You remember my review of the overlord light novel well it’s time to look at its first anime adaptions (nicely it proved so popular it got 2 compilation movies and a second season, so you can guess this is good). But how do I look at this, I saw the anime long before I read the first volume. I did look at the original comparing what I read in the light novel to what I saw in the anime. I have now refreshed my watching and am knowledgeable about both so it’s time we look at the first anime season (might make reference to season 2, but won’t review that till it’s available to purchase over here).
For those who have read my review of the light novel I feel no need to repeat myself and the link up there should get people who haven’t read it up to date. One of the nice touches the anime does is have a notably different inner voice for Momonga/Ainz. It helps to show the difference in who he was as a person and his new undead overlord form. This is further emphasized by the difference in how he speaks not just the voice which is something that can’t really be done in the written format. It helps balance out the lack of certain parts in the novel, namely he goes into a lot more inner monologues while nerding out. It’s present to some degree in the first episode though when he talks about the guild staff.
The anime adapts the first 3 volumes of the light novels. You may recall in my review of The Devil is a Part Timer that when this happens you can often see where one volume ends and another begins. This is noticeable in the transition from volume 1 to 2 but not so much from volume 2 to 3. Though there is a clear end point of volume 2 it flows into volume 3 more organically than that of the first to the second, and having read the light novels I’m pleasantly surprised how well the episodes flow into those chapters. As such Overlord can be easily dissected into 3 arcs each covering the 3 volumes.
Arc one starts with the game Yggdrasil shutting down and Momonga suddenly finding himself in his game character’s body and the nps all acting like fully living beings. We get a brief interaction with these but it’s enough to get elements of their characters out before we are introduced to the new world though the attack on Carne village by armoured soldiers and Ainz (as Momonga renamed himself) coming to their defence.
Arc 2 sees Ainz now under the guise of Momon a heavily armoured adventurer in black armour accompanied by one of the combat maids Narberal Gamma under the guise of Nabe. Ainz is out to make a name for himself under the ulterior motive of using the position to gain more knowledge about the world and the two get involved in a plot by 2 villains to raise an army of the dead.
The final arc has Ainz face off against Shalltear Bloodfallen, one of his minions that has now fallen under an incomplete mind control spell and he must now slay her (normally I wouldn’t spoil this but it was shown in the opening). This means the final arc contains an all out battle between two powerful individuals, which is important as earlier Ainz could just overwhelm opponents by being so far beyond them. It’s at the end that the only real differences between the light novel and the anime happens as certain scenes were omitted from the adaptions that introduced characters who became more important later. Don’t worry season 2 starts with those.
As is clear the series faithfully adapts the light novels and adds elements that could only be done though animation (and not by adding scenes). The first series does give the feeling of building things, introducing us to Ainz and the guardians and through them we begin to organically learn about the new world he has found himself in. For anyone that enjoys good world building I highly recommend this anime, and for those that liked the ideas presented in the lightnovel but weren’t as fond of reading they will enjoy this, plus it created a season 2 which is currently being shown on legal streaming, and I’m hoping for a season 3. (I’ll need to check if the Chibi series starring the maids is on the dvd/blurays, but if not there’s always the internet).