Asami SetoHiromi IgarashiYumi HaraOverlord
Ple Ple Pleiades (Seasons 1-4)
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2018: P-Q
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Writer/director: Minoru Ashina
Original creator: Kugane Maruyama
Actor: Asami Seto, Ayane Sakura, Hiromi Igarashi, Kei Shindou, Manami Numakura, Mikaela Krantz, Mikako Komatsu, Satoshi Hino, Yumi Hara
Keywords: Overlord, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 37-ish mini-episodes
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 20 May 2020
over lord
It's a comedy spin-off of Overlord with chibified art (everyone drawn to be three heads tall), starring Ainz Ooal Gown and his happy evil family of abominations. It's domestic. They're not bringing despair, death and horror to the innocent. They're just staying at home and being weird together.
This works rather well. Overlord has a huge cast, many of whom are weirdos. It's actually rather nice to spend time with them and get to know them better, including rarely glimpsed ones like Victim (mild-mannered flying foetus with a magical nuke suicide power), Gargantua (non-sentient 30m stone golem), Pandora's Actor (doppelganger and embarrassingly outrageous ham) and Eclair Ecleir Eicler (penguin that's scheming to overthrow Ainz).
We even meet some of the lower-tier underlings, like the lower-level maids with no special powers or the army of female vampires (presumably created by Shalltear Bloodfallen). None of the Five Worst, though. We met some of those briefly in Overlord Season 3.
It looks a lot like Isekai Quartet, incidentally. That also stars the Overlord cast (plus those of other isekai shows) and has a not dissimilar kind of comedy.
SEASON 1 (8 mini-episodes, adding up to 30 minutes)
Ainz uses his party popper that could destroy the world! He thinks it exposes people's inner selves, which would help break down the barriers between his minions and bring them closer. He's wrong. It's a bit sillier than that. Cocytus turns into a pervert, Sebas breaks, Demiurge gets a sort of Tourette's syndrome, etc.
The solution: hit everyone on the head with a piko piko hammer. (It's a child's toy.)
Oh, and the episode endings each have a Pleiades Maid killing or mutilating Clementine in a new way. Naberal electrocutes her, Solution eats her, CZ disintegrates her, Lupusregina shreds her with her claws, etc. This is fun, partly because Clementine was that axe-crazy giggling psychopath in Season 1 who got killed by Ainz in a satisfyingly disgusting way.
SEASON 2 (13 mini-episodes, each 94 seconds long)
The gang get transported to the real world, as workers in the Nazarick Corporation. Only Ainz is aware that anything's different and starts worrying about how this happened, but ultimately nothing's ever explained and it's just a way of putting our favourite psychos into a new and inappropriate environment.
Albedo and Shalltear are the funniest characters. (They're both desperately in lust with Ainz and want to do every kind of perverted thing with him, even though he's a skeleton. They're also incredibly evil and competitive.) Shalltear and the "power harassment" punchline made me laugh in ep.4. What makes these jokes twice as funny, I think, is Ainz's surreptitiously gobsmacked reactions and the way that Albedo in particular becomes deaf to his deadpan interjections when she's really off on one. Ainz can't get through to her in Season 3 ep.4.
However I also laughed at what Demiurge takes as praise in ep.7, the imagine spots of a Pleiades Maid complaint phone line in ep.8 and the Albedo-Eclair byplay in ep.11.
SEASON 3 (13 mini-episodes, each 98 seconds long)
Ainz is an idiot. It took me six episodes even to work out what his problem was, after which I was just confirmed in my assumptions. Everyone worships Ainz, so one day they all start overacting after not realising that they were seeing Pandora's Actor disguised as him. If Ainz-sama is doing that, it must be right!
Obviously, all he had to do was explain. Unfortunately Ainz is a surprisingly timid evil overlord, underneath. He worries about living up to the image they all have of him, etc. Result: he can't stop the silliness.
Funny bits include: (ep.4) Ainz's communication difficulties, (ep.9) Ainz's "eh?" and (ep.10) Pandora's Actor, which surprised me since I've always found that character a bit much. He's Tomoko's favourite, though.
SEASON 4 (three ten-minute episodes)
Yes, a fourth season. I'd always thought that Ple Ple Pleiades appeared in lockstep with its parent show, but it got three seasons in 2018.
Clementine returns! She's been resurrected (no idea by who) and she's about to meet all six Pleiades Maids. Will she survive? (Yes, amazingly.) Will her mind be destroyed? (Well, that's a different question.)
This is the least funny of the four seasons, although it can still amuse. The pace is gentler and the jokes are fewer. Ep.2 is barely a comedy, once we're past the problems of being resurrected. Lupusregina is still the friendly one, CZ2128 and her rocket blasts are surprisingly funny and Narberal takes the fiercely contested prize of "worst Pleiades social skills". "I can't distinguish bug faces."
I think it's a laugh, although Tomoko isn't a fan of this kind of thing. I hope they make more. Ainz is a surprisingly funny comedy lead, although he's often just playing the straight man for his loon underlings. Satoshi Hino is having fun with his voice, in a role that to put it mildly doesn't normally offer these opportunities.
Worth a look. If nothing else, it's short.