「拾う者、拾われる者」 (Hirou mono, Hirowa reru mono)
“Those who pick up, Those who are picked up”
From lizards to men, Overlord certainly gets around. I imagine quite a few light novel readers have been awaiting this arc with baited breath, but at last it’s finally here and with it all the fun it was hyped to be. Sure it may be a little confusing (again) for the unfamiliar with so many new names and faces to learn, but when you have the promise of a potential three-way free for all, I don’t think anyone will be complaining that hard.
As previously delved into before, a lot of the reason the lizardmen arc drew a fair share of criticism was the difficulty in immediately attaching an outcome to the story being presented. We got a random cast of characters with no prior relation to our Ainz Ooal Gown staples and were asked to essentially put faith in Overlord’s plan. It certainly lived up to that faith of course, but not without its share of questioning along the way. Lo and behold then this arc’s introduction, where a similar collection of seemingly unknown groups is rapidly thrown at us, but now with one key difference: characters we actually know from the start! We got the butler-turned-spy Sebas and the Pleiades blondie Solution (who may or may not be taking lessons from Albedo) doing their duty for Mr. Bones on one hand, and a couple of unfortunate adventurers in the form of Gazef and Brain who most probably remember as Shalltear’s personal manicure assistant. It may be completely new setting, but you can already see through these first season faces which way the gears are shifting and how this arc may come to play out for the likes of Ainz Ooal Gown.
Part of what makes the upcoming chaos all the more interesting is the type and scale of this conflict. Rather than conventional straight up pulverizing of the weak, we have a brewing fight that Sebas is determined to keep away from Ainz and the Floor Guardians. It’s an ironically suitable development after the likes of Cocytus, for while Sebas too may have only the success of Ainz Ooal Gown in mind, he still saved a helpless girl in a bit of creator-inspired compassion when it may have been best to just leave her be. Whether curse or not (and I think not), Sebas’ moral indulgence shows Cocytus’ enlightenment isn’t unique, that Floor Guardian and Pleiades both have the potential to change and be more than they were originally designed to be. Some may have it easier than others due to creator quirks—looking at you Shalltear you naughty girl—but Ainz’s hope for some independent minded subordinates is going to pay off far more than he ever expected.
How our lovable skeleton gets that payoff of course comes down to the other two factions set to throw a wrench into things. The Eight Fingers are a big unknown beyond being tied to illicit drugs and a claim of secretly ruling the kingdom, alongside a sex slave link to Sebas’ adopted
puppy kitten that one certain Finger is seriously going to regret going after. Then there’s the currently unnamed anti-Finger crusaders you just know are going to quickly find themselves tangled up with something far worse than a bit of backstage politicking. Sebas might be underestimating the scale of trouble he quietly knows he’s in, but you know it won’t be much of a challenge for him in the end. The fun will be seeing how Ainz’s most stoic of butlers (and one disobedient maid) chooses to deal with the kingdom’s finest (worst?) before reporting back in.
Fasten those seatbelts boys and girls, it’s about to get crazy.