The story begins when Yggdrasil, a popular online game is quietly shut down one day. However, the protagonist Momonga decides to not log out until the end. Momonga is then transformed into the image of a skeleton as "the most powerful wizard." The world continues to change, with non-player characters (NPCs) beginning to have personalities. Having no parents, friends, or place in society, this ordinary young man Momonga then strives to take over the new world the game has become.
"Conquering the world is a very interesting idea."
(There are quite a few allusions to minor spoilers in this review, fair warning.
I have read 9 Volumes.)
There is an inherent truth in the world of anime, manga, and light novels; this truth is that far more often than not the protagonist will bear remarkable similarities to the image of a "Virtuous Hero"! That guy with the friendly demeanor who will help anyone and everyone. That often times young hero will hold the mindset of not letting anyone they know get killed. They won't give up and believe that even the villains deserve a chance at redemption. If
they see someone in need they will lend their help free of charge. From mundane day-to-day tasks to a conflict fraught with danger and potential death, these heroes are always there to lend a friend, ally, or on occasion a complete stranger their ever so capable hands. Overlord is not that kind of story.
Another fundamental fact also exists that there are very few anime, manga, or light novels that have their protagonist as a villain. The character that will kill any who get in their way, will victimize innocents, the type that will look back on the blood they've shed and smile as they continue to swathe their way through a crimson tide. Overlord is not that kind of story.
Overlord is one of those stories that has the protagonist feel real. He's not perfect or morally righteous but nor is he evil or blood-thirsty. I mention this now because I saw that misconception as being the greatest form of interest in this series. With allusions to stories such as Death Note, Overlord was initially illustrated to me (along with many others) as a story following an Undead Lich as he sought to take over the world. While that is certainly not a lie it is also far from the truth. However, this series is unquestionably one that is worth reading.
Allow me to make one thing crystal clear: This is NOT a story about being trapped in a video game. Anyone who is laboring under the delusion that this story is akin to Sword Art Online or Log Horizon I urge you to throw your hoe into the ground, straighten your back and wipe the sweat from your brow. Despite the initial picture you may have woven thanks to the synopsis, it is far more accurate to say that our protagonist is transported to a fantasy world with his in-game avatar being the catalyst for his conveyance into this new world. Sword Art Online was obviously a video game. Log Horizon was a video game with real life elements but it was still a game, with raids, drops from killing monsters, the purchasing of buildings through a system run by the world. Overlord is real life with a few elements reminiscent of a game.
The story predominantly follows Momonga (Or Ainz Ooal Gown, as I will be referring to him from now on, Ainz for short) as he and the eternally loyal bastion known as the Great Tomb of Nazarick seek to claim this new world as their own. I was immediately enthralled by this premise. Quite simply, I adore stories of conquest. From my childhood spent building fortifications with Legos only to have it come under assault by my army of Lego Orcs (I can thank Lord of the Rings for that one), to my many days spent playing Warcraft 3 as I surged into human establishments with my army of undead. I have always enjoyed that concept of conquering whatever adversary stands in front of you through the use of strategy. Overlord has not left me feeling dissatisfied in that regard even in the slightest fashion. Though that is not to say you should expect an all out war from the very beginning. A substantial amount of time has been devoted to the more subtle elements surrounding world conquest, principally that little commodity known as knowledge. Overlord subscribes to the assessment that knowledge is power, a correct conclusion if I do say so myself. Thankfully though, intelligence gathering does not stand as Nazarick's single asset; to quote Game of Thrones: "Power is power", and believe me, Nazarick has an abundance of power, so much so that the golden chest it resides in was blasted apart due to the swelling within, the power then shattered the vault and poured out into every passageway in the building.
Though an implication may have already arisen, allow me to definitively state that this author has poured in an extensive amount of detail into this fantasy world. The world powers and their relations to one another. The individual states of the countries' governments and the factions formed, the social classes present within these countries. Crime, the magic in the world, the magical items, alchemy, swordplay, the system of the guild that utilizes these fantastical elements, every single one of these concepts are delved into with a phenomenal amount of detail.
