RogerBW's Blog

Overlord 13 April 2016

2015 fantasy, light novel adaptation in 13 episodes: AniDB. Momonga stays on-line as his favourite VR MMORPG Yggdrasil is shut down, and finds himself not kicked out but stuck in the game world. And now the NPCs are acting like people…

Momonga is one of those players, the ones who put in endless hours and have All the Stuff. The avatar he inhabits is a lich, basically invulnerable to most attacks, with huge magical abilities and similarly huge hand-to-hand combat strength. And he has a stronghold full of high-powered magical items and loyal NPC retainers (including Battle Maids – well, this is a Japanese series).

That's where it starts to get interesting, as those retainers start acting like actual people, though still within the parameters of their defined personalities. One of them is utterly in love with Momonga, to the point of absolute and total faith in him; most of them have utter contempt for the low-level humans in the world. After all, they serve a hugely powerful evil master! But Momonga doesn't want just to have minions now that the game's NPCs seem real; he aims to become known across the world and find out if anyone else "real" has managed to transfer into it.

But it's still a world full of monsters, and human factions that hate each other; and a super-powerful being that's suddenly stirring rather than staying in its lair is a disruptive factor, whether he wants to be or not.

That's a great setup, but sadly in thirteen episodes it's about all of the main story we get. There are nine light novels in this sequence so far (it was the most popular light novel series in Japan in 2015), and there's no time here for anything significant to happen: there are some minor skirmishes, the most significant being against one of Momonga's own henchmen who's become possessed, but before you know it the thing's over, and no plans for a sequel have been announced. Even plot elements which do make it in here are often skimmed over quickly rather than delved into at any length.

It's a fascinating world, but it needed to be given at least two or three times the space to work in. Unless a sequel does get made, all this really has is ideas.

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