It’s that time of the season again folks, where a decent amount of information about next season’s come out and like any curious cat, I had to check it out. With a quick glance at the next season’s line up and it looks like it’ll be a good season for fantasy fans because of its large line up of fantasy shows with good pedigrees. There’s Jitsu Wa and Gate, which I’m already familiar with. Chaos Dragon seems interesting because its premise revolves a DnD season between an all-star team of writers. Overlord, I’ve heard that the LN was great on the light novel subreddit, but was I too incapacitated by my laziness so I never checked it out before. Although, when studio Madhouse announced it that it was going to animate it, I became more curious about this series. So like curious anime fan, I went and read the source material of Overlord and I can say it was well worth the time.
In Overlord, it’s the last day that the servers for the MMORPG, Yggdrasil, and a lone player, Momonga, decides to stay logged into this game that he’s invested quite a lot of time and money on until he’s forcibly logged out. Strangely, when the servers are supposed to go down, Momonga finds himself stuck inside of his game avatar and that the custom NPCs that he and his former fellow guild mates have created have come to life. With an army of powerful NPCs at his disposal and stuck in his max level lich avatar, Momonga decides to take over the world he’s been transported to.
Though Overlord seems like a twist on Log Horizon’s setting, it has so many different elements that make it interesting. For starters, rather than transporting Momonga to the world of Yggdrasil, Momonga is transported to a completely different world, which also happens to operate on similar mechanics of Yggdrasil. What this does is it allows video game mechanics to be woven into the narrative naturally. So, as Momonga explores this new world, we learn more about how game mechanics could be applied in reality as well, but what makes this use of game mechanics in a story so interesting is how it’s used to explain pvp combat in an MMORPG.
Overlord stresses the importance of strategy in its battle sequences. It gives you as much information as possible so that you understand each move made in a battle, while also building tension. The best example of this us in the climax of the 2nd book, where Momonga is fighting an enemy whose stats are far inferior to his, but he still struggles against his enemy because they are more skilled than him. Just seeing Momonga getting pushed back by his enemy is exciting because we are shown how skill usage can make an unbalanced fight seem equal. So when Momonga trumps his opponent with his superior tactics, it will make you want to scream “OH MY GOD. WOMBO COMBO!” Well it made me feel that way at least…
The characters and the character interactions in the series are quite interesting because they present some new and different takes on commonly used archetypes. Specifically, the main relationship between Momonga and the NPCs he and his friends made is similar to a god interacting with his creations. It’s interesting to see this relationship in action because we get to see what and why Momonga would be willing to do protect his minions, while also getting to see why and how Momonga’s servants try to please him. Getting to see both sides of this relationship is simply great because we get to connect with each character despite their monstrous appearances and we get to see a large variety of action and political maneuvering.
Speaking of a large variety of action, this series is simply phenomenal with the diversity of scenes it has. This is mostly due to how well Overlord is able to use different perspectives in its story. Whenever the narrative switches in Overlord, it presents the audience with some new information about the world, characters, or even changes story style.
Oh man, when the story switched to the perspective to some humans interacting with the main character’s minions, the entire story goes from a adventure/undercover style story to pure freaking horror. I just love how Overlord uses different perspectives because it builds up the characters and the world, but it’s also able to present that information in fun ways.
The only criticism I have for this series is that it’s intro has a glacial pace. Overlord’s intro is so slow because it has to set so many things to set up. Not only does the series need to give you an overview of what kind of game Yggdrasil is, but it also needs to show you Momonga’s feelings are towards the game. Also, when Momonga is transported to the new world, it then needs to give us an overview which of Momonga’s minions are important, what each of those minions specialize in, how Yggrasil’s mechanics might apply in the new world, the general structure of the new world, etc. There are just so many things that Overlord does in its intro and it can be a slog to get through, but in the end, all of this set up pays off once the action and the main narrative begin.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty excited to see Overlord get adapted into an anime. The story and characters are incredibly interesting and fun because of the unique relationship between each other. The series also has a diverse set of action, while also fleshing its world out in fun ways. Though the beginning of the series is glacial, all the time it takes sets up all the awesome action, characters, and world.
Oh man, and I can only imagine how great of this will look when it gets animated by Madhouse. Will it have a similar vibe to Hellsing Ultimate? Will the action be animated as faithfully as it’s described in the light novel? Oooh and how much of the light novel will adapated? I really hope they get to the end of volume 6 because the volume 5 and 6 arc sound awesome!!!! I just can’t wait for summer!
Fanboying aside, if you wish to dive into this series before the anime starts, you have two options: you can read the light novel or you could read the manga adaptation. If you have the time, I would recommend reading the light novel because the pacing of each scene flows well and you get more information about the world and characters. Though if you’re short on time, I would recommend checking out the manga adaptation because it summarizes all of the first novel and some of the second fairly faithfully, but it doesn’t flow as well as the light novel. If you choose to watch or read this series, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and let’s hope the anime turns out great!
You can read the light novel of Overlord by following this link. Alternatively, you can read the manga adaptation by following this link. Finally, you can view the preview for this anime in this link.
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