While Ainz is the preeminent character in this series, we've also been made privy to the perspectives of many of the other characters present in this story. This has helped pave the way to a veritably fascinating cast. These perspectives aren't just limited to the allies of our main character, we'll hear from friend and enemy alike as they perceive the events of the plot.
Allow me to introduce Ainz Ooal Gown-sama, the Supreme One, the highest of the Almighty 41 Supreme Beings, the Supreme Overlord of Death. Clearly the inhabitants of this world hold a fondness for the word "supreme", no? Ainz is a character that is enchanting to read about. Formerly your average human serving as a member of the Japanese work-force, Ainz is now a skeletal Lich and finds himself the leader of an organization whose members feel undying loyalty and love towards him. Ainz is immediately presented as both smart and responsible as he tries to maintain the appearance of the leader his subjects have envisioned. Then devoting himself towards the discovery of the nuances of his new body, his power and capabilities, as well as the details of the world he suddenly finds himself existing in. We see two sides of Ainz, one being the Ruler of Nazarick, the Ainz that is exhibited to the world, the Ainz that emanates a constant state of power, knowledge, and control. But then you have the Ainz that resides solely in thought. The Ainz that struggles over the mental taxation he feels, the one that has to rigorously think through every scenario to try and present the powerful demeanor, the Ainz that takes notice of how cold and calculating he's become, and the Ainz that ponders the intrinsic lack of emotion capable of being felt by one who no longer has a human body. Far from evil and still retaining a slight sense of justice, Ainz is one who doesn't feel emotion towards the nameless human he saw struck down, he doesn't cause suffering for fun, but nor does he hesitate should the need arise. He casts off the notion of taking action because it is "the right thing to do", rather he intervenes in situations where he stands to gain a profit.
The only other character I am going to make specific mention of is Albedo. Albedo is the Overseer of the Floor Guardians and is extraordinarily in love with Ainz. In the Layman's terms of this site she's a Yandere. Inordinate feelings of anger and jealousy at her beloved's interaction with another female? Check. Immense feelings of joy and pleasure upon receiving praise from her beloved? Check. Desire to kill love-rivals so as to spend eternity with her cherished one? Well, half-check. Suffice to say, Albedo is characterized by her excessive love and devotion towards Ainz.
The remainder of the cast I am not going to delve into, I am however going to bring the spotlight towards the dynamic that exists between many of these characters. The Great Tomb of Nazarick is my personal most cherished element that exists in this series. The Great Tomb of Nazarick serves as an organization of monsters all in service to their ruler. Every single denizen of Nazarick shares one cohesive thought: absolute, undying loyalty and service towards Ainz Ooal Gown. I hold an unequivocal adoration towards that simple sentiment. The denizens of Nazarick view humans as lower life-forms, equivalent to the cockroaches that we find so repulsive. They will slaughter an entire village without a moment's hesitation or guilt, they will torture with a smile as they feed humans their own limbs. Nazarick can be described as a genuinely evil organization. Though its an interesting fact that any cruelty dealt against humans is perceived as normalcy. Humans don't consider the ants they crush underfoot and neither does Nazarick. Yet despite their "evil" actions they're kind to one another. They get along, sharing in bouts of laughter and tears alike. Not every member gets along with one another perfectly, but more often than not they hold affection towards one another, affection that can even be referred to as love. This mindset is also held by Ainz as he is 100% devoted towards Nazarick and every single member he rules over, in both duty and love Ainz is standing alongside this group of monsters.
Despite all my words of praise I do still hold two issues with these characters, well two characters in particular: Ainz and Albedo. The dilemma I hold with Albedo is the exhaustive extent that her feelings towards Ainz are displayed. I love that a character like her exists in this story, but I find myself feeling annoyance when she continually displays only the aspect of her that causes strife and discord with the other characters. She loves Ainz, everyone knows and understands this, but when she continually starts arguments with her allies simply due to perceived jealousy, well, I can't say I enjoy that. In essence, she's obtrusive to the interactions between the other characters.
