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Anime Expo 2018 News Roundup: Day Zero, One, Two Headlines
Anime Expo 2018: Overlord III Premiere Report

by Jacob Chapman,

The Platinum Ballroom at the JW Marriott was packed for the premiere of Overlord III this weekend at Anime Expo. Once everyone (and their giant staves and scythes) found their seats, they were greeted by the panel's hosts, youtubers Gigguk and Joey the Anime Man, who showed off the PV for the Overlord season one Blu-ray.

After the applause settled, they welcomed the panel's Japanese guests to the stage: original author Kugane Maruyama and series director Naoyuki Itou. (Maruyama jovially greeted the crowd, but remained hidden behind a black hoodie and a Halloween skull mask, like Ainz Ooal Gown on Casual Fridays.) Both expressed their excitement for attending the convention and gratitude to the fans. It was Itou's first time in the U.S., somewhere he had always wanted to visit, and Maruyama was making the most of his weekend even though L.A.'s unseasonably roasting 100+ degree weather that day was "much too hot even for a skeleton like myself."

Before the dubbed premiere of Overlord III, the guests and crowd enjoyed a rapid-fire Q+A session. (The following is a detailed summation of the interview's contents, but not a direct transcription.)

Who is your favorite character in the series?

Itou: I have to care about them all equally as director, so there's no way I could choose.

Maruyama: I feel the same way as the creator.

Well then, who is "best girl"?

Maruyama: That would be Renner the Golden Princess, because she's the most absolutely messed up in the head.

Itou: Well to be fair, that's all of them! They have to all be Best Girl for me as well, because they're all completely crazy in some way.

Can we expect to see more of Evileye in future volumes? And will Hamsuke ever find a mate?

Maruyama: You will definitely see more of Evileye in the future. But as for Hamsuke, it is hopeless. No way.

What magic spell from the series would you like to have for yourself to use?

Maruyama: The Shooting Star ring's "Wish Upon a Star" spell.

Itou: I really like the healing magic abilities that have evolved over the course of the series.

How did you come up with weird names like Peroroncino and Touch Me?

Maruyama: I have no idea. They just come to me.

How many novels will Overlord III cover, and can we expect to see more battles in this season?

Itou: Season three will cover books 7-9 and every battle from those volumes as well, of course.

How much do you seek to change from the source novels in adaptation? Do you prefer to stay as faithful as possible?

Itou: Of course changes are sometimes important to make events more exciting when translating the prose into anime form. But we also want to keep all the scenes in that inspired us from the novel, so we try to cut or change only for time constraints. I hate to lose those scenes too, but sometimes we must. The process of adaptation is all about learning to balance different types of enjoyment between mediums.

How much of Overlord's big-picture story do you have figured out in advance when writing?

Maruyama: Inside my mind, the whole story is already finished. I know everything important that's going to happen. I just have to get it out of my skull and into words, which is the real trouble that takes a lot of time. But I'll do my best to get it done!

Itou: I just want to add that when Overlord was originally published online before being acquired by Famitsu Bunko, the story "concluded" at volume 9. So we always had the goal of getting that far in the anime, and I'm very glad we were able to animate that far into the story for the fans.

What emotions do you hope viewers feel watching this third season?

Maruyama: Honestly, whatever emotions you draw from Overlord are good. I would prefer people not think about this story too hard. I hope fans just enjoy it as a very weird anime.

After the Japanese side of the Q+A concluded, Overlord's English dub guests were warmly welcomed to the panel to answer some questions of their own. ADR Director Kyle Phillips and the voice of Ains, Chris Guerrero, shared their take on the world of Overlord.

What's been your favorite part of Overlord so far?

Guerrero: I have to go with the fight at the end of season one between Shalltear and Ainz.

Phillips: Definitely that fight, but also another special scene with Clementine in season one, where Ainz just gives a nice girl a nice hug.

What were your greatest challenges dubbing Overlord?

Guerrero: Ainz's "Overlord" voice is very low in my range, which means I'm not as used to speaking in it so it can be easier to slur my words. I have to be very cognizant about my diction.

Phillips: For me, the biggest challenge was letting go during the process of dubbing season 2. I was working on four or five shows at the time, so Alexis Tipton stepped in to handle the workload with me, and it was difficult to hand over the reins for parts of the series.

What inspirations did you draw from in dubbing the series?

Guerrero: This definitely wasn't an intentional inspiration, but I realize now that people have pointed it out to me that there's a little bit of Matt Berry in my portrayal of Ainz. So just imagine him shouting "WHISKEEEEY!"

Phillips: I don't know if it's an inspiration so much as a learning experience I went through, but I was intimidated by Overlord at first, because I'd never dubbed a show like this before. Most of what I'd done was slice-of-life or comedy series. The biggest thing I learned was the importance of keeping the big-picture in mind at all times. If you tweak one element of how a line is written or delivered because you think it works better for that scene, you have to keep that in mind for how it affects everything else down the line, and that can be tricky.

What's your favorite side story in Overlord so far?

Guerrero: I really enjoyed discovering the princess' relationship with Climb. It took a while for that to be fully revealed and then it was like "Whoa that's crazy!"

Phillips: Well I've mentioned the stuff with Clementine, but I also really like the big dramatic buildup of Six Arms that gets totally undercut when Sebas gets pushed just a little too far. That abrupt anticlimax was really hilarious.

As the Q+A session concluded, the guests thanked everyone for supporting Overlord and hyped up the crowd for the ensuing dub premiere. Maruyama added that while he was excited for everyone to see this premiere, he's been more excited than anything for people to see how this season will conclude. But we'll have to wait three months to find out what he meant by that.

As the panelists stepped off the stage and the lights went down, the mood of the room was surprisingly relaxed, which matched the tone of the premiere to follow perfectly. It was basically a low-stress comedy-driven reunion with everyone's favorite characters preparing for the new arc ahead at their own pace, as Entoma's host of spider friends explored the minion-filled fortress.

For those who've seen the first episode of Overlord II, this third season's return was basically the same thing but bigger and sillier, with a crowd-pleasing focus on Ainz fanservice as he finally found a way to cleanse his bony body in a slime-infested bath. The premiere continued to emphasize Ainz's softer side as he practiced being scary in front of a mirror (taking copious nerdy notes along the way) and bonded tenderly with Mare and his newest recruit Tuare, who's taking quite well to working as a maid among monsters.

On the more feminine side of the story, Albedo is trying to tame a new demon steed she's summoned (seemingly planting seeds for a future arc), but she's having difficulty because—in a twist on the unicorn myth—the beast can only be ridden by an impure maiden, and Albedo is perhaps the only virgin succubus in existence. After a few raunchy horse-riding jokes and some requisite bickering with Shalltear over whether it's okay to "mount" Ainz if it can be written off as a work expense, the story shifted to the episode's strangest scene, where Mare learns that Demiurge is currently working on a project to breed humans with non-humans for some reason, leading the shy dark elf to intercept a secret missive meant for Ainz's male minions only.

The premiere finally concluded with Albedo's hormones reaching their limit once again, as she got up close and personal with Ainz's nubile ribcage and left him needing yet another hot bath. While we didn't peep on any of the female minions in the neighboring bath, it looks like we'll be busting down that wall as the plot kicks into gear in episode 2. All in all, Overlord's fans had an excellent time at this low-stakes yet bone-tickling season three premiere, and as a first-time listener to the dub, I was impressed by everyone's loquacious and enthusiastic contributions to their roles. Whatever Overlord III's staff have planned for its supposedly surprising finale, I'm sure viewers will enjoy the ride.

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