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In the first game, Laharl openly scorns the possibility that there may be other Overlords, including ones that are more powerful than himself. However, he soon encounters the Overlord of an Alternate Netherworld in episode 6. Later, it is confirmed that many Netherworlds and Overlords exist, which serves to connect the Nippon Ichi games together: as stories set in different Netherworlds.
As the name suggests, Overlords are the strongest demons who lord over the populations of a Netherworld. It is implied in Makai Kingdom that for every Netherworld, there exists a corresponding Overlord, although their existence is not tied to their Netherworld (Overlord Zetta was able to exist without his Netherworld, albeit as a book.) An Overlord is essentially the highest authority, able to govern however he/she sees fit, thus every Overlord's regime is different. Despite normally being at the head of a Netherworld, there have been overlords with no kingdoms, such as Zenon. Every Overlord in the Disgaea universe is in command of masses of demons known as "vassals". These warriors and servants carry out the Overlord's will (although, as with all demons, they are capricious and liable to be traitorous). As seen in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories and Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, Overlords, in addition to ruling their Netherworlds, have the task of "negotiating" with other Overlords - although being demons, this often leads to conflict and battle.
It is important to note that there is also a rank of demon referred to as Demon Lords. (Japanese maou) These demons are below Overlords and are evidently something like Netherworld nobles, having followers and land that they control. Unlike Overlords, Demon Lords are not seen often in the series, and their role is not expanded upon much.
There are other titles such as Supreme Overlord, Tyrant, or Lord Master if one defeats the strongest superboss in the game (usually Baal); but they do not seem to have any lasting plot significance in this instance. However, Valvatorez, who once held the title of Tyrant, was both respected and even admired by other demons of his Netherworld even long after he lost most of his power. In another case, when Killia was known as Tyrant Overlord Killidia, many demons considered him to be the strongest Overlord. This could imply that those who bear such titles are considered legendary figures capable of immense strength and destruction.
According to the original Disgaea and Disgaea 3, the only way for a demon to attain the rank of Overlord is for him to fight and kill the current Overlord, thereby taking the title for himself (as Etna and Mao did). However, given the relative strength of an Overlord, this is no easy task. If there is no Overlord to overthrow, a demon must defeat all others vying for the throne, as Laharl did. This also applies to Overlords wanting to become the one-and-only God of Overlords (also called a Demon God in Disgaea Infinite), meaning that the previous bearer of the title must also be defeated. Even if a demon is the child of an Overlord (such as Laharl and Mao), this does not guarantee them the position and s/he must earn it like the others. It is also possible to attain the rank of Overlord if the current Overlord acknowledges him/her as being worthy and willingly parts with the title, such as the case with Mao (and Almaz in an alternate ending despite him being human).
Curiously, Priere became both a demon and an Overlord through destroying many demons in the realm. In her game, though, she attained the title by defeating twenty level 500 demon lords, and then defeating a level 700 demon that had the title of Overlord. However, given that she defeated the Overlord of that Netherworld as a demon, she would still technically be qualified for the title regardless.
Overall, it seems that there are 3 ways to become an Overlord. The first (and most common) method is to defeat the current Overlord. The second is, should there be no Overlord to defeat, to defeat all those attempting to obtain the title. Finally, the third is for the current Overlord to willingly part with the coveted title.
In Disgaea 5, it is shown that all Overlords and those who would qualify as such are capable of an ability called Overload. Even if the demon in question doesn't have a Netherworld to rule or the necessary strength to obtain the title by the usual methods, s/he is still considered one if they possess an Overload.
List of Known OverlordsEdit
- The Terrible Demon Overlord (final boss of Marl Kingdom series)
- King Krichevskoy (Disgaea Netherworld)
- Laharl (Disgaea Netherworld)
- Alt Overlord (Self proclaimed)
- Baal (Tyrant; Alternate Netherworld)
- Priere (Alternate Netherworld)
- Fake Zenon (Unnamed Netherworld) (Real name unknown)
- Zenon (Unnamed Netherworld)
- King Drake the Third (Unnamed Netherworld)
- Valvoga (Star)
- Babylon (Unnamed Netherworld)
- Salome (Unnamed Netherworld)
- Seedle (Underworld)
- Alexander, God of Destruction (Unnamed Netherworld)
- Zetta (Unnamed Netherworld)
- Pram (Unnamed Netherworld) (though her title suggests she's an Oracle, she fulfills all the requirements)
- Mao (Evil Academy)
- Mao's Dad (Real name unknown) (Evil Academy)
- Almaz (Evil Academy; depending on ending achieved)
- Eryndum (Tyrant) (Described as a Super Overlord in its profile. One of Baal's various forms.)
- Drago (Dragon Graveyard)
- Hilda (Vampire House)
- Jeda (Dark Hunter)
- Killia (Tyrant, Cryo Blood)
- Seraphina (Gorgeous)
- Red Magnus (Scorching Flame)
- Christo ("Certain Giant")
- Usalia (Toto Bunny)
- Zeroken (Self proclaimed)
- Geese (Spirit Interment)
- Hedler (Poisondise)
- Brave (Fortress de Gaulle)
- Drumdawn (Dragon Fang)
- Grand Gradius VI (Brutall Beast)
- After reviving from his defeat at the hands of Etna, Fake Zenon states that her claiming to be a Demon Lord had to be a trick because she "clearly has the power of an Overlord".
- In Disgaea 4, there are a group of demons under the Netherworld President called "The Ten Overlords". In Disgaea 5, Christo states that although he is an Overlord, there are other Overlords in his Netherworld that have greater power. This implies that some Netherworlds have multiple Overlords that act as a ruling body rather than a single Overlord.
- Despite Disgaea 5 stating that all Overlords possess their signature Overload, not all Overlords introduced in the series have been shown using those powers.