The show can be taken to light from different perspectives. From the perspective of a light novel reader and adaptation, it’s easy to say that the series focuses quite a bit on Momonga. Almost every episode highlights his role, personality, or overall character. The relationship building and associations he establishes with other characters are also played out in a variety of ways. This can be seen with the seductive Albedo who is utterly in love with him. Even among the Floor Guardians of Momonga’s guild, she is one of the most loyal and obsessive towards Momonga.
It also introduces other characters that each get a little bit of his or her screen time such as the Mare and Aura twins, butler Sebas, Cocytus, and intelligent demon Demiurge. In relation to Momonga, they all seemingly show an undying love and respect for him; just expressed definitely from one way or another. As a bit of character driven story, this is really a miss as the characters are unappealing from first impressions. Only Momonga can be legitimately interesting as we want to find out his potential as a guild master and person in real life. It makes us wonder what he is capable of with his new role and how these new changes can apply to his character.
The remainder course of the show opens up realms of possibilities. Like most MMORPG worlds, Yggdrasil seems to be resourceful with landscapes, guilds, and monsters. The story mechanics of the series is explained such as weaponry, skills, and monsters that exhibit its world. It’s nothing original when compared to some other MMORPG style shows. In the past, series such as Sword Art Online and Log Horizon also has fantasy game mechanics; albeit in different fashion. For Overlord, it slowly does this while unraveling the main course of the story. There’s also some common monsters you’ll usually find in fantasy worlds such as goblins, undead beings, and even angels. What makes Overlord stands out a little bit more is that the show is more than just about conquering and survival. I think the key word is the title itself, “Overlord”.
As both a character and story driven series, it will definitely takes patience and adapting to get used to the show. I actually recommend re-watching some scenes to get a better understanding of the series’ intentions at few cases. Examples such as Momonga’s lack of remorse towards death, Albedo’s distasteful view on humans, and other ideals makes the show appealing. It makes the NPCs feel real. In addition, the game mechanics such as spells, weaponry, magical items, and potion making really brings out its fantasy realm to life. There’s some good amount of action as well although fairly predictable with Momonga’s newfound skills.
But for all its creativity, the series suffers much from the over emphasis of Momonga. It focuses far too much on his character while adding the ridiculousness of his servants’ love for him. The first two episodes will likely be a make or break for most viewers as the feeling of an MMORPG game feels isolated. There’s also die-hard comedy with character rivalries, expressions, and overall tone of their generalization. I will say the show has a diverse cast of the characters though. And given the set up for the world, it introduces plenty of important ones to bring the best of Momonga. However, be very aware of the pacing of this story. The first half really tests the patience of the viewers despite foreshadowing some future events and making small promises of improvement.
Madhouse puts their work into this show’s animation style. Taking place in such a fantasy world, the colors are focused on the characters rather than the background. Characters are diverse and decorated distinctively that makes them look unique. Momonga/Ainz is obviously the one that stands out the most with his skeletal avatar. When on the road, he takes the form of a dark warrior encased in an armor that makes him look like a badass hero. And that’s really an underrated word. Among Momonga’s followers, the term ‘badass’ can be applied to several characters with their designs such as Albedo, Shelltear, and the battle maid Nabe.
There’s also the monsters introduced that is classic to most MMORPG worlds. Human characters are created to look human and most of them gives the impressions of themselves as adventurers. As a fantasy adventure, the show is also no stranger to action and violence. In essence, the action is decent in terms of fantasy standards. It’s the type of stuff you’ll see often in MMORPG related games. On the other hand, the violence creates a grimmer tone. There’s no censorship with the blood and even gore-like scenes during battle sequences. Fan service also exists with Albedo’s role in the story. But what really brings out their characters is the expressions. It has the experimental feel when you see how they react as NPCs while displaying human traits.
If you want stereo music, then you got stereo music. Namely, the OP theme song is an intense beat to the ears while the ED theme always decorates itself with unorthodox imagery. The OST displays a familiar fantasy feel in terms of content. And for all that’s worth, character voice mannerism plays some key roles to make their characters into life.