Overlord: Series 1 (aka Overlord II) review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
Although I’m entering this review in a semi-biased way, I must say that Overlord is one of the best anime in today’s existence, and then some. Biased because I have a natural aversion against Japanese 3D animation, which can either make or break a whole show and even put a bad taste in my mouth (looking at you modern Berserk). Thankfully, Overlord is worked on by some of the industry’s most revered studios (Parasyte, Death Parade), and to this extent, the animation is done flawlessly and in tone with the rest of the show (i.e. story, narrative arcs, character traits, etc.) With all of that being said, Overlord is not yet Bebop or Saitama-ready, but it certainly aims to conquer that anime league as well. Onward.
Being a huge RPG fan (Tyranny, Planescape: Torment, Pillars of Eternity, Arcanum), the references to strength, energy, and other skills completes the second bias I have about this show. They make Overlord that much more enjoyable, and believe it or not, more believable too. Take note however that some of the references went over my head, mostly because I was concentrating on tackling Western-based RPGs and CRPGs, rather than indulging in their Japanese counterparts. Nonetheless, the majority of these references was well-placed and took a significant part in playing a significant part in the overall narrative structure of Overlord.
The show follows Momonga in the form of his online avatar Yggdrasil, who ends up trapped in this RPG world after the game suddenly shuts down. But, Momonga’s recent fate becomes both a blessing and a curse; curse because, you know, he’s trapped inside a god-darn game. But this also comes as a blessing for him because his character was basically enjoying god-like powers in the game, so he’s pretty much invincible all throughout. He is also in possession of several powerful guards to protect his character, but since he doesn’t need them anyways, he decides to venture on his own by transforming his character into a low-level adventurer looking to score big. And this is where all the fun begins, as Momonga (now Ains Ooal Gown) can beat seemingly more powerful enemies than himself, and this makes for a good and engaging series.
The only downside of Overlord is that it’s too short (you can buy the light novels/manga to continue the story, but if you were hooked on the show, what’s the point of doing that anyways). Some of the characters were clearly just cardboard cutouts, whilst others were developed way more than what the story needed to progress forward.
All in all, good show for those who aren’t squeamish and aren’t the first ones to look away when the main character is getting a flu shot. Apart from that, Overlord is quite enjoyable and fans of RPGs should definitely check it out. Like now.