The single greatest fault I held with this series was actually Ainz himself. I do not know how it was perceived, but I tried to stress how fascinating I believed Ainz to be. I truly enjoyed the duality he presented. However, I eventually reached a threshold where this constant state of struggle was only recognizable as a placation to development. You see, Ainz and the rest of Nazarick's thoughts and plans weren't in a state of harmony with one another. Initially this disconnect was something I viewed with interest and intrigue, but it came to serve as a source of slight aggravation. Too many times did Ainz restrain his allies. For too long did Ainz's inner monologue serve as a source of naive grief and confusion. Ainz himself became a constraint to the progression of the plot. That's not to say I actually disliked him because of this. Ainz still remains a fantastic character and an excellent addition to protagonists that aren't perfect heroes. The actions he has taken at times can be perfectly chronicled as evil, villainous acts taken against the denizens of this world. I really wished I could have sooner dropped the preface "at times". Thus was my endemic grievance with Overlord, it may not be shared by others but I felt the compulsion to share it alongside the other subjective assessments I held.
The illustrations... Spectacular scarcely does them justice. Incredible is a travestied description. This art is nothing short of gorgeous and is easily stands as the pinnacle of illustrations I have had the pleasure to see associated with Light Novels. I am clearly not a writer for an art magazine, but I can encourage you to seek out these exquisite illustrations and observe them with your own eyes.
A story that strays away from a morally virtuous protagonist. A series that will follow the monsters who slaughter in glee and the humans that fear them alike. It's dark but refrains from having an sense of overbearing despair. You will peruse the thoughts of those who have to stare inevitable death in the face as they face an existence that is beyond their wildest night mares. You will hear the laughing of the monster that roams the halls of a building as they seek more death. Joy and despair, insanity and serenity, sadism and mirth, the vast array of viewpoints allows us to see these emotions from the perspectives of those who are feeling them. You'll laugh in amusement from the witty dialogue, but you'll also laugh in sick fascination as monsters make victims of "the good guys". I have no doubt these words have been long since anticipated, but if the aforementioned elements are even remotely interesting to you then Overlord is a series I recommend wholeheartedly.
"The main character of the book is a skeletal mage, leading a large evil organization like the last boss of a game.
I don't believe the main characters in novels and movies who rescue people without asking for anything in return.
Readers who acknowledge that prioritizing yourself is the right mentality will enjoy this book.
It's very direct."
After reading it, he was right.
Story + Character + Enjoyment -
This series is in the view point of the invaders instead of the more common angle of the invaded.
It takes heavy inspiration from d&d and other mythology and has a distinct "strategy + game" feeling to it.
protagonist of Overlord isn’t the type who only deals with the danger right before them, but one who will take the initiative to accomplish his goals and gain benefits for himself.
Detailed descriptions and subtle future hints are abound but do not defer in the enjoyment even for a reader who does not like reading that much.
The characters are all well characterized and developed even for those who do not have much screen time since the direct writing style really brings out the personalities in a clear and concise manner.
Beautifully drawn art by so-bin that fits the series and everything in it.
If is something to compare it to it would be Tolkien books.
Truly a masterpiece in the making not just in novels but in all of literature.
I wrote this review for the novel after watching the episode 13 and also finished reading all the volumes of overlord that had been released so far, which is till volume 9. So I have at least quite an understanding of the story so far. But I would not put any spoilers in the review and just general info that people can see from the novel's synopsis description.
But before I write my review, there is this one glaring point of the series's story setting that a lot of people seemed to be confused about lately that I have to point out.
Many people tend to
be confused that the main character has been stuck in the game world he is playing in but the truth is that it is Experimented and Proven many times that he is instead Transported into a new fantasy Reality world where Yggdrasil players either don't exist or uncommon to the point of being called legends that only exist hundred of years ago. The only thing he is "stuck" in is his skeleton game body when he was transported from his game virtual world to another fantasy reality world. Also another thing, he is not a kid or a teenager, but instead is a blue collar salesman.
