Insert obligatory boner joke here.

I find myself terribly conflicted about this series. I think I enjoyed it … but then why did I always have to force myself to watch the next episode? It could be that I liked the idea of Overlord more than the reality of it. For all its strengths and interesting ideas, there was always one thing missing: It wasn’t compelling.

Overlord is the latest entrant in the boom of MMORPG-based anime (including .hack, Sword Art Online, Log Horizon, and probably others I don’t know about), and one thing I’m happy to be able to say is that each of these series is doing something notably different. For Overlord, it’s the villain protagonist (trope! … look at that page image. It’s not from this Overlord, but same idea). And that’s a cool idea, right? We’re so used to getting Destined Heroes who swing a sword and get all the girls and generally Kirito it up, and even if you like Kirito, it’s nice to have a change once in a while. Where Log Horizon started its characters at high level and had its main protagonist act a bit like a villain, Overlord said “Screw it!” and went all the way.

And I liked the result. I liked it … but I can’t say I loved it. But I’ll get to that soon. I appreciated a great deal about the setup. When Momonga found himself stuck in the game world and all the NPCs in Nazarick came to life, he didn’t get all weepy or worry about getting out. He, too, said “Screw it!” and decided to conquer the world, because that’s what you do when you’re an undead skeleton (lich?) in charge of an evil fortress, am I right? Hell, simply the idea of having an undead protagonist is new and refreshing.

I liked a lot of the characters too. Albedo getting obsessive was funny. Nabe’s barely-contained hatred when they were playing adventurer led to some good interactions. Then there was Clementine. Ahhh, Clementine! Nothing was sadder than when she died, because it meant we wouldn’t be able to listen to Yuuki Aoi chew the scenery (trope!) any longer. I’m serious—Yuuki Aoi’s hilarious overacting was, without a doubt, my favorite part of the series. I could watch her do that forever.

But so many of the other characters were utterly forgettable. We met some random adventurer who Momonga gave a potion, and when she reappeared fighting Shalltear, I didn’t recognize her. We spent episodes with some adventuring group, who weren’t interesting in the first place, and then they died, having seemingly accomplished nothing. Pleiades maids kept popping up, and aside from Nabe (Narberal), I can’t remember the name of a single one—and I was confused for a good while when she first started playing adventurer with Momonga, because I had no idea who she was. The guardians were good, but nearly every single human (who wasn’t named Clementine) was utterly replaceable. And then there was Hamusuke, who sounded like an even bumbling Yuuki Rito, and the face palming began.

Which is not to say all these characters should have been made into paragons of personality. I think there were too many of them, and some of the side plots they were involved in cluttered the narrative, but others served a clear purpose, and shouldn’t have been especially memorable. They were minor characters for a reason. But when so many characters are so “blah,” the story begins to blur together into a forgettable morass.

Then there was the story. In a strange way, the plotof Overlord is oddly realistic. It starts with a blank slate, and the protagonist decides upon his own goal for reasons that basically amount to “just ’cause.” They’re constantly fumbling around for what to do. The direction is unclear. The purpose is unclear. Not even their adversaries are clear. They also spent a great deal of time on events that didn’t seem that important. The pacing of the entire season was oddly slow for an industry that usually burns through source material like there’s no tomorrow—which I appreciate, though then again, there were more than a few times when I was just bored.

I think the problem is that I wanted Overlord to be better than it was. It has an interesting hook, and if they could pull it off, it feels like it would be awesome. But perhaps there’s a reason why the villain protagonist is so seldom done. It reminds me of the obscure sorrow vemödalen. From the video:

It should be a comfort that we’re not so different, that our perspectives so neatly align, that these same images keep showing up, again and again.

It’s alright if we tell the same jokes we’ve all heard before, it’s alright if we keep remaking the same movies. It’s alright if we keep saying the same phrases to each other, as if they had never been said before.

The desire for something unique sometimes clouds us to the reason why this unique thing has not been done, or isn’t done more often. Sometimes it’s simply because it hasn’t been thought of until now, and that’s excellent! But sometimes, it has. Sometimes it’s been done. Sometimes it’s okay to use the same old story structure, because it works well, and this unique thing? It doesn’t so much.

While I wanted dearly to love Overlord, it had one fatal flaw: It wasn’t compelling. Now, obviously that’s subjective. I’m trying to dissect my feelings for this story. I’m not insulting you. Certainly enough people like this series for it to get an anime. Yet when I watched each episode, I got the distinct feeling that, at any point, I could have stood up and walked away. I could have stopped at any episode (with the small exception of Clemetine’s reign of terror—that was compelling), and I would have been perfectly happy. Perhaps fitting for a story starring an undead lich, I feel nothing for this story, and it’s only clinical interest in why this is that got me to the end.

The lack of a clear, compelling objective is one culprit. (“Conquer the world to maybe find my friends,” is a little wishy-washy.) The lack of a clear enemy is another. The lack of any seeming challenge is a major one—it took one of Momonga’s followers (Shalltear) getting mind controlled to give him a decent fight, and even then, there was never a doubt that he would even be significantly imperiled. Two days ago, I stayed up until 7am reading Throne of Glass (which I recommend, by the way), because I couldn’t force myself to put it down. The main character of that book is the most skilled and feared assassin in the entire world, and yet author Sarah J. Maas still made parts of the book so compelling that I stayed up for hours reading it.

With Overlord, I felt nothing. It just was.

