I’ve talked about Overlord twice before. The first series was average with some good ideas they weren’t doing anything with. The second series moved up to good by giving some actual tension. Now we’re looking at the third series. Which may or may not be improved. To recap the story thus far, Ainz Ooal Gown was a high level player in an online game. When the game shut down, he somehow found himself in a new world with all the high-powered NPCs he & his friends created. Now he’s trying to navigate that world while also commanding more power than anyone else seems to. Various people are being caught up in his schemes.
Continuing from the last series, Nazarick has gained control of the Kingdom’s underworld and taken a bunch of their populace for horrific experiments. In this series we open with the small village Ainz rescued in the first series, Carne, where two great beasts are about to invade. Meanwhile, the Empire has heard about the tomb of Nazarick and is about to send a bunch of mercenaries to explore it. Which will certainly end well for them.
The first big issue with this series is just that most of the plot threads that get some kind of resolution have really obvious resolutions. Take the Carne village part. There’s no tension because we find out, even before any fighting begins, that the Nazarick maid, Lupisregina, is going to e watching out for every village character who’s developed enough for you to potentially give a shit about. Then there are the mercenary workers. It’s obvious when they describe their job that they’re heading for Nazarick. It’s equally obvious that things will not end well for any of them. So, when they try to give you reasons to care it doesn’t work very well since you already see them as fodder.
On some more positive notes, the series does set up some pretty compelling things. Honestly, I get the sense that the fourth series will be more interesting when it builds off of this. I will also say that the whole final arc of this has a lot of strong moments. Which I shan’t spoil until I review series IV and recap it. I will also say that the scenes with the Nazarick crew just taking quiet moments to relax and act like normal friends are pretty great.
There’s not much in terms of advancing the characters or in fleshing them out. Pretty much what we get is carried over from the prior series. The main new characters we get are some interchangeable goblins, the fodder & some Empire characters who are mainly notable for the political intrigue they represent rather than for what little they have you can call personalities.
The series tries to do what the second did by basing the tension off of the secondary characters who are actually at risk, but I’ve already been over why it doesn’t work with this one.
There’s not much to say about the Overlord artwork that I haven’t already, to be honest. The series continues to have strong character designs, action sequences that are quite good in spite of generally being very one-sided & nice backgrounds. It’s also worth noting that this is a series where the CG can stand out but it ends up contributing to make certain monsters look otherworldly. Which works fairly well.
Also, good on Madhouse for managing to have an episode where the characters go to a bath house without making it fan-servicey. That’s not something I can usually credit the studio with.
The acting continues to be nicely done. Sakurai Takahiro has a somewhat major role in this one and he’s very good at what he does. I look forward to the obligatory scene where his character cross dresses. Hirakawa Daisuke & Ichimichi Mao also do really well. Of course, the major characters continue to be well acted. Katou Masayuki, Hino Satoshi, Hara Yumi, Katou Emiri & the others are all good at what they do.
In general, Katayama Shuji’s soundtrack works nicely for the tone and atmosphere. I’m a bit more mixed on the theme tunes. I don’t think they’re bad but I also don’t really want to listen to them and usually ended up skipping over them.
There’s a little bit. Shalltear mentions that she’s only slept with women. We also meet Nazarick’s torturer who’s basically the monster version of Fire Emblem from Tiger & Bunny. I guess whoever created him thought it would be funny if that character type was torturing people in more ways than just by existing.
Areas of Improvement:
- The Mission to Nazarick should have been more obfuscated. A part of the problem with giving a shit about the workers as characters is that we immediately know, from the instant they’re introduced, that they’re fodder. So, maybe give us the time spent trying to builds them up before that particular bombshell drops rather than after.
- Give the goblins some distinct personalities. Pretty much all that distinguishes these guys is that they look slightly different. But they all basically act the same. Which means we don’t really care when they’re in danger.
- Give us a bit more of the Nazarick crew’s interactions. Like I said, that segment may be short but it’s great.
Overally, Overlord III is not as strong as the second series. While it does have its moments, particularly the final arc & the whole Nazarick relaxation interlude, it also suffers a bit from the same issue that plagued the first series. There’s a lack of any real tension. We know that the Carne village situation is going to end well for the characters we even slightly care about. We know what’s going to happen with the workers and we don’t care. I would still say this instalment is stronger than the first series. It’s pretty decent. So, I’ll give it a 6/10.