So after clearing that up, let's start my review of the novel. I advise people to rate my review fairly with open mindedness and after proper understanding of the series and not base on personal reasons, rashness or eccentric personal bias which seems to be quite common lately...
The novel's story is quite dark, evil, brutal and despairing at times and the novel's story is quite detailed and exciting to read which draws in the reader's curiosity and interest in knowing more of the story, but sometimes it may be quite tedious to read the highly detailed descriptions and multiple dialogues of the story. But people who are interested more on how the story is developed would find this interesting. Some people who lacked the attention span, patience or the interest in the story and wanted more actions and excitements immediately may find the novel's start to be boring. But people who actually wanted to enjoy the story's world and development would find that it's story is quite interesting, attention to details and descriptive with points of the story from different perspective.
Many people who started reading and enjoyed the novel are there for the literature story in the first place. Some people may find the story to be developing quite slowly at times due the story development but it comes with a lot of important plot points which might have otherwise caused confusions to the readers if some info points was lacking and skipped just to make the story faster.
The art quality is very good, as many people had said before that the novel's are quite well done but this is something left for people's personal taste and interests... But speaking it in general, the art is very detailed, beautiful. But all in all, it is something that is well done.
One of the main protagonist that you will never expect to see a lot in story even till now. A skeleton as a main character with a blue collar working salesman's mentality behind it. The person is very logical, emotionless but interestingly funny at times, who does the most realistic and logical reactions and actions people should expect if they are transported into another world. Keeping up his act as an overlord outside but whining and shouting inside about tiring things and situations. He also never consider his powers to be overpowered since the his skills are known in games and always think that there is someone such as players stronger than him out there.
The introductions of the many other side characters were also very unique and interesting too. They all have their own detailed designs, personalities, settings and developments.
Sadly the only thing lacking in this novel is a strong enemy character that the main characters have to face and overcome... But it is actually fine, since story wise, the story is actually still interesting and mainly draws the viewers to be more interested on how the process the MC used took over the places or even the world, the perspective and reactions of different people in the story which you normally won't see in other stories at times, and also main point of the story that is expected of how the strong overlord crush the enemy in the end after the intended development for it along with the expectations and despair which all together makes it something even more interesting and refreshing to see too, just like picking the fruits after it is ripe for the taking.
Also it seems there are people rating down the series due to the mc not having an usable underpart? Well, he can actually do it if he wants to and afterall, it's also better for the mc to think logically than thinking using his lower body like some other pervert mcs which are annoying. Besides, it seems pointless for some people to even point this out to talk down a good series.
Well the novel may not be a master piece for some people. But it story is a great literature that is the most descriptive, well developed, highly rated and one of the higher quality light novel out there that is highly encouraged by many people to read it to understand their world even more. That is the novel's purpose, as there are many people who enjoyed the novel are there for the literature story in the first place.
Also, there are points which mainly show how different it is from some more commonly known similar series stories settings.
Firstly, unlike the typical hero fantasy stories that are a dime of dozen out there already with almost Similar and Familiar stories and settings. Of course a story from a villain's perspective would perk people's interest than the typical power from friendship troupes, where you always would expect a certain people to survive in the end or just simply no one dying at all. With many things that are being quite common these days, this actually make this novel more unique and stands out.
Secondly, in this world where pretty much everything was cliche, a different, darker virtual gaming world to another world story is actually more new and interesting to people comparing to the typical virtual game or reality to fantasy stories that are quite common out there like no game no life, log horizon, SAO, problem children, etc with similar familiar overlapping fantasy settings or even other different typical stories with a shiny hero or a dense innocent kind mcs, instead a setting different from the typical familiar ones would be fresher one to see.
Finally, if people Do want to immense themselves in settings, atmosphere, plots and details of the story other than just immediate mindless action stories that are dozens out there, they would definitely welcome this novel. Given how much of a potential this novel's story have, even till the latest volume I had read so far.
