by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 12 of
The opener has made it clear from the beginning that Shalltear was going to duel Momonga in an epic battle at some point, even though she was so intensely loyal to him that she sought to be one of his wives. This episode shows the circumstances and how it actually happens – well, for the most part, anyway. That a qualifier had to be added on to that statement speaks to how irritating the ending of the episode is.
That is not the only frustrating aspect of the situation, either, as no further insight is offered as to the perpetrator of the mind control of Shalltear. Previous suspicion that, in the absence of more specific orders, she would only act if actually attacked proves to be true, and she does act with her normal personality under those circumstances, but even once she activates she doesn't understand herself why she has to fight Lord Ains; apparently she does not know who put her under control, either. All she knows is that she feels compelled to attack back, and she is going to do it with every ounce of effort and gusto that she can muster. Momonga, for his part, realizes that confronting her himself isn't the most tactically sound maneuver, but he is compelled by his pride as guild leader and (by implication) by a desire to keep Shalltear from using the life-draining properties of her lance on one of his minions to heal herself. He does go in prepared, though; I counted 25 buff spells in all, plus a mine-type spell, and as someone who's played plenty of high-level, high-magic RPGs before, that is a lot. Shalltear, for her part, has plenty of tricks up her own sleeves, some of which even Momonga does not know about. She certainly gives him everything that he can handle, which is a welcome change of pace after he has cakewalked through every other fight so far. Meanwhile, the twin minions scout around the battlefield for enemies and other key minions gather in Nazarick to watch from afar.
The idea that Shalltear would go all-out against Ains without understanding why strains credibility, but hey, I am willing to tolerate that to set up a good fight. The problem which cannot be overlooked is that only small chunks of the fight approach the intensity one would expect from a battle where such powerful magic and attacks are being thrown around. The pace and execution of the fight just seem too relaxed. Some neat tricks and skills (one of Momonga's most powerful is called “The Goal of All Life is Death” and I couldn't have been the only one thinking “Sharknado!” at the “Shark Cyclone” attack) do help assuage that, but not enough. However, even that is not as maddening as the climax. Momonga releases his biggest blast, which Shalltear has to blow a resurrection ability to survive, and then claims that Shalltear going fully aggro has played into his plan because he would not have been able to play his ultimate trump card effectively otherwise.
And then the episode ends, as if its last five minutes had been chopped off.
This was not set up to be a cliffhanger, either, as it had little tension building towards that point. Indications seem to be that there will be an episode 13 next week, and it is certainly necessary, as this would have been an awful stopping point for a season or entire series. Episode 12 is one of the sharpest-looking episodes of the whole series, though, and getting to see Ains not wearing his most regal wear is an interesting change of pace.
The one other interesting point brought up here is further support for the theory that this may still be a game world. After all, even the NPCs like Shalltear talk in terms of HP and MP, as if they are quantifiable realities to them. Will this also be addressed in the final episode? That's an awful lot to clean up for a series that has been rather languidly-paced so far.
Overlord is currently streaming on Funimation.
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