Like I said, I’m not trying to knock Overlord. It wasn’t bad. I’m honestly preplexed. I wanted so very much to love this series, because I want more anime to explore interesting new vectors into what would otherwise me a run-of-the-mill generic fantasy MMORPG anime. But the risk of trying new things is that they sometimes don’t work. As I’ve said before, the opposite of love is not hatred. It’s indifference. I won’t quite say I’m indifferent to Overlord, because I have a definite low level of goodwill toward the series. But I can’t honestly say I’m clamoring for another season. If one happens, cool. If it doesn’t, that’s all right too. It’s an interesting idea, but nothing about it ever lit me on fire. It was as cold as Momonga’s unbeating heart, and I’m sorry—we humans are emotional creatures. Make me feel something, and I will love you forever. Or hate you! But either is better than a perplexed expression and a sight shrug.

The OP and ED were both awesome, though.

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at, the last four posts: The best content is in email, My morning routine, True Ends, and Rejection, the secret place, & fundamentals


    1. Yup, Saturday is my most anticipated day of the week since i get to read a new Overlord LN chapter 🙂

      @Stilts: I do see your point. Even in the LN, there can be some pacing issues (especially with the Lizard men stuff they mention near the end of the anime), but its usually done to properly set up more stuff. Even as slow as you think parts of the anime were, they still cut a lot of little details out.

      One of the scenes in the LN that really stuck with me is one of the village/town elders essentially going temporarily crazy when he pops out the 8th tier spell crystal in episode 11. In the anime they kind of just gloss over it, with one of them making comments that they don’t believe him, and then move on. But in the LN, it kinda drives the point further about just how overpowered they are in that world if a single 8th tier spell crystal can drive another magic user user temporarily insane just be realizing it exists. Imagin if he’d known if they can use 10th, super (let’s all this 11th), and world class magic (let’s call this 15th or prob even higher)… god… is it Saturday yet?!?!?!!?

      1. Madhouse doesn’t care about sales, they simply don’t do seasons 2 for any show anymore, so you won’t see S2 to no game no life, overlord, claymore, Dennou Coil, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei etc. unless some other studio gets the rights for it and makes a season 2.

      2. The ending of Season 1 of No Game no Life made it difficult to do another season, especially given that they pretty much took the ending of Book 6 when they Show Spoiler ▼

        The LNs aren’t ahead enough to start from there.

        Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei will almost certainly get a second season, it sold fantastically well. You just need to wait, it’ll happen. Also Overlord likely will too.

  1. I really wanted to like Overlord, but after the midway point the show never could continue to grasp my full interest. Shallow characters, lack of information on the in-story universe, and no real, central plot to tie things together. There were quite a few missing pieces here.

    For me the pacing/plot development was Overlord’s main weakness. It had the speed down pat to thoroughly develop its world and characters–which can be seen a lot during the info dumps of the first half–but never really went further than introductions for the vast majority of its characters/institutions. Whether a weakness of the source material or not, it is clear that beyond Clementine the adaptation lacked any good hook to compel the viewer to want to watch. For comparison .hack//SIGN–the definition of glacial pacing in this genre–managed to turn its used time towards character development, such that although nothing particular transpired in an episode, you still came out learning something new and interesting. Overlord never could really manage to do the same, it always seemed to stick to discussions without substance and fights without proper context. The real lack of meat was the biggest downfall here IMO.

    Although a ubiquitous excuse at this point, if originally designed as two cours I could have seen the show working better. More time given to tie all these loose generalizations together, the opening up of later arcs to (hopefully) get into the nitty gritty, and better opportunities to properly flesh out the characters. No guarantees of course, but I cannot help but think Overlord right now is a story missing half its parts. In its current form the show feels like it’s running with a skeleton crew and no real plan to fire up the engines. An all round disappointment unfortunately.

    1. I don’t think two cours would have fixed the problems here. It might have gone on to make the comparative weakness of the first half worth it, but these problems would remain. I imagine they’re in the source, though I’ve nothing to back that up with.

      It may very well work better in text. When there’s a bunch of world building in a book, it feels like you’re exploring it yourself, but in a visual medium (especially a passive one like TV), emotions and feelings are a lot more important. It’s where you can better use quick pacing to circumvent the viewer’s brain and strike at something deeper, so it doesn’t work as well when you plod along. But a well-written book can make that fun.

      Though like I said, that’s all conjecture.

    2. Oh I agree Stilts, no amount of additional material can make up for the defects, but it could patch over them to yield a better overall experience. I’m thinking of Witch Hunter Robin here as like Overlord it had ~12 episodes of largely nothing; it was episodic (i.e. quick arcs), short on development, and full of loose pieces with seemingly no connection. It wasn’t until the unifying arc after that first season that everything clicked. After the pieces were assembled and the “true” conflict revealed the show turned from “boring” to “good”. Didn’t make up for the shallowness, but certainly improved upon the experience IMO.

      If Overlord has such a unifying arc (as the ending of the last episode seems to hint towards) then a similar result could have happened, not correcting the initial errors, but at least making them less palpable. As you say though it’s all theory crafting and unless there is a second season we will likely never know.

  2. (Insert obligatory one-two cour rant and anime used only to sell books rant here.)

    Other than that, I enjoyed it for what it was. It wasn’t as compelling as Log Horizon, but LH had four cours to establish its world and characters, and even then, they skimmed over a crapton of juicy details. (Really, read the books.)

    Rather than rehash what everyone else said, I’ll just say I agree with most of it. It’s a fun story with weak presentation at points. And I always watched all of the ED, probably because I love Albedo.

