When the shows for winter 2016 season were announcer I was a little skeptical about Konosuba. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in it, or that I was sick of the fantasy/stuck-in-an-MMO genre; However, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this show. After all this was only a season removed from Overlord (which I loved), and the idea of a fantasy comedy was a little strange to my pre-Konosuba ears. With all 10 episodes of this hilarious show in the books though, I’m happy to announce that my fears about this show were completely unfounded! When you finished reading this (or scroll down to the rating) you’ll see exactly why that is, so without further ado please enjoy my review of…
Konosuba – God’s Blessing on this Wondeful World
Konosuba – God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! came to us this season from Studio Deen and director Takaomi Kanasaki. The show is a fantasy comedy (with ecchi elements), and they lay their ridiculous humor on thick and early. From episode one’s hilarious montage to episode ten’s humorously stupid magical architect, the show keeps you in stitches the whole way through. I will say that the animation quality isn’t the best I’ve ever seen, but it’s pretty clear that they were saving their animation budget for the last episode. With some of the more serious shows of the season leaving me slightly depressed week-to-week, it was nice to have a show like Konosuba to regain a sense of the comical.
[Story Part – Some Spoilers] This anime’s story begins when hikikomori (shut-in) Kazuma Satou dies in a saving a girl from a collision with a vehicle. Upon reaching the afterlife a goddess names Aqua tells him that he actually died of shock thinking that he was going to be hit by a truck, but in actuality it was a slow moving tractor. Aqua then explains that Kazuma can either enter heaven, or be transported to a new world with the mission of fighting the Demon King of that world. She informs him that he may take anything he wishes to the new world to give him an edge, and after being ridiculed by the Aqua, Kazuma decides to take the rude goddess with him. With Aqua in tow the “brave adventurer” sets out to conquer a fantasy world.
When they arrive in the new world Kazuma realizes that being an adventurer is not all it’s cracked up to be, as he and Aqua struggle to make ends meet in a town that has little use for adventurers. The city they arrive in is the beginner town of Axel, a town where most of the easy monsters found around MMO towns are all gone, so the duo has to look for higher level monsters to fight right off the bat. To help them in this endeavor, Kazuma fortunately (or unfortunately according to him) runs into two team mates that help them in their quest to level up. Megumin the chūnibyō Arch Wizard, and Darkness the masochistic Crusader. These four oddly matched companions venture forth on oddball quests to increase their skills to defeat the Demon King, as well as pay off the ever increasing debt incurred by their carelessness.
Due to the somewhat episodic nature of the show it is somewhat difficult to say what the progression of the show is. Sure they make small gains followed by huge loses (1 step forward 2 steps back), but the overall plot of “defeat the demon king” just hangs in the air without much reason for the characters to get to it. Though the episodes are all worth watching for the comedy aspect, the semi-sporadic nature of the show makes reviewing it a tad difficult; Thus, instead of giving you a play-by-play of the whole show I will instead seek to describe the four main characters to you starting with…
Though he may be a hikikomori, this protagonist comes out of his shell pretty early in the show. Upon realizing that he wont immediately be branded as a nerd in his new life he embraces the challenge of a new world with open arms; However, that mentality only lasts till the second episode. Burdened with the oddest bunch of OP (over powered) party members, young Kazuma seeks only to live a life free of debt and strange women in this new world. While he is physically attracted to the girls in his group, he can’t get past their mental foibles. In the end he simply accepts his lot, and tries to salvage the odd situations he’s placed in.
Kazuma occupies one of my favorite roles for anime protagonists, the asshole. Too often do we get the “white knight”, the “energetic hot-head”, or the “silly over-the-top” characters as our main guys. Saitou is plenty silly, but overall he mostly plays the straight man to the girls eccentric natures. He’s pragmatic when he needs to be, and a hot blooded young man when it comes to the more ecchi portions of the show. While I can’t call him my favorite male protagonist of the season, I will say that he kept the show interesting for me in the long run.
Like Kazuma, we meet Aqua in the opening stages of Konosuba, and almost immediately we get a feel for her character type. Brash, selfish, egocentric, Aqua is the embodiment of a spoiled princess. This is made all the worse by the fact that she is a literal goddess. She takes almost nothing seriously, unless it will negatively/positively effect her. In fact the only time she really cares about anything are the few times she remembers that she needs Kazuma to defeat the Demon King in order for her to leave that world.
In terms of character archetype, Aqua is the spoiled rich girl. With this description you’d think that she was the most annoying character in the show, but honestly it’s her quirks that make her one of the funniest characters. Her whining and egotistical rants are timed just right to accommodate the comedy. Similarly her lack of critical thinking skills, and the constant scoldings from Kazuma make for a hilariously eccentric character. Overall she’s one of my favorite characters of the season.
The third companion of the misfit group is the overwhelmingly chūnibyō mage known as Megumin. This character is an Arch Wizard with a great love for explosion magic. Throughout Konosuba she acts as the glass cannon for the group, with the most powerful explosive magic known to the world. Even though she’s one of the greatest types of magic user, Megumin can only cast one super powered explosion spell. After casting said spell she’s completely immobile after casting it due to the large amount of energy needed for an explosion of that magnitude.
Megumin is a one hit character in more than one sense. While cute and undoubtedly charming, this arch mage serves one purpose the whole show through. Basically in every fight she’ll unleash her explosion spell on the enemy, and the rest of the scenes of her that follow will simply be humorous shots of her face down in a near catatonic state. Her character does contribute to the comedy outside of combat, but mostly in her unwillingness to conform to reality. Throughout the show she seems to be the most pragmatic of the three heroines, however in the scope of this show that’s not saying much.
A crusader by trade and professional masochist by nature, Darkness rounds out the strange group of adventurers nicely. Her role in the party is a damage tank, which she embraces with unsettling glee. Her temperament is usually fairly calm and collected, but you can expect her to go into full on S&M slave mode whenever the mood strikes her. Darkness’ other great foible is complete inability hit ANYTHING with her sword. In combat her only good quality is her ability to (very willingly) take damage for the team.
Much like Megumin, her comical selling point makes her something of a one-hit-wonder. Basically every time they get into a confrontation she goes super masochist making everyone on both sides of the altercation uncomfortable. This is done pretty much every episode, and though I enjoyed this character I can see where other viewers might find her a bit tiresome. Still she’s a valuable addition to the cast of oddities, and serves to underline the Kazuma’s unfortunate (or fortunate depending on your view) position.
TL;DR: In this new sub-genre of RPG settings, Konosuba is a very welcome edition. The comedy is a nice change from the the super serious nature of prior fantasy shows, the poor animation actually adds to the quirky nature of the show, and the characters really made the show (for me at least). It’s not the right show for everyone, as it does have quite a bit of ecchi humor in it. However, if you’re in the recommended audiences, and you enjoy comedy with a touch of the risque, this is a show you can’t afford to miss.
Recommended Audience: As stated above this is an ecchi comedy, so the jokes can get on the perverted side. That being said I’d recommend this to any person between teen (parental approval pending of course) and adults. The type of anime fan this would be good for is someone who doesn’t have a problem with slightly repetative comedy. It would also help if you have a sense of humor when it comes to bawdy jokes and actions. Basically don’t watch this if you’re a prude with no sense of humor.
Konosuba humorously stumbles through the season with 4 out of 5 hearts!
Watch it today on Crunchyroll!
Let us know what you think of this first review of Winter 2016? Love it, hate it? Let us know here, through e-mail, ot Twitter/Facebook! As shows end we’ll bring you the reviews as fast as our “real lives” will allow. Until the next review, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy Konosuba.