The Isekai Anims, Level 8: Overlord (With a Bit of How Not to Summon a Demon Lord)

Dibyajyoti Kabi

– December 23, 2018 – Pop culture

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  • The isekai anime, level 8: Overlord (with a bit of How Not to Summon a Demon Lord)

With Sword Art Online, Overlord is the other reference for Isekai anime. The second and third seasons broadcast this year on the Anime Digital Network platform have definitively confirmed this.

The series is based on a light novel by Kugane Maruyama (text) and so-bin (illustrations) that began in 2012. Thirteen volumes are available to date, including the first six in France in the form of double volumes published by Ofelbe. Overlord also exists in manga with the first eight volumes (out of ten) published by Ototo. The combined sales of the two media reached 7 million copies. Even if we are still far from the scores of Sword Art Online , Overlord is a title to be reckoned with.

The novel has just finished 2018 at the top of the sales charts in Japan with more than 800,000 copies sold, double the previous year’s figure. This success can be explained in part by the broadcast of the anime sequel whose first season dates back to 2015. The Madhouse studio ( No Game No Life ) has produced not thirteen new episodes but twice as many, cut in two parts (or “seasons”) covering volumes 4 to 9 of the light novel. Headlining the show, we find of course the director Naoyuki Itô ( Kanon ), Yukie Sugawara ( SAO ) for the script and Takahiro Yoshimatsu ( A Place Further than the Universe ) as animation director and chara-designer.

Madhouse Studios/via DNA

Madhouse Studios/via ADN

In 2138, the massively multiplayer role-playing game Yggdrasil is about to close its doors after twelve years of existence. Momonga, one of the most powerful players, decides to stay connected until the server shuts down. However, once the fateful hour has passed, Momonga is still in the game, with no possibility to log out or contact an administrator. More surprisingly, NPCs seem to be endowed with consciousness and feelings. Having no friends or family in real life, the young man will then quickly get used to his new condition. He decides to conquer this new world under the new identity of Ainz Ooal Gown, the terrible undead wizard…

Overlord takes up the idea of Log Horizon (released in 2010) where players find themselves in another universe resembling their favourite game. Except it’s real this time. In SAO , Kirito was stuck in a virtual universe and there was a way out. In Overlord , as in Log Horizon this is not the case. The heroes accept their fate and use their gaming experience to shape the world as they see fit. Basically, Momonga just wants to find out if other Yggdrasil players are also present in these places. But the immense power he holds will soon make him change his initial goal.

Madhouse Studios/via DNA

Madhouse Studios/via ADN

The Man Who Wanted to be King

Momonga, or rather now Ainz Ooal Gown, is a fascinating character because he is ambivalent. Although the stereotype of the gamer with no social life is not lost on us, he knows his strength and will use it to do whatever he wants. In the first season, for example, it protects the village of Carne from an attack by fanatical knights. Despite its appearance of the undead, Ainz Ooal Gown remains human (at least at the beginning). Just look at how he treats all the members of the great tomb of Nazarick, his headquarters, with respect. But like any leader, Ainz is also manipulable. His Guardians, protectors of Nazarick, are also his advisers. Demiurge’s recurring extrapolations on the plans of our favourite liche often bring a smile to your face. But in reality, the latter spends his time influencing him by whispering in his ear that he could bring the surrounding kingdoms to their knees.

During the first season, Ainz Ooal Gown discovers the world and experiences its powers. He also creates an antagonist in the form of a fully armored warrior named Momon. With the latter, he infiltrates the adventurers’ guild with the aim of becoming a hero known throughout the kingdoms. During the second and third seasons, Ainz is in retreat and he loses more and more his humanity. Thus, several bows are centered on secondary characters: tribes of lizardmen uniting to fight against Nazarick’s hordes (in vain, of course), the butler Sebas launching into a vendetta against the aggressors of a young woman or seasoned adventurers infiltrating Nazarick at their own risk (peace to their souls).

Madhouse Studios/via DNA

Madhouse Studios/via ADN

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, the Copycat

Following the example of SAO , Overlord proposes a reflection on video games, particularly on the moral choices that the player can often be confronted with. These narrative processes greatly influence the development of the plot and, above all, help to strengthen the player’s involvement. Video games are one of the mediums where it is possible to embody someone else. The latter will have to make choices in order to advance in the game. They can be good, as well as bad. Isekai like Overlord take up this principle and push the field of reflection to real life. We often make choices based on our ethics or to experiment with darker horizons. The nice, uneventful employee Satoru is a completely different person in Yggdrasil. By becoming Ainz, the equal of a god, he chooses to impose his vision of the world on the inhabitants of the kingdoms. However, the repercussions will be irremediable.

By chance of the calendar, two other similar titles were released this year as well: Me, When I Reincarnate in Slime (on air) and How Not to Summon a Demon Lord . In both cases, the heroes have unimaginable power. But unlike Overlord , the main protagonists are much more positive. In How Not to Summon a Demon Lord , the hero takes the form of his avatar: Diablo, a misaligned wizard like Ainz. With an important difference since he has kept a human appearance (even his horns are fake). Diablo’s forcing himself to be the bad guy. It’s actually a role he’s playing to hide his social phobia. Even if the series is well below Overlord and its racoleur aspect does not necessarily play in its favour, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord speaks to the bottom of a real societal problem in Japan: lanthropophobia.

Ajiadō Animation Works/via Crunchyroll

Ajiadō Animation Works/via Crunchyroll

As a complement to the debate on the Isekai, I recommend this video (French subtitles are available). Except surprise How Not to Summon a Demon Lord will surely not have a second season. On the other hand, we will certainly see Overlord again. First in physical support next year. Indeed, during a recent Facebook live, Kana Home Video announced, among other things, the upcoming release of seasons 2 and 3. Enough to prolong the adventure while waiting for the next season (there is already something to do). Glory to the Wizard King Ainz Ooal Gown!

