The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: KonoSuba

KonoSuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World! – Review and Reflections After Three

“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” –Robert Benchley

As a child, Megumin was saved from peril by a mysterious lady who had mastered the awe-inspiring explosion spell. Years later, Megumin enrols at the Crimson Dæmon’s academy, Red Prison; Crimson Dæmon youth learn magic here and are considered full-fledged members of society when they graduate after learning advanced magic that becomes available to them upon accruing enough skill points. Megumin is excited to become a student after her parents closed off a sale that gives them the funds to enrol, but on her first day of classes, runs into Yunyun, who immediately declares Megumin her rival. Megumin proves to be quite skilled, but also discovers that explosion magic is not well-respected. She vows to continue in spite of this, and later, learns that her younger sister, Komekko, captured a black cat, hoping to eat it. Megumin decides to keep the cat and convinces Pucchin, her instructor, to let it accompany her in class. Later, the students drill in the forest, but when some gargoyles run afoul of the Crimson Dæmon’s village, the adults lead an all-out attack on the gargoyles, levelling the village in the process. Despite the damage done, the adults rebuild the village overnight, and the next day, Megumin returns to class, learning her classmates have named the cat after her. Later, while studying in the library, Bukkorori appears and implores the students to help him with winning over Soketto’s heart. Megumin and Yunyun are roped into things, and while Soketto is initially disgusted by Bukkorori’s actions, after he fends off some monsters with a fire spell, Soketto agrees to read Bukkorori’s fortune. Unfortunately, Soketto foresees nothing in the future for Bokkorori’s love live, causing him to flee in despair, and Megumin and Yunyun both get the feeling that despite his poor initial impression, Soketto does not dislike Bokkorori. Later, Megumin and Yunyun accompany one another home, with Megumin feeling that Yunyun’s attempts to duel her might be a consequence of the latter wanting friendship. With this, KonoSuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World!, spinoff to KonoSuba, has kicked off. While lacking the over-the-top antics of KonoSuba proper owing to Kazuma, Aqua and Darkness’ absence, An Explosion on This Wonderful World! nonetheless is off to a solid start as it presents the Crimson Dæmon’s world and Megumin’s journey towards learning explosion magic – the series retains much of the comedic charm that comes from Megumin bouncing off the other characters, as well as the Crimson Dæmon’s bombastic tendencies; these elements reiterate to viewers that An Explosion on This Wonderful World!, like KonoSuba, is all about the comedy; while viewers follow Megumin’s story, they are assured that life in this whacky world is anything but ordinary, and Megumin’s path to explosion magic will be one that is also filled with laughs.

Although the merits of a KonoSuba spinoff may not be immediately apparent, and viewers may find that a continuation of Kazuma’s adventures following the Legend of Crimson movie would be more enjoyable, the film had also set in motion the notion that, despite his shortcomings, Kazuma’s willingness to accept Megumin into his party and make creative use of her explosion skills means that over time, Megumin begins to fall in love with him. Because of this outcome, providing a story that gives more insight into Megumin’s past was logical. By establishing Megumin’s story and giving viewers a chance to really see why she’s so adamant on explosion magic, there is a chance to see why Megumin became somewhat of an outcast despite her Crimson Dæmon background: as a child, Megumin had been saved by a mysterious lady, who had used the explosion spell to defeat a powerful foe. Since then, Megumin became enamoured with the brute force and impressive presence of explosive magic; the memory of that day overshadows everything else for her, and despite her own magical prowess and natural affinity for the dramatic, Megumin’s focus at the academy has been to master the basics well enough to use the magic that held her spellbound. KonoSuba viewers are well aware of what happened next: Megumin would come to master explosion at the expense of being useless elsewhere, and by the time of KonoSuba, Megumin’s developed a reputation for being quite useless outside of casting explosion. Since she refuses to learn any other magic to help restore her magic, or other forms of magic, Megumin struggled to find her place in the world. Things change when she meets Kazuma, and thanks to his decision to (however reluctantly) accept her, Megumin’s been given a chance to utilise her favourite form of magic in situations beyond just setting off explosions for her own enjoyment. Seeing the start of the journey here in An Explosion on This Wonderful World! is therefore valuable because it gives one insight into where Megumin had been coming from. It is easy to dismiss Megumin’s limited repertoire of spells, but seeing the story behind how Megumin came to be greatly accentuates the significance of Kazuma’s actions later on in KonoSuba. In this way, An Explosion on This Wonderful World! ends up being a valuable addition to the series that gives viewers additional insight into what shaped Megumin’s world prior to Kazuma’s arrival in KonoSuba.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Influences from childhood can indeed have a strong impression on individuals, enough to shape their future careers, and as an example, I need to look no further than myself. I had a relative who was a software developer, and I remember being enamoured with computers at a very young age as a result – my relatives had a Windows 95 machine I would play with when visiting, and as a student, the first computer I used was a Macintosh Classic II. As such, Megumin’s persistent reverence for explosion magic is not implausible, and while the light novels indicate that the lady who ignites Megumin’s love of explosions is of great significance, An Explosion on This Wonderful World! gives no indicator of this early on.

  • The world of the Crimson Dæmons was first explored during the events of Legend of Crimson, and since then, I imagine that there had been sufficient interest in expanding the world out further. When done well, spin-offs allow for enough world-building to occur so that viewers’ curiosity about these fantastical worlds can be satisfied, and so far, An Explosion on This Wonderful World! has certainly been enjoyable for me. When I began watching KonoSuba, it was early April three years earlier. The world had ground to a halt on account of the global health crisis, and amidst the uncertainty, I was asked to work from home. Unable to hang out with friends or go anywhere, I suddenly found myself with a great deal of free time.

  • With almost every aspect of daily life up in the air back then, I decided to start watching KonoSuba – I had been sitting on this series, and shortly after starting, I immediately kicked myself for not having started sooner. KonoSuba had been a masterful comedy, bringing a smile to my face every time I watched an episode. I would watch an episode every day during my lunch break from the comfort of my cozy basement office, and this gave me some laughs during otherwise uncertain times. KonoSuba had been so enjoyable that I finished both seasons, their OVAs and the film within the space of two months. Since then, I’ve been looking forwards to a continuation, and with the success KonoSuba enjoys, I have heard that a third season is a matter of when, rather than if.

  • It is a little striking to realise that it’s been three years since I first started watching KonoSuba, and by extension, that the global health crisis was three years earlier. In between then and now, I’ve taken up a new position as a mobile developer and became a homeowner, so being able to watch An Explosion on This Wonderful World! now acts as a reminder of how relentless the flow of time is, as well as how quickly things can change. For Megumin, her early days at the academy are colourful from our point of view, but it also looks quite unremarkable for Crimson Dæmons. Megumin has no trouble with the coursework and exercises.

  • Red Prison, the name of the academy, is basically a school of witchcraft and wizardry, complete with potions class. However, unlike the world’s most famous school of witchcraft and wizardry, Red Prison also has one unusual class: students must train in the art of introducing themselves in exceedingly cool ways, since all Crimson Dæmons have chūnibyō tendencies. The concept of chūnibyō loosely describe youth who exhibit heightened grandiosity, and was coined by Japanese comedian Ken Shinooka to poke fun at children who had unrealistic aspirations. However, the term was taken seriously, and Japanese psychologists often look at chūnibyō as a legitimate disorder, despite the fact that grandiosity isn’t always a problem unless it is present with other disorders characterised in the DSM-V. Chūnibyō is a common part of the younger anime community, and this comes from youth wanting to express their individuality.

  • However, admittedly, for folks who are used