by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Overlord II (TV 2) ?
Since I last did episode reviews for the first season, the source novels for Overlord have started to come out in English. Sadly I have only gotten through the second novel so far, so at least to start I will not be able to offer commentary on how this new season corresponds to the novels.
What is clear from the first episode is that this is not a jumping-on point for the franchise. Although there is some scattered recapping of events from the first season, it isn't anywhere near enough on its own to make full sense of even the series' basic scenario, much less what has transpired to date. If you haven't already watched the first season (or read its corresponding novels), go back and do that first.
For that matter, even returning viewers may want to go back and rewatch parts of the first season before starting this one, as there are some characters outside of the Nazarick crew carrying over, and the actions of some new characters look like they will be connected to things that happened in the first season. On top of that, the series throws out a bevy of new faces to go with the old ones. The girl who is playing with the Rubik's cube in the opening scene looks like one of the season's new villains, but the man talking to her briefly appeared in the episode 10 scene where Shalltear got controlled (he's the one that she said was “strong”), so presumably that's all connected. Our old buddy Gazef Stronoff is back, talking to newly-appearing King of Re-Estize, its Princess Renner, and her loyal soldier/guard Climb; the naming conventions in the Re-Estize kingdom leave a lot to be desired, don't they? (Let's not forget that we've also had a character named Brain.) We also have a dragon, an old woman who appear to know about Yggdrasil (and one who may have encountered Shalltear before, based on a brief flashback) and most interestingly, some lizard men. The opener suggests that all these characters and more will be involved in this season's plotlines, with the lizard men up first.
The problem is that the series' plot is all a jumble at this point, as there are just so many threads spinning right now. Ains acquiring a partial world map allows for some more expansive exposition on what exists where, and we get some further hints that this world-jumping has been happening over the course of centuries, but we also have threads pointing to Ains eventually meeting the king, the creation of a dummy Nazarick, whatever war Cocytus is marching off to, and so forth. Granted, this all gives this season a lot to work with plot-wise, so I can give the series a little leeway for that ambition. Also filtered in are some lighter moments, like Ains continuing to be thrown off by Albedo's overzealous devotion, Shalltear's futile attempt to get drunk, Aura randomly eating a cheeseburger, fries, and Coke for lunch, or the penguin assistant butler. Yggdrasil must have been a pretty weird game.
Basically, this episode gives the impression of the story trying to get its act together enough to push forward. That definitely doesn't place it among the better episodes of the season so far, even though the technical merits remain about the same. The real test will be what the series does as the plots get underway. More importantly though, Elias from the Ancient Magus' Bride now has active competition for the title of Bone Daddy.
Overlord II is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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