    I recommend watching the Overlord Specials that are basically comedy shorts about the maid squad. Totally worth it, and they enhanced my understanding/enjoyment of the show a bit.

    I found it to be entertaining, and it made my Tuesdays a little brighter, I think? (In only the way a lich can make them brighter, I guess.) I’ll definitely check out the LNs, though, so dammit, they got me. -_-

  3. the story on Ainz’s side isn’t that good, it’s the minor characters’ stories in the way they are affected by Nazarick that are good. the later volumes in the books focus not on Ainz but people they encounter and their fate from that.

  4. I’m not sure how to think about this series initially. If I have to liken it to a painting, I honestly have to say that overall I feel this series is garbage. But, there are parts that shines in it and could have turned out to be brilliant. But just like S_W said event those parts that should have been really good are downgraded to mediocre in some parts thanks to weak presentation. It’s like seeing an artwork that I don’t like as a whole, but I keep coming back because I was hoping that the pieces of ideas would start to shine. Boy, was I wrong.

    Overlord 2.75/10

  5. It has an interesting hook, and if they could pull it off, it feels like it would be awesome.

    A “hook” does exactly what it says on the tin. It catches the eye, draws attention to a series/tale/etc. Hooks alone do not strong stories make. What I said about Onepunch Man. It has a neat hook and relatively strong comedic-mechanical execution. You think Onepunch Man would be as popular as it is with just its hook to back it up? Not a chance.

    Overlord’s got a pretty cool hook too- except that the actual technical execution of its story leaves much to be desired. I wouldn’t call it the worst I’ve ever seen from a technical-storytelling perspective, far from it- but it’s unflavorfully average, bland, vanilla.

    Problems with character development are likely contributed heavily to by the fact that something like over 90% of the main cast consists of former RPG NPCs. Compelling characters require deep character histories and motivations, deep histories coloring their motivations. The necessary sum of character histories for 90% of the main cast is thus: their pre-programmed personalities and motivations. Albedo loves Ainz because he edited a .txt file. Albedo loves Ainz because they were two misunderstood souls who grew up together. One of these story-blurbs is vastly more compelling than the other, and it isn’t the one that describes Overlord’s actual plot.

    I do know of, in theory, one (Highly impractical) way to have your cake and eat it though, which Overlord’s author seems to be aware of, but doesn’t utilize very well or often, probably because of how cumbersome it is. And that is to make the NPCs embody their creators by proxy. Make an NPC’s personality programming exist as a function of his/her creator-player’s real-world temperament, and the true to life trials that shaped this temperament. Overlord does a little of this with how it demonstrated the character Sebas’ mirroring of his human creator Touch Me’s personality in Sebas’ attitude towards the hapless villagers through the story of how Ainz and Touch Me met and formed the guild.

    But if you’re going to develop your characters through developing other characters, it makes a whole lot more sense then to simply throw out your proxy characters and put the actual characters into the story. Rather than having to constantly wrestle with maintaining the illusion of character development cross-attribution through strict personality symmetry and/or causal significance x proximity, and illustrating these things in a non ham-fisted way…

    1. A good hook is sooooo useful. A one-line premise/elevator speech, where you can go, “Blah,” and people are on board. But you have to follow it up. A good hook also has the unfortunate side effect of lighting the imagination on fire, and reality (even an author’s fictional reality crafted into a story) is never as good as imagination.

      Good point in the personality-by-proxy bit. Of course, it could be that we’re just at the beginning of all these NPC’s personalities, and they’re going to develop into interesting characters due to their experiences from here on. Though in that case, it begs a question: Why not just cut us into the story when they’re interesting? Or, ya know, fast forward things a bit, as much as is possible. Because right now they’re flat, or quasi-interesting-by-proxy, and that’s not helping Overlord’s “not compelling” problem.

      Also, thanks for continually down-hyping One-Punch Man. You’ll either be right, or I’ll enjoy the anime more because of the doubts you’ve given me. Either way, win-win! (For me)

      1. Also, thanks for continually down-hyping One-Punch Man. You’ll either be right, or I’ll enjoy the anime more because of the doubts you’ve given me. Either way, win-win! (For me)

        My point isn’t that Onepunch Man isn’t likely to be as enjoyable as folks seem to think it will be for them. Perhaps it implies this by association, but it wasn’t my intention. I simply meant to highlight the fact that in spite of how enjoyable many people find Onepunch Man to be, when you look at the big picture it’s really nothing profound. In terms of plot technique it’s below average even, constantly repeating the same, monster(s) of the arc style formula. And that I personally was worn out by the repetitiveness. Other people’s personal mileage with highly repetitive plot structures may vary, but I tend to have a relatively low tolerance for it, so I got bored after reading about 90 chapters of the webcomic (After following it rather religiously in the beginning). OPM’s comedic element is technically stronger than average, to be sure, but then what else? Shows with technically strong comedy are a dime a dozen, and OPM does nothing to set itself apart aside from its hook. It does little to nothing to innovate outside of the hook- and loses lots of points overall for the weaksauce plot technique. Is OPM better than your average comedy? Sure, probably significantly on the strength of its comedic technique alone- even so, the fact remains that it’s nothing terribly unique or profound overall, held back by a formulaic plot and a lack of true innovation. This one-trick-pwny does its one trick really well, but even so it’s still just a one-trick-pwny- so let’s not mistake it for the second coming…

    2. Problems with character development are likely contributed heavily to by the fact that something like over 90% of the main cast consists of former RPG NPCs.

