Aptly titled “Massacre,” this week’s episode gleefully doubles down on the adage ‘one person’s a tragedy, 1 million is a statistic’. As instructed, Ains fires the opening salvo with one of his spells (I doubt it’s his strongest; The End of All Life is Death and Fallen Down from season 1 were also obscenely powerful). Admittedly, it’s a good litmus test to see if there are any other Yggdrasil players in the opposing army, as they’d rush him down if they saw he was casting Super Tier magic.
The instant cast cash shop item gets used again though, and Ains’s spell wipes out 70 000 soldiers in an instant.
Which was impressive, but not a ‘wow’ spectacle. Instead, that came after, when the 70 000 bodies are used to summon 5 Eldritch horrors onto the battlefield.
If there’s ever a way to bring instant gratification to a geek property, it’s bringing in the Lovecraftian horrors.
What follows is the titular massacre, with Ains scaring the heck out of both foes and allies, demanding praise (sort of) from allies, and then having a civil chat (sort of) with Gazef, setting up for the duel between the two in the finale.
It’s without question that Gazef is going to die. The show’s been planting his death flags since season 2, and he couldn’t do anything to one of the baby “goats”. Plus, he gets some kick ass new music that accompanied him during the episode, so he’s going out with a bang. However, more interesting are the other details in the episode.
Climb, Brain, and the King will surely survive, with Climb perhaps even getting wedded to Princess Renner (.... Good luck kid).
The Black Knight will live to report back to Emperor Jirciv, though if his report changes the Empire’s plans in any way is to be seen. Seriously, Jirciv knows Fluder has betrayed him, and he was one of the strongest magic casters. Short of using the World Item from season 1 (mind control), there’s little chance of any success.
And finally, Aura is still wielding Avarice and Generosity, which has interesting abilities that we unfortunately haven’t seen (yet?).
We’ll see how things get wrapped up in the finale next week. As a primer for the finale though? It was decent, but not amazing, and that’s unfortunately due to the (usual) CGI and cut details from the source light novel.
While the CGI quality has been an ever present point of contention for all of the series, it’s particularly noticeable when 80% of the screen is a massive blob with soldiers running away in terror, while set to a typical 2D background. It just looks like it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the scenery (which can be argued is the point, but Ains and co. are still rendered with fine animation). It’s a dead horse, I know, but it just felt particularly noticeable this episode.
The other issue was the cut details from the LN. While cut content was previously categorized as superfluous, time wasting, or details to help explain certain occurrences, the details cut this episode definitely lessened the impact of the onscreen violence.
“Splat” was a commonly tossed around term by LN readers in certain message boards and circles, and it was used in anticipation of “Massacre”. It refers to how the LN described the hooves of the goats literally crushing down on the opposing army, with flesh, blood and armor being mixed together as the goats marched. Unfortunately, said visceral imagery was missing, perhaps due to age rating, but perhaps also because it wasn’t deemed important enough to use screen time.
However, cutting it out definitely lessened the horrors of Ains’s actions. As opposed to Foresight (and Arche in particular), a lot of individuals died (including a Black Knight) to little fanfare/outrage, mostly because they were mooks. However, just as Arche had people she was protecting, so did everyone else that died (in the context of the world). Unfortunately, no exposition for them means no sympathy (also...dying by truckloads). Adding a bit of blood, flesh and steel would’ve added some more impact, even if it was only for a few seconds, and would really complement how Ains notes that he feels nothing for the lives taken.
A comment left by Strider Ryoken a few weeks ago had me pondering what characteristics a protagonist needs to have... Something... For the audience to latch onto, while Sir Hippo’s comment last week about his dwindling interest prompted this question: exactly for who is this show for?
Overlord is, undoubtedly, a (male) power fantasy, with an over powered protagonist, loyal minions that constantly praise him, enemies that constantly underestimate him, and two gals that want to (literally) jump his bones (and Albedo sort of did...so can she ride the Bicorn now?).
At the same time though, the show (especially in seasons 2 and 3) focused on characters outside of Nazarick, with the protagonist having comparably little screen time. Instead, the show built up its world details, with mixed success in terms of audience reception for the new characters.
Unlike other narratives, where the audience follows one character and learns things at the same time they learn things, Overlord’s extra characters help to show that the world is figuratively bigger than Ains... which is not the most typical power protagonist story telling method.
At the same time, Ains’s actions have put him very much as the villain of the story...so what kind of audience is watching (and buying) this story? (it should be noted that the Overlord LNs are supposedly selling quite well).
It’s important to note that everyone has their own personal line. It’s why Arche’s death had such interesting reactions, with some people unsurprised/unfazed while others were aghast (fun fact: Arche’s fate was voted on by readers. So... Thanks. Assholes).
As well, it’s not like Ains has no redeemable qualities; he’s fiercely loyal to his people, and has respect for those that protect the weak, like Gazef, to whom he offered a choice to become his subordinate (amusingly, he’s so pissed off that Workers are in Nazarick that he doesn’t pick up Foresight’s farewell to Arche to save her sisters). And... That’s... Kind of it? I mean, sure he’s trying his best to be the leader his people see him as, which is a nice touch, but again...massacres.
70 thousand, plus the rest of the army, plus Worker teams, and the rest of the “two-legged sheep” on the farm.
Strider Ryoken brought up the good point that his minions are negatively influencing Ains (when they’re all lawful Evil, except Sebas....), but also Ains’s (misconstrued) ideas are affecting them in turn. They’re willing to do anything, so long as it helps Ains ‘take over the world.’
So, who’s the show for? Who’s the target audience?
We’ll look more into that with the finale.
Overlord season 3 is currently airing on Crunchyroll.
Missed the last chunk of reviews?