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Overlord IV
Episode 5

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Overlord IV ?
Community score: 4.5

Despite its apparent levity, this episode is actually all about the gaping emotional wound in the heart of all the denizens of Nazarick (with the exception of Pandora's Actor and Ainz himself). All these demons and monsters were created by the 41 members of the Ainz Ooal Gown guild. In the game, they were just NPCs with personalities written by their creators. But once they were transported to the fantasy world, those personalities became real, and more importantly, the events of the game became their pasts.

This means that each of them remembers the last day their various creators logged on—the day they were forever abandoned by their literal gods. This is made worse by the fact that each of the former NPCs knows exactly why they were created—they don't question the meaning of life; they know it. And yet, day after day, their gods disappeared from their lives. Imagine the doubt and pain they must have felt then: “Did I not do my job well enough?” “Did I offend them in some way?” “Was I a mistake?”

This emotional turmoil is why the monsters of Nazarick follow Ainz with such fanaticism. He alone did not abandon them. He alone can continue to give them the purpose they so crave. But perhaps, most importantly, he alone loved them enough to stay—despite the loneliness he felt at being separated from his dearest friends.

Each scene focusing on our monstrous protagonists in this episode is built around this interpretation of their existence. Albedo and Demiurge argue about how to follow Ainz's will, searching for a deeper meaning within his words and actions. Meanwhile, the not-so-intelligent Cocytus has been specifically training to be a comfortable seat for Ainz—just in case he ever needed to be punished as Shalltear was. Shalltear herself is striving to do anything and everything she can to make up for being mind-controlled in the first season, even doing things wildly out of character like taking notes and reflecting on what Ainz says and does. And Aura finds herself in a kind of leadership role, teaching the often-clueless Shalltear what she needs to know and how she needs to think to better serve Ainz.

All the floor guardians in Nazarick are striving to live up to Ainz's expectations—to be more than they were made to be—in their own ways. What they currently are was not enough to stop their gods from abandoning them, after all. And as deep as their love and admiration of Ainz is, deep down each is ruled by fear: the fear that if they fail, he too will disappear and leave them aimless and alone in an uncaring world.

Rating:

Random Thoughts:

• Even though Albedo and Demiurge are naturally antagonistic, even Albedo won't mock Demiurge for returning when he doesn't necessarily need to in order to potentially get some praise from Ainz. After all, such praise is what she and all the other NPCs crave more than anything.

• I do feel sorry for Demiurge though. Imagine possessing an unrivaled intellect and being tasked with the job of planning all the logistics to make your god's will a reality—only to feel you're not really needed as your god can make any plan you can but better.

• I have this mental image of Cocytus doing pushups each day and then having the lizardmen sit on his back to give feedback on how comfortable he is and how he can improve.

• Ainz feeling offended that the albino lizardman would fear he'd take her baby away—only to admit he'd do so if she had more babies—got a laugh out of me.

• Running into a dwarf who's super passionate about runes in a random tunnel when that's exactly what you're interested in is one hell of a stroke of luck.

• After being on the backline for so long, it's good that we get a reminder of just how insanely powerful Shalltear is. And the fact that she has put her ego aside and is listening to Aura's feedback is welcome character development.

Overlord IV is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.


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