What They Say:
This land will fall to his command—the overlord is back! While Ains Ooal Gown’s conquest over Yggdrasil is bearing fruit, a deadly power struggle between empires could lead to Ains’ downfall. But that’s the least of his worries. Despite praise from his subjects, Momonga is finding it harder and harder to keep up the act as the terrifying Ains. On top of it all, Nazarick is being invaded. Can the mighty overlord maintain his reign, or will this be his final stand?
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.
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 breakup while backgrounds are solid throughout and nothing to really take issue with during regular playback.
The packaging design for this regular edition release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that provides more of this kind of illustration/painted artwork on it that really works well and sets it apart from other shows. The o-card and case are the same and there’s not too much difference in quality since they’re both pretty dark and murky. The back of the case has a bit more since it’s filled with more red and rage that works nicely and ties into the red strip along the top and we get a couple of decent shots from the show. The premise is well covered and the various extras are listed pretty cleanly as well. Technical information breaks down both formats and the inclusion of a digital side as well. With the case replicating the o-card, the main difference is that we get artwork on the reverse side. This is done up with some very sexy and dark looking material from the Japanese covers but does its sexy without being full of skin and outright sexuality.
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.
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 and the return of the video commentary, this one for the eleventh episode. One of the big extras for me is the inclusion of Play Play Pleiades shorts, which were streamed during 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 commercials. Add in the clean opening and closing sequences as well as an always welcome piece.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s been interesting watching as Overlord has come out because it’s rare that we get a series that gets three seasons like this and with the time between a couple of them. The first season landed in 2015 but the second and third both arrived in 2018 with a gap between them. I really enjoyed the first season but reconnecting with the second proved a bit harder as it felt a little more listless and without a strong narrative. The third season, unsurprisingly, feels much the same. It’s adapting the works well by all appearances and conveying what’s in the novels but it’s starting to feel like what’s working so well in there doesn’t come across quite as well here. It’s almost a little too spread out, a little too focused on the smaller stories, and it kind of lacks that something special that the first season had that really drew me to it.
The show gives us a kind of easy re-entry into things after the gap between seasons with some down time among Ains and those that work for him, making for some cute moments and there and a really problematic moment when Albedo goes overboard in her lust for Ains. It’s not a hot springs episode per se when you get down to it, but it does have that kind of laid back approach for a lot of it and is a kind of odd way to get things back underway. Ains, for his part, does have a larger plan with what he wants to do in this world but it’s still an area where it feels like his being trapped here hasn’t been explored much and the reality of Ains himself and who he is inside is sometimes forgotten. I do like that he’s making his plans and that there’s a counterplan in place by the NPCs (world domination!) that he’s not aware of, which does in turn give him something of a challenge to face.
But the lines are a bit blurred at times and the show almost feels like a weird simulation of sorts where Ains just hasn’t figured out how to go full into God Mode and just do what he wants. The biggest problem for me is that with a decent sized cast going off on their missions, the characters I like don’t get a lot of time and I end up with stories that don’t do much for me. The bit with Goblin Troop will factor into events later in the series but early on it’s just a lot of stuff that feels like it’s slogging through the mud to get to where it wants to be, such as the events at Carne Village. I just couldn’t care much for the goblins, no matter how much the show gets me to try, and those Ains sent like Enri aren’t all that interesting either.I do like the Momon pops up from time to time but even that’s just a bit of a stretch overall.
The show starts moving more into larger scuffles with the various kingdoms and the way that Ains and his rule is complicating things, hence the push for the NPC side to make their attacks, but the idea of digging into their stories much is a big part of the push and it just falls flat for me. I had really enjoyed the first season when it focused on Ains and his direct involvement through this persona or as Momon in what he was accomplishing, but the more it became outsourced and the more places that came into play, the less resonance it had. There’s a lot to like for those that want to dig into it but it reminded me of the heavy focuses on the Goblin side in the second season, giving them a lot more personality and screen time so that you had another side that would be richly detailed to go up against Ains. It made sense but at the same time it just didn’t click for me and it left me more bored than not.
There are a lot of power plays that are moving through this season considering the size of the cast and the diverse locations for it but it doesn’t factor heavily into anything like big troop movements, though we get a little bit of that digital goodness from time to time. The resulting buildup when Ains is more directly involved in the final arc of the set, coming down to a duel no less, but it at least has some potential to actually kill him. That gives it a little tension but you also know that the main character is not going to die. The way things wrap up neat and tidy is a given and it’s all going according to plan, but the big picture aspect is still there of wondering who’s true plan at this point and just how is this world able to continue and function. But that’s not something that the show really wants to talk about much, more focused on what Ains can accomplish – which is pretty good as he gets his Sorcerous Kingdom by the end here.
As much as I am griping here, Overlord offers up a lot of fun little bits with Ains and his main crew, which is where I wanted to spend more time with overall. These are fun areas but they’re splintered and drawn apart by the other events and heavy focus there, as the novels are adapted further. The show maintains a solid look throughout just like past seasons and Funimation put it all together in a solid package here. There are a lot of good extras, especially going the distance for a video commentary, that will please fans a lot to dig into. It’s a good looking and clean release that will deliver exactly what the fans wanted from it and it’s an easy recommendation overall, even if parts of it frustrate me.
Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD Language, English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Language, English Subtitles, Special Features: Episode 11 Video Commentary, Chapter 8 Commentary, Chapter 13 Commentary, Play Play Pleiades 3, Special Preview Collection Chapter 1 Preview, Commercials, and Textless Songs
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: June 25th, 2019
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
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.