Overall, the novel is quite an interesting and addicting read for a story, if the further story's volume continues to be just as interesting to read, it will still easily continued to be rated 9 by me.
Premise: I decided to write this review to give the perspective from someone who did not enjoy this novel, given how the other reviews talk about how super duper amazing it is. Now you may ask, 'if you didn't like the novel, why did you keep reading it?' I didn't; I dropped it around early volume 7, I believe. But 6-7 volumes seems like enough to write a review for a 9 volume story. (Tbh I'm surprised I made it so far. The only thing that kept me going was the hope that it would get better, due to how amazing it was supposed to
Story (5): The overarching premise of the story is actually quite good, so it feels like this story had a lot of potential. But nothing much is actually done with this world and setting that has been built up. The main character who has ultimate power and is in control just wallows around with feeble attempts to gain information about the world in construed idiotic ways.
Due to the overpowered main character's lack of leadership over his battalion of subservient AI's, they go around advancing the story on their own. While this sounds good at first glance, as they are just acting under this lack-luster leadership-less leader, there really is no cohesive goal in sight, and this lack of coordination between the respective AI's leaves all that they do to feel very empty.
Art (10): The art is really good. But like all novels, not much art. Regardless, this bumped my overall rating up from a 3 to a 4.
Character (2): Ah character, the poor sad characters. Since this story is mainly about the characters, I'll go in depth here.
- Main character (Ainz)
I read in another review here that the main character (Ainz) is "immediately presented as both smart and responsible as he tries to maintain the appearance of the leader his subjects have envisioned."
I am sorry, but Ainz is one of the dumbest most cringeworthy main characters I have legitimately seen in a novel. The main character, is set into this world as the most powerful character, with his army of elite AI's that have absolute servitude programmed into them, which he knows. And instead of living how he wants, he has this weakling baby-like attitude of "oh noz, if i don't act evil, the AI's won't like me. boo hoo. Whatever shall I do. I know! I'll just have this dilema for 6 volumes straight of how I don't want to be evil, but I can't help it since I want to be liked by my AI's which have already been programmed to love me forever. I'm so scared.) Legitimately the whole story up till volume 7. And he wonders why the AI's get confused what his goal is; of course it's because he's been putting up a facade up and confusing the hell out of everyone. Instead of just getting it together, taking charge and saying things directly.
I've read manga where the main character has a facade contrary to their true thoughts and abilities, such as Angel Densetsu and Transfer Student Storm Bringer, where the juxtaposition between the truth and reality in these stories is done extremely well. So it definitely is possible to have a main character where reality and their thoughts do not match up. Alas, this is one where all has gone wrong.
- Other characters (AI's)
The AI's initially seem to have distinctive personalities. But we quickly see that all have the trait of being over-confident. So while it is a mix-mash of different characters, they all have the same vibe. Other than perhaps Albedo, it's more like generic villain A and generic villain B. etc. All in all, the AI's did not add much to the story for me. Nor did I come to love any of them.
There are so many other stories, too many to count, where the relations between characters can drive the story home. Make one happy, angered, feel tears, just really any emotions at all. These characters did none of that, and felt flat. (To those who read the story, did any of you actually care when Shalltear fell into a predicament? I could not have cared less.)
- No one else stands out? The main character is really like the only character for most of the story tbh. No one else is fleshed out as much.
Enjoyment (2): I personally did not enjoy this novel for reasons already stated. Everyone enjoys things differently, so perhaps the faults that I have pointed out, you will not mind. I hope that is the case, as reading this novel was a long journey for me.
Conculsion/tldr;: Due to the lack of leadership of the overpowered main character in this story, events unfold contrary to how he plans, as his minions stew up their own plans. The main character's unintelligence limits the abilities of his army, which also proceed to be stupid as well, and ultimately causes strife throughout the story when there should be none. This large fault is particularly unfortunate as this novel seemed to desperately want to be tactics/strategy based.
While reading this story that is a play of idiots, one gets accompanied by the internal struggle of the insecure main character, "how to get his AI's which have already been programmed to love him forever, to love him."