Reading light novels brings insight into my favorite anime

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One of my favorite “binge-worthy” anime of late is OVERLORD. It has that smattering of everything I like… fantasy RPG, life in another world, minions at your beckon call, etc. It is a geek’s dream to see how a lovable loner “otaku” works to become the supreme overlord of the new world.

For background, in the year 2126, a Dive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game or DMMORPG called Yggdrasil was released. It stands out among all other DMMORPGs due to its unusually high ability for the player to interact with the game. After an intense 12-year run the game servers are about to be shut down. Within the game exists a guild, Ainz Ooal Gown, once consisting of 41 members and credited as one of the strongest guilds in the game. Now only four of the members remain, the other 37 having quit the game. Of those four, only one, an elder lich character named Momonga, continues to play as the guild leader and maintaining their headquarters, The Great Tomb of Nazarick. He accepts the reality that his friends have their other lives to take care of and decides to stay logged in until the servers shut down on the final night. When the shut-down time arrives, however, Momonga finds that the game hasn’t vanished. Instead it appears as if Yggdrasil has been recreated as its own reality along with its various NPCs having been brought to life while Momonga has been trapped in the form of his game avatar, leaving him unable to use the normal player functions or even to log out. With no other option, Momonga sets out to learn if anyone from the real world is also in this new world with him. Taking on the name of Ainz Ooal Gown, a message to any other players, Momonga begins exploring the world in an attempt to figure out what has happened while searching for anyone or anything that could help him solve this mystery, while ensuring the safety of Nazarick.

Why bring this up? No, it’s not another praise rant for one of my favorite anime series. I started reading the light novel series by Kugane Maruyama and realized that, like movies made from books, there is more to it than they show in the series. The details left out in the anime were made quite clear in the novels. Did you know Albedo has two sisters, both living in Nazarick, and they’re freaky powerful? Or that the Black Dragonlord from the Dragon Kingdom takes the form of a little girl because her lead adventurer is a lolicon? And, the sixth floor of Nazarick has a forest and farmland growing food for the people living in the Great Tomb? It’s amazing how the little details found in the light novels fill in the blanks of the anime. It’s like a “behind the scenes” video before a movie is released.

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It’s amazing the little details you find in these light novels, from personality traits to character interactions. For example, any fan of Overlord knows that Albedo is infatuated with Lord Ainz. In fact, she’s head-over-heels in love with him. In Overlord III, we saw Albedo practically attacked him as she was overcome with lust. What we didn’t see (but what I read) was the fact that Lord Ainz had Albedo confined for insubordination for “jumping his bones” as it were. Then, before a relaxing time in the bath, there was a scene between Ainz and Albedo where she played with him as she tried to seduce him even more. It was amazing to read how these interactions between those two gets even more heated.

When I’m reading Kugane Maruyama’s stories, I hear the dialogue in my head as if I’m watching the anime. That’s just how I write. I hear the words as if I’m watching a movie or TV show. I prefer to let the characters tell the story, not relying on sentences with flowing descriptions and overused adjectives. Kugane provides you just enough in his stories, along with the wonderful illustrations by so-bin, to let you see things in your mind’s eye.

So, the old adage is true… The book is better than the movie (or anime series in this case). That’s why you should always refer to the source material, whether it’s a book, comic book, light novel, manga, or any other written material. It’s the best way to truly understand the stories as they should be told.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

If you’re not watching Overlord, then what the Hell is wrong with you?

Although Overlord is in its third season, it doesn’t seem to be getting the hype like the third season of Attack on Titan or Sword Art Online. To be frank, that really pisses me off. This is an anime everyone should be watching.

It has relatable characters, a fantasy world we’d all want to jump into, formidable allies, and magical power beyond belief. Add to that a bevy of gorgeous vampires, succubus, and battle maids at your command, and you’ll realize it’s every nerds dream come true.

Overlord, in a nutshell, is about a gamer who stays logged into his favorite fantasy game while they shut the server down for the last time. Then he suddenly finds himself and all the NPCs (non-player characters for any noobs reading this) transported to a fantasy world with all their powers and abilities intact. He decides to set out and take over the world.

Anyone who has spent a weekend playing D&D nonstop, or pulled an all-nighter on Warcraft can relate to the main character, Ainz Ool Gown. Here is a guy who spent all his free time away from social angst by gaming, creating the most powerful undead sorcerer ever. Now he really is that sorcerer in a real fantasy world. Besides his constant monologing, it’s fun watching him read self-help books on being a good leader, learning how to interact socially with others, and ward off the affections of a certain succubus who lusts after his bones.

Other guardians who serve him are also creepy and fun. Demiurge is the coolest demon ever. You never know what he’s capable of. Shalltear is a vampire who will kill you without thinking and yet is the biggest where (when it comes to Lord Ainz that is). Albedo is, well, Albedo. She wants nothing more than to love Ainz, serve his every whim and wish, and have his baby too. These guardians are as ridiculously overpowered as they come, and yet, they have some very human flaws. It’s what makes them endearing.

That’s what I find so interesting about this anime. Here you have a collection of the most evil undead monsters ever assembled and yet you want to be with them. Their funny, cute, sexy, and even caring (at times). Even some of the people in this new world are more monstrous than they are.

Anime has its share of gamers going to worlds based on their in-game experiences, but Overlord is different. Because the main characters are not human, you see more of the humanity in them, and less in the other characters.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.