Art by Hugin Miyama
Original Story by Kugane Maruyama
Character Design by so-bin
Scenario by Satoshi Oshio
Translated by Emily Balistrieri
Lettering by Brndn Blakeslee
There have been numerous isekai series over the past few years, and among the most popular of them is Overlord. This power fantasy story stands out in the genre due its massive cast, intricate world building, and strategic conflict. While many people have been introduced to the series through its anime adaptation, there is also a manga adaptation by artist Hugin Miyama. Let’s take a look at how the Overlord manga holds up to its contemporaries.
Overlord is the story of Momonga, the sole remaining member of a powerful guild in the DMMORPG called YGGDRASIL. When YGGDRASIL’s servers are about to permanently shut down, Momonga and his guild’s headquarters are suddenly sent into a new world, and the NPCs he ruled over have come to life. Renaming himself to Ainz Ooal Gown, Momonga seeks to learn about his new environment and spread the legacy of his former guild.
The main draw of Overlord is less Ainz himself, but his actions and discoveries. Watching Ainz interact with residents of his new world and slowly gather information is fascinating to read. We witness the power disparity currently being faced by the commoner class, and the presence of magic that closely resembles that of YGGDRASIL. It feels like you are learning about this new world alongside Ainz and it furthers your investment in the story.
As an adaptation, the first volume of the Overlord manga covers the entire first volume of the original light novel. While this requires the manga to condense a lot of the early events in the series, it never feels rushed in execution. The manga circumvents pacing issues by moving explanations of the world’s mechanics to pages of text in between chapters. This allows the story to move at a faster pace, while minimizing the content that needs to be cut. It’s a pleasant change that makes Overlord’s narrative work better within a manga format.
The Overlord light novels have some fantastic illustrations, and it would be hard to match its detail in a full manga. As such, Hugin Miyama’s artwork doesn’t try to replicate its predecessor, instead taking inspiration from so-bin’s character designs to create a unique visual style. The resulting art is quite effective and aptly fits Maruyama’s writing during both its action and comedic scenes. Miyama’s artwork allows for the world of Overlord to be more widely depicted while staying true to the series itself.
The Overlord manga is a solid adaptation that allows more readers to experience the popular isekai series. It makes effective changes to enhance the reading experience, and Miyama’s artwork pairs well with the narrative. If you’ve haven’t checked out Overlord yet, this is certainly worth a read.