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Overlord Season 2 Complete Collection Limited Edition Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read
A lot of side stories fill up the set to decent effect but the season feels lacking.

A lot of side stories fill up the set to decent effect but the season feels lacking.

What They Say:
Continuing his quest to rule this new world, Ains begins to put the pieces in place for his conquest. But between a Lizard Man tribe uprising, and performing missions as adamantite adventurer Momonga, Ains has his work cut out for him! Thankfully he has his most loyal and willing subordinates to do his bidding.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English language dub gets a 5.1 boost, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series works a healthy blend of different types of action with the usual dialogue and the mixes both work well for it. The dub naturally has a bit more placement at times and overall clarity but also just a higher sound level in some instances that’s complemented by the bass levels in the action sequences. The show is one that works some fun battles, though they rarely go on long until the end of the season, but what we get is nicely creative with some good sword fights, fist fights, and the use of magic. Sometimes at the same time and that makes for a nice bit of cacophony. The encoding captures all of it well as both tracks are clean throughout with what they do and the end result is one that’s certainly pleasing on the ear, whether it’s the opening or closing songs or everything in between.

Video:
Originally airing in 2018, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second, which is also where the bulk of the extras are. Animated by Madhouse, the show has a great look about it with a rich color palette that knows when to go vibrant and when to stick to more traditional fantasy era earth tones. The mix of different elements plus the “gaming” elements as well makes for a pretty rich looking visual experience tied in with some great character designs and really fluid motion sequences during the bigger battles. The character designs have some solid detail to it and the show goes big with the main character since there’s a bit more effort involved there and the encoding captures all of it very well. Colors are bold and clean with no noise to be had or break up while backgrounds are solid throughout and nothing to really take issue with during regular playback.

Packaging:
Replicating the overall design of the first season was a very welcome plan as the packaging for this limited edition release is definitely pretty great all around, especially in the visual delivery area. The heavy chipboard box is done in darker tones using some of the fantastic illustration pieces that’s in line with the novels in how they’re done with the covers as opposed to animation pieces. It sets a pretty distinct tone that, for fans of the genre, will be delightful to have and show off. Both sides provide for some great pieces with one going brighter and more vibrant and the other focused on darker and murkier so that all kinds of fans will be pleased. Within the box we a single Blu-ray case that provide more of this kind of illustration/painted artwork on the front that holds both formats while the back side has some fun character artwork from within the show along with a breakdown of the episodes by number and title with Blu-ray disc and what extras there are. There’s also artwork on the reverse side that features more character material done in animation form while the left side features the DVD format breakdown. The really great part of this set is that we get a pack-in box that also includes three art cards that replicate the Japanese cover artwork, which is what populates the set itself. These are fantastic pieces and really deserve some kind of framing to bring it together in a very visible way instead of sitting inside your box. We also get the fabric poster that takes the colorful front cover and gives us a great display piece and we have the square bound booklet that features lots of character designs and details, beautiful backgrounds from the show, and lots of rough designs to give you more of a look into the production side.

Menu:
With so much attention on so many other things with this set, the menus come across as a bit standard in a way as we get a series of nicely chosen darker clips that play throughout it as the main piece. The logo is kept to the center top in decent fashion and the layout is standard with the navigation along the bottom, which is done with a kind of old book style background that makes for easy reading of the selections themselves, which are done in white. It’s not a standout menu, though as I said the clip pieces chosen are good as they set the tone, but it’s one of those rare cases where using some of the art card artwork would have made for a more imposing piece that would set the tone far better.

Extras:
Similar to the first set, this season has a lot of extras to it and a lot to dig into that’s very worthwhile. For English dub fans, we get two audio commentary tracks with the cast but sadly no video commentary this time around. This set also has some great original extras from Anime Expo 2018 where we get a three-minute message from Minor Ashina, the director of the Play Play Pleiades shorts that talks about why these were produced. We also get an interview with Kugane Maruyama and Naoyuki Itou that clocks in at eight minutes. Of course, Maruyama hides his face as you’d expect while Itou talks about handling the show itself as the director. Both offer up some nice moments for it but the mask thing, which I’m way too familiar with having watching anime for decades, just makes the whole thing hard to really take seriously.

One of the big extras for me is the inclusion of Play Play Pleiades shorts, which were streamed during the broadcast and are like short-form low-rent comedy pieces in terms of animation but poke fun at themselves in a really cute way. They’re all in one extra but you can thankfully skip around them easily enough. The same can be done with the special preview collection that highlights each of the episodes as broadcast and we also get the usual round of TV spots, pre-broadcast promos, and the home video releases promos. Add in the clean opening and closing sequences as well as an always welcome piece.

