Anime Review: Overlord Season 2

By Drew Hurley 09.04.2019

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Overlord Season 2 (UK Rating: 15)

Isekai has become one of the biggest tropes in modern anime. It seems there are numerous new series every season where characters are being pulled into games or fantasy worlds. In a sea of mediocrity, there have been few that have really stood out. Overlord smashed onto the scene, an adaptation of a much loved Light Novel series, delivering more a villain than a hero in the protagonist. It's been a long, long time since the small first season, almost two years, but now 13 more episodes are finally here. Coming courtesy of Manga Entertainment, this latest collection is available now.

After coming to accept his new life in the game he once loved, Lord Ainz has begun scouting out the world, looking into the other kingdoms and people in the surrounding areas considering how one of his most powerful servants was turned against him at the tail end of the first season. It seems possible another player may be in the world, with a World Level item who took control of the powerful vampire Shalltear, and it required Ainz himself fighting to get her back. Something he would likely prefer to avoid happening again. To that end, he has dispatched Cocytus, a warlord obsessed with honour to lead an army of mindless undead against the scattered tribes of Lizardmen that live in the marshes near to where Nazarick has appeared.

This story makes up the first arc of this season. It's weird to see; there are some occasional moments glimpsing into what's going on with the characters from the first season. Instead, it introduces a whole cast of Lizard Men split up across numerous tribes, struggling to bring their people together to try and fight back against the monstrous invaders. It's a reminder that Ainz is not the good guy here. He may be the protagonist, but the things he is doing are not for the betterment of the world.

The second arc focuses on a second Kingdom on the borders of Nazarick - this time, the human kingdom of Re-Estize. The stylish Butler Sebas has been performing various tasks for his master here, having established a base of operations at a mansion. When returning from one such errand, Sebas stumbles on a prostitute who has been horrifically beaten. The prostitute, Tuare, happens to be a dead ringer for Sebas' creator - a resemblance that makes him take her in. Unfortunately, she belonged to a shadowy crime syndicate known as the Eight Fingers. His affection for her makes his fellow servants begin to doubt him, though; especially when he's risking the exposure of their operation.

This second arc reintroduces some familiar faces from the first season that seemed to be just bit-parts… but now play much bigger roles in this story. When Ainz went off as Momon for the first time and saved Carne village from the Slane Theocracy, he helped a group of Knights led by a man named Gazef. When Shalltear was hunting Martial Arts users and slaughtered a group of bandits, she destroyed their leader Brain Unguls, although he managed to escape - barely. It turns out these two individuals knew one another. Brain wasn't always a mercenary; he was once one of the most promising swordsmen in the land - until a loss to Gazef drove him to take on the mercenary life and travel to improve himself. The second loss to Shalltear rocks him greater but, coincidentally, reunites him with Gazef.

The duo is joined by a young man named Climb, the squire to the princess of Re-Estize. These three find themselves clashing with the same Eight Fingers organisation, and soon enough the trio is working closely with Sebas. Things escalate even further and suddenly forces of Nazarick find themselves on both sides of the battle. Not to mention new adventurers start to appear, including some with links to lord Ainz's former companions.

This second arc makes up the remainder of the season, and by the final few episodes, each story thread and little hint all begin to converge into a clear picture. 13-episode seasons are tricky; some shows benefit massively from the cut-down amount, keeping the storytelling succinct, and the filler to the bare minimum. Others, like this, though, would really benefit from the extra episodes. This whole season is yet more world-building, with the majority of episodes dedicated to the supporting cast of Nazarick or completely new characters from the world. By the time the season ends, the overarching narrative has built up more and more but the actual story of Ainz and what's he's attempting to do is crawling forward at a snail's pace: all world-building, no personal development.

Being a Funimation release, there are plenty of bonus features bundled up. There is both the original Japanese dub, along with the English dub, with the same voice actors returning and doing an impressive job on both counts. The English voice actors take part in two-episode commentaries for episode three and six. There are some very special bonuses for original dub fans, too, albeit they are sadly very short. There is an interview with the original author of the series Kugane Maruyama and the director of the anime series Naoyuki Itou - running a little over eight minutes. Then a shorter interview with the director of the OAV series, "Play Play Pleiades," which sees the battle maids of Nazarick take centre stage in chibified comedy shorts. The second of these OAVs is also bundled within.

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
Overlord is by far one of the best Isekai out there. What started as just an interesting premise has grown in depth; the hints at Ainz losing his humanity, the villainous nature to some of the things he's doing - the cast extended with interesting characters. It all seems so promising, getting the audience hooked to finding out what happens next. However, the short nature of the seasons is a considerable negative. It just starts to hit its stride here, and then it suddenly ends, leaving the audience desperately wanting more. The first season reached the UK in June 2017, and to wait this long for thirteen episodes and for so little development to the overall story is frustrating. The third season has recently, finally, launched in Japan, and the thought of it taking this long to see the next is unbearable. Thankfully, not only is the manga now available in the UK, but so are translated versions of the Light Novels, giving fans a chance to fully experience this still on-going story.

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