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Machina Mechanic

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PostSubject: Owarodo   Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:57 am

After the anime was over, I finally decided to read the Overlord LN. 8+ volumes later, I have to say, it was a weird ride.

You get into it with the mindset that it's an LN, but as you go through you figure that several conventions may or may not hold. The biggest example here would be that normally in an LN you would expect focus to be spent mostly on the main character(s).
First volume is called "The undead king" and indeed it is about the undead king, Momonga/Ainz ooal gown, second volume is called "The dark warrior" and indeed it is about Ainz's alter ego, the adventurer Momon.
And here is where things go off the trail a bit.
Third volume is called "The bloody valkyrie" and it is, as you may have guessed, about the bloody valkyrie, that being Ainz's subordinate, Shalltear. The story is mostly on her and doesn't leave her until she loses control, while Ainz doesn't appear in the story unless needed.
Fourth volume, and the point after the anime ended, is called "The lizardmen heroes". And it is about the lizardmen heroes. They have no connection to Ainz Ooal Gown other than the fact they seemed to have been challenged by one of ainz's minions. It's from the perspective of the lizardmen heroes, it's the story of the lizardmen heroes, again ainz does not appear until we get close to the resolution.

And that's not an exception, future volumes follow that pattern. You start seeing that Overlord is not as much about the Overlord, as it is about how the world is affected by the appearance of the Overlord. At least half of every volume tends to go to the titular group of the volume. Actually, glimpses of that existed in the anime as well, with the story going unnecessarily into detail about the adventurer companions of Momon, only for it to go nowhere, something the average viewer likely dismissed as just a weird occurrence. The close by story of the overlord is not abandoned by any means, we do go back at it at certain points, but not before learning everything about the group we are focusing on. As a light novel, you can say that's a fault since the new information every time might be hard to read through (and there is a lot of information), and I'll admit I have skimmed through many a paragraph (especially about lizards, who cares about lizards?), but it's not exactly a foul, while it's less like a light novel, this is a writing pattern often used in regular novels, and considering Overlord was a web novel to begin with, there is no real obligation to adhere to light novel standards, at least in its original form.

Another thing to note, is that this is darker than you'd expect, including the parts you did see in the anime which were toned down a lot in terms of descriptions. Normally, since this is an LN, you would expect the somewhat funny adventures of the vrmmo overlord where he is misunderstood as evil and is actually good. The "good guys are the bad guys" or "the maou is nice" kind of trope, and the story actually tries to feint with it. But it's not exactly there. Firstly, the story gets rather dark. You might have noticed something when Momon abandoned his adventurer companions when he found them dead, even though he could have resurrected them, and thought "that's kinda dark", but no, not quite there. There are many more moments when reading where you'll feel it got darker, but no, still, you wouldn't be getting it. There comes an "oh... shit, that's- that's pretty fucking dark" moment/time where you start to understand where this is going. You might remember after the adventurers died, in his talk with clementine, Momon mentioning that he is not really angry at their deaths because they were companions for a bit, but he is angry because their deaths interfered with his plans, and you might have passed this off as an anime protag playing it cool. He was honest at that point, he did not care, he mentions some gratitude at some point later, but there was no other feeling there about them. His inner thoughts are often silly, and you may pass off a lot of the dark stuff happening as just his 'programmed to be evil' subordinates acting up outside his knowledge, but you do get as you go on, that there is something wrong with Satoru Suzuki (Ainz's real name) no matter how innocent his thoughts may seem, that he may end up going down the deep end, that he may actually end up being the evil overlord the regular expectations would have him be, and that this story is not going to end well.

The art is also not what you'd expect, it has a very interesting aesthetic for an LN, you can just check the covers here http://skythewood.blogspot.sg/p/knights-and-magic-author-amazake-no.html
It should be said that at many times it does seem as an LN as well, regarding some of the interactions of Ainz when the story does get around to him, so it's not like it deviates completely. It just may be hard to read due to all the new information on all the new characters every time.

So, after all of this, I have not said whether it's good or bad, and I even said I skimmed through some parts.
Overall, I quite liked it, and I think it may at the same time be a big hit or miss with people, I can see a lot turned off by this so it's a matter of taste I guess. That taken into consideration, it is one of the more interesting reads among translated LNs, so it's worth checking out.

Also it was licensed so translations will end at the end of volume 9 kthnxbye

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