Title: Overlord Vol. 3
Author: Kugane Maruyama (Story), Hugin Miyama (Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Shounen, Battle
Publication Date: December 20, 2016
In volume two of Overlord, we left off with Ainz-sama, as Momon, on the precipice of entering the fray to face Khajit’s undead forces. Now in volume three, after making short work of them, Ainz finds Khajit performing his ritual to harvest the negative energy around him. With the ritual interrupted, Clementine makes her appearance. The battle then commences on two fronts as Ainz takes on Clementine while Narberal takes on Khajit. The third volume of Overlord only covers three chapters of the series and the majority of the volume is taken up by the battle which was a little underwhelming, to be honest.
It seems that they spent most of the time toying with their enemies before deciding to go all out and show them their true power. The reasoning behind this was that Ainz was being a bit protective of their identities as to not tarnish this opportunity to add to his reputation. If you remember, that was he goal from the beginning of this journey: to become reknown. If Ainz carelessly abandoned his cover, all of that could have been for naught. Once Ainz made the decision, though, the battle was swift and it was over pretty quickly. Narberal made quick work of the undead skeletal dragons Khajit summoned and Ainz unveiled his true self to Clementine and put her through a less-than-forgiving experience.
With their job completed, the manga shifts focus for a bit. One of Ainz-sama’s orders was to scour the land and find anyone who knew of martial arts and/or magic. He instructed his followers, namely Shalltear, Sebas, and Solution, to seek out anyone who may not be missed if they end up disappearing. Therefore, he wanted the three of them to target people such as criminals in hopes that Ainz can gain some information about these abilities from them. We get some banter between the three them as the next arc has a rather slow start, but it does end the volume on a small cliffhanger which is more or less a “to be continued” moment rather than one that really shocks you or makes you really want the next volume.
After doing some world building in the first two volumes, volume three of Overlord serves up a side of action as a nice distraction. It doesn’t necessarily wrap up the story of Ainz building his reputation, but it serve as a step in the direction toward its conclusion. Meanwhile, we start building upon another one of Ainz’s wishes which should fold in nicely once the two story arcs intersect. What will actually come of the information that Ainz will gain from this is yet to be seen, but his ultimate goal is to rule over this digital world and everything he is doing, every move that he is making is all pouring into this one collective goal.
While the battle and the new story arc were a bit slow-paced, I like how the series is giving you bits and pieces of the overall goal and making it apparent and all make sense. A lot of series would detract from this for fanservice or what have you, but every mission, every action serves a purpose and I find that satisfying. I’ve also noticed that by volume three of just about any series, the authors kind of pump the brakes a bit to give their readers a cooldown period after a hot start and Overlord seems to be doing the same.
Ainz, Nerberal, Clementine and Khajit remain the same as when we saw them in volume two so they don’t really get any real development outside of seeing Ainz and Nerberal’s true abilities. So from a battle standpoint, they did progress from what we, the reader, know them as, but from an in-character standpoint, they simply revealed what was already developed “off screen.”
Sebas, Solution and Shalltear get a little more time with the readers and we see some of their personalities shine through. Sebas plays the common part of the old, respectful wise man who keeps his cool and uses logic to solve everything. He is loyal and seems to avoid conflict when necessary. We’ve seen this “white knight” character a hundred times over and it never really gets old. I enjoy these kind of characters as they always seems to do what is necessary and will always remain the most loyal while doing so. Another good example of this character is Wilhelm from Re:Zero or General Liver from Akame ga Kill.
Solution seems a bit stuck up due to the restaurant scene, but she also seems to play her part effectively. She’s a bit sly, but she’s not completely naïve as she uses her cunning when she needs to. Despite this, it seems Sebas and Solution are ranked under Shalltear as even Solution requests Sebas to ask for Shalltear’s permission to dispose of someone once their usefulness has run out.
So that brings us to Shalltear herself. Her personality looks posh and humbled, but she also seems extremely passive aggressive. While her words seem gentle, just reading them gives you a sense of malice. Especially when she ponders how to go about kidnapping their targets. She’s the kind of won’t hesitate to instill brutality, much like Clementine, but she’s so much more reserved about it. Asking politely to negotiate and then stating it was just a ploy to gather information right before severing off someone’s arm and head is a great example of her true nature. I rather like this character as she boasts confidence, but she’s also downright vicious. .
I like how we got to know three more characters and how the spotlight is shifting to them. Even still, everything is for Ainz’s sake so it will be interesting to see how all of this will tie together in the end and what the next objective would be. I think three chapters is a bit short for a compiled volume as the battle was paced slow enough to where you didn’t really breeze through the volume. The action itself was okay until the end where we finally got to see Ainz and Nerberal go all out and even still, there wasn’t much to be seen as it was over rather quickly in a one-sided fashion.
It bothered me a little bit that they spent volume two building up Khajit and Clementine only to see them fall so easily. It’s always a pet peeve of mine to see something like that happen and it seems a lot of shounen series like to follow that formula. They could have done so much more with these two characters, but allowing a couple of chapters of spotlight only to be tossed away seems like the normal for a lot of series these days.
Be that as it may, it was a decent volume of Overlord as it continues to lay down the foundation of the overall bigger picture and you do see a sense of progress towards that ultimate end goal. I just wish we had more substance in volume three to keep it going as it ended too soon.
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**This item was provided for review by Yen Press