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Overlord Season 4 release date: Sequel is ‘extremely likely’ says scriptwriter – Kugane Maruyama’s Overlord light novel series ending with Volume 17 [Spoilers]

Overlord book series artwork
The production of the Overlord Season 4 anime will be difficult due to the pacing of the Overlord book series’ story. — Pic credit: so-bin

MAY 2021 UPDATE: Both Overlord Season 4 and an Overlord movie are reportedly in production. Please see the newer article for more details. The remainder of this story remains as published since the August 2019 update.

The Overlord Season 4 release date might be coming up over the horizon based on comments from the anime series’ creators. During the AnimagiC 2019 convention in Germany, Overlord light novel creator Kugane Maruyama, illustrator so-bin, and Overlord anime series scriptwriter Yukie Sugawara reportedly discussed the production of the Overlord 4 anime.

“Incidentally, on Saturday at the Overlord panel, our guests of honor announced the fourth season of Overlord!” tweeted out KSM, the German language publisher of the anime discs. “No more information at this time, though.”

What’s more, Maruyama reportedly discussed his plans for the ending of the light novel series! (See below for more details.)

However, other AnimagiC attendees claim that they did not directly announce Overlord 4. It’s claimed that when a fan asked about Overlord Season 4 Maruyama said he wouldn’t know anything about the anime production. When scriptwriter Sugawara took over the microphone, the scriptwriter simply said that it was “extremely likely” that Overlord Season 4 would be produced.

They also did not discuss whether or not animation studio Madhouse would be returning to produce Overlord Season 4.

(Keep in mind that even though Sugawara wrote the scripts for all three Overlord seasons for Madhouse the scriptwriter is still a freelancer who has worked with many Japanese animation studios including Lerche and A-1 Pictures. In 2021, Sugawara was working on the Combatants Will Be Dispatched! anime TV series.)

At the ending of the third season, Momonga/Ainz Ooal Gown has shown exactly why he’s the top of the world by taking on all challengers, but animation studio Madhouse now faces a challenge of their own with producing the fourth season based on the way the story was written. Back in 2019, we predicted that the production of the fourth season of Overlord could be delayed until 2021.

The anime’s story is based on the Overlord light novel series by Japanese author Kugane Maruyama. The story first started life as a web novel back in 2010, but starting in 2012 Kugane teamed up with illustrator so-bin to adapt the story into the light novel format.

Japanese publisher Enterbrain released Overlord Volume 13 in April 2018. The newer light novels followed the web novel pretty closely but then began to diverge significantly starting with Volume 10 (which also just happens to be the starting point for the anime Overlord Season 4).

The story also spawned an Overlord manga series by writer Satoshi Oshio and illustrator Hugin Miyama. Serialized in the monthly magazine Comp Ace, the Overlord manga is up to Volume 11 as of February 2019.

The official English translation for the Overlord manga and light novel series is handled by Yen Press. The English novels are only up to Volume 10, but Volume 11 is scheduled to release on October 29, 2019.

The English manga is up to Volume 10, with Volume 11 scheduled for September 24, 2019.

The unofficial fan translator Skythewood announced that they have discontinued the English-based fan translation project due to the Yen Press acquisition. However, the English translation of the web novel continues unabated.

  • Updated August 7, 2019: Production of Overlord Season 4 discussed at AnimagiC. Overlord book ending plans confirmed.
  • Updated March 27, 2019: Added a video giving an overview of all information concerning the Overlord Season 4 release date.

This article provides everything that is known about Overlord Season 4 and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.

Overlord light novels ending with Volume 17… Maybe?

In the past, author Maruyama has not given many hints about his plans for an ending but says he has “no intention to drag the story on and on” despite having  “50 volumes worth” of ideas. He just wants “readers to relax and read.”

However, the author is “writing with an end in mind” and at one point he was shooting for ending the novel series somewhere around Volume 20, which would have meant the story could be done by 2025 at the earliest.

“I think the fact that Overlord managed to even come this far is due to the fans. If you’ve seen the special thanks in the credits for the first episode of the anime, you can understand that I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope that you will continue to watch what happens next.”

But Maruyama’s plans began to change. In May 2016, he tweeted out that he was planning on ending Overlord with Volume 18.

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Fast forward to April 2019 when Maruyama released a bonus Overlord book called The Vampire Princess of the Lost Country (Bokoku no Kyuketsu-hime). The novel is a side story focused on an alternate timeline for Ainz/Momonga’s story.