The three seasons of Overlord are available on ADN. The first season can also be found on Netflix and in DVD/Blu-ray boxes on Anime-Store.

The 12 episodes of How Not to Summon a Demon Lord are available on Crunchyroll.

Article originally published on 23 December 2018

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  • #CopyrightMadness: when Disney appropriates the famous African currency Hakuna Matata

Every weekend, it is the compilation of the latest news on intellectual property and its excesses, concocted by Lionel Maurel and Thomas Fourmeux, specialists in the question of copyright.

This week, the Copyright Madness returns to Disney which triggers an outcry for registering the trademark Hakuna Matata, Germany has decided to vaporize its public domain and again accusations of choreographic plagiarism about the game Fortnite. Enjoy your reading and see you next week!

Photogenic. To end the year well, Germany decided this week to spray the public domain at home. This is the conclusion reached by a Federal Court in a dispute between the Wikimedia Foundation and a German museum. He objected to photographs of old works taken on his site being posted on Wikipedia and the judges ruled in his favour. This means that simple pictures of paintings in the public domain can be considered as new works deserving copyright protection. What’s creative about standing in front of a painting and photographing it? It’s the very meaning of copyright that these kinds of court decisions ultimately insult

CC Jay Plemon

CC Jay Plemon

Monstrous. With the Harry Pottermovies, Warner Bros. has already amassed a dizzying amount of silver. But the studios continue to jealously defend their precious, sometimes to the point of absurdity. Fans have started a project on Kickstarter to allow people to buy the Monstrous Book of Monsters, a grimoire that can be found in The Prisoner of Azkaban. In the novel, it has the peculiarity of being covered with fur and biting those who open it too hastily. In reality, it’s Warner’s attorneys who will jump down your throat if you get too close to their master’s intellectual property. A paradox when we know that J.K. Rowling herself has always been rather tolerant towards her fans’ productions inspired by her universe.


Harry Potter, the movie // Source: Warner

Low blow. All moves are allowed in the Tekkenfighting game, but things are even more ruthless on YouTube. This week, several gamer channels received strikes from Canal+ for broadcasting videos of games from the game Tekken. What does this have to do with Canal+, you may ask? None, except that one of the group’s channels broadcast excerpts from the game itself in a show. It didn’t take much longer for ContentID, YouTube’s filtering system, to get confused and start blocking videos as fast as the people in the game are swinging uppercuts. The worst part of all this is that the famous article 13 of the next Copyright directive will impose and generalize filtering solutions that are likely to be as delirious as the YouTube one…

To read on Numerama : YouTube: why videos of youtubers playing Tekken 7 are blocked by Canal+

Celebration. In the game Fortniteyou can make your characters do dance steps. Some stars, such as rappers, have already reproached the game’s designers for being a little too inspired by their choreography. This week, Alfonso Ribeiro, the unforgettable interpreter of Carlton in The Prince of Bel Air, is the one who launches an accusation of plagiarism about the famous dance he performs in the series. But the notion of choreographic plagiarism must be handled with care. He himself has already confessed in the press that he was strongly inspired by a dance by actress Courteney Cox in a Bruce Springsteen video clip, as well as some steps by Eddy Murphy. Everything is remixed, even on the dance floor!


Carlton Fortnite Dance // Source: Youtube

Trademark Madness

Big Worry. Disney is preparing the launch of a new digital version of one of its most famous cartoons, The Lion King. It’s an opportunity for the company to add a few more layers of intellectual property to prepare itself to sell derivatives galore. But Disney has crossed a red line by registering as a trademark the famous formula, Hakuna Matata, which serves as the title of one of the film’s most emblematic songs. This is a phrase meaning “no problem” in the Kiswahili language, spoken in several African countries, including Kenya. A wave of protest was raised against this trademark registration, which was seen as an attempt to appropriate the everyday language of the population. A petition was even launched and collected tens of thousands of signatures. At this rate, Disney may have to listen to Hakuna Matata over and over again to forget about this big dumpling…


Simba. // Source: Disney

Fulgurant. In the United States, American football teams are famous for trademark registrations on anything and everything, as long as there is a little cash to be made. But this week, we may be holding a new speed record. On December 9, the Miami Dolphins defeated the New England Patriots in an incredible turnaround that saw them beat their opponents at the post 34-33 in the last second of the game. Sports commentators then coined the term “MiaMiracle” to immortalize this event. On December 14th, 5 days later, the club’s lawyers were already rushing to register a trademark, just to be able to print the neologism on some t-shirts! What would be a miracle is if the brand fever at any price would finally subside…

CC Brook Ward

CC Brook Ward

Patent Madness

Flat. A few years ago, the smartphone war was raging and mobile phone manufacturers were all attacking each other for patent infringement. Those days are a bit over, but skirmishes sometimes resume sporadically. In Germany, Apple has just suffered a problematic conviction. The Cupertino firm was accused by Qualcomm of infringing a patent on a device that saves battery power when the device receives Wi-Fi. As a result, Apple will have to stop selling its iPhone 7 and 8 all over the country! The funniest thing is to be condemned for violating such a patent, when the iPhone has become a legend for its low battery life. If you’re going to copy a technology, you might as well get one that works!

Dibyajyoti Kabi

CC. Dibyajyoti Kabi

Copyright Madness is brought to you by:

Lionel Maurel

Thomas Fourmeux

Thanks to all those who help us to make this column, published under Creative Commons Zero license, especially by reporting cases of abuse on Twitter with the hashtag #CopyrightMadness!




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