Our look at the anime adaptation of Overlord continues! I’ve given you my quick thoughts on the last two seasons already, mostly because I had already gone into those stories with the light novels. For the third season however, this now covers elements I have not yet read, so I figure it is only proper to give it the full Shallow Dive. So after the cut let’s take a dive into the third season of Overlord!
If the second season was a sign of how Overlord can be at its weakest point, (a focus on secondary characters that aren’t compelling), then the third season is, while not a grand return to form, a strong pivot back to what works. The story is focused on people we care about, and holds true to the theme of this new world dealing with the arrival of a near-omnipotent god figure.
Like with all Overlord seasons, it is divided into separate mini arcs, each of which is stronger than what has been done in the previous season. I was surprised that after my distaste of the Lizardman arc, that I enjoyed seeing Enri and Nephi return to the spotlight. Their relationship and that of Carne Village and the goblins has always been fun, and watching both of them grow into leadership positions was enjoyable. Enri blowing the goblin horn and summoning a literal army was a great moment, despite some jonky cgi, something this season suffers from.
The big arc this time over, is the attempts of the Baharuth Empire’s Emperor (whose name is too fucking long) to attempt to outmaneuver Ainz and form a world alliance against him. It doesn’t work of course, Ainz is always a master of being three steps ahead (or pretending that he is), and it all blows up in their faces. The episodes were the hired adventures go into the tomb and get systematically wiped out was fun to see, because you get to know a bit about who they are. It’s nothing special, but it helps give weight to the beatdown. As I said above, Overlord is able to make watching a group of people you have NO chance of winning try and struggles in vain, and make it compelling. Gazeff, Brain and Climb know that they can’t win, but still try their best to make a stand for their people, and that struggle is what makes the detours away from Nazarick entertaining.
Of course, there are some scruples. The CGI on display is not that great, and feels a bit out of place even on its best day. If you don’t care about any of the above mentioned characters then there isn’t much you’ll enjoy, and as always, the ending credit art paints a world that the animation can’t even try to replicate. Perhaps in another world Overlord would have benefitted from a style ala Jobless Reincarnation, but it just isn’t in the cards. Still Overlord is never ‘bad’ in terms of its presentation, just perhaps a little too clean.
Overlord’s third season is a solid pivot back to what works. Watching this series again with fresh eyes has made me see what it is and isn’t. At its heart, this is a story about how the world deals with the arrival of a world changing villain. Ainz may be the main character, but he is also someone the cast has to bounce off of. If you go into this series expecting the classic Isekai fare, then you are going to be disappointed. And while I do still believe that this is the weakest of the Kadokawa “Big 4”, I am more fond of it, and enjoy what I see. And with a fourth season in the cards, I have no doubt the good times will continue! Give it a look for yourself and see what you think.