Anime or manga? The question that most otakus tend to ask when asking their fellows about getting into a new series, though in recent years light novels have entered into the fray as well given the wealth of adaptations based on those that pop up these days. But for today, we focus on a more specific question: why is the Overlord manga so notoriously behind in terms of both the light novel and the anime?
One of the main reasons cited for Overlord’s extremely slow pacing is its very origins. It started as a Web Novel, which is often considered nothing more than a rough draft self-published by the author. Sure, it gained momentum in terms of popularity but by then, the original story needed a complete overhaul to be translated into a professionally published light novel. This cycle repeated itself for the manga, and then the anime too. With that many changes, things are bound to get delayed.
Delays and hiatuses in the manga are not a rare occurrence. A lot of long-running, popular manga often deal with slumps in pacing. They might even get plagued with filler content that detracts from the story, or seems like it wasn’t created by the author at all. And that’s okay. While the pacing is important, it’s necessary to keep in mind that the creators are human themselves. In an industry as pressure-sensitive as manga, it can take a toll on them The mangaka‘s health is important and so, if they slow down their story, it’s their right.
But why specifically something like Overlord, which already has a full script out in the form of the light novel? Well, for one thing, manga is a much more involved process than light novels. And secondly, Isekai in general is meant to be as over-arching as possible. But here are a few more reasons as to why overlord is taking its sweet, sweet time with everything.
The Origins Of Overlord:
We need to keep in mind that Overlord initially started as a web novel series at the start of the 2010s, written by Kugane Maruyama. Later on, Maruyama-san entered into a publishing deal with media behemoth Kadokawa to formally rewrite his work as a light novel series. Which meant it was getting a complete overhaul, with the main story being rewritten from scratch. Around late 2014, a manga adaptation was released. This was followed by the first season of the anime adaptation airing around 6 months after. Currently, the light novels stand at around fifteen released volumes, with a sixteenth arriving soon by the end of July.
By the end of its currently airing fourth season, the anime itself will have adapted events close to the end of the twelfth volume. And later on, a movie that adapts two later volumes is planned for the future. This leaves us with the manga which, after almost a decade, has yet to show any signs of ending even after 12 whole volumes.
Again, Isekai often tends to be this long-winded. It’s the entire world-building and character arcs that make sure the story lasts as long as possible. It’s just one of the hazards of the genre, and one that makes sense.
Is The Overlord Manga So Slow?
There is, however, no real reason why the Overlord manga is such a slow burn. The manga, which is written by Satoshi Ōshio and illustrated by Hugin Miyama, has been releasing chapters on a monthly schedule since 2014. It stands to reason as such that we would have received eighty or so chapters come to the end of the year, though this is without accounting for breaks in the schedule and the like.
Because again, mangakas do need their breaks. It’s already a prolific issue in the industry how they aren’t taken care of by their parent companies. So, accounting for delays such as health breaks and vacations is not unheard of by creators that work on popular series.
Does The Slow Exposition Work For The Fans?
In a way, this is the best route for both the mangaka and the fans to be satisfied with the story currently ongoing. Overall, this arrangement ends up benefiting both as it means the audience is hooked for longer, and the mangaka can reap the benefits of their investment.
This way, the light novel remains the prime source material for the series and thus encourages fans to support the author directly by purchasing volumes. And with the delay in between anime season releases, the manga chapters, and compiled volumes, means that the Maruyama-San can comfortably work at a slower pace. He wouldn’t have to worry about the pitfalls of adaptations catching up to the source material.
An example of the latter was Full Metal Alchemist, which was plagued with issues over having the anime releases line up with the manga ones.