Kiyono YasunoEmiri KatoYumi HaraOverlord
Overlord IV
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Naoyuki Itou
Writer: Yukie Sugawara
Original creator: Kugane Maruyama
Actor: Emiri Kato, Kenta Miyake, Kiyono Yasuno, Masayuki Kato, Ryota Ohsaka, Satoshi Hino, Sumire Uesaka, Yasuyuki Kase, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yumi Hara, Yumi Uchiyama
Keywords: Overlord, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Season Four: episodes 40-52
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 3 June 2024
over lord
The show's crossed a line for me. Yeah, Ainz is villainous. We knew that. It's the point of the show. It was hard to miss when he was doing things like insta-killing 70,000 soldiers (many just conscripts) on the battlefield with one spell, then using their deaths to summon Lovecraftian abominations. As for his underlings, they're even worse and would commit atrocities for fun, not just on Ainz's orders. I've googled them. In some cases, Ainz hasn't realised what they're doing behind his back, because that level of evil hadn't occurred to him.
This year, though... yeesh. It's still a memorable, distinctive show and I'll keep watching, but I'd be pleased if Ainz died.
It's a season of two halves. In the first half, Ainz is a nice guy. He treats people well, does political negotiations in good faith and is a wonderful boss for his underlings. He's also funny! Ainz doesn't dare tell anyone is that he's capable of being a bit of an idiot, yet his underlings think he's an infallible super-genius. More than once, I laughed at Ainz doing or saying something gormless, only for people like Demiurgos to assume he was seeing depths they hadn't anticipated and thus completely rewrite their plans based on what they (incorrectly) inferred to be his twenty-dimensional chessplaying.
Besides, our anti-heroes in the Great Tomb of Nazarick are likeable. They're an evil but happy family. The minions adore Ainz, while he does everything he can to be a good boss and father figure. They're colourful, funny and so shamelessly villainous that it's often hard not to get a kick from seeing them let rip.
There's quite a lot of politics. Ainz conquered an entire country in Season 3, so now he's got to run a government. (I got annoyed with him in the first episode for looking through a bunch of political and economic analysis and just thinking "nope, don't understand any of it". Put in the effort, man! This stuff matters!) I'll admit that I wasn't always gripped by the political manoeuvring, partly because the Nazarick gang are so overpowered that it's almost impossible for anyone even to slow them down.
Then the season's second half began. Until then, I'd been saying in bewilderment, "Ainz isn't being evil!" Well, here that changes. Basically, he commits genocide on a whim. Someone in a certain country did something that was mildly inconvenient for him... but so what? He's Ainz. He'd have had to pay attention even to notice. It's a pretext, basically. He announces an invasion, then carries it out. Everyone dies, unless you assume that Ainz did something about the unusual pleas of those two minor underlings for a bit of mercy. There's no room for doubt about the broad picture, though. He massacres entire cities. Men, women, children, orphanages... all dead. Because Ainz ordered it, because he felt like it. They were no threat to him. He just thought it would be good publicity.
It fits, mind you. It makes sense, given his motives. It's certainly not an error or a plot hole. But bloody hell.
Tomoko prefers the original light novels to the anime. Season Three covered novels 8, 7 and 9 (in that order), after which Season Four did novels 10, 11 and 14. The missing novels 12-13 will be adapted in a movie called Overlord: The Sacred Kingdom, due later this year. The original novels are brick-sized and it was probably impossible for a TV series to match their depth... but, even so, Tomoko says the novels contain interesting details and developments that would have improved the TV series had it included them. Mind you, Ainz is even more horrifying there, since the anime and manga adaptations haven't included his most despicable actions.
Whoah. It's good, yes. I know of nothing else like this series. I also admire Madhouse for committing to it so wholeheartedly, with I imagine five seasons (i.e. 65 episodes) and a movie across more than a decade. (Current predictions are for the light novels to end with volume 17.) Most anime shows don't last that long, especially not when produced to this level of quality. I'd even recommend it. But brrrr.