Franchises like Overlord has a tendency to overrun its ideas with every season. The first season concentrated on Ainz and his goals along with exploring the world fiction while building into the base story. The second season expanded its world although it didn’t exactly live up to its hype when it came to actual character building. Now, here we are. The third season that I crossed my fingers as it’s time for Overlord to prove itself if it’s capable of improving.
Realistically, I came into the third season with moderate expectations. The first episode didn’t exactly get me excited after seeing everyone getting a reintroduction. Ainz is still the same as ever while we see the daily lifestyles of his minions. He is trying to live up to his name even though some of his character behavior comes downright as extremely silly. (I mean, he takes a bath in his “skeletal form”. That’s pretty much throws logic out window) No, what we have here is a season that tries to get fans to invested into the story.
Frequently, I see Overlord’s world as expansive. It explores places with fantasy details that you’d expect from an anime like this and from this season, we visit the Carne Village. Here, we’re introduced to a place where goblins exist. Goblins are a common trend in fantasy shows so seeing them exist this season wasn’t much of an excitement. However, the real attention to pay attention to is a girl named Enri. Serving as a leader of the village, she commits to protect its people and ensure peace. Which is to say, she is a key supporting character this season. One of the more noticeable trends I noticed about Overlord is how it’s able to develop its supporting cast. Enri is a character that I grew to admire for her selflessness and courage. This is especially true with the village facing exterior forces who threatens its peace. Similarly, there’s Nfirea, a character with an inferiority complex yet isn’t afraid to take action when the right time calls for it.
But meanwhile, there’s also Ainz and his own goals. Supported by his servants and minions, there’s no doubt that world domination is part of their agenda. Yet, Ainz is a calculating character. Despite being incredibly powerful, he isn’t the type that directly goes on the frontlines often. From this season, he commands his servants like Lupisregina on important missions. His other servants such as Demiurge offer their own advice to him. In later episodes, he begins to show a more dominating personality to prove the testament of his powers.
You better get used to a diverse and growing character cast. In the latter half of the season, we are introduced to Worker Groups of adventurers that includes Foresight, Green Lead, Heavy Masher, and Tenmu. At this point, I feel like it’s where Overlord takes a step back for its character cast. Because let’s face it, some of these characters are going to be jobbed out and treated like fillers. This is proven when some of them fall to victim of the denizens at Nazerick. I can’t even remember some of the names of these adventurers like the one that got tortured by Neuronist Painkill or those killed by monstrous cockroaches. Ainz himself also makes some of these adventurers look fools such as the ones from Foresight. In one particular episode, he shows the difference in their power while crushing all their hope for victory. And to be honest, none of this should come as a surprise. We know how powerful Ainz is and this season continues to prove that. There’s no one who can truly stand a chance against him whether it’s Emperor Jircniv (a character that appeared at end of Season 2) or army by numbers. Even an alliance between The Baharuth Empire and Kingdom’s army feels more like a desperate struggle to survive. When it comes to war, Ainz is able to decimate forces with his powerful arsenal of spells such as summoning death knights and the Dark Young. It’s the type of curb stomp battle that doesn’t last very long.
With season 3’s unorthodox story structure, I feel like it’s important that they don’t make us forget about its established cast. Remember Albedo or Shalltear from the previous seasons? While they get their moment of fame, it’s definitely not on par when they were first introduced. Others like Sebas is pretty much forgotten despite their development from season 2. To me, that’s a bit of shame since I grew attached to some of the main supporting characters. I do have to admit that Season 3 managed to commit to some of its other supporting cast such as Enri though. Hell, even the goblins became relevant with names given by her. I just wish more characters got treated in such a way.
By now, the meme of Madhouse not making sequels should be more long disregarded. Not only did Overlord receive a third season but the break is only 3 months. This implied that the second and third season may have been planned as a split cour from the start. Regardless, I feel like Madhouse should’ve committed more time for at least a half year break to boost its production quality. Don’t get me wrong though. The third season definitely had some great visual quality moments especially during some of the battle segments. World building in Overlord still stands out as a prominent feature that people shouldn’t overlook. And those character designs really evoke emotions. Just looking at characters such as Neuronist Painkill or Shalltear’s killing instincts should be enough to get a reaction. Unfortunately, not all reactions for this season will be positive such as the case with the Dark Young. Thanks to the atrocious CGI, their presence reminds me exactly how NOT to adapt character models for a show like this.