      This changes from volume 4 (anime adapted 3), and the story introduce many new world characters. There is lot of focus on them and their life, so the reader will learn a lot about them and about the world from their viewpoint.

      Also, some enemies from vol1-3, like Khajit, Zach or Brain had short backstories, but there was no time in the anime to include these.

  6. “With Overlord, I felt nothing. It just was”.
    To watch anime for naked girls and expect to feel something is wrong. It’s your time and I you are the one who will spend it. I mean it’s your choice. But it looks like taking some garbage of the world into own head. In a new season this “felt nothing” show will be “Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry” and “Ore ga Ojou-sama” and “Taimadou Gakuen and Shinmai Maou” and some others.

    1. Do you know what show you’re even talking about?
      Overlord had almost no fanservice. It definitely isn’t a harem like the others you’re listing. Try to inform yourself a little before complaining next time. Complaints about a show you clearly didn’t watch are annoying

    2. That’s … a little beside the point. I mean, you’re not wrong that it’s unwise to waste one’s time on junk. Granted, I do it often, though only with stories, because learning (and experiencing) what ends up constituting a waste of time is valuable as a storyteller, because it helps prevent me from wasting other’s time with my own work. How well I do that is for other’s to judge.

      But just because something has ecchi elements doesn’t mean it’s going to be garbage (to me). Different stories are watched for different reasons. Some (for example—and to pivot from talking about ecchi—slice-of-life shows like GochiUsa) aren’t meant to tickle the intellect, and the emotional core they strike isn’t especially deep or evocative. Yet they can be enjoyable in their own way.

      This reminds me of beer. I hear some people say, “I don’t like beer,” and I blanche. All beer? Really? No, you don’t like ONE type of beer, the fizzy yellow lagers. IPAs! Bitters! Russian Imperial Stouts! Lambics! Trappist ales! Kolsch! There are thousands of type of beers, and I like them all for different reasons. There is at least one of each type I can honestly say I love. I just don’t like the ones that aren’t done well.

      1. It’s quite an interesting thought about ecchi. Personally I don’t like not a whole genre but the shows with false personalities. Where girls are not girls but only pets or “overleming” by “love” toys. It is kind wrong for me. But not every ecchi is bad. It is not about genre, it is about bad quality, about falseness. For example, I don’t like “Angel Beats!!” for falseness and it is not ecchi (but kind of for some reasons =) ).

        As for beer. You are right if it’s not damage your body (I don’t know much about beer).

      2. To be fair (to you), many ecchi series have a problem of severely objectifying women (or men, if their target market is the opposite). Which can be troubling even for fans. And they do have a harder road to walk, due to the genre choices you made. So you may very well be correct in general, if not in absolute.

        And a beer or two a day is actually healthy! (It depends on your size. I’m two meters tall—I’m big even when I’m thin enough to deserve the nickname Stilts!) I heartily suggest a pint of something thoughtfully brewed, once in a while ^^

  7. The anime unfortunately misses the point of the series entirely.

    The LNs are entertaining because of two aspects:

    1) World building/history: Where are we? Why did this happen? Is it a different world etc?
    2) The characters that interact with Ainz + co.

    Ainz etc are basically agents of deus ex machina. We know they’ll faceroll everything.

    More interesting are the characters in each arc that are not only more fleshed out than any of the “main” characters, but also have their own far more relatable struggles as they encounter Ainz, whether as a hindrance, help, bystander, or game piece.

    Additionally much of the plot is tied together by interesting but wordy introspection as Ainz struggles to figure out wtf is going on and where he is. This is the over-arching plot and is basically the only time anyone at Nazarack is given real character.

    Both of these are nearly non-existant in the anime. Relevant side characters are glossed over & no one wants to listen to lengthy exposition.

    Also unfortunate is the long-spool time to get the story going. Clementine’s / Shalltear’s arc are both short, and there’s a lot of introductory “this is how the rules work” worked into them that weaken them as a whole.

    Ah well, anime to sell novels, seems like it worked so who can complain?

  8. the anime doesnt delve that much into inner character thoughts as well as the omniscient narration.

    like for example, ainz vs those goblins and ogres. in the anime, you just see ainz wreck them, which is expected. in the novels, you get the details of how surprising and amazing it was. you get told that only the incredibly high ranking warriors could cleave an ogre cleanly in half, and even then it would require two hands while ainz just does with one. you get to see and here how the other characters react, as well as the contrast on how ainz doesnt see anything impressive of what he’s done.

  9. I think the biggest problem of this series was the lack of “tension”. The concept was good enough but it’s kinda like MKNR where you know the MC is gonna come out of it completely unscathed. Actually in that sense MKNR is a bit better since you aren’t privy to Tatsuya’s Godliness until later on in the series.

    Here in Overlord no one can put a dent on Ains/Momonga or pretty much any other person there. He has all the best items the best skills etc and you know that from episode 1 so unless someone who came from the same game world comes along who has the same stature as he (but it’s said that they were the top guild already) none of the people in the current world who can’t even cast skills or magic equivalent to 1/3 of his abilities just simply can’t compete.

    Maybe in later arcs of the LN which I haven’t read, someone or something happens or comes along.

    1. The Problem, Ainz-sama here has is…

      There is no Ingame Cash shop for resupply. What he now uses is gone forever, or he has more in stock. Heal potions, that is Super rare in this new World. I hope he can recreate them. Gold is only worthy for Resurrection. His Currency is worthless or not used as currency in this New World.