A month later, a Twitter user named RainyCloud pointed out to Maruyama that an English translation had been uploaded to an overseas website. He asked if there was any way the author could take legal measures against this copyright violation.

In response, Maruyama said that his motivation to write Overlord had been going down the drain. He even suggested that he might go back to being a company employee after finishing Overlord!

Maruyama also stated that he was planning on cutting down the amount of story content in order to finish the light novel series. He claimed it would be difficult to conclude with Volume 16, so he decided to take things at a moderate pace and target Overlord Volume 17 for the ending.

On August 5, 2019, German publisher KSM Anime claimed that Maruyama confirmed at AnimagiC 2019 that ending with Overlord Volume 17 is the final plan. However, other attendees claimed that Maruyama simply said that he was losing the energy to write and he is very tired. He would first aim for completing 17 books because even finishing 16 volumes is exhausting.

Of course, even if Volume 17 is the current plan, this ending is still years off in the future since Maruyama has four more novels to complete so the author’s plans could change again in the meantime.

Overlord Volume 14 release date unofficially scheduled for late 2019 — Will the books be delayed again?

In recent years, Overlord creator Kugane Maruyama had trouble keeping to his planned schedule. Volume 12 was delayed by a month and Overlord Volume 13 was supposed to come out in December 2017, but it was not published until April 2018. To be fair, Volume 13 was also a longer book, numbering 574 pages compared to the 410 pages of Volume 12.

Maruyama and publisher Enterbrain never offered an explanation for the delays, but the author now says he has set the Overlord Volume 14 release date in 2019. However, he did not give an exact date since he apparently “has something else to write before that, therefore even he himself isn’t sure how things will go.”

The author also tweeted that he hopes Santa has a present ready for Christmas 2019. That comment could be interpreted as his target release time frame for Volume 14, but it’s not a guarantee.

Maruyama has been consistently releasing at least one Overlord book per year but in the worst-case scenario, Overlord Volume 14 could slip to 2020 depending on how the other unnamed project goes.

Overlord Volume 13 Cover Light Novel
The enemies that Ainz will face will continue to grow bigger and badder but that’s not the point of the story. — Pic credit: so-bin

While some fans may bemoan any delay, at least they can go look forward to the story becoming more action-packed. Volume 9 gave a taste of total war, but future volumes will have even more large-scale warfare.

“I have some vague ideas floating around, for example; there are multiple countries in the middle of the continent, and they will eventually make an alliance and will fight against the floor guardians in a huge war,” Maruyama explained. “And the reason for making Gargantua is to make it fight a company of golem cavalry.”

Overlord manga/light novel series compared to the Overlord anime

Studio Madhouse seems to be sticking to a formula of adapting three books for every Overlord anime season. The second season covered the events of volumes 4 through 6 and Episode 12: The Final Battle of the Disturbance was named after a chapter in Volume 6. Overlord Season 3 will maintain this pacing, but there will be some major reordering of events.

You see, the books have a bad habit of portraying events out of chronological order. Some scenes were written from the perspective of one character only to replay these scenes from another perspective in order to reveal new information.

Conversely, the writers of studio Madhouse have attempted to show all perspectives simultaneously and keep scenes completely chronological.

Such rearrangements happened a lot in the second season, but the third season presented a new challenge since entire books are out of chronological order.

Volume 8 of the book series technically took place before and during the events of volume 5 and 6, the Men in the Kingdom story arc, whereas volumes 7 and 9 continue the story in the current time.

The reason that Volume 8 was not adapted during Overlord Season 2 (besides lack of screen time) was due to the nature of Carne Village story arc. Without getting into major spoilers, it’s necessary to build up a certain character since that person uses a magical item bestowed by Ainz and those actions have major repercussions in a story arc that culminates in total war.

Therefore, studio Madhouse decided to start off Overlord Season 3 Episode 1 by flashing forward to the beginning of Volume 7. But then the first five episodes finished Volume 8, setting the stage for adapting the story from volumes 7 and 9 with a total of 13 episodes.

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Overlord Volume 9 Light Novel Cover
Overlord Season 3 will feature Ainz and his Death Knights that are shown on the cover of light novel Overlord Volume 9. — Pic credit: so-bin

As for the Overlord manga, unfortunately, the story is way behind even the anime adaptation. Chapter 14 of the manga is when the vampire Shalltear Bloodfallen was resurrected after being mindwashed and that event corresponds to the ending of the first anime season.

