English Dub Review: Overlord “Butterfly Entangled in a Spider’s Web”

Don’t mess with the Tomb of Nazarick.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

This week’s episode begins with the groups of adventurers hired to explore the ruins that are none other than the Tomb of Nazarick. The teams are all thirsty for treasure, and confident that they can handle what’s waiting for them inside the ruins.

As the four teams gather to enter the tomb, “Parpatra”, the old man in charge of team “Greenleaf” asks that his team remain topside to look for any hidden entrances or secrets to the tomb, in exchange for a modest percentage of any treasure the other teams find within, of course. They agree and part ways, dispatching with the basic skeleton defenders they find lurking around Nazarick’s halls.

The adventurers, emboldened by their initial victories, get a bit too cocky for their own good, and soon find themselves in serious trouble. One by one, the teams get picked off facing the different first-floor defenders of the tomb, being sentenced to horrifying fates and tortures. Up above, Team Greenleaf is spared the terrors within the tomb, but is cornered by the Pleiades battle maids, who watch as the hapless team tries to defend themselves from the Tomb’s skeleton “Old Guard.”

All these teams meet an unfortunate demise, save for one, team Foresight, which manages to evade the tomb’s defenders. However, they have yet to realize how much trouble they’re really in, as they stumble upon an open-air arena that looks like the surface. They’re greeted by none other than Aura Bella, who introduces Lord Ainz as their opponent.

Our Take:

Things get more than a little dark this week as Overlord brings the punishment to an unfortunate group of greedy adventurers. This week’s episode is a lot less about fantasy politics and strategy, and much more a serving of the morbid fascination in watching a group of mercenaries suffer through a series of unfortunate events. While a little bit of a detour, story-wise, and somewhat problematic in its telling, this episode’s story has been more engaging than most. An entertaining expose on why you shouldn’t trifle with Lord Ainz and his refuge for monsters.

Seeing these foolhardy groups of adventurers meet their grizzly ends is downright terrifying. Oftentimes, the Tomb of Nazarick gets played off as being cute and cuddly, but here we get a grim reminder that this guild of monsters is made up of…well, monsters. This is certainly entertaining to watch, but this showing is not without some reservation. While the episode goes through some effort to make these adventuring groups less than noble, the punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime. I’m not sure if these heroic parties are going to remain dead or be spared by Lord Ainz, but I don’t feel like they deserved such a terrible fate. Their destruction is a little rough on the episode’s tone, and makes me think less of Lord Ainz and The Tomb of Nazarick; empathy for Nazarick and its members is essential for this story.

Yet, despite my reservations about the larger plot, I was quite satisfied with what Overlord brought to the table this week. Even though they probably won’t be around for long, the different adventuring groups and their leaders all felt real and alive. We get a nice spectrum of smart, cunning people who, as foolish as they are, certainly aren’t stupid. A lesser anime would probably portray these different hero groups as barbaric or exceedingly cruel, but Overlord tries to paint a picture of flawed reality. That level of attention to detail is admirable, especially for an anime, and what earns Overlord the consistent praise that I like to give it.

Viewers may be disappointed if they wanted something more “Ainz” focused, but this is an episode to be enjoyed. With strong dialogue, gut-wrenching scenes of terror and realistic characters, this episode brings the thrills and chills in excellent fashion.

Score
8/10

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

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