Three seasons of light novel adaptations doesn’t come by too easily these days. And often, they get treated poorly with the pacing or omission of content. Overlord doesn’t fall under those pitfalls but still suffers from its character building at times. I’m not going to lie. I enjoy the novels but this adaptations isn’t really a great representation of value. The fact is, Overlord is a reputation by name but is far from perfection.
You know what? Sometimes it is fun to route for the bad guy. Sometimes you are drawn to the villains of a story by their overwhelming power, how cunning and intelligent they are, or their unquestionable charisma. A good villain always leaves a mark during and after the story is finished. So what happens when you take those villains and make them the protagonist of their own stories? Well you get shows like Overlord. A series that has had three seasons now when we thought it was a one and done series. But nope, Madhouse has stuck to this series with another season. And now Overlord, in my opinion, is taking its stride.
Why do I say that? Well I'm about to tell you. Sit back, relax and make sure you demand SILENCE! while you are reading this review as I present to you the anime review for Overlord, Season 3. Let begin shall we.
So Ains Ooal Gown (or Momonga, or Momon or Papa Bone Daddy, whatever you want to call him) has now established Nazerick in the world they they still have no idea how they got there. Now that he has established Nazerick, his next course of action is to take over the world as is power and presence must be known across all of the kingdoms and countries. Or at least that what Demiurge believes and Ains is just rolling with it. In order to maintain control of Nazerick and his subjects, he must essentially go along with it although he never planned it in the first place and confront the nearby kingdoms in order to rule the world.
Once again the show is separated into two story arcs where each arc follows different characters and how they are tied to Ains' plans and objectives. The first arc follows the village that Ains saved back in season one and how they are progressing. The second arc follows the actions of the Empire, a faction that was teased at the end of season two, and how they are tied to Ains progression of ruling the world. Now world building is once again, focused in Overlord and it is one of its biggest strengths. It doesn't just focus on the inhabitants of Nazerick but the people outside it. It helps give depth to this world and its characters. You get invested into these characters to the point where once they interact with Ains Ooal Gown, you hope that they make it out okay.
Speaking of which, the polarity of who to route for in this show has taken full swing in this show. While season two also did this, season three is where I think it now has more weight. As the escalation grows in this show, you hope that some of the world's core characters make it out unscathed, especially when they confront Ains or his subordinates. You want to route for Ains because he his the main protagonist and the character we get invested into the most, but you still want to route for the "good guys" because they are developed enough to get invested into them. Sometimes that is the case. Sometimes it is not. This just shows you how defined the world is and how putting investment into it helps flesh it out.
This season really does give us more insight into the mind of Ains Ooal Gown as it shows that he is just going along with the ride. Like I said earlier, Demiurge believes that Ains is now planning to take over the world whereas Ains didn't think on doing that. Now that the other floor guardians believe that, he essentially must do what they believe he will do in order to maintain control of Nazerick. He is portrayed as always being 3 or 4 steps ahead but in reality, he is just making it up as he goes along. He also has to practice his lines and poses in his spare time in order to maintain his image. It's a nice reminder that he isn't some all knowing, all seeing Overlord, but rather a simple, human businessman who was invested into an MMORPG pretending to be an evil Overlord.
Of course that doesn't mean he doesn't do it well because when he requires to do some evil deeds, he will do them without remorse. This season just reminds you that Ains is indeed a straight up villain. The previous two seasons sort of portrays Ains as both being good and bad. While he did some evil things, he also did some good things as well (Mainly when he is under the disguise of Momon). BUT NOPE. This series pretty much gives you a solid reminder that Ains is indeed the main evil that puts all other evils to shame. This season is by far the darkest season we've had because the actions that Ains took in this series are just pure villainy. Word of advice, if you ever threaten Nazerick, dig a grave. Then immediately fill up that grave because your body isn't coming back. Then stick a bunch of red flags into your head as you skip ever so gracefully into Nazerick to never be seen again as you will be remembered as the idiot who went into Nazerick looking like a t**t.
As for the characters that were focused on in the arcs, we have two to talk about. First there is Enri Emmot, a member of the village that Ains saved personally and Jircniv Rune Farlord El Nix (we will just call him Jircniv), the ruler of the aforementioned Empire who is always at war with the kingdom from the second season.