The lizardmen story arc ends with Chapter 27. By manga Chapter 40, the manga is nearing the ending of both Volume 6 and Season 2.

Never mind Overlord Season 4, the manga series probably won’t reach the events of the third anime season until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest. However, the Overlord manga is still worth reading for fans of the anime since the manga contains dialogue and jokes that were not present in the anime version.

The light novel series especially contains more insight into the character’s motivations and provides many more details about Nazarick and the fantasy world that it inhabits.

Overlord Season 3 Episode 12 animation quality disappoints fans

From the get-go, fans were not too happy with the CGI animation being used in earlier episodes. Clone-like characters marched out stiffly, standing out in stark contrast with the well-used CGI from the Attack On Titan anime. The goblin army summoned by Enri was all done in CGI even though other 2018 isekai anime animated entire armies with drawings.

The biggest disappoint was Overlord Season 3 Episode 12, which animated the epic scene showing the Dark Young from Overlord Volume 9. Read the words and you’ll see the scene is supposed to inspire awe and fear.

Based on the artwork of so-bin, fans were expecting to see the Dark Youngs look like this:

Overlord Light Novel Art so-bin Volume 9 Dark Young
The artwork of so-bin captured the moment perfectly. — Pic credit: so-bin

Instead, what anime audiences received is this:

Overlord Season 3 Episode 12 Dark Youngs CGI
You would think the spawn of a Lovecraftian elder god would seem more dangerous. — Pic credit: Madhouse

Perhaps the animation will be cleaned up significantly for the Blu-Ray release? Let’s just hope that Overlord Season 4 does better.

Overlord Season 4 release date: Does the light novels’ story require a 2021 premiere for the anime?

As of the last update, studio Madhouse or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the Overlord Season 4 release date. Despite the Overlord scriptwriter saying that the Overlord sequel was “extremely likely” the production of a sequel was apparently not directly announced at AnimagiC 2019, nor was a release time frame discussed.

Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Overlord Season 4 premiere date will occur in the future.

From a financial perspective, the third season actually did significantly better than the second season with initial Blu-Ray sales. When Volume 2 released in December 2018 the Blu-Ray box set topped the Oricon charts, beat only by Incredibles 2. Therefore, it could be argued that the anime production committee has no reason to cancel the fourth season.

The elephant in the room is that the next part of the story is too large for a single-cour anime season. Titled Overlord: The Paladin of the Holy Kingdom Parts 1 and 2, Overlord Volume 12 and 13 are literally a two-part story, so Madhouse’s formula of adapting three books per anime season will no longer work.

During a 2017 interview, Maruyama explained why it took so long for those books to come out.

“I thought the [story arc] was going to be long, which is why I split it into two volumes. But the schedule isn’t set in stone, so you’ll have to wait a bit,” he said.

The question is, will anime fans also have to wait a bit for the boning to commence in Overlord Season 4? Arguably, Madhouse could rush the anime’s pacing, skip a lot of book content related to side characters, and try to cram volumes 10 through 13 into a single season composed of 13 episodes.

The alternative is to produce Overlord Season 4 with two cours, or 24 episodes, based on only four books, but that’s committing the opposite sin of stretching the source material.

Another option is to split up the next part of the story. The next two seasons could rely on side stories for filler episodes so that Overlord Season 4 will cover only volumes 10 through 12, which would mean the fourth season would finish with a cliffhanger ending. Therefore, Overlord Season 5 would focus on finishing the Paladin of the Holy Kingdom story arc from Volume 13 and beyond.

The only problem with that plan is that Overlord Season 5 would only have two books to adapt assuming the light novel series finishes with Volume 17 as currently planned. Perhaps it would be best to finish the anime series off with an Overlord movie?

Either way, fans of the Overlord novel series would not be happy with the fourth season if production catches up with the books. The best option is to simply wait until Overlord Volume 15 is released and produce a two-cour season that adapts six books. Of course, that option only works well if Volume 15 provides a good stopping point.

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While none of these options are great, the situation also makes it difficult to predict when the Overlord Season 4 release date might happen. At the earliest, Madhouse could go the cramming, stretching, or filler routes and schedule the fourth season for 2020.

Unfortunately, producing a two-cour fourth season with six books requires waiting until at least 2021 since Volume 14 is not even published yet. And that’s assuming Overlord Volume 15 comes out in 2020.

And we’re also assuming Madhouse would be involved in making Overlord Season 4. The anime studio is not exactly known for making sequels, so for them to produce three seasons was quite a surprise.