      So, Ainz-sama’s Items are limited, except this one he can create themselves

      1. I don’t know if it was mentioned in the anime, but from what I remember in the novel, it was mentioned quite early on that the currency he has is not useless but just that it’s worth so much that no one uses it.

  10. I think you are mistaken in one thing Stilts. They weren’t trapped in the world of the game. They and their stronghold were transported to a new world. Overlord is different from the other MMORPG animes because of this. Momonga is physically his character with all that implies; he states that as an undead he knows his emotions are, well deader.

    Gouka Ryuu
      1. There is still a difference between Log Horizon and Overlord.

        In Log Horizon the players are transported into a world that is the same/shares the same history as the game they were playing. They essentially know what they have to expect, with the exception of the “content added through the new expansion”.

        The world Ainz and the inhabitants of Nazarick are transported into has nothing to do with the game. The reason why some things exist in both this world and the game (eg. magic, monsters and the world class item that put mind control on Shelltear) is later explained as Show Spoiler ▼

  11. This was one of the few shows I looked forward to every week. Like, GATE, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this developed, and think these were pretty underrated overall. I hope this gets another season.

    Frog? No. Hippo!
  12. I watched every Overlord episode with anticipation. For an old D&D player like myself, it was even better than the other “trapped in the game” anime. But where Overlord failed was going full-in on the trope(s). It should have been Momonga spouting stats like a real player, not merely “going with the flow” of living a new (un)life in the game. There was too much “I’m hiding my overpowered feats and spells” going on from Momonga. His maids and servants acted appropriately, but there was too much anti-human hate going on. Where did they think Ains came from – a non-human turning into a lich?

    1. To be fair, liches tend to go all in on the human-hate (or really, hatred for the living) once they go undead. Or at least, that’s my impression. Shouldn’t be surprising that the minions of a bunch of monster PCs don’t much like humans.

  13. Idem. The clear lack of goals and interconnecting plot elements are the factor which ruined Overlord for me. Actually I kind of liked it until around episode 3 or so, but after that it just goes downhill. Momonga was interesting at first, but after that he seems clueless and just goes with whatever happened in front of him. And there’s almost nothing else which could provide anything to return it to a good state. No challenging enemy, no superb support character, no well told plot, no emotional moments. Just a bunch of hard-to-relate NPCs, random characters and random world building which leads up to nowhere, an oversized hamster which is not even funny, and nothing else.

    1. I agree with this, Ains didn’t really have anything to work towards. He simply dealt with problems as and when they occured. Having a goal for Ains to reach would have made the show a bit more enjoyable.

      1. But he did have a very clear goal which he stated explicitly, his goal was to learn everything he can about the new world, make a name for himself in the process and eventually take over it, that’s the goal/s he was always working towards.

      2. But It’s not really a tangible one. He went into the world knowing nothing about it, learning about the world really isn’t much of a goal. Anyone would do that in his situation. Sure, making yourself known to the world is his desire/goal but from a narrative point of view, it’s not a great one. It hasn’t really driven the story towards anything in the grand scheme of things this season.

        More about the world and the people in it needs to be covered. Ainz needs to have some kind of motivation beyond the above to exist there. We need some big bads introduced, and an explanation as to how he came to be in this world to begin with, and an answer if given the chance to return home, would he do it?

  14. I don’t really know if I’d call Momonga/Ains/Momon a villain protagonist myself. Well, from what was shown in the anime at least.

    For a villain protagonist, he sort of lacked any real evil deeds. That and he was far too well liked by the general populace and the only people who really disliked him were the actual villains.

    To be honest… he pretty much reminded of me of our lord and savior Tatsuya.

      1. True, true. I suppose Joseph Stalin is one of the better real life examples of that.

        Still, comparing him to characters like Jorg Ancrath from ‘The Broken Empire’ trilogy or Light Yagami from Death Note, I really can’t picture him as a villainous protagonist.

        The main thing he lacks in my opinion is good people who go against him. Every single character that was painted in a good light basically put him on a pedestal after seeing him in action.

        The only time I really recall him acting the part was when he killed that adventurer who tagged along when he went to attempt to free Shalltear from her mind control. But again, he wasn’t really shown as being a good person. (I guess when he killed Clementine as well, but revenge kills are pretty common no matter the protagonist.)

        Granted, attacking lizardmen to convert them into an undead army does fit the bill, so perhaps if this gets a second season this will become a moot point. Until then I just think we were told he was a villain protagonist while not being shown enough evidence as to him being one.

    1. I think a “Dark” Hero would best describe him. His moral compass reminds me a bit of Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon a Time. The way he’ll happily use people for his own benefit regardless of the outcome to the person being used, the way he’ll kill someone who is against him rather than say capture(example being the Clementine fight). He seems to be motivated by his own interests and if those interests result in someone being helped or saved, it’s just a happy coincidence.

  15. My most griping complain is about it’s artistic choices, it should have been portrayed more grimly with realistic color palletes/schemes. It fails to deliver the grim atmosphere of the world around Nazarik, it feels incredibly cartoony instead.

    Also due to these artistic choices too, some scenes (battle scenes are the one sticking like sore thumb) looks boring. The narrative on the novel spent a lot of effort on building the atmosphere on the scene but the visual execution is terribly lacking so this is lost on the anime medium.

