Surly Summaries: Overlord

Ok so Overlord just finished airing yesterday and I have to say, I was a little disappointed.  The series was decent on almost every front.  But it just felt like a little too much of a straight power fantasy for me.  From here on there will be spoilers.

Overlord is a decent enough show.  I love all the demonic/undead characters though the human characters are considerably less impressive both in terms of depth and design.  I was not so much a fan of the CG monsters, I know the CG is a cost saving measure, but I felt like it wasn’t needed because there weren’t too many big battles that looked expensive.  The story was ok, I liked the idea in particular because it reminded me of Log Horizon.  The whole setup, of a player stuck in a world that operates on the same logic as a game but clearly isn’t the same as the game, is something that lends itself to a lot of exploration of the setting and careful pondering of all the information.  Likewise Overlord showed a clear and consistent understanding of MMO mechanics.  I only have one complaint on this front but I’ll get to it at the end.  My biggest problem was that the story was a bit too Ains-centric.

I’m not bothered too much that Ains and his demonic NPCs are so strong, though I felt like there should have been some enemies that were more challenging without relying on items from the original game world.  I was kind of bugged that we found no other players.  I understand that was a game that was shutting down and that very few people would bother to stick around until it closed for good.  However I have trouble believing the only player to do so was our main character, there should have been a few other hardcore fans who did what he did.  And for all I know maybe there are and we just haven’t seen them yet, which would be the best outcome.  Unfortunately all this means that this story is just too much of a power fantasy to be taken as seriously when Ains is exploring the world and gathering intel.  And this is especially true during the final battle.  Now I liked the final battle between Ains and Shalltear, it was pretty impressive.  However it had one major flaw, that Perfect Warrior spell.  Why would anyone play as a warrior character if mages can just cast a spell that makes them expert warriors too?  I don’t mind that Ains can use a spell to temporarily change to a warrior class, but that warrior class should be significantly weaker than his mage class and he definitely shouldn’t be able to use top level gear without any problems.  That is definitely more in the realm of power fantasy than accurate MMO mechanic in play, because that shit is broken if it were a proper game mechanic.  In any event, I’d say my prediction way back in my very first post was more or less correct.  Overlord is nothing amazing, but it’s a solid show.

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