s also the issue about cut content from the light novel source. It’s a common complaint from viewers that already read the source the anime is based on (and the light novel in turn is based on the web novel), but I find that more often than not the cut content is justified. Did we really need screen time devoted to the backstories of Six Fingers’ four lieutenants? Or how Zero, the leader that fought Sebas, imagined defeating Sebas with his abilities? They’re neat details but not necessary to the show overall.
Another side are the details that are cut out but the viewer can figure things out with careful observation. When Sebas is called to Ains to answer about Tuare for example, the Ains we see is actually Pandora’s Actor. Aside from his verbal slips, an extra missing detail was the lack of Ains’s red eyes. So while cutting out the explanation of why Ains has Pandora’s Actor in his place means the impact of the scene changes, there’s still enough there for the viewer to extrapolate (according to what I understand, Sebas can go toe to toe with Ains if he was serious).
Unfortunately, episode 9 goes for the other, other side of cut details, the ones that leave the viewer a bit perplexed. When Demiurge (in demon form, hell yeah!) uses his “prostrate” ability, the Emperor is the only one to resist it. Apparently, one of his many accessories provides him with resistance to certain spells? That’s my general understanding from skimming comments anyway (I’m sure someone in the comments will fill in the details).
There were also a few instances of really.... Mundane or undetailed animation, across all 3 episodes actually. While the CGI still sticks out like a sore thumb (it’s not horrible, but it ain’t amazing either), there are also wider shots where characters like Albedo have their faces looking very bland. The best expressions are in the close ups (and how I miss those) but a standing Albedo with a bland face almost sticks out more than the throngs of CGI armies that march exactly the same.
Meanwhile, while the Baharuth empire and Nazarick are busy praising Ains, the Re-Estize Kingdom plan their own machinations. Episode 10 brings the Re-Estize kingdom back into the fray, with squabbling nobles for good measure. The most note worthy aspect of the episode is Gazef warning everyone that Ains Ooal Goal is not to be trifled with and one noble (one!) actually heeding his warning.
At least that instance went against the “everyone underestimates him until oops, they dead” thing Overlord likes to play with. There are a few other things to note, such as Marquis Raven taking up his post to command the Re-Estize army during the big upcoming battle, how the king tries to protect the crown prince by sending him off to Carne Village, and Ains bringing in his troops-which just so happens to be a small battalion of Death Knights.
With regard to Marquis Raven though...the scene with him playing with his son? Quaint, but that’s a death flag if there ever was one...
Thankfully, while episodes 9 and 10 were a bit bland, episode 11 made things interesting again with some new faces...sort of.
Following Prince Barbro’s announcement that his army will rush to Carne Village (despite being warned that the foot soldiers would be run ragged) at the end of episode 10, episode 11 brings us back to Carne as Enri goes about being called “chief,” by the villagers, getting annoyed at being called “chief,” and then getting into an awkward situation with Nfirea in a barn. So far, par for the course of most romantic comedies.
But this is a power fantasy damn it, and Barbro’s army comes knocking on the front door.
Knowing that the goblin army and ogres aren’t a match for the assholes outside, Enri tries to delay Barbro as long as she can while the goblins and ogres hide away. Unfortunately, Barbro being Barbro (that is, not quite an idiot but still thick headed), he lights one of the watch towers on fire.
The new plan to evacuate the village while the goblins, ogres and a few men stay to fight (and die) is a pretty decent one - while they fight the army at the front of the village, Enri and the others will escape from the back.
Unfortunately, their timing is a bit off and a squad of cavalry were still circling around back and spot the escapees.
Desperate, Enri uses the last goblin horn that Ains gave her from way back in season 1 to summon a small army to, at the very least, buy some time. And then cue a small bit of hilarity.
To the surprise of everyone, the horn summoned not one squad of 20, low-leveled goblins, but NINE. DIFFERENT. TYPES. OF GOBLIN TROOPS. Led by goblin Zhuge Liang. Totaling 5000 troops, the newly summoned army (all loyal to the General Enri, it is known) basically force Barbro to retreat.
I’ve written about my disappointment with Overlord’s CGI many times (probably as many times as Ains gets praised) and it doesn’t change here; the armies look really bland, especially when they walk in sync and with the voice over of who they are. That being said, it was still hilarious how many different types showed up, all proclaiming loyalty to General Enri, and each having different specialties. This is exactly the kind of surprise I love to see in Overlord, the ones that poke a bit of fun at things and are just pleasant to watch unfold.
What wasn’t (entirely) surprising was Ains’ disregard for Carne Village, as he flat out states he doesn’t really care what happens to it, so long as the 4 individuals (Nfirea, Enri, and presumably Enri’s sister and Nfirea’s grandma) stay safe. The last arc showed that Ains is very much looking into how to increase his own power and foothold in the world, whether it’s by testing if he can gain experience in the new world through combat (and that chain accessory), or by trying to develop a Yggdrasil potion analogue. However, he also cares deeply about Nazarick and its denizens, with them being the only things he has left to remind him of his guild and guildmates/friends/comrades. So in this regard, it makes sense that everything outside of Nazarick is inconsequential to him.
It still sucks because damn it, Carne Village was the first place he visited!
I like it that Ains doesn’t know why the horn summoned such a vast army, as it adds a bit of mystery and its about an item from Yggdrasil. While I doubt we’ll get an answer in this season, I’m sure the explanation comes up in the web/light novels (hint hint commentators! Also please mark spoilers as necessary).
With Prince Barbro dead* where he stands (probably), the eyes turn to the Katze Plains as the battle between the Re-Estize Kingdom and the Baharuth Empire draws near! With two episodes left this season, I just hope that Madhouse brings their A-game for the climax.
Episode 9: B-
Episode 10: B
Episode 11: B+
Overlord III is currently airing on Crunchyroll while Sulfy gets smashed with school over the last two weeks, causing major delays in....everything not school related. Episodes 12 and 13 will be covered individually and will be up in their respective weeks. Thank you for reading.