Overlord: The Dark Warrior

By Kugane Maruyama and so-bin. Released in Japan by Enterbrain. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Emily Balistrieri.

When we left Ainz at the end of the first novel, he was resolving to find out more about his world he’d been transported into, which was sort of kind of like his old game but not quite, and his evil minions had decided that his wishes amounted to total world conquest. Conquest is put on hold for the moment, though, as Ainz takes one of his minions and disguises himself as a common adventurer. “Common” is perhaps the wrong term, though, as Ainz mostly wants to show off how awesome he is so that his adventurer persona can acquire a reputation. Of course, this would be easier if he could read or write the language. And the minion he takes with him has no social skills whatsoever and regards humanity as worms. Oh yes, and there’s also the evil cult trying to turn an entire city into zombies…


As with the first book, Overlord works best when it’s making fun of either Ainz or the world he’s in. Not only is he from modern Japan as a player, but even as Ainz, he sees the world completely differently from someone who actually lives in it. This comes to a head when he has to battle The Wise King of the Forest. He defeats it easily, and the party he’s with, as well as the residents of the city, are shocked and amazed at his badassery. Which is fine, except the Wise King is a giant hamster. Ainz is forced to ride around the city on to prove that he has “tamed” it. He feels a bit foolish, because from our perspective, it’s totally ridiculous. Likewise, his constant frustration with Narberal, who isn’t even attempting to pretend that Ainz is anything other than her lord and master, is equally hysterical.

Sadly, we’re also seeing a bit of what I worried about while reading the first book. As Momon, his adventurer persona he takes on, Ainz is able to cut an ogre in two with his sword just by strength alone. He hands out amazing unseen-before healing potions whose creation flummoxes even the best humans. He chews his way through endless undead with ease, and takes out the smug villain who desperately needs taking out by simply crushing her to his skeletal chest until she breaks. Ainz is not remotely challenged throughout the book. Even as Momon, when he thinks to himself that he was actually slightly damaged or somesuch, we’re quick to recall this is because he’s not using any of his skills as the Undead King, but attempting not to go outside the skill set of an average human. Basically, Ainz is too powerful, and in a book when the rest of the cast is human, it becomes more apparent.

That said, if you get past it, the book is still well written, with evocative descriptions. I liked the way that it tied into the village from the first book (and hey, the one guy in Momon’s party who survived turns out to be the childhood friend (and presumed future love interest, although for once it’s the girl who’s clueless) of the girl Ainz saved in Book 1, who’s still got her goblins. And when it is mocking Ainz and the D&D world he lives in, it can be very funny. There’s a cliffhanger leading into Book 3, which promises less pretending to be an adventurer. I look forward to it.

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