Overlord Season 4 release date: Story in Kugane Maruyama's Overlord light novel series requires a 2021 two-cour anime premiere? [Spoilers]

The wait for Overlord Season 4 will likely be a long one

The Overlord Season 4 release date might not come as soon as anime fans might hope. 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. Does that mean 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 9 as of April 2018.

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 7, but Volume 8 is scheduled to release on September 18, 2018, while Volume 9 comes out on January 22, 2019.

The English manga is up to Volume 7 as well, with Volume 8 scheduled for November 13, 2018, and Volume 9 set for February 19, 2019.

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.

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.

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 character’s motivations and provides many more details about Nazarick and the fantasy world that it inhabits.

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

In recent years, Overlord creator Kugane 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.

Kugane 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.”

Kugane 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.

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,” Kugane explained. “And the reason for making Gargantua is to make it fight a company of golem cavalry.”

Kugane 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.”

The author is “writing with an end in mind” and is shooting for ending the novel series somewhere around Volume 20, which means the story could be done by 2025.

“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.”

Overlord Season 4 release date: Does the light novels’ story require a large delay 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. Nor has the production of a sequel been announced.

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.

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, Kugane 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 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 and 11. Therefore, Overlord Season 5 would focus on the Paladin of the Holy Kingdom story arc from volumes 12 and 13.

Either way, fans of the Overlord novel series would not be happy with the fourth season. 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.

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 2019, but producing a two-cour fourth season with six books requires waiting until around 2021.

And that’s even 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

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.

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 take Shalltear Bloodfallen, Aura Bella Fiora, and a dwarven guide named Zenberu Gugu on a diplomatic visit to the Dwarven Kingdom. 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.

In the past, author Kugane 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,” Kugane 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!

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