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YMMV / Overlord (2012)

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Renner a psychopathic yandere who only puts up a nice front when Climb is around while reverting to her true, vicious and calculating personality when alone or with her allies, or are her outbursts and slasher-smiles just another layer of deception in order to keep the prince and Marquis Raeven off-balance while she goes after her own, long-term agenda? Later on its pretty clearly shown that it is the former, but even still the full extent in which she is this remains up for interpretation since one could easily argue that her sadistic and calculating personality is a defensive mechanism she developed.
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    • Demiurge often praises Ainz' for his brilliant schemes, but how much of it is genuine, and how much of it is part of his role as Ainz' advisor and underling? Does he really think that Ainz' is an unparalleled genius whose schemes constantly impress and surprise him, or is he playing it up as part of his duty as an underling who's praising his boss to keep up appearances and morale amongst the other Guardians?
  • Awesome Music:
  • Broken Base:
    • The Lizardmen arc is a polarizing arc, especially for anime only fans. For those who dislike it, the main arguments against it are it taking focus away from the main characters, and for the perceived Romantic Plot Tumor often derisively called "lizard porn". There's also the issue that the arc comes across as filler in nature, and there are little long lasting effects of it. Those who enjoy it cite things such as the hilarious interactions between Zaryasu and Lulu, giving the audience the first look at Ainz's conquests from the other side, Cocytus' Character Development, Ainz's epic royal procession, etc. It also helps that the arc serves as a perspective flip by showing how truly insane Ainz and Nazarick would look to a group of just regular people.
    • The anime in general: does it compare to the light novel or not? The backlash against it got worse after the first season and intensified further in the third, where a seemingly rushed development led to some serious abuse of CGI (especially during the otherwise awesome moments of Enri summoning her goblin army and the Massacre on Katze Plains), leading to many an unfavorable comparison being made to Berserk (2016). For those who find it to be an issue, its distracting and ruins the awesome moments from the source material, but for those who don't mind it, they find that while it isn't up to bar with the normal animation, some of the stuff its used for somewhat justifies it due to how difficult animating some of it can be, such as the summoned creatures.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • After sitting through several episodes of Clementine being an overly-smug psychopath, watching her get brutally crushed to death by Ains is extremely gratifying.
    • While certainly not a good experience for Ainz, watching Shalltear get beaten and killed twice by him after she gets brainwashed is very cathartic. Specially giving how much of an arrogant and petty monster she is (to the point that she was willingly to kill Sebas for slightly criticizing her role in a mission) and the fact that nothing bad happens to her aftermath. As a bonus, watching Ainz being injured and having to fight with all he has is something enjoyable as well, since he faces no real challenge or punishment after that battle.
    • Evileye beating up Entoma along her teammates. It's the first time a denizen from Nazarick gets defeated, which can be joy for those who got sick of them always winning in one-sided fights.
  • Creepy Cute: Someone had to have thought an insectoid maid was cute to have created Entoma in the first place. She even fulfills the Token Mini-Moe trope dynamic with the other maids.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Ainz's entire backstory (him not being able to move from playing an MMO and his current state) is supposed to deconstruct escapist power fantasy. But Ainz coming from a Crapsack World, getting to be an Invincible Villain who faces no real challenges, and getting a bunch of servants who love him unconditionally, undermines the entire thing by making him escaping from reality far too appealing. His villainy and incompetence as a leader are also supposed to be deconstruct the same thing, but since he has not yet faced any kind of consequences for his villainy or incompetence, makes it hard to see the deconstruction, since it looks like the series is wanting you to revel in what he does.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Nazarick all get several huge pairs from fans who justify their atrocities as "just looking out for Nazarick's interests" and insist that they cannot be judged by human morality. Not even the genocide of the Re-Estize kingdom could convince them otherwise. Ainz is probably the biggest case, as even to this day, there are several people who choose to see Ainz as an anti-hero or at least a neutral character rather than an evil Overlord, which could be explained by most of these people being fans who'd only have watched the anime or manga adaptation and haven't read the light novels, thus being unaware of his most despicable actions. However, his servants, particularly the guardians, don't have that excuse. They are depicted as being (most of them anyway) evil monsters with no redeeming qualities or morals beyond their loyalty and care for Ainz and Nazarick, with many committing several horrible crimes, in particular, Demiurge's "farm". People still like them and ignore their monstrous personalities because of their funny/emotional moments around Ainz, being attractive humanoide creatures (specially Albedo, Shalltear and the pleiades) and as some people argue, they are not guilty of being that way, since they were created and programmed to behave like that.
