Image source: KADOKAWAanime on YouTube
Overlord has two new recap movies. As is often the case, slight tweaks and minor additions have been made. One such addition adds a dark new layer that was, for the most part, absent from the original series.
[Note: This article contains minor spoilers for the general plot of Overlord.]
In the story of Overlord, a once-revolutionarily popular DMMORPG (Dive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game)—an MMORPG where players are given seemingly unparalleled freedom in what they can do or create—is reaching the end of its lifespan. A single max-level user and leader of the most infamous guild in the game sees his beloved virtual world off on its last day, but after the clock ticks down to midnight and the servers are shut down, he finds that he is stranded in the world and inside his own avatar. His console interface is gone, and instead the various NPC servants that he and the now retired guild members created have gained sentience. Stuck in this new reality, he assumes his character’s role as a powerful evil undead overlord and never looks back.
The TV series was entertaining as hell, making it one of my favorite—if not my most favorite—series of 2015. Now, two compilation movies are being released. The first, Overlord: The Undead King, was released in Japanese theaters this past weekend.
As is the case with compilation movies, there have been some tweaks and edits. Redundant and unnecessary scenes have been cut or trimmed to streamline areas while brief cuts have been added to enhance others.
One such addition comes at the very beginning of the movie. Where the TV series begins with a brief explanation of what a DMMORPG is and the goes straight into the game from the protagonist’s point of view, the movie has added a scene where we see the protagonist in the real world comes home, sits in his game interface chair, dons a headset and starts up the game to log in.
It’s a brief addition that shows us the game interface technology of the future world that the series takes place in. However, the brief scene that could not have been more than a minute in length changes pretty much everything that follows after. We have been shown the protagonist’s human form. While in the fantasy world, he is the skeletal spellcaster, Momonga—later renamed Ainz Ooal Gown—we have been made fully aware of his real body that was left in the real world when he became trapped within the game.
In the original series, we are never shown that real-world version of the protagonist. From start to finish, he is Momonga/Ainz. That is who he is. He may don a set of full plate armor and hide his face, but we know that underneath he is the skeletal warlock. That’s as far as it goes. In the movie, however, we have been shown his “real” body. No matter what he does as Momonga/Ainz, we have seen who he really was.
With the TV series, we were never shown it, so we really never have to think about it, despite any mention of an outside real world. Such notions are quickly forgotten as the entertainment takes off. With the movie, the pee is in the swimming pool. The power of visuals takes over and we are made starkly aware of what the protagonist is leaving behind that gives the movie a much darker cloud hanging over it.
The movie itself is as entertaining and enjoyable as the TV series–they are mostly the same, after all. Still, stepping out of the movie theater, I couldn’t help thinking about that opening scene and wonder what happened or is happening to the man in the chair with the VR helmet on his head.
Overlord: The Undead King was released in theaters in Japan on February 25. Overlord: The Dark Warrior is scheduled for release in theaters in Japan on March 11.
Image source: オーバーロード／TVアニメ公式 on Twitter