OverLord – 02

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Without being too direct about it, this second outing confirms that OverLord means to ask the question, “If a game were about to end and you were the last one logged in, would the NPCs make you their god?” It also answers that question with a fairly unequivocal “yes”, although those two floor guardians not present and the army at the end of the episode may be cause for concern.

But not that much concern, as the people he does have on his side pledge to gladly “perish as his shield” if need be. Their skills are apparent and their loyalty appears unswerving. Momonga is someone different to each of them—beautiful, strong, kind, merciful—the recurring theme is that of ebullient praise in every possible aspect of ol’ Skullface, which seems to trigger his insecurities: what did he do to deserve all this?

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Well, it would seem he deserves it because he was the last human player left. If you’re an NPC of the game, the human players are supreme beings, and without them, you don’t exist. So it’s a big deal that he stayed, even if he didn’t even mean to be the last one there.

It would seem that in his careless state near the time he believed the Yggdrasil servers would shut down, Momonga’s seemingly innocuous decision to make Albedo fall in love with him caused an unintended imbalance in the dynamic of his “court” of guardians. To whit: a character he didn’t modify already has romantic feelings for him, making Albedo a threat.

The two smitten ladies bicker at length until deciding Momonga should have at least two wives—the two of them—making it just a matter of who’s the first wife. The other guardians seem to rally around Demiurge’s idea of Momonga producing an heir, so that the NPCs would have someone to follow should he leave or die.

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Meanwhile, after issuing general orders to conceal the suddenly exposed Tomb of Nazarick, Momonga continues to test the limits (or lack thereof) of his powers and survey what has apparently become his kingdom by default. Looking at the bright starry sky and glowing full moon, he is filled with a desire to possess everything his beady red eyes see, a goal his guardians can certainly set their watches to.

Keeping this ridiculous-looking character grounded is the fact that beneath his scary and imposing facade, there’s a guy inside with no friends or family in the real world, and his frequent little jumps of fear and surprise really humanize him. Hino Satoshi’s multifaceted performance really makes up for the lack of facial expressions. Plus Momonga tends to slump, decreasing his sinister aura somewhat.

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To that end, Momonga starts to make it easier for his guardians to move around, issuing Ainz Ooal Gown teleportation rings like the one he wears. He may have made a slight slip-up in awarding the first one to Mare (who is a boy btw), because for a moment Albedo seems slighted; but she seems appeased when she gets hers.

Meanwhile, as the work to hide Nazarick continues, a stern-looking general orders the destruction of another village. Are these more NPCs given sentience like Momonga’s guardians, only not loyal to him? It looks like the honeymoon may be over, but the true threat level of these guys, if any, remains to be seen. Maybe they’ll be pushovers, or swear fealty in the fact of Ainz Ooal Gown’s awesome power.

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OverLord – 01

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I initially stayed away from OverLord when all I heard was that it was another show about a guy who got trapped in a virtual reality RPG, because, well, that sounded pretty familiar. But in the last couple weeks I’ve heard some good things about itit’s not just a lazy SAO clone; it has great characters and a sense of humor; etc.—and after finally diving in, I have to say I agree.

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OverLord’s setting isn’t all that novel, but its premise is both enticing and refreshing: rather than a hero’s journey about rising from the bottom to the top, our “hero” Momonga starts out on top…on the very top, having done just about everything there is to do in Yggdrasil, just in time for game’s servers are about to shut down for good. He’s basically looking on all his works.

Just look at how lonely Mononga looks at that huge table. The scene is suffused with the lingering energy from all the great battles that were planned and all the great victories celebrated; but like the throne room of a ruined castle,with the grandeur comes melancholy, as “much that once was is lost.”

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Then, just when Momonga thinks the game is about so shut down for good…it doesn’t. Not only does the game keep going, but the console and all connections to the GMs, admins, and outside world are gone. Even more interesting, NPCs suddenly look, sound, smell, and act more realistically, as if they were flesh-and-blood people. Momonga jokingly revises the character profile of his chief guardian Albedo to be deeply in love with him, and now she’s stuck that way. Even in love, this guy is set.

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As he surveys his vast holdings and loyal retainers, Momonga notes that while the controls of the game have changed, he can still do everything he used to, from order everyone around to teleporting wherever he pleases to summoning fire elementals with the game’s Ultimate Weapon, Ainz Ooal Gown.

I think it’s a very cool and effective choice for the show not to even bother getting into how or why this happened, but just lets us share in the bemused (and not panicky at all) Momonga.

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And why should he panic? Look at that diverse group of badass guardians under his command. Heck, look at him. He’s like Skeletor’s credible big brother. This was a relatively laid-back first episode, but it was a lot of fun. So much so that I put out of my mind the fact the animators saved a lot of work making the protagonist speak without moving his mouth, and simply enjoyed the fact that for once we have a protagonist who is not an underdog, but, well, an overlord.

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