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I was delighted to see this long overdue sequel to Overlord turn up for the Winter 2018 season, and hurriedly rewatched the original series to refresh my memory. This new season both picks up just where the first one ended and introduces a number of new characters who will be either opponents or allies of Ails Ooan Gown as the story progresses. Yet it sort of 'felt' different somehow; it's hard to put into words, but the storytelling technique seemed to have been changed slightly. Perhaps I was impatient to get on with the story but this episode was more about refreshing memory and introducing new characters. One fairly obvious difference was that the ED song wasn't nearly as raucous and naughty as the original one (there was no OP song in episode one). I hoped the overall quality would be comparable to season one, but at this point I couldn't tell.
Episode two was frustrating as well, because it was overwhelmingly about a tribe of lizard men who are facing a new threat while what I wanted was to concentrate on Ails (who didn't appear in the episode at all) and his people. I was sure that Ails would somehow save these reptile men from the unprovoked, unashamedly evil attack they were about to receive, but in episode three what we got was about the last thing I was expecting: Ails--or, more accurately, his underling Cocytus, is their attacker! Why pick a fight with these lizard men who apparently have never even heard of him? It made no sense at all, and this show was only frustrating me even more. In season one he saved the helpless people of a village who were about to be massacred (though not entirely out of the goodness of his heart), but here he seems to be fine with committing a massacre himself. Perhaps he still sees this as only a game, but we viewers have largely suspended disbelief and see it as reality. I was disappointed. Previously, assholes would make trouble and get their comeuppance from Ails, while here he's kind of behaving like an asshole himself. In episode four Ails backs off a bit from his naked aggression but I don't see why it was necessary to begin with or whether it will ever seem justifiable. Isn't the issue of who managed to possess Shaltear in the final arc of season one far more important than this? That person would pose an infinitely greater threat to Ails then the lizard men ever could. I wish that thread would be pursued instead of this one. Or, Ails might go after certifiably evil people and kick their asses, which would be fun.
It was still unclear what Ails hoped to achieve by getting the lizard men to submit as a new arc took off in episode six. This time, Sebas, Ail's butler, is acting as a sort of spy, and he stumbles across a drug and prostitution ring. I had mixed feelings; I'd much rather Ails be fighting certifiably evil opponents like this 'Eight Hand' network, but it seems somehow discordant with sword & sorcery--more like something you'd read in the newspaper than something you'd encounter in a video game. Perhaps it's all too clear from real life that drugs and prostitution are intractable problems that are unlikely to ever be solved, which makes them depressing and discouraging. Maybe one reason why I find season two of Overlord to be disappointing in comparison to season one is that Ails himself seems to play a small part. He hardly appeared at all during the first arc, and doesn't play a major part in the second one until near the end. I would rather this be about Ails, who, after all, is the only certifiably human character in the story. This is looking less and less like a story about a guy who finds himself in alternate reality and struggles to make sense of it.
Well, at least Sebas is one of Ails' people rather than a stranger like the lizard men. In Nazarick even a butler is an ass-kicking high quality fighter, apparently. Of course the maids were pretty deadly in season one. If we cannot have Ails as the main character, I guess someone like Sebas would be second best. Still no hint whatsoever regarding how this alternate reality was created out of a video game; perhaps there never will be. Regarding Sebas, he feels pity for an abused girl, Tuare, and takes mercy on her, even though he wonders why (he muses that perhaps his 'creator' instilled this emotion in him). The notion is interesting and I wish it would be explored more but that doesn't seem likely. At one point it looked like Ails might mistakenly conclude that Sebas could no longer be trusted, but that fizzled out unceremoniously. Also, the princess of this Kingdom has a strange secret, although again it's unclear if much will be done with it. As season two neared its end, I could only wonder why the lizard men arc had been included at all, since there was no mention of them after it ended and whatever purpose (if any) Ails has for them apparently won't be revealed until season three, assuming that ever happens. A lot of plot elements seem to be getting started which will not play a major role in the story for a good while to come. The Eight Hand arc didn't make complete sense either; why did Ails decide to break up this network, again? He says himself that it wasn't just to rescue Tuare. Is he trying to trick important people into trusting Momon, his bounty hunting alter ego? The answer ought to be fairly obvious. Seeing despicable people get what they deserve is fun on a visceral level, but also having a well designed and readily understandable plot would be much better. Season one seemed to have a more focused plotline.
By the way, one thing that kind of annoys me about this show is the way it often tries to use cute or bizarre animals as jokes. It just doesn't work very well; it dilutes the horror and drama without accomplishing much in return, because the jokes just didn't strike me as being very funny.
I can't help feeling that season one had a logic and focus to it which season two lacks. In season one, the basic premise was revealed, Ails took steps to figure out what was going on, and a major threat was revealed in that somebody had managed to possess Shaltear. You might think that figuring out who had done that would be a high priority in season two, but it wasn't--it was barely mentioned at all and no significant progress has been made towards solving the problem. As a result, season two feels empty somehow. A number of minor problems have appeared and been resolved, but no major ones. Is Ails any closer to his ultimate goal than he was at the beginning of the season? I don't know. Was his only goal in taking on the Eight Hands network to raise some money and inflate his reputation? The story as a whole seems stalled.
Last updated Saturday, April 14 2018. Created Tuesday, January 02 2018.