So Enri is the main vessel from where we see how the village has progressed since season one. She is somewhat the figurehead of the village as she also the leader of a platoon of goblins that were summoned to protect the village. We see her over the course of the season take more responsibility as she it put into situations where she requires a level head and figure out the best course of action. She is essentially the kind and courageous person you would see take charge as the lead character, unaware that she is serving Papa Bone Daddy who is completely evil. But the problem I find with her is that I don't see nothing more than just a vessel used to show the progression of the village in the show's world building. I don't get invested into her as much than say Zaryusu Sasha from season two because his motives were defined enough for me to get invested into him. For Enri, everything develops around her, rather than she is the main person involved. However, there is good use of foreshadowing where she will have to take center stage and have situations that involve around her in the future.
As for Jircniv, he is a good case of how looks can be deceiving. First impressions might describe him as a pompous a***ole who doesn't give a s**t. But actually, he is not that. He is cunning as he needs to think what is best for his Empire and plans out what the best course of action is that will benefit him and his Empire and to make sure it does not crumble, mainly when confronting Nazerick and Ains Ooal Gown. While he gets less screen-time than Enri. He is the kind of character that you can get invested in because you know definitely, he is going to play a big part in the future.
That's not to say other characters in this show do not get defined enough. From the workers who raid Nazerick to the goblins who protect the village to more established characters like Gazef Stronoff and Nfirea Bareare. Each character is defined enough to get invested into and to look forward to see what happens next for them. Not all of them are hits but the majority of the cast is enjoyable to watch.
I think that I should come to expect that the animation quality isn't going to change for the better. So the animation will always be stuck on good but not great. However, I have also noticed that this season has increased the use of CGI animation and yeah, it does not look good. It just lacks detail and polish as it loses some of the impact of some scenes in the anime. Anyone that has watched episode 12 will pretty much agree with that statement. Trust me, you will notice it when the quality of the CGI animation gets bad. What I don't get is that it uses both CGI and hand drawn animation on the same models and likes to switch between them. Why Madhouse won't stick to one type is beyond me. Probably for budget reasons but that just feels like a sorry excuse of not allocating resources properly. While it does make sense for some character models like the Death Knights since they are larger than the average human, it just looks bad for other character models like the goblin and human soldiers.
Once again, the same soundtrack returns to Overlord III with haunting instrumentals and bombastic choir vocals. It is the soundtrack that can only be associated with a bad-ass, freaking Overlord. But my problem is a lack of notable new soundtracks (if there were any). The ones that I remember are the ones that we are already established with, which is quite a shame. It is not bad as the OST overall is still good but lets get some new stuff in here shall we? Before we start looping in circles.
The opening is something different and yet familiar at the same time. This time, MYTH&ROID swap with OxT to do the opening and my word, did MYTH&ROID and [email protected]
do a good job on the opening. The opening, "Voracity," is much better choreographed than the previous two openings and is the most visually impressive out the three openings. The instrumentals as well are much better with them sounding much more heavy than the previous two but still sounding like an Overlord opening. This is also backed up with the lyrics being catchy as hell and able to stop and start without it feeling tedious. This all culminates to being the best Overlord opening out of the 3 IMO and one I have listened to countless times.
I've never appreciated Overlord's ending sequences till now because this one was an enjoyable ending sequence. OxT did the ending sequence this time with a more slower piece of work than their openings but still using heavy, electrical instruments to match the instrumentals with the opening. But what really stole the show were the illustrations used in the ending as they looked gorgeous; somewhat reminiscing the art style of the Light Novel's. I'll have to make sure not to skip these from now on if they keep up this quality.
So what did I mean when I said Overlord is taking its stride? Well what I meant by that was where we are in the story and how established its world and characters are, Overlord is now going full steam ahead with its trajectory and it doesn't look like its planning to stop until it reaches its destination. While its animation quality has taken a dip and the OST is now starting to go in a loop. Its heart and soul will always be its world and characters because that is what it does best. We always look into the world and its inhabitants and get attached to them before Ains and co. swoop in and probably take over their lives. It is kind of funny how this show has gone from finding out where they are and if there are other players there as well to watching a powerful Overlord start to take over the world.
If you were not a fan on how Overlord II was structured and how the attention was always driven away from Ains, then this season won't change your mind as it is pretty much more of the same. If you were a fan like I was, then you should be happy. I would imagine Madhouse would want to see this anime through since it is popular enough to have three seasons already. And you know what Madhouse? I will still continue to watch Overlord and bow down to THE GREAT SORCERER KING, AINS OOAL GOWN!!!
My Personal Enjoyment: 9.5/10
Overall score: 7.9/10 Recommendation: Watch it (If you haven't already.)