by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Oh, you've gotta love the facial expressions that this series produces! Seriously, I cannot get enough of them, like this bizarre look for an intensely irritated Clementine. And she is irritated in this shot because she has finally met someone whose bravado even she cannot match.
That's because this episode finally shifts full-bore into Badass Display Mode. The showing off that Momon and Nabe did last episode is nothing compared to the follow-up, which makes for quite the fun view. The episode alternates back and forth between Nabe's duel with the necromancer and Momon's battle against Clementine, and both sides deliver. On Nabe's side she must contended with a necromancer who summons up a Skeletal Dragon, which is (theoretically) immune to magic. When that seems not enough to cow Nabe and her insults (she even gets down to calling the necromancer a “planarian,” which is an interesting choice for someone supposedly from a setting where microscopes and advanced science probably don't exist), he blows through all of his tricks and summons a second one. Nabe is still able to somewhat keep up by fighting with sword, but when Ains allows her to release her full power we finally get to see the true might of a battle maid of the Pleiades. In a nutshell, she shows why she can get away with derisively looking down on humans, as none of them are in her league – and she is only a second-tier servant of Nazarick.
Momon's battle with Clementine, meanwhile, is a learning experience for Momonga. He comes to more fully understand and appreciate the use of martial skills by seeing Clementine activate them, and indeed, if he was mortal, he might have even been in trouble. The problem for Clementine is that she doesn't realize until too late that he is an undead, so attacks that have probably normally wrecked the humans she has fought against are mostly ineffectual against him. Having gauged her strength and found even someone as tough as her wanting, he ruthlessly squeezes the life out of her – literally. Though his and Nabe's efforts do accomplish the desired effect of greatly raising their rank and spreading his renown, a big problem awaits on the home front, for the message that he had been ignoring now reveals that Shelltear, for an as-yet-unexplained reason, has revolted.
So the end of the episode sets up the next arc, which is alluded to in the opener and will presumably take up the remaining episodes of the season. There is plenty to be satisfied with here, however. Clearly some extra effort went into animating this episode, as everything looks especially sharp, but it's more than that. The dialog, grandiose soundtrack, and imagery also click, and that is one heck of a vocal performance by Aoi Yūki as Clementine; it is such a different sound for her that I did not recognize her until I looked up the credits. Clementine also suffers one of the most visually impressive death scenes of the year; yeah, she definitely had something nasty coming for all of her wickedness, but man, that whole sequence where she is flailing about trying to escape before ultimately getting crushed is intense and unnerving enough to make almost anyone wince. Momonga certainly knows how to lay down the caustic snark, too, and his schemes – about having Nphirea's grandmother move out to the village to make potions for Nazarick as payment for his price – show that he is still thinking about the big picture, too.
For finally fully delivering again on the series' promise, I award this episode the highest grade yet. If the rest of the series can operate on this level then we might yet have a strong finish.
Overlord is currently streaming on Funimation.
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