by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Overlord II (TV 2) ?
Ains is at least mentioned in this episode, so I suppose that's a slight step up in his involvement over last episode. Even so, the episode ends without showing the conversation he has with Sebas when the servant returns to his base of operations in the wake of this episode's events. Is it significant that Solution greets him in the maid uniform rather than Tuare? Tuare not being there to greet him is certainly a little suspicious. Hopefully next episode's beginning will shed some light on this.
We do get the first real indications that something is off with Princess Renner. The final scene before the credits substantiates that her affection for Climb is genuine (though whether it's romantic or not is another story), but maybe nothing else about her actions is authentic. Her process of deciding what kind of smile she should wear by molding her own face is more than faintly disturbing, as are her comments about what she wants to do to servants who bad-mouth Climb. I'm curious to see how far the series goes with this alternate personality angle, given that only four more episodes remain.
However, the main business of the episode is the raid on the underground brothel by Sebas, Climb, and Brain. Sebas does get his chance to lay some smack down in the bloodiest scene to date this season, but short-changing his action scenes in favor of a continued emphasis on Climb is a disappointment; I'm guessing it was done because he's just so overwhelmingly strong, whereas Climb actually has a life-or-death challenge ahead of him. Besides, his fight against Eight Fingers member Succulent is crisp and active when not being bogged down by exposition.
Succulent's combination of fencing with illusion magic turns him into a roguish type, usually called an Arcane Trickster in tabletop RPGs, which makes him lethal if you can't quickly see through his tricks. However, Climb's cleverness and determination combined with Brain's abilities showcase the weakness of his skill set; he can't really stand up in a fight if his illusions are overcome. The magic items that Climb pulls out for dealing with traps and secret doors are also a neat touch. On the more unpleasant side, the animation once again doesn't pull its punches on the abuse of prostitutes, in this case under the hand of a naked fat bastard. His death is the most satisfying since Clementine's in the first season and seems to reassert the series' stance that while there are real monsters afoot in this series, some of the humans are even worse.
The problem with this episode that holds it back is that it's too entrenched in game mechanics. The series has made no secret about this being a fantasy RPG-influenced world, but Succulent's explanations to Climb sound too baldly like the discussions I have with fellow RPG players about character builds. As a long-time tabletop gamer, I've often found those discussions to be the breaking point between regarding a character as merely a collection of stats rather than a fictional person, and I think this series crosses that line more than it should. It may bother others less.
The epilogue scene where the muscular Eight Fingers member from a couple of episodes ago assembles his posse of supposed badasses promises more heavy-duty action to come. With any luck, we don't have to worry about the remaining episodes being boring.
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