    • In-universe, Neia worships the ground Ainz walks on and believes him to be the incarnation of justice, even performing mental gymnastics to explain away or justify his more despicable actions.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Cocytus is one of the most popular of Ainz' followers, thanks to his cool and unique design, hardcore fighting skills and being one of the most honorable of the Nazarick warriors.
    • Lupusregina Beta is surprisingly popular with the fan base. Everyone knows that her Genki Girl "nice" persona is merely an act and that she's really, and literally, a sadistic Bitch in Sheep's Clothing that happily dreams of witnessing the agonizing screams of every last man, woman, and child in Carne Village which by the way, are people she LIKES, but everyone loves her anyway.
    • Pandora's Actor is a very popular character despite his minimal screentime given every second he spends in his scenes is deliciously hammy, befitting his Chuunibyou inspiration.
    • Sebas Tian, Touch Me's personal NPC who is a heroic character among the denizens of Nazarick, gained a ton of fans in his Day in the Limelight episodes, and his interactions with Tuare is perhaps one of the healthiest relationships. Especially considering what she went though, Sebas makes it known he'll protect her in the name of his master.
    • Neia is so popular on the subreddit that memes involving her are posted daily. This can be attributed to being given a chance to get, in a way, a better life than before, alongside having a cute design.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Although this may sound incredibly bizarre, there's an one-sided rivalry between the fans of this series and the ones from Albedo: Erma Felna EDF, a Furry Comic, since the comic shares the same name with the character of the same name, and for many fans of the former, it's very difficult to find information about Albedo in the net, only just to end up finding pics of the Overlord one. The same could be also applied with any other character with the same name, like Albedo Piazolla and the Ben 10: Alien Force's one.note 
    • Another, slightly more understandable, and also mostly one-sided rivalry between this series and Sword Art Online. Dunking on Sword Art Online is pretty popular in anime circles in general, admittedly, but with Overlord there's the additional connection of being fellow isekai with video game elements (even though Overlord promptly dumps its when the New World comes into play and is revealed to be completely distinct from the game YGGDRASIL.)
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans were so put off by Arche's (and her sister's) changed fate in the light novel that they decided to pretend it never happened and substitute it with the webnovel's version, explaining their absence in the later books as being Put on a Bus.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, as many Overlord fans hopped on board with this series during the wait in between seasons and got a similar albeit more lighthearted experience.
  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: Remedios Custodio is despised by the fans for being harsh and unreasonable because of her lack of social skills, yet those same fans absolutely love Ainz despite his murderous and even genocidal actions.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • While Remedios has many character flaws, she was still kind of fun to be around, a great hero of the nation, respected by many and the leader of the paladin order. However, after Demiurge spurred on an invasion by the demihumans on the nation's borders, everything she cared about was destroyed and she was thrust into a life of unending stress, which she started taking out on Neia. What little ability she had to make reasonable decisions decayed and she began to see that the people she had devoted her life to helping didn't appreciate the sacrifices she and her subordinates made and immediately turned on the paladins in favor of an undead horror because he happened to have been more helpful in the last few months. As a result, while she's bitter and unpleasant, it's hard not to feel sorry for her once you stop to think about it.
    • Ainz himself is, despite his reediming qualities, an hypocrite asshole who feels no empathy for anyone who is not from his kingdom, and has no problem subjecting people to all kind of horrors for petty reasons. But giving how he grew up without family, friends or a girlfriend, and that he was a overworked and lonely man who could only find a place to belong in a MMO is not hard to feel a little pity for him. It's also implied his skeletal body is taking away his emotions with him being unable to stop it, and he clearly does everything he does because he wants to make everyone in Nazarick happy. How much sympathy he deserves, however, depends on the viewer.
    • The denizens of Nazarick, the guardians particularly can fall under this. Yes, they are sadisct, evil racist monsters with almost no morals beyond their loyalty (some are worse than others, though) but they are like that because they were created that way by the supreme beings, who were having a hard time in their lives. And they feel like they've abandoned by whom they consider their parents, which is why they are so loyal to Ainz since he was the only one who didn't left.