    For example, angel summons on the first arc looks degraded version of digimon instead of angelic/holy being they should have been. What should have been scary things, didn’t look scary. Other example is the visualizations of the magic: on the novel it’s described that magic have level tiers and higher levels magic should be visualized better then the low level one, we instead only got still pictures without anything different between these tiers. Ironically though, the character still saying the lines along “Impossible human should be unable to use this x-th tier magic!” while the visual representation is the same with any other low level magic.

    I admit that the story is slow and disjointed, but I loved overlord because the grim dark atmosphere portrayed in the novel. Then I found that in the anime it got kiddy anime atmosphere instead and got disappointed.

  16. Oddly enough, your post describes pretty much how I felt regarding Log Horizon. Bored out of my mind. But Overlord, I actually liked quite a bit. I guess I just loved how he played the role of a villain and how he chose to keep up appearances vis-a-vis his underlings.

    1. 100% agree.. never even realised until i read this comment.

      this kind of directionless ‘blah’ feeling is what i felt when i watched log horizon. and also seconded – momonga’s interactions with the other members of nazarick (including hamusuke <3) constitute like 60-70% of this show's appeal for me.

  17. Pretty much summed up my thoughts on Overlord Stilts. I’m generally not even into MMO anime that much. I’ve no interest in Log Horizon and as for SAO, it was one of those things that I had to see no matter what my opinion of it was(disliked S1, moderately liked the 2nd, then I saw Mahouka and appreciated SAO a little bit more when I thought – “hey, a show with a Gary Stu protag could’ve been much worst, it could’ve been liked this for instance”).

    To that end though, Overlord did feel refreshing the way they just reveled in how OP Ainz & his Nazarick crew were instead of beating around the bush – that was the hook I suppose. Also, credit’s to Hino, Satoshi for being the perfect VA for Ainz. It was just so…overlordish and I can’t imagine him with any other voice now 😀

    But nothing compelling in the end. Eventually people like me are gonna want the MC & his crew, whether they’re villains or heroes, to face someone their on size, or a dire situation. In the case of Overlord, the 2nd might be easier to do. Ainz loosing control or being betrayed by some of his followers might be just that and the thing with Shaltear was a start, though it’d have to be on a larger scale in order for Nazarick to feel truly in peril.

    Perhaps I would’ve enjoyed seeing Ainz rise to Overlord status along with his former guild mates. He could still be fairly OP and stomp some of his foes, though there’d undoubtedly be many more challenges along the way.

    Still, for something that’s not exactly my cup of tea, I definitely enjoyed more than I should – heck, I thought I wouldn’t give it the time of day. If we ever get a 2nd season, I’m definitely watching it.

  18. The anime is very good actually. honestly this series as of now is just a build up to what is to come. like in NL were they use 1 book to introduce “almost” everyone the anime use one full series to introduce “almost almost” everyone hahahaha. as the comments said above although the Main protagonist is Ainz you don’t really see him much by the 2nd book to half the 3rd book only cameo’s. good news is by the end of the 3rd book the pace slightly increase juuuuusttt right(still in seemingly fast walking speed). yup it is still slow but how the author describes in detail each character or to a this need to be known bases is good. it’s like floating on the sea until you notice your out to deep and need to swim to the shore and then repeat.

    1. it’s like floating on the sea until you notice your out to deep and need to swim to the shore and then repeat.

      I like that description. I’ve seen that in other stories, where you don’t truly realize what’s going on until it all hits you later in. It’s a neat trick, if’n the author can pull it off.

  19. Overlord was fairly enjoyable, not perfect but entertaining. Personally I’d say it’
    s biggest flaw was introducing all the characters at the beginning, but not giving them the time to grow on us by displaying their quirks (except Albedo and Shalltear, to a lesser extent). In SAO, it was mostly Kirito and Asuna, everyone else was foils, and in Log Horizon, they kept the trio Shiroe/Akatsuki/Naotsugu together long enough to establish a solid dynamic, then expanded the cast. Here some Guardians-centric episodes would have been nice.

    Still, to me the most hilarious moment must have been Momonga facing Pandora’s Actor and getting absolutely mortified with his antics and attitude… You just had to feel sorry for him.

    Weird D
  20. I liked this series, definitly enjoyed it. This and Rokka no Yuusah are the two anime I anticipate every week. Both aren’t perfect though.

    Really loved the first arc, though admittedly, they really should’ve animated more of the final battle. Would’ve loved seeing Albedo in a fight. It’s really rare to see a female character in full plate mail. Seeing that animated would’ve been great.

    The second arc was rather dull. Clementine did hook me in after each episode though I don’t really mind her passing. Hamsuke was actually fun to watch in this arc. Can’t take him seriously, but the reaction of the village people was just… well I know how Momonga felt that time.

    Felt the third arc was great too. Pacing was all over the place, but I guess nostalgia from playing D&D games kicked-in. Probably did the same things as Ainz a few times, checking triggers, setting up buffs and traps. Can’t forget Pandora’s Arc too. The finale practically says: to be continued.

    Of course I also watched the shorts. That’s probably the only reason I remember the names of the combat maids. They are actually quite disturbing.

    Personally hoping for a sequel since it’s hinted there are other former players in that world. The final episode also feels like a setup for something big. Hopefully they’ll have fixed their flaws by then.

  21. I’m reserving judgement overall on this show until they do another season. Overall it felt like the first chapter of a really long book. There’s so much more out there in this world, and I genuinely hope it gets covered, and answers are revealed as to why Ains was transported to this world.

