Let’s admit one thing: if you’re in this website, chances are you’re a nerd like me. A good hunk of internet nerds like us have experienced watching some Asian material at one point, which was either an anime, a manga series or an anime movie from the likes of Hayao Miyazaki. Because of this Asian connection western fans have built, we’ve been getting more material translated from Japanese sources. Say hello to the latter 2000s boys and girls because we now have glorious books, in the form of Japanese light novels and ooh boy I have something you’d love.
To sum a bit of the story, in the far flung future of 2138, the servers of a Dive MMORPG named Yggdrasil are about to shut down after 12 years of service. Momonga, using a Lich King avatar and the master of the all-heteromorphic guild Ainz Ooal Gown, is staying ‘til the last minute in the base that he and his friends created – The Tomb of Nazarick. As the servers shut, Momonga did not notice that he was transported to a new world, together with the whole base. All of the NPCs became flesh and bone, magic became real and he’s become a Lich King himself. All he needs to do is see the new world he’s in and what can he do to survive.
This book is what can be summed up as a power fantasy. It chronicles the machinations of what you’ll do if you are an evil master of life and death and it’s a fresh take on the whole fantasy genre as a whole. Instead of the plucky hero who starts on an adventure and gains power as he progresses, we see the world in the eyes of what amounts to a villain, and a competent one at that. The magic and lore will feel familiar, like it was lifted from many different tabletop RPGs, most of which come from Dungeons and Dragons.
The world building is slow but magnificent. The nature of the world is properly fleshed out from the understanding of its inhabitants. It is mysterious, curious and ripe for the taking. Sometimes I find myself wanting to just skim on some parts due to the book’s tendency to let its readers connect with the ordinary people. This is not bad in any way, shape or form but after being treated to the awe-inspiring work that is happening within the walls of the Tomb of Nazarick, you will find yourself with little remorse for the humans who will be at the receiving end of the juggernaut.
Whenever I finished a volume of Overlord, I’m left with the feeling of itch. I want to see more. I want to know more. I need to see what this monstrous king named Momonga will do. He is unlike every other cartoon villain I’ve seen in my childhood. He’s smart, he’s competent and he’s careful. He’s unlike Skeletor or Lex Luthor who has an idea and barely builds around it; he makes sure there is zero probability of failure. It’s easy to fall in love with the story; it needs your attention to soak up the world and understand how it works. Overlord’s a definite must-read.