Episodes: 2 seasons of 13 episodes (English dub version)
Genre: Isekai, Dark Fantasy, Action
If you’ve been paying attention to anime and manga in recent years, you’ve no doubt heard of Overlord. Back when the first season came out, a friend of hubby and I recommended that we watch it. Whilst the first episode was a bit weird, we stuck with the show and ended up really liking it. Recently, we both decided to binge-watch the second and third seasons. Whilst I could have posted a separate review for each, I decided to consolidate as it seemed that it would provide a good comparison.
After the mind-control of Sheltear in the first season, Ainz continues to try to learn about the world he is trapped in and hopefully find other player characters. He runs numerous experiments, all the while his primary advisor Demiurge works towards Momonga/Ainz Ooal Gown’s “goal” of taking over the world. As time progresses, we see the expansion of Carne Village and the introduction of a host of new characters. More factions are introduced and Ainz’s world becomes more and more involved in political maneuvering, until a large-scale massacre in which Ainz establishes his own nation.
These two seasons did a good job of showing the audience of the world. However, just like many viewers, I found myself heavily disliking the use of CG in the third season. It looked terrible, showing a lack of care on the part of the producers of this anime adaptation. It was a shame as well because many of these sequences could have been significantly more impactful if a bit more care had been taken.
As for the voice acting and characterization, it was solid. I did, however, feel a lot more depressed as many of the characters I grew attached to were soon killed off in horrific fashion. The problem with doing this on a regular basis is that you soon learn to simply not care about any of the characters because what is the point? This is in stark contrast to the way in which the book series The Sword, The Ring and The Chalice by Deborah Chester. Deborah Chester shows the reader from the beginning that the world is screwed and doesn’t try to pretty it up like Overlord does and we can accept when bad things happen because that is a part of the world. There are no false promises made by the writer, unlike Overlord with the ecchi elements and humor seen in that first episode.
Consistency and holding true to initial promises is very important to readers and viewers. We also want an adaptation to reflect the core material. This is why movies such as Dragonball Evolution and Dead or Alive did so poorly. Legends of the Dark King (a spin-off from Fist of the North Star) did so well because it reflected the core material and kept those promises made in the first episode.
In conclusion, whilst I didn’t mind Overlord, I felt like numerous promises weren’t kept and I felt decreasing emotional investment in any of the characters over time. A story can be quite smart but if you ignore those two aspects, and screw up the aesthetics, it is a waste of time and energy. This is a real shame overall. However, feel free to watch it for yourself and come to your own conclusion if you like dark fantasy and Isekai.