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I felt that season two (Overlord II) was largely an unnecessary and frustrating diversion from the main questions behind this franchise, namely why is this virtual reality still running when the video game behind it was supposed to shut down, what is the worst thing that could happen, and what will the main character achieve within it? So I felt a good deal of trepidation going into season three. But season one was fun, and season two wasn't terrible, so I was also glad to see the story continue. Episode one of this season was largely a matter of goofing around among familiar characters within the Great Tomb of Nazarick, and while amusing it doesn't tell us much about what to expect. I just hoped things would get back on track somewhat and we would concentrate on the important and intriguing questions rather than be diverted again.
The first arc is about what will happen to Carne village, which Ains saved way back in season one. He stationed a garrison of goblins there to defend it, but there are signs that an enemy way beyond their capabilities may attack soon. On the one hand, this was sort of fun--more fun than any of the arcs from season two--what with the incongruous situation of a teenage human girl who finds herself thrust into the position of commanding the defenders. On the other, it seems to be another example of focusing on supporting characters while Ains himself plays little part. On a whim I rewatched episode four of season one, in which Ails personally kicks the asses of a group of evil magic casters. That was a truly thrilling and titillating event, whereas I couldn't get nearly as excited about these incidents in which relatively minor characters are in the limelight. They will probably not get us any closer to figuring out WTF is going on in this dysfunctional video game, which, I like to think, is the primary conflict behind Overlord.
The 'village under threat' arc comes to an end with episode five and we shift to a new one in episode six. A number of new characters are introduced plus some old ones return as we survey the state of politics throughout the world. As usual, I was more interested in what's up with Ails and his subordinates rather than these people. He makes an appearance at the very end of the episode (if only there had been time for a few more lines!) which reinvigorated my interest as it suggests that he will personally play a part in this next arc. And indeed he does; episode eight was a pleasant surprise--a truly exciting and thrilling one, of the sort which we haven't seen since season one of Overlord. An incident has been engineered in which a small army of adventurers are lured into the Tomb of Nazarick in search of loot, and swiftly meet awful fates, most of them in episode seven. In episode eight he personally makes mincemeat of four of them. Ains is merciless to fairly likeable characters, which pulls the rug out from under us. Yet I didn't get the feeling that he was acting like a villain; more like brutal, uncompromising justice was being administered to these tomb raiders for the sin of trespassing. He wasn't sadistic, though their fates will be bad enough anyhow. Apparently this is an excuse for him to threaten their homeland and demand an apology. At last Ains himself is in the drivers' seat, and I couldn't wait to see where things would go from here. Actually, it is more Demiurge than Ains who is putting these schemes together, which is curious. Basically, an NPC is more clever than the player himself--good thing they're on the same side. Still little sign of Ains discovering another real-world person within this virtual world, but at least the idea hasn't been forgotten altogether. Anyway, it's good to have Ains back in the driver's seat. This is much more fun than season two was; in fact, I would almost say that a new viewer who accidentally skipped season two altogether might not notice that he had missed anything.
I can only guess that episode 11, in which Carne village is under threat again and desperately needs help, was one big joke. When a small army led by an arrogant prince demands entry, a sort of laughably strong Goblin army somehow appears, apparently thanks to some sort of magical charm which Ains once provided. Ains obviously didn't intend this to happen, and it makes little sense as part of the overall plot, so it can only be meant for humor. But humor is not something that Overlord excels at--recall the monster that turned out to be a giant hamster. Let's hope the final episodes of season three aren't meant to be funny as well.
Fortunately, they are definitely not. Ains allies himself with one side (not the one you would have expected) in a war between two kingdoms and makes it clear on the battlefield just how irresistible and awesome his powers are. It all winds up with a duel between himself and a former ally, which is kind of tragic. What follows is more of an execution than a duel, which, again, is tragic. Season three ends in such a way that there can only be a fourth season in the works: Ains is on the march, his power has never been greater, yet there is little if any sense that the penultimate climax of Overlord is anywhere near. There has still been no discovery of any other real-world gamers within this virtual reality. Indeed, it's hard to see how just one more season would be enough to resolve all of the issues behind Overlord; it may not even be halfway complete. But I liked season three. I would rate it as a good deal better than season two, but not as good as season one.
Last updated Wednesday, October 17 2018. Created Saturday, July 28 2018.