  • Memetic Badass: Ainz Ooal Gown is regarded as one of the most overpowered, invincible and badass villains and protagonists in Isekai history. An unusual case in that Ainz is indeed invincible and in-universe everybody regards him as the ultimate superior being, but in reality Ainz is far from being the unbeatable badass everyone thinks he is, he is just lucky to always meet foes weaker or dumber than him.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Clementine's death by hug has become somewhat famous among the community in a similar way to "Nui losing her arms" being popular in Kill la Kill circles.
    • Ainz's face with Clementine's daggers in his eyes sees use as a reaction image denoting an "I can't unsee this" reaction.
    • The phrase "like a puppet whose strings had been cut" is used so often in the light novels that it's become a meme.
    • Zaryusu's Love at First Sight scene with Crusch Lulu in Episode 2 of Season 2.
    • Ainz applying endless Status Buffs to himself before fighting Shalltear has also become rather memetic, complete with subtitle variations such as him getting ready to shitpost a thread to oblivion.
    • The phrase "Sasuga Ainz-sama!" is pretty popular among the fandom, especially when they are discussing Ainz.
    • Since Enri had summoned an army of 5000 goblins, it's now joked that Carne Village is now a Superpower nation with its own army loyal to Enri and Ainz.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Lampshaded. Prince Barbro's boorish antics at Carne Village rattled the citizens, but not their loyalty to the kingdom, until he got the self-proclaimed "brilliant" idea of using flame arrows against one of the town's watch towers. Burning buildings being a trigger for the people of Carne Village apparently never occurred to him. This one act motivated every single one of the villagers to take up arms, and fight him, even if it meant certain death. For quite a few of them, it did.
    • Ainz's attack on E-Rantel in vol 9. Using a super tier spell to insta-kill some seventy thousand soldiers - many of whom were conscripts, using their deaths to fuel the summoning of five unstoppable abominations who proceeded to kill countless more is another. While these events are indeed horrible and Ainz didn't feel even the slightest bit of guilt from any of it, the only reason Ainz was there was at the insistence of the Emperor of the Baharuth Empire. The emperor was hoping to negotiate and make the Great Tomb Of Nazarick his allies. Moreover, Demiurge saw through the emperor's plans to assess the Great Tomb of Nazarick's capabilities and then possibly turn on Ainz by allying with other countries. It was at Demiurge's instance that they made a display of force so that all parties involved understood what it means to make the Great Tomb of Nazarick an enemy. While Ainz's strongest reaction to all this was a sense of achievement for having summoned more abominations with that spell than anyone in YGGDRASIL was known to have managed, his actions were very calculated and practical.
    • More on Ainz for Volume 12, when Demiurge put his plan for the Holy Kingdom into effect. Using an alternate persona, Demiurge conquered the demi-humans in the hills next to the Holy Kingdom. Using his new army, Demiurge conquered the Northern Holy Kingdom. Aside from the borderline acceptable massacre of the Holy Kingdom's armies (it's war after all and soldiers are prepared to die) the treatment suffered by the humans under the demi-humans in Demiurge's army was atrocious and invokes images of the Holocaust. Even worse is that the ones following Demiurge were the worst and most dangerous of the demi-human tribes, as the demi-human tribes that didn't want to get involved and, you know, commit war crimes were captured and treated no better than the humans. While it seems that Demiurge probably didn't encourage this severe treatment (he enjoys pain when he causes it personally), he did allow it to happen by doing nothing to curb the behavior of the racist asshats he had working under him. While at a serious stretch, one could excuse the horrible stuff Demiurge and his army do to the combatants on the battlefield, you most certainly can't towards the treatment of non-combatants. All of this inevitably falls on Ainz as Demiurge's superior and while Ainz never says to act like a sadistic nightmare, ultimately, Demiurge is acting on Ainz's behalf with his consent. And while Ainz will probably rule in peace after he takes over the Holy Kingdom as he did for the area around E-Rantel (in fairness, he is actually doing an amazing job and everyone under his rule is genuinely happy), oceans of blood and pain are being spilled for his Engineered Heroics. In the end, the reader has to decide whether or not Utopia Justifies the Means.note 
  • Narm:
    • All of the player names are said with complete seriousness, no matter how silly. Seeing Ainz fight as a warrior is awesome, hearing someone talk in an awed/reverent tone of voice about how he's using the same powers as "Touch Me" is hilarious.