  22. Well, since i understood that my “Ainz-sama” is not the Hard Shell soft Inside “Angel”, my interest has shifted a little bit. Episode 12 and 13 (more 12) is just an Boss fight, did we really need the Video Sequence of Ainz-sama buffing he entire “Christmas Tree Buffs”? But i admit the Fight was good. But an entire Episode? Okay, Episode 13 they found the balance i prefer. But the End.. It really punch us with their Fist that we should await an 2nd Season.

    They are about to introduce now other Players, beside Ainz-sama and his Guardians. I lack the interaction with the normal Citizens. In the Anime we only saw Ainz-sama kill this “annoying Fighter” when he was to hunt Shaltear. Perhaps in the Manga we get a reason for that. But the Anime just left me in the Dark. “Spread my Name with Fear! under all costs”. Um.. Saving the Village… i hope the Anime explain to me, why he support this Human Village, where his Guardians would turn them into Meat. And even “just killing Lizards” for an Undead Army, as if you go in a Supermarket shopping…

    As i said, the inner thought of Ainz-sama “that he could resurrect the Dead Civilians of the Village, but better not, for not create false understanding…” that was the culprit that i assumed he is good inside his Heart (Player). But as long he stay in this World, as long he do not care, except to spread his name through all means necessary

    The Evil will win. Even if Ainz-sama fight against a greater Evil. Evil will win. What happen with the Light side Heroes? They are on vacation? Did Le Louche of Britannia, turned them into Bad Boys?

    But still, this Show entertainment me. just in the other way i expected from the Start

  23. I enjoyed watching Overlord every week. I am watching it a second time with a few friends and we are at about episode 6. While im noticing a lot of things I didn’t catch the first time through. I am also realizing a few of the faults that irk me about the show.

    First off, Ainz is too strong but plays things too cautiously in an attempt to create the illusion of threats. This goes for the rest of Nazzarick too. But there is one exception and it is actually my favorite scene in the entire season. Ill get to that in one second. Ainz goes on and on about how he needs to be super careful while collecting information about the world. But every time we see an enemy who gets a little hype as being strong. The ol Naz gang laugh off their enemies strongest skills and trump cards.

    The exception I was mentioning is the scene where shalltear becomes mind controlled. We see a group of (im guessing) Slann Theocracy adventurers. And the smallish group actually beat shalltear. One scene in particular rings out to me. There is an adventurer shalltear specifically mentions as being strong, she does a “you’re in the way!” attack that against any other no name would have sliced in half. But instead it just pushes them back a bit as they manage to block the attack.

    Seeing a group of adventurers who were a random encounter for the naz gang actually get a win and show they are a threat put some actual credence to Ainz-samas constant weariness of his new world. That is why this is my favorite scene of the season. Sure it wasn’t the best animated, didn’t have a lot of build up, and came across as a sporadic fight. But it is the only scene in this season that showed the world can threaten these characters. And that is incredibly important if we are going to feel anything when our characters go into battle.

    Unfortunately this threat (and it is still a minor threat, only being able to beat one guardian, no real threat to ainz) doesn’t even show itself until the end of episode 10. And we didn’t get any insight into who they actually were until the very end of the last episode.

    TLDR; Enjoyed the series, though it has its flaws. I think a second season could do a lot to improve the series as a whole.

    1. A battle between Ainz and someone equally as strong as him, like another player transported into the world would have been a better way to conclude the first season. Even if the battle was fought to a draw, it would show that there are threats out there to his very survival in the world.

    2. Ainz was smart for being super cautious. It might seem paranoid, but he was weary in case something like what happened to Shalltear were to happen sooner if he were more reckless, and he, in the end, was justified in that approach,

      That’s one of the reasons I liked the show. His decision making was deliberate, and the reasons why he wanted to take it slow were explained. He’s in a new world, and as far as he knows, he could be killed, permanently, so even in a game setting, to be successful means you need to get as much information as possible without putting yourself at risk, especially since he’s unfamiliar with the environment or the rules sets, and even more so when it comes to PvP or PKing like he said. He made a strategy and stuck to it, but adjusted it when he needed to.

      Regardless of whether he was a villain or not, that made the show worth it, as his actions were really thought out imo.

      Frog? No. Hippo!
      1. I agree. I like that he was prudently cautious. It made it easier to root for him (instead of being exasperated when he does something stupid, like with SO many anime protagonists).

        But that said, an author can have a smart, prudent main character and still create tension. If the main character isn’t going to bumble into it, you just have to impose it—create challenges that force themselves on the main character, no matter how well they plan ahead. Other commenters have said that it’s actually other character, not the Nazarick gang, that are the emotional linchpin, but—well, even if that’s the case, my point holds true for other stories.

      2. To me, I didn’t mind there wasn’t any tension, as long as they built it up right. Plenty of shows put in artificial or forced tension just to drive the plot, and it’s just clumsy, or even worse, frustrating when there were better ways of including it. This show of course had its flaws, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised.

        I think it’s similar to the saying, “it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters most”. That’s also why I’m not upset with shows like Lost or BSG.

        Frog? No. Hippo!
  24. This is completely unrelated to Overlord:

    If you enjoyed Throne of Glass then things are only going to get so much better, it’s the worst book in the series. Make sure you read the short stories after the 3rd book before the 4th, it references all of them.