Even One Punch Man Season 2 was taken over by JC Staff, so if Overlord Season 4 is produced it’s possible a different studio will pick up the project.

Overlord Season 4 spoilers (summary/synopsis)

The aftermath of the massacre at Katze Plains has left Ainz Ooal Gown and his guardians of the Great Tomb of Nazarick on top of the world. Ainz seizes the initiative and announces the creation of the Sorcerer Kingdom.

Problem is, while Ainz is great at one-on-one PvP, he’s no government administrator that’s versed in legislation and enforcing the law. Ainz can’t even pick out his own attire, never mind run an empire, so the struggling Sorcerer King finds his new kingdom suddenly facing declining resources.

Ainz is also faced with a new question to ponder: What exactly does he intend on doing with this new nation? Eventually, he determines to create a utopia where all races can live together in peace under his rule.

He also desires that adventurers live up their name by exploring the unknown rather than just be monster-hunting mercenaries.

While nobles are frightened by the prospect of the emerging Sorcerer Kingdom, Ainz starts recruiting adventurers, even going so far as to fight by himself in a Colosseum battle while in a weakened state. Ainz fights against Go Gin, a war troll and Martial Lord of the Baharuth Empire.

Ainz attempts to make the fight fair by equipping himself poorly while also disabling magical buffs that protect against weak attacks
Ainz attempts to make the fight fair by equipping himself poorly while also disabling magical buffs that protect against weak attacks. Pic credit: so-bin

This display of power causes Jircniv, Emperor of the Baharuth Empire, to officially propose in writing that his empire become a vassal state of the Sorcerer Kingdom. Ainz is confused by this turn of events, but Demiurge and Albedo are shocked that Ainz accomplishes this feat in mere days while their plan had required at least a month.

The two-floor guardians busy themselves with incorporating Baharuth and the Re-Estize Kingdom into the Sorcerer Kingdom. While this is happening, the Slance Theocracy has invaded Elf Country.

Meanwhile, Ainz decides to go on a diplomatic visit to the Dwarven Kingdom. Ainz takes Shalltear Bloodfallen, Aura Bella Fiora, and a lizardman named Zenberu Gugu, whose history allows him to act as a dwarven guide. Ainz is curious about runes that did not exist in the game world and believes the Dwarven Runesmiths can help him.

It turns out the dwarven country is facing an invasion by the Quagoa, a mole-like demi-human race that exists as tribes within the mountains shared with the dwarves. Worse, the dwarves are being threatened by Frost Dragons, the most powerful race in the area.

The dwarves agree to help Ainz if he helps them take back their ancient capital from these fearsome foes.

Overlord Volume 11 Ainz Dwarves Frost Dragons
The Frost Dragons live in the ancient dwarven capital. Pic credit: so-bin

In the past, author Maruyama has admitted that the more recent book volumes have been focused on Ainz being OP (overpowered).

“Building them up to seem strong and then having Ainz defeating them in an instant is kind of a running gag in the series,” Maruyama said in an interview. “It’s funny. And it also serves to show just how much of a gap there is.”

On the other hand, volumes 12 and 13 are about conspiracy and fooling the enemy into alliances. A religious human nation called the Roble Holy Kingdom keeps demi-humans out with the Great Wall, a 100-kilometer barrier that’s constantly watched over by conscripted citizens.

Disguised as the Demon Emperor Jaldabaoth, Demiurge enslaves the nearby races of demi-humans and forces this unwilling army to invade the Roble Holy Kingdom. “Jaldabaoth” even directly attacks the Holy Queen Calca Bessarez and her followers. The fight causes Demiurge to reveal his terrifying demonic form.

The demonic attack causes the Roble Holy Kingdom to seek the help of the Re-Estize Kingdom, but are rebuffed. They are informed that Momon is the only person capable of defeating Jaldabaoth, but this adventurer swore fealty to the Sorcerer King. The Kingdom then sends a delegation to the Sorcerer Kingdom to ask Ainz for “help” against Jaldabaoth.

Within his own thoughts, Ainz is panicked because Demiurge never bothered to tell his lord about any plan. In order to fulfill his promises, Ainz must stand alone against Jaldabaoth.

Unfortunately, anime fans will just have to wait until the Overlord Season 4 release date to watch how Ainz resolves this confrontation. Stay tuned!

Patrick Frye is Monsters and Critics' Anime Editor. He considers...read more

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