Original Run: July 5, 2022 - September 27, 2022 Number of Episodes: 13 Genre: Action, Fantasy, Isekai Based on the Series Created By: Kugane Maruyama and so-bin
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Overlord IV. Reader discretion is advised.***
Following the Massacre at Kazte Planes and the establishment of E-Rantel as its capital, the world witnessed the rise of the mighty Sorcerer Kingdom. And at its head is the all-powerful Sorcerer King, Ainz Ooal Gown (voiced by Satoshi Hino).
Although his brutality earned him great notoriety, Ainz wishes to rule his new nation in peace. Thus, he works tirelessly to establish diplomatic relations and show that working with him is to one’s benefit. However, if anyone dares cross Ainz, the repercussions are devastating.
The Sorcerer Kingdom’s neighbor, the Re-Estize Kingdom, is still reeling from when Ainz single handily destroyed most of their army. They do not wish to cross paths again, but sometimes the foolish actions of some can set terrible things in motion.
Overlord IV was one of the shows from 2022 I was looking forward to the most.
I didn’t get around to watching the Overlord series until 2021. Still, it quickly established itself among the best isekai anime I’ve watched. So, for me, having to wait a whole year to get this fourth installment was pretty rough.
Please note that was a tongue-in-cheek statement. I feel extremely sorry for those waiting for this continuation since season three ended in 2018.
Regardless, I went into this installment jazzed; I have yet to find any reason to doubt this franchise’s quality. And sure enough, yeah, Overlord IV was pretty good.
“Pretty” good? How does the newest season of one of my top isekai anime only get a designation of pretty good? That sure doesn’t sound all that enthusiastic.
Well, to be perfectly honest, that’s because I’m not.
Let’s make no mistakes. I enjoyed Overlord IV; I am, by no means, dissatisfied with it. If you’ve been a fan of the franchise up to this point, this installment won’t take away from that. But won’t add to it either, and that’s the distinction I want to talk about later in the review.
For the time being, though, let’s discuss what made Overlord IV a lot of fun.
This season focused more on building the Sorcerer Kingdom as a nation-state rather than grand displays of magic.
Now, that might not pique many people’s interest, especially when a show discusses trade deals, diplomacy, and domestic agendas. Granted, I am in that – assumed – minority and find that stuff fascinating. Fortunately, Overlord has a particular type of flare when it comes to these – let’s call them – bureaucratic necessities.
Since the Sorcerer Kingdom is absurdly formidable, it doesn’t really need to worry about any other country challenging it. Nevertheless, as the leader, Ainz Ooal Gown realized that subjugation causes more headaches than its worth. Forcing someone to bend the knee stirs resentment, which can lead to rebellion. But getting someone to want to bend the knee is a far more long-lasting foundation.
Throughout this season, Ainz went around to other countries offering his nation’s help in exchange for materials, alliances, and loyalty. For example, Ainz offered to reclaim the ancient dwarven capital if they agreed to produce runes for the Sorcerer Kingdom. Additionally, Ainz clarified that dwarven craftsmen would be welcomed and appreciated as essential assets to their new ruler.
In one move, Ainz demonstrated that the rewards would be great if one chose to work with the Sorcerer Kingdom. Alternatively, should a nation cross the almighty Sorcerer King, everything and everyone would burn.
What really sets Overlord apart from other isekai anime is just how overpowered Aniz and his lieutenants are. Yes, overpowered protagonists are a classic isekai trope. But there’s god-mode, and then there’s Overlord. No other show takes this aspect to the level this franchise regularly does.
The power gap between just Aniz’s weakest primary subordinate and everyone else is nearly incomprehensible. Everyone who has gone up against anyone in Aniz’s inner circle has utterly failed to grasp how outmatched they were. Season four played with this idea beautifully.
Overlord IV would make legitimate efforts to build up characters that other series would consider heroes.
This season gave warriors people to fight for, motivational speeches, honor, and all the other things stories use to provide the fire to overcome any obstacle. This installment did this for its entire run. Then when a showdown against Ainz, the character in question would put it all on the line. They gave one-hundred-and-ten percent; it was their moment of glorious triumph.
Then they would be instantly one-shot-ed, and it was never not funny.
The thing about the Overlord series is, should it merely coast along, it is inherently entertaining.
Watching Aniz be this god-like overseer while possessing the inner monologue of an out-of-his-depth salaryman is always good for a laugh. Seeing the level guardians interact with one another or witnessing them get the chance to be badasses has resulted in this franchise’s most satisfying moments.
It is no surprise that these characters, who come from a series that has gone pretty dark, can effortlessly blend with the gang from KonoSuba in Isekai Quartet. And you best believe I am looking forward to the film scheduled for release (as of this review going live, there is no confirmed date).
The problem is – and remember, I didn’t have to do this – after a four-year wait, why was this all we got?
Before we talk about anything else, the CGI in the series has never been good. Once I might have been lenient towards this franchise given its age. However, we are now in 2022, and things should look much better than this.
Overlord simply can’t have large armies look even halfway decent. I hope the film gets the budget to fix this because if it can, then this series has the material to be absolutely beautiful.
As it is, though, Overlord has been able to overshadow its poor CGI with its fun characters and engaging story.
Having said that, we come to season four’s most pressing…problem? Issue? Curiosity? I’m not sure what to call it, other than Overlord IV was nowhere near enough.
Given this franchise’s history, there are significant gaps between installments. Between seasons one and two, there were three years. Seasons two and three were – thankfully – part of a split cour release in 2018. But then the series went silent for another four years before we got this installment. If we must sit and wait for more Overlord, then there better be something substantial.
I don’t believe season four did that.
Sure, important events happened in this installment. But when it comes to story progression, where season four ended wasn’t much further away than where its predecessor did.
Then to add insult to injury, Overlord IV dropped many hints of future confrontations. This season introduced us to different shadow organizations, larger conspiracies, and figures who might want to stop Ainz from gathering more power. It also didn’t help that the last episode alluded to the biggest mystery of the entire series – are there other players besides Ainz in this world?
Yes, we have the movie to look forward to, but that’s no guarantee. After all:
- We don’t have a release date (as of September 2022)
- Will the film be a progression or a side story?
- If it does move things along, won’t that just mean we will need to wait – AGAIN – for season five?
And assuming you’re watching the Overlord series in one big marathon session after its final season, you’ll notice the lack of anything substantial. Keep in mind that there were no holy-s@#$-that-was-awesome moments in this installment like in its predecessors.
Hopefully, the show is building to something massive. Until then, don’t expect to get your fill with Overlord IV.
I sound as annoyed as I do because I really did enjoy this season; it was by no means a failure.
There were plenty of things to like and enjoy about this installment. We still got the characters that have made this show what it is. There were plenty of moments where Ainzs and his subordinates displayed their overpowered-ness.
Here’s hoping that whatever this franchise still has in store for us, it will be beyond epic.
Overlord IV has earned a recommendation.
But these are my thoughts; what are yours? Have you seen this show; how would you advise Overlord IV? Leave a comment below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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