    • In the anime adaptation of the Battle of Carne Village, the kingdom's spearmen charge the Goblin Heavy Infantry, and just... bounce off without the goblins doing anything but walking forwards.
  • Nightmare Retardant: In the anime, Ainz casting "Ia Shub Niggurath" and wiping out 70,000 soldiers looks silly rather than frightening due to how the CGI soldiers simply fall down like rag dolls when the spell hits them.
  • Popular with Furries: Scalies love the Lizard Folk, especially Crusch Lulu. The sex scene between between Crusch and Zaryusu made a lot of scalies happy.
  • Rooting for the Empire: It's rather hard to root for Ainz and the rest of the gang when they act like your typical Fantasy JRPG villains. The fact that they easily steamroll through any obstacle or foe, all the while acting over the top arrogant and snide at the other races and people around them does not help matters. You WISH the antagonist of the arc would actually smack the smirks right off of their faces just for a change of pace (though a bunch of them, such as the Eight Fingers, are even worse than them). The Tomb of Nazarick's over the top entrance and sadistic subjugation of the Lizardfolk (a peaceful community they went to war with just as an "experiment") has been seen as rather infuriating for readers. Though, after they were conquered, Ainz then ordered Cocytus to rule over them with the carrot and not the stick, showing that he's not a total sadist. However, Ainz later unleashed five abominations on a huge, mostly conscript, army and showed nothing but glee towards breaking the record of how many monsters were summoned at once, not even feeling anything about all those who his summoned monstrosities slaughtered. And then there's everything about Demiurge's "livestock".
  • That One Boss: For the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick this title can easily be assigned to Victim, Guardian of the 8th Level. The irony of it all is that Victim is only level 35 and the weakest Guardian. His power comes from being able to sacrifice himself, which causes an onslaught of crippling status debuffs and movement lockdown effects, allowing the rest of Nazarick's forces to kill the invaders at their leisure. To emphasise this point; no Raid Party in Yggdrasil had ever gotten past it.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Quite a few fans were not happy with the way the fight between Shalltear Bloodfallen and Brain Ungulus was animated. The compression of several chapters into a few minutes (if that) makes Brain look like an arrogant fool and a coward, which doesn't provide an accurate depiction of his growing desperation and helplessness before finally breaking and fleeing in terror. The series does explore the topic later, but given how important it is for Brain as a character, its change is more of a problem than initially thought.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: The main characters are hopelessly overpowered when compared to the rest of the cast, and also, for the most part, extremely evil. Even the one exception to this—Sebas—is willing to punch the girl he spent several episodes nursing back to health to death at a moment's notice if Ainz asks him to, though fortunately it was only a test. It's very clear how most plot arcs are going to turn out; the only question is the level of collateral damage caused in the process. And the third season is dominated by a lot of what could charitably be described as torture porn. Even the far more sympathetic non-Nazarick characters (Climb, Brain, Gazef, etc) are destined for mostly horrible ends and have no chance of interfering with Ainz at all. And even if you ignore Ainz and his servants, almost everybody in Overlord is either evil, cowardly, smug, amoral, depraved, pathetic or all in one, with some characters being even worse than Ainz or any of his most evil followers. Depending on your level of tolerance and patience, it can become very difficult to care about how any of this ends. This is especially the case as of 2020, where the story leads to many good aligned characters dying or suffering horrific fates, leading to some feeling the story is getting too bleak to enjoy. While the whole point of Overlord is exploring the story with an evil protagonist, Ainz and Nazarick's ridiculous power superiority and lack of ANY challenges at all (that do not necessarily include battles) along with them being so over the top evil, racists, arrogant, lacking of punishment and basically being absolutely unstoppable in every way, can make the story empty and repetitive even for those who enjoy watching the villains win. In fact, several people (particularly anime-watchers) dropped the series once they couldn't stand the dark tone of Overlord anymore.