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Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the success of the first season of Overlord, which saw a solid increase in both manga and light novel sales, a second (and third season) were announced. There was a bit of a gap between them, however, as the first season was a summer 2015 property and this second season landed in the winter 2018 season. That’s a bit of a cooling off period for some fans and it can take a bit to reconnect with a property, especially one like this where a good chunk, if not the majority, of this season felt like it was setup more than anything else. I really enjoyed the first season with what it did but this one felt like it was spinning its wheels a bit more and the areas that were interesting didn’t get further follow-up or were just minimal in this season to begin with.

For me, I really enjoyed the opening arc of the show where it focuses on the Lizardmen as they continue to deal with events and recent fallout. A good bit of this is driven by Zaryusu and it’s engaging to watch as we see him understanding some of the recent events and the cycle of life that has come for his species, which has him questioning which way is right going forward. The cycle of violence allows for the recovery and a kind of sustainability but there’s also a belief that unity and a different vision can allow them to grow as a species in a better way, especially against some of the larger threats out there. The addition of Crusch, a member of the Red Eye tribe that’s all white. She’s serving as the interim priestess and chief of the village because of much that has gone on and is interested in finding a better way, which has Zaryusu eventually going on to challenge Zenburu and taking on Crusch as his own, which leads to a hilarious moment of Ains checking in on him in the midst of having sex with her.

Once past that, however, the show shifts to working its story around Sebas, who ends up helping a woman named Tuare that was left for dead after being brutalized. He’s intent on helping her but doing so would expose the guy who did and cause a lot more problems involving the Eight Fingers group, and that gets Sebas wrapped up in this journey. It’s not bad per se but Sebas isn’t an interesting character to me and Tuare, while interesting with some of the visual design elements and personality, doesn’t connect for me either. It feels more like setup for what’s to come more than anything else but without anything to really invest in here. Which is fine as there’s aspects of novel storytelling coming into this from here and it’s playing for the longer game. But after a first season that felt like it was a lot more cohesive throughout and the earlier part of this with the Lizardmen clicking far better than expected, this just didn’t work.

Things do come to a bit more interesting of a place toward the end with Ainz now wondering if Sebas has betrayed him and working with those that are aligned with him to figure it out. While there are dashes of material with Ainz throughout the season he’s felt very much like a peripheral character for much of it and reconnecting to him and his attendants isn’t an easy thing here in the last run of episodes. With so much time between seasons as well I never felt like I fully remembered all the various threads and the show didn’t help to tie them back together either, which I understand why. It is fun to watch some of the action that flows here and to see Ainz stepping out as Momon again with the group he has there, but everything just felt weirdly convoluted and disassociated in a way that I couldn’t pin down. I could enjoy the bigger moments, the action, and some of the personality quirks, but the larger story here at the end simply felt superficial as we get Sebas being tested and focusing on the Eight Fingers group and the sprawling cast related to that.

In Summary:
I really like Overlord as a property and was totally on board with the first season and a good chunk of this season. I’m still amused that the whole Lizardman arc clicked for me in a way that I didn’t expect as it worked with concepts that I like in these kinds of shows with its worldbuilding and changing how things have always been. The Eight Fingers material and how sprawling that gets along with Sebas and all of it just didn’t feel compelling and it left me trying to find reasons to care. There were fun moments with characters like Climb to be sure, and some good attention from Ainz and the rest toward the end of it, but it couldn’t salvage the arc as a whole and left me feeling a bit more neutral toward the season as a whole. I just want a Lizardman spinoff focusing on Zaryusu and Crusch at this point I think. For fans, Funimation again knocks it out of the park with a great limited edition, a great looking shows, and a solidly engaging and fun dub that works very well. Combine that with some great extras and this is one of those must-have full packages for the fans.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD Language, English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Language, English Subtitles, Chapter 3 Commentary, Chapter 6 Commentary, OVERLORD II at Anime Expo 2018: A Message from Minoru Ashina, OVERLORD II at Anime Expo 2018: Interview with Kugane Maruyama & Naoyuki Itou, Play Play Pleiades 2, Special Preview Collection, Chapter 1 Preview, Promotional Videos, Commercials, Textless Opening & Closing Songs, Trailers

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A-

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: January 15th, 2009
MSRP: $84.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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