    1. After the third and before the fourth? Good to know! I was wondering when I should read those (I’ve just started the second), so that clear it up ^^

      And though I haven’t read the others yet, I’d more (in my ignorance) coach the others as better as Throne of Glass. I can’t imagine it being bad (it wasn’t), but I can certainly imagine the others being better! A tweak to framing, is all ^^

    2. (Also completely unrelated to Overlord): Stilts, you’re reading Throne of Glass?! SJ Maas is probably my FAVORITE AUTHOR EVER… except for ToG, ironically. She used to write on Fiction Press, where she posted the story under the title “Queen of Glass”. I think it’s fair to say that it was the single most influential work I read during my early teens, and more than 10 years after she started writing it, I just feel like the revised and reincarnated version as it is now has lost some of its magic. That might be because of my bias though, since the original story has an irreplaceable spot in my heart, and it’s just weird reading these modified versions of characters I used to know and love who didn’t used to be evil, and the names of places that SJ Maas changed over the years. But it’s true that the first book is the weakest, and the third book, where the witch clans are introduced, is when things really start to pick up (for me at least)! I highly recommend her other work A Court of Thorns and Roses, if you like her writing style and her world building!

      1. A Court of of Thorns and Roses is actually the first book of hers I tripped across, though I haven’t read it yet. I saw that, said, “Hmmm, maybe,” then looked at some of the related books on Amazon—and Throne of Glass caught my eyes. I’m glad it did!

        I can sympathize with missing the old, unvarnished version. I suspect (hope) that the polished version is actually better, but—well, it’s kind of like with the Star Wars EU reboot. The old EU might have been shit (and a lot of it was—I read most of it up to just after the Yuuzhan Vong arc), but it was OUR shit. (Or in the case of the good ones, OUR stuff.) Seeing it overwritten is always weird, even if (and I don’t know if this is true yet) the new stuff is objectively better. It’s just not the same.

      2. Well.. technically it might be better, since it’s much more concise with the massive original draft. But since she had no word limit on fictionpress, she spent more time fleshing out the characters and writing silly conversations (which she said herself in an interview), which added a lot to Celaena’s dorky/human/warmer side instead of making her simply a total badass.

        Oh well! It’s not like Throne of Glass is bad by any measure, and it does get better! Hope you enjoy the rest of the series. Do check out ACOTAR though – it’s a bit more subtly written and spends less time talking about how badass the MC is and actually showing how badass she is.

  25. Overall the show was fairly disappointing. Granted that it was entertaining at the start, the episodes started to drag along at a snail’s pace. For example, the scene about them taking the weapons from the armoury could be dealt in 2 minutes. Instead, it took 3/4 of an episode. The interaction between Albedo and Ainz is forcibly injected into the story as well. But those are not the bane of the anime as much as it is the fact that the staff seemed to want to focus on the ‘coolness’ factor of the characters rather than advancing the plot. We could see this in the graveyard arc and start of the shaltear arc. This is frustrating as this should not be something which should be done for its own sake in any media – be it novels, manga, short stories, etc. Rather,this feeling of ‘coolness’ should be formed in the audience’s opinion or psyche of their own volition as opposed to pushing it onto the viewers.

    As for the actual adaptation itself, having read the novel (I don’t think the English translation has kept up) up to Volume 9, I can confidently say that a majority of the important parts of the plot was omitted. Take the final Shaltear arc for example, based on the anime itself, we would seem to have the impression that Ainz’s guardians are not very powerful – being defeated by mere sidecharacters. But that is untrue, as the anime evidently omitted the part where the theocracy did in fact send its strongest team to subjugate Shaltear in her mind-controlled state – to no avail of course.

    The light novel certainly had a lot more depth to characters and a (more than) adequate world-building. In contrast, the anime leaves much to be desired.

  26. Even in the light novels, I will admit that I wasn’t a fan of the blood valkyrie arc or even the previous chapters, as they were simple introductions. I was honestly hoping for 24 episodes or more, because the ones I really want to see was the Lizardman Arc, the Show Spoiler ▼

    Here’s hoping for season 2.

    Stilts edit: Mark your spoilers, please.

  27. I’m not surprised you didn’t like this since you didn’t like Mahouka either. They’re both Narou shows, and they both have a non-traditional, “unbalanced” narrative style. That is, if they hadn’t proven their popularity on Narou first, I think there’s no way a publisher would’ve accepted them without revisions–lots of infodumping, lots of time spent hyping the power levels and showing off the cold-hearted protagonist’s strength. I think people who watch shows like this are tired of kind young protagonists like the ones in Outbreak Company or Zero no Tsukaima; they want supreme conquerors.

    I knew what to expect with Overlord, but the only thing that bothered me was how it kept going back to the idea of a guy who misses his MMORPG buddies. If they’d actually died, or especially if he were getting revenge for them, or if they were developed in the flashbacks, I think I would’ve felt more connected to the story, but I just kept thinking, “Oh, they’re busy with their wives and jobs or whatever.” I was surprised how much I ended up liking Shalltear, though–much more than Albedo.

  28. what you are feeling right now towards the anime is pretty much what I feel towards the LN. the problem lies in the source which has so much problems. I don’t recommend reading it at all.

  29. After this arc, Ainz and crew switch from an Antiheros to a Villian Protagonists. The POV/Focus changes to actual “heroes,” and the author focuses the character developement on them and their confict with Nazarick. The “tension” comes from this aspect. These “heroes” are good guys defending what is important to them, enough to make you want to root against Nazarick. Since the work is about Nazarick, you start wanting them to spare these developed characters, but they are villians. The switch to Villian Protagonists is jarring. The author is sick and we are masochists.


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