  • Ugly Cute: Victim's portrayal in the manga. In Chapter 22, he gets wide-eyed apprehensive at Momonga expressing regret at the thought of sacrificing him, and he waves his stubby little arms wildly in protest. His default posture is also semi-quadrupedal, making him seem more like an angelic baby hippo than a fetus, and avoiding Uncanny Valley.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Ainz is supposed to be a Tragic Villain who had a miserable life when he was a human and is suffering from Emotion Suppression causing him go onto greater acts of villainy due to the influence of the Floor Guardians. But his frequent villainy, that he serves no punishment for, makes it hard for many audience members to feel bad for. In particular the fight where he had to kill Shalltear is often viewed as him getting what he deserves. There's also the fact that he is an hypocrite who never realizes how terrible his minions actually are.
    • The guardians, all of them actually. The story usually takes times to show how much they miss their creators and how hurt they are by them leaving. But considering that most of them are evil monsters who take pleasure with the suffering of others (especially humans) it can be a little hard feel bad about them. Albedo, Demiurge and Shalltear are perphaps the biggest examples, as they are the most evil and depraved monsters in Nazarick, Demiurge in particular has his "farm" and Shalltear regularly rapes her vampires and looks down on everyone. Albedo's first action onscreen is attempting to kill a young woman (Enri) and her little sister and openly refering to humans as "lowly life forms". Shalltear getting brainwashed by the Theocracy can be seen as karma instead of something tragic.
  • What an Idiot!: In one memorably nightmarish scene, Lady Clementine pursues Ainz, who is in the disguise of an armored warrior — people whom she normally specializes in killing — with the intention of slaughtering him as well after torturing and killing one of his allies. During their fight, Ainz barely moves or defends himself at all and puts very little effort into his greatsword swings, but calmly talks down to her all the while and sarcastically thanks her for showing him all kinds of lessons about melee combat.
    You'd Expect: Clementine to catch on and realise that Ainz is setting her up when she sees that he isn't flinching from her hits even at the typical weak points, up to where he outright puts both his greatswords down and casually chats to her without a hint of fear or pain; as well as how his boasting is clearly being done to rile her up. Since fast physical attacks — which Clementine specialises in — are established in-universe to be especially weak against liches or the undead (of which Ainz is both), she could have realised enough of those warning signs to flee upon it becoming clear she's picking a fight she can't win. Or at the very least, use her speed to keep her distance and buy some time to try different moves or attacks that would more likely work.
    Instead: Clementine, in a major bout of Suicidal Overconfidence, takes no note of any of the above even though she charges Ainz twice — with her doing literally no damage with her standard Fragile Speedster arsenal either time — despite having all the time and speed advantage in the world to get away, with him wearing heavy concealing armor. What's more, she full-on takes the bait from his taunting thanks to her massive ego and bloodlust, and fruitlessly keeps on attacking Ainz the same way she always does.
    The Result: All Ainz has to do is keep up the charade to the point where Clementine thinks she's just scored a killing blow on him with her knives. At which point, he immediately grabs her as she's boasting and reveals that he was playing her tendencies against her all along; noting how little effort he had to put into "fighting" her when she did all the work for him by repeatedly leaping blindly into range of an opponent that she herself established several times she couldn't even harm, let alone kill. Slow, violent and painful splattering by Deadly Hug ensues.
  • The Woobie: Climb clearly qualifies. Born in abysmal poverty, orphaned, went to bed hungry every night, adults destroying the house he built for himself at the age of 5, for fun, left under a makeshift roof of rags in a downpour to die of disease, taken in by a beautiful princess, out of pity, and hated by the nobility for it, bullied by the "noble" castle knights because ''he'' is the only one the princess can trust to be her bodyguard, and every time he performs a legitimate act of heroism, he fails to make a difference. That and the fact that he inherently has no talent for martial skills or magic, and it's a wonder he can even function at all. It gets worse when it comes to light that Renner is in love with him and that due to her own psychological baggage, her idea of "love" consists of chaining up Climb like an animal and making him her Sex Slave. It somehow got worse after he valiantly stood against Ainz, knowing he couldn't win anyway, and after being killed and revived, learned that Renner had become a Demon of Nazarick, at which point he's so desperate to protect her he offers to become a Demon as well.

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