With his new kingdom established and out in the open for everyone else to see, Ainz is now faced with the problematic situation of dealing with his neighboring nations. Will he be able to make some diplomatic connections that will benefit them both, or will there be war on the horizon.
It was not without some trepidation that I walked into the fourth season of this show. There has always been an unapologetic level of violence in Overlord, so it felt kind of weird when that wasn't -- at least not directly -- why the third season really made me reconsider my future viewings of this franchise. Not that the show is wall-to-wall violence, but what is there is pretty direct. Of course, my main misgivings on the third season was how it took a team of young, likable people just doing a job, and sends them into what is practically a death trap, and one where said team includes a young girl who's trying to protect her two little sisters from their terrible parents. The original novel broke no issues about the terrible fate that awaited them all, which was just not something I'd ever want to watch, and it was one of my main worries going into whatever future releases this show has.
To be sure, I don't much care to be a vindictive person, even though I at some level though Clementine deserved her fate -- she was simply that terrible -- or the jerk from the third season who became a part of the aforementioned trap. This extends to the fourth season; with the diplomatic shenanigans going around, and especially considering how full the Estize kingdom is of nobles who are none too keen on giving up their position of power and wealth, and whose varying levels of douchebaggery is going to ignite the desire of vengeance visited upon them. On the other hand, you're probably also going to wonder whom among the named characters will meet their untimely end this season. This is, after all, Overlord, so people who aren't directly affiliated with Nazarick are going to be in danger. I will, of course, not spoil anything on that front.
We can, of course, trust the residents of Nazarick to be their lovably nihilistic selves. There is a certain something to be said about Ainz's collection of nonhuman allies and how their lives seem to revolve around living their lives for their master's sake, despite his best efforts to make them appreciate their individuality more. Ainz certainly used to be an excellent player, apparently, but the long running joke seems to be that he isn't nearly as smart as his minions thinks he is, especially when it comes to politics. ("WHAT IS A VASSAL STATE?!") Despite this, he seems to do just fine with his kingdom, but that might have something to do with the fact that every single resident of Nazarick always does what he says without as much as a side glance. Then again, with the level of power fantasy going on here, Ainz could probably solo the whole thing. (RPG term, ohoho.) Yeah, it's still that kind of show, for both good and bad.
The residents of Nazarick is about as diverse as ever, and it's kind of sweet that two of their residents actually kinda love human beings and want to save as many of them as possible. The two of them even rank among the least conventionally attractive too, one being.... a dog girl, I think, who seems to have been separated inot two halves in the middle and then sorta just grafted back together somehow ...while the other one is Albedo's sister, who actually looks like Albedo if she had her face skin torn off. (If there is a story behind that, I haven't heard about it yet.) Sebas is probably also fairly honorable as they come, but he is probably more indifferent when it comes to the nonresidents.
So, who's new, then? Well, this season gets us involved with Dwarves and Dragons, as well as the Kobolds that needs to be dealt with. And while the Kobold start out somewhat villainous as general terms go -- they're the ones trying to invade the dwarven kingdom -- the way they're dealt with still has the potential to leave a sour taste in your mouth. I'm also personally puzzled with how the show handled the Eight Fingers group from season 2. If you don't remember them; they're the organisation who ran the underground drug and prostitution ring Sebas saved Tuare from, and here, some of the surviving members now work for Ainz, and the members who weren't killed in the original assault are seemingly adapted into Ainz's fold, though not without some... shall we say "mindbreaking" methods of indoctrination. The dragons are, probably not surprisingly, very much about the strength, and it's probably due to the show's spirit of sticking with outsiders that the overweight nerd dragon becomes the link between dragons and Nazarick. (Once Ainz killed their leader, that is.)
Overlord IV also goes a bit more into how the former NPC residents feel about the whole thing. Albedo has always been steady in her devotion and behavior, but aside from her inability to ride the Bicorn, she shows a surprising concern for her main competition in the Ainz Affection Department when she suggests Ainz punish Shalltear for the supposed "betrayal" back in season 1, lest she be suffering feelings of guilt forever. When you put that together with Ainz's concerns of not wanting to run Nazarick as a sweatshop, you kinda understand how they all struggle with growing beyond the whole "every action I do is for our lord" despite Ainz's best attempts at making them act more independently.
And, of course, the show still looks great. The first season might look better; I'd have to go back and watch it to make sure, but I've watched so many visual crapshows lately that even if this had been a low-key effort by Madhouse, it'd still looks fantastic by comparison. The fact that the main cast is a large group of nonhumans helps a lot here, as we get a wonderful collection of designs. There is still CG in use, of course, which is still the "weakest" aspect of the show, but this is of course much less severe now than back in the early days of the original Utawarerumono (the less said about its' sequel, the better), but there is still a noticeable difference when you see it in use, so take that as you will.
Uncomfortability aside, it's clear that Overlord IV is still on a good stride. The show has a good head on its shoulders about its politics, and it has a good grasp on the fine balance of secrets vs. reveals to keep the story interesting. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if they continue this show. It's been around for quite a while now, and I can't see it just completely jumping the shark at any point in the future.
Still going strong, being just controversional enough to make people uncomfortable at times, but not enough to chase them away. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: There aren't many scenes of violence here, but the ones that are there tend to be fairly direct and brutal. Fanservice is rather mild; don't expect to see anyone naked here or anything.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, English dub.
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Overlord IV © 2022 Madhouse.
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