Project #249: Overlord

Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. Man, it’s good to be the rogue or anti-hero. You’re not too good and not too bad. You play by your own rules and do what you want whenever you want. You’re the guy nobody can control or predict. In the past the hero was always seen as the guy who could do or did no wrong and upheld justice while sticking to good morals and never succumbing to evil. Which is fine, they kind of represented everything we should strive to be like but at the same time they’re a bit unrelatable as well. We’re humans, we’re always gonna make mistakes and do things that might not be right morally and instead do things that might be considered wrong in the eyes of others. This is one of the reasons why I like rogue heroes so much, they’ve always been compelling and relatable characters. Just like us they don’t always do the right thing and sometimes can be selfish, sadistic, and a little evil. Nowhere is this seen more than in RPG games where you have choices on what you want to do and an anime that tells you it’s alright to do all the wrong decisions and do what you want is Overlord. Written as a light novel by Kugane Maruyama in 2012 and still continuing to this day, Overlord is an anime series that came to be thanks to SAO. Thanks to the popularity and success of SAO, studios wanted to cash in on this gold mine so a few of them started to look at popular novels and mangas with an RPG-like setting and make animes off of them. While these studios chose source materials that were similar to SAO, a group of characters trapped in a virtual world and rallying behind one OP character to escape, Madhouse (Devil May Cry, Black Lagoon, and Death Parade) took a different approach and instead chose Overlord, a series where the OP character was seen more as a villain than an actual hero. The anime debuted in 2015 and along with Monster Musume it’s one of those animes that came close to being on the 2015 best animes list but for one reason or another it didn’t make the cut. Well let’s embrace our dark side and bow before Overlord.

Opening and Ending Theme

The opening is “Clattanoia” by O×T which was hands down my favorite opening from 2015. This opening just screams I’m a badass overlord and you should kneel before my badassness before I take your life. The song captures the personality of our main character into how he’s trapped in this unknown world but continues to march forward and make his way to the top using and taking down anyone that gets in his way. The ending is “L.L.L.” by MYTH&ROID. At first I didn’t really care for this song and usually skipped it but after listening to it again recently, it’s a good song. It’s heavy metal rock and gives off that yandere vibe that reminds me of Yuno from Future Diary (actually this would have been a good ending to use for that anime). I really don’t know why I didn’t like this ending at first. Maybe it was because I was hearing a lot of rock music that season, that it was starting to wear me out. Anyway, good ending.

Episodes 1-4

The anime opens up with our overlord character Momonga voiced by Satoshi Hino (Kinjiro from Mayo Chiki) in the world of Yggdrasil the hottest MMORPG to hit the internet since Log Horizon (Seras: No SAO joke? (Nitsuj): You’ve already made one up in your head. (Seras): True) that is until today. After 12 long years the servers are being shutdown and the game will be no more. This makes Momonga sad because he and his guild of demihumans spent a lot of time in the game and now it’s all coming to an end (society can be cruel). He decides to stay in the game until the servers shutdown in the guild’s throne room with the guardian NPCs and their guild’s strongest weapon. When the servers shutdown Momonga finds out he’s still in the game and the NPCs are doing functions they normally wouldn’t do (Seras: It’s SAO all over again). To Momonga’s credit he actually does a good job keeping his cool and analyzing the situation. Rather than outright panic he tries to contact the GMs and guild members but it doesn’t work (they took his menu). He then discovers that the NPCs obey every word he says and consider him their leader (Seras: And he grabs the breast of the guild’s strongest NPC Albedo who thanks to a new program he wrote is now madly in love with him. Scene here: https://youtu.be/xBexUG1V7ok. (Nitsuj): Yeah. Not gonna lie, I probably would have done the same thing). Seeing how he has control of the NPCs he decides to test out his fighting skills on the guild’s sixth floor arena (man I wish my guild had all this cool stuff) which is guarded by the two cute twin guardians Aura and her shy trap of a brother Mare. He tests out his magic skills and has them fight against his familiar where they win easily and he gives them water (that was nice of him). The episode ends with all of the guardians (except for two) gathering to meet Momonga and bow before him.

