「死の軍勢」 (Shi no Gunzei)
“Army of Death”
Can one episode make up for past performance? Overlord certainly believes so. After spending a fair amount time dealing with our new friends the lizardmen, perceptive changed ever so slightly as the reasoning and purpose behind Ainz’s reptilian excursion was finally revealed. Dialogue heavy? Sure. Lacking in action? Definitely. Nevertheless I think we all know what it’s setting up for next week: total domination.
As discussed last time, the primary purpose of Cocytus’ expedition wasn’t to defeat the lizardmen, but rather educate Cocytus in the importance of independent thought. Having your subordinates follow your will to the letter may sound good in practice, but when unforeseen circumstances arise—and they always do—such rigid command structures quickly break down. The best systems always impart a degree of decentralization, where underlings are allowed to adapt to changing circumstances. Such action may run counter to the leader’s actual commands, but as Ainz succinctly states, so long as these bursts of independence benefit Ainz Ooal Gown, who really cares in the end? As long as the loyalty of the subordinates (i.e. floor guardians) is guaranteed, such growth only benefits Ainz, which to no surprise makes their subservience front and center in our spooky scary skeleton’s mind. Cannot always expect the kids to want to stay in the nest once they grow up. Well, unless you’re a bed warming Albedo of course.
What makes this aspect particularly intriguing though is the shift it represents in Overlord’s tone. This is no longer some wayward group of overpowered demons figuring out where they sit in the world, now we have a legitimate power block figuring out how to keep what they take. Part of Cocytus’ “training” wasn’t just learning how to lead and succeed, it was also about learning to see the long-term use in others which is critical for any sort of governance. Peace post-conquest relies on a peaceful populace, and such calm can only be obtained by instilling both fear and respect. In effect play nicely, but act ruthlessly if anyone breaks the established order. On one hand Ainz’s grand display (with Demiurge’s application of magic) was a display of potential ruthlessness for example, showing how easy it would be for him to wipe out an otherwise insignificant annoyance. On the other hand the promise to have Cocytus face the lizardman alone was respect, showing Ainz could be reasoned with and—most importantly—expected to uphold his bargains. It’s the sort of governance which allowed many an empire to thrive far beyond expectations, and one Ainz hopes he can trust his floor guardians to follow. Should they do so papa bones has the world by the
skull horns, with the only thing missing being the people to impart his control over. Yeah, I think we all know where this story is heading next.
Before getting to those dreams of world conquest, however, first comes conquering the lizardmen and giving Cocytus the redemption he deserves. Pretty obvious what the outcome will be, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be lacking in entertainment. Overlord may have taken its time getting here, but with the pieces now coming together, the real fun is about to start.