UPDATE: In July 2022, Overlord light novel series creator Kugane Maruyama confirmed that he was changing his plans and Overlord Volume 18 is ending the story. The remainder of this news story remains as last published.
Overlord light novel series creator Kugane Maruyama is reportedly saying that he plans on ending the Overlord books with Overlord Volume 17. This announcement came over the weekend during AnimagiC 2019, a convention that takes place in Germany.
Maruyama, light novel illustrator so-bin, and Overlord anime series scriptwriter Yukie Sugawara were guests of honor during the Overlord panel. Not only did Maruyama talk about his plans for ending Overlord, but Sugawara also discussed the Overlord Season 4 anime! (Please see our related article for more details.)
Fast-forward to when Overlord Volume 14 released on March 12, 2020. The author’s notes in the book also confirmed that Maruyama still planned on ending the entire light novel series with Overlord Volume 17.
This book announcement should not come as a shock to long-time fans of the light novel series. Many years ago, Maruyama stated that he was “writing with an end in mind” and he had “no intention to drag the story on and on” despite having “50 volumes worth” of ideas. He just wanted “readers to relax and read.”
Initially, his goal was to reach an ending somewhere around Volume 20, but by May 2016 he tweeted out that he was planning on ending with Overlord Volume 18. Three years later, this plan began to change.
The first hint was when Maruyama released a bonus book called The Vampire Princess of the Lost Country (Bokoku no Kyuketsu-hime). The side story Overlord novel featured Ainz/Momonga in an alternate timeline.
In May 2019, a Twitter user named RainyCloud told Maruyama that an unofficial translation of his newly printed book had already been uploaded to a foreign website. RainCloud asked if there was any way RainCloud could take action against this copyright violation.
Clearly frustrated by this turn of events, Maruyama admitted that his motivation to write Overlord had been slowly going down the drain over the years. Shockingly, Maruyama admitted that he was tempted to go back to being a corporate employee after finishing writing the Overlord light novel series!
In order to end with Overlord Volume 17, Maruyama said he would need to cut down the amount of planned story content. He noted that it would be tough to reach a satisfying conclusion with Overlord Volume 16, so that’s why he chose Overlord Volume 17 as his target.
Maruyama’s comments at AnimagiC 2019 were along the same line, although fans were hoping his plans could change in the future. German publisher KSM Anime claimed that Maruyama said that ending Overlord Volume 17 was the final plan, but 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.
Speaking of difficulty, ending with Volume 17 puts animation studio Madhouse in a tough spot when it comes to adapting the ending of the Overlord anime. The studio has been adapting three books per season, so ending with Volume 17 makes for difficult story pacing.
Perhaps the studio will end up creating an Overlord movie for the ending? After all, Maruyama has been talking about ending the story with epic-scale battles and no one wants a repeat of the CGI monsters of the third season.
But that’s a problem for another day since Overlord Season 4 will be adapting the light novel series starting with Volume 10. In the meantime, Maruyama is still working on Overlord Volume 15. The book does not have an official release date, but since this book took two years to complete book readers may be waiting until 2022.
Since so many things are up in the air it’s difficult to say whether Maruyama will stick to his latest plan. After all, this plan will take years to reach fruition at the author’s current publishing rate. Let’s just hope Overlord’s ending is satisfying to all of the series’ readers. Stay tuned!
Updated April 28, 2020: Overlord’s ending in Volume 17 confirmed. Added related details and Overlord Volume 14 cover art.