Episode 2 opens up where episode 1 left off. We meet the guardians Shalltear the vampire girl who’s also in love with Momonga, Cocytus the insect warrior, Demiurge (who has the accountant look going for him), and Sebas the butler of the guild (while not necessarily a guardian his powers are on par with them). We find out from Sebas that the guild is in a different area than its original setting which was a swamp (they were right next to the Injustice League). The guild is now on flat grasslands completely in the opening (well it’s not the swamps but the view is an improvement). Momonga gets Mare to disguise the place using dirt and create fake hills to blend it into the background while the other guardians work on fortifying the defense of the guild. We get a funny scene between Albedo and Shalltear as they fight over who’s going to be Momonga’s wife and mistress (hey silver and gold ladies ain’t no losers there. Besides in the end you’ll both be riding the bone train. How about it Seras, care to ride the bone train? (Seras): Piss off). Momonga than disguises himself and goes out to soak in the view of the night sky which is quite beautiful to look at. After seeing all the hardwork Mare has done Momonga gives him a ring which will allow him to teleport between levels whenever he wants (okay Momonga might just be the nicest overlord I’ve ever seen). He gives one to Albedo as well and we end the episode with warriors going through the plains and destroying every village they come across (burn it man. Burn it all).

In episode 3 Momonga saves a village being attacked by knights from another kingdom (not the face of a hero I’ll say that much). Momonga uses his magic and powers to save the village but he discovers he feels nothing after killing so many knights (most likely a side effect for being an undead character). After saving the village he talks to the mayor of the village convincing him that he’s a spell caster who locked himself away for years studying magic and doesn’t know a thing about the world (yeah that sounds like an MMORPG player) and he finds out that the money he has from the game doesn’t work anymore (well that’s some BS right there) and that the area he’s in is surrounded by three kingdoms. The first being the Re-Estize Kingdom which the village is a part of. Next is the Baharuth Empire enemies of the Re-Estize Kingdom and finally the Slane Theocracy a neutral kingdom which lies to the south of both countries (yeah, neutral being they’re planning to attack the weakest kingdom when the opportunity presents itself). Momonga believes this attack was staged with the Slane Theocracy in the hopes of adding fuel to the fire of the war and he decides that he needs to establish friendly relationships with one of the kingdoms so he chooses Re-Estize (well the one kingdom is the natural enemy of the kingdom we just saved and the other kingdom is clearly plotting something in the shadows. Re-Estize it is). He decides to go to the capital of Re-Estize but before departing knights of Re-Estize show up with their captain Gazef thanking him for saving the village.

At the start of episode 4 mages from the Slane Theocracy show up and surround the village. Their goal, to kill Gazef even if that means destroying a small village or two (and with those archangels I they’ll do more than destroy a village). Gazef asks if Momonga will help but he says no (smart move. Best not to get involved in political matters) however he does promise to protect the village and gives Gazef an item without explaining to us or to him what is or does (great job writers). Gazef rides off with his army towards the mages trying to distract them away from the village but he gets knocked off his horse and gets stranded fighting the mages himself. Even when his troops come back to help him (I will say they’re brave and noble for doing this but they’re useless for coming back to fight) he still has a hard time fighting the mages and is close to dying until finally the item that Momonga gave activates. It turns out that the item allows Momonga to switch places with Gazef and his man (https://youtu.be/8tYXfssLOSM?t=9s, so he does care. Scene here: https://youtu.be/YITKf7-ZjTw). Momonga just easily destroys all the archangels on the field and he does it in an Alucard from Hellsing Ultimate like way. He toys with them, he makes them believe that they have a chance to win only to tear it away from them and make them realize how weak and insignificant they are to him. Even when they release their strongest angel Momonga is so disappointed and ashamed that he actually thought they were going to be a threat to him (so embarrassing) that he easily destroys the angel and then kills off the mages who threatened to attack the village scene here: https://youtu.be/er_MekNNtOk). Once the village is safe Momonga and Albedo head to their guild where he announces that he has officially changed his name to Ains Ooal Gown (which is a cool name I might add. Very overlord if I may say so myself).

Episodes 5-8

In episode 5 Ains and Narberal (a female warrior) enter the fortress city E-Rantel in the Re-Estize kingdom (so are all the cities in Re-Estize going to be hyphenated?) where they pose as new young adventurers to get more information out of this world (the only problem is they have no money. It’s tough being an overlord). They join a guild and Ains tries to take on missions but he can’t read the language of this world (what’s the matter too American for you?). Luckily, a group of guild members calling themselves Swords of Darkness (that name just makes you sound like an evil guild) help him out. The members are Peter (the leader), Lukrut (the masochist), Dyne (the gentle giant mage), and Ninya (the shota) who has a special ability known as talent holder which grants him magic affinity meaning he can learn magic quicker than most people (pretty cool skill if you ask me). Anyway, their job is monster extermination near the city which Ains is totally okay with (it satisfies the sadist inside of him). But before they can leave they get stopped by Nphirea the grandson of city’s pharmacist who has the ability to use any magic item in the world (and the skills keep getting better). Nphirea wants Ains help in gathering herbs near Carne village (escort mission. I hate these missions). Why Ains you ask? Well it’s because Ains gave a red potion to an adventurer earlier in the episode as compensation for accidently destroying her blue potion. When she took it to get it appraised she found out its pretty rare in this world and now Nphirea and his grandma want to know where it came from (looks like Ains made a mistake).

Not much to say about episode 6. Ains, Narberal, and Swords of Darkness are in the middle of escorting Nphirea to Carne village. They do fight some orcs where everyone is impressed with Ains’ skills saying it’s at a level of the royal knights the strongest in the land. They camp out for the night where it actually gets hinted that Ains really does miss his old friends and is worried that he might not see them or play with them ever again (that is a sad thought). That’s pretty much the episode but we do learn why Peter and the others call themselves the Swords of Darkness. It’s because their goal is to find the legendary swords that belong to the Black Knight a skilled knight who passed away sometime ago but left 4 powerful swords behind that were his treasure. We also get a funny moment with Albedo who sleeps in Ains’ bed (ironic seeing as how he’s undead and doesn’t need to sleep) while cuddling with a body pillow with Ains’ picture on it (scene here: https://youtu.be/qHA83E9b5JA, oh man you ruined that girl Ains).

In episode 7 the group has finally arrived in Carnes Village which has improved since the last time we saw the place. The village has been rebuilt, everybody is training how to fight, and they’ve established a solid defense. We also see Nphirea is the childhood friend of Enri the girl Ains saved in episode 3 and he has a crush on her (and with the parents out of the picture she’s yours for the taking). Of course he doesn’t have the courage to confess to her but through his conversation with her he does piece together that it was Ains who saved the village (you can play detective but you can’t confess to the girl you love?). He doesn’t tell the others figuring that Ains is keeping this secret for a reason but they do talk a little bit with Ains promising to show him how to make that red potion (you kill the person you love the most. Nah just kidding, go to the local store and pay 800 coins for it). They all go to the forest to collect the herbs where Nphirea tells Ains not to kill the Forest King since he is the guardian of the village who keeps monsters away (well then he sucks at his job. Where was he 3 or 4 episodes ago?). Ains decides he wants to kill the Forest King in order to boost his fame status and with the help of Aura he manages to find the Forest King which is just a huge squirrel who talks like Yoda (troubling most is this). Embarrassed by this he simply casts despair on the squirrel causing it to admit defeat (he is so bored. He wants a real challenge). He then becomes the master of the squirrel and decides to register it at the guild to get money and more fame (look at me everyone, I conquered a giant squirrel). They return to the city where Ains feels embarrassed riding on the back of a squirrel through the city (this definitely screams kawaii than badass) and Nphirea returns home only to be greeted by a mysterious woman.

The mysterious woman is Clementine a crazy warrior that used to belong to this dark organization known as the Black Scripture which works under the Slane Theocracy. Clementine went rogue and stole what’s known as the Crown of Wisdom a powerful item that has the power to unleash an army of zombies on the world (Undead: Actually we’re the undead. Zombies are walking corpses. We’re just skeletons and we don’t infect people. (Nitsuj): *Nitsuj slices off the undead’s head* We’ll you still die like them). She fled Black Scripture and joined another organization known as Zuranon and now wants to use Nphirea’s ability to use any magic item in the world to resurrect the undead. Back with Ains he makes his way to the guild to register the squirrel now going by the name Hamusuke. He meets Nphirea’s grandma Lizzy and gives her a ride back to her place where Ains senses danger and sees that the Swords of Darkness were defeated by Clementine and turned into zombies (that just ain’t right). Ains kills them without hesitation and quickly figures out that Nphirea has been captured and offers to rescue him if Lizzy gives him everything she owns (the overlord does not work for cheap). He finds their hideout in the cemetery (what tipped you off, the army of undead trying to breakout?). Ains, Naberel, and Hamusuke enter the cemetery with Ains slashing away the undead with ease (okay, in case of a zombie outbreak find Ains) until he finally reaches Clementine and her partner in this undead madness the dark sorcerer Kujiat. Ains leaves Kujiat to Naberel in order to take Clementine himself and he decides to give her a handicapped because she pissed himself so much. He won’t fight her seriously.

Episodes 9-13

Episode 9 shows us once again how cruel and sadistic Ains can be. Kujiat fights Naberel by summoning skeletal dragons that are immune to magic (human magic. Try taking on demon magic). Naberel holds her own against them but finally gets serious when Ains tells her to show them her true power. She does this and uses her lightning magic to roast the dragons and Kujiat all in one strike (scene here: https://youtu.be/_tc5popX3_A. I know I asked for rare but this is too much). Back with Ains and Clementine, Ains continues to play with her and use her to get information about how the magic works in this world. After becoming bored toying with her he reveals his true form, grabs her, and hugs her to death (scene here: https://youtu.be/j5rRpyPKsks). Once that’s done they rescue Npheira and set out to return him home.

Not much to say about episode 10. We focus on Shalltear who’s going around and killing NPCs. We see that her skills are quite amazing. She’s a vampire class character who has 2 servants serving her and gains even more power by absorbing the blood of those she kills. Shalltear tracks down a powerful warrior named Brain who is said to be the second strongest fighter in the kingdom and Shalltear easily turns him into a coward (who runs away crying to his mommy). After slaughtering all the mercenaries in the base and seeing how Brain escaped out of a secret tunnel in the back (scene here: https://youtu.be/NqUBu_Dq7J8, you can’t run from death Brian) she goes after him only to get stopped by adventurers from the guild where one of them happens to be the girl who Ains gave that red potion to. Because of this Shalltear spares her life and goes to fight the second team in the forest where I think she managed to win (hey she’s the only one standing that’s usually a good sign) however Albedo reports to Ains that Shalltear has betrayed them however he believes that she’s under someone else’s control.

In episode 11 the strongest members of the guild meet to discuss Shalltear and what they should do (well she is an attractive vampire who isn’t moving at all. I’m sure we can think of something). Ains offers to go with his team and observe her but one of the guild members jealous of his fame and quick ranking goes along with him (big mistake). He gets tied up by Ains and the others and gets killed by Mare (damn! Even for you Ains that’s a little messed up). They approach Shalltear where they find out she’s under someone’s mid control and they don’t know who or what is controlling her. Ains tries to heal her with a class spell item but it has no effect on her meaning that the spell casted on Shalltear is world class magic the highest level of magic imaginable that has the power to change or destroy the world and the only way to break world class magic is to use other world class magic. Having no other choice Ains enters the guild treasury where we meet Pandora’s Actor the guardian of the treasury and manager of the guild’s finances (man how advanced are these NPCs?). We find out that he was created by Ains himself (I can tell) to embody everything Ains thought was cool however Ains is completely embarrassed by this guy. So embarrassed that his very existence brings shame to Ains (scene here: https://youtu.be/_jV9psvaeYI). As Ains is about to get the world class item he needs he tells Albedo that he’s going to face Shalltear alone worrying Albedo greatly. Albedo begs Ains to let her fight instead but Ains says no for three reasons. One, he doesn’t think he’s worthy of being their leader and sees this as a trial he must overcome alone. Two, there’s a good chance whoever casted the spell on Shalltear has laid a trap for him. Three, he’s the only one capable of taking down Shalltear one on one. Shalltear is considered the strongest NPC in the guild able to go toe-to-toe with Albedo. If they want to take her down their best chances is sending someone who’s stronger and smarter than her.

In the final two episodes of the season it’s Ains vs Shalltear. Episode 12 is just the two fighting in what I have to admit is a pretty amazing fight. The fight continues for the first part of episode 13 where Ains uses the pay to win tactic (I hate this tactic so much) and blows Shalltear away (scene here: https://youtu.be/02pmPMCWHGo). After his victory he resurrects Shalltear using 500 million gold pieces (you better be worth it Shalltear) and she’s no longer under anyone’s mind control. Ains than makes plans to find the people responsible for attacking one his own, continues working at the guild where he becomes the highest class there, and makes plans to attack a Lizardman village.

Final Thoughts

Oh man this was awesome. Why oh why didn’t I put this on the list!? Overlord is one of those series you go in thinking it’s going to be a bad rip-off of SAO but no, if anything I find it better than SAO. Ains is the perfect anti-hero in this anime. To him, everyone in the world is just a pawn to be used by him and anyone who gets in the way will be crushed by him. I love how he puts on this front of being this all-powerful overlord that nobody can stop but is secretly a geeky man. His inner monolog to himself is funny and his reactions and thoughts to the world around him and how weak it is will make you laugh. He’s like a grown man walking through a town of toy blocks. He’s trying his best not to knock it over but he’s so big and powerful that he can’t help himself. Despite his immense power I love how he has a soft spot for the NPCs of his guild. These guys are the world to him, they’re the last thing he has that reminds him of his friends that he spent countless hours playing the game with and I think it’s because of this that he finds the power to keep on going even when it seems like he has nothing to fight for anymore. Speaking of NPCs, they’re a blast as well. While they don’t have much screentime, they’re all great characters. They each have their own personalities, unique designs, powers, and I like how they’re all evil monsters and can be just as cruel and merciless as Ains.

The animation is solid, it’s done by Madhouse so what did you expect? The fight scenes are brutal, gory, and fun to watch. I love how Ains is overpowered and comes across as Alucard from Hellsing Ultimate. He could easily crush everyone but he chooses to toy with his opponents, see what they can do, learn about the world through them, and then kill them letting to see and know just how weak and insignificant they are before him. The music is good, it captures that dark atmosphere the anime has going for it and despite the fact that the anime doesn’t have much going for it plot wise at this point I’m glad they’re taking their time and establishing the world Ains is in and just like him we’re learning about the world as well.

Final Score

The final score for Overlord is an 8/10 with a much watch stamp of approval. This is an anime that speaks to the rogue player inside of you and encourages you embrace it. With the second season set to air next year, I’m excited to see what Ains will do next and what mysteries he’ll be facing. Who was controlling Shalltear and is Ains really the only player in this world? Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj as Ani-ween continues. MUHAHAHAHAHA- *Nitsuj gets attacked by a swarm of bats*

(Nitsuj): AHHHH! They’re in my hair! They’re in my hair!

*The bats go flying out the opened window into the night sky as Shojiro shows up*

(Shojiro): Ah, sorry about that old boy. Was cleaning out the attic when all these bats came flying out. Guess the sudden light must have spooked them. Anyway, when you have a minute come see me. I just found an interesting I was hoping you could explain to me.

*Nitsuj slowly gets up with bite marks and claw marks all across his face*

(Nitsuj): I hate bats.

*All videos, clips, and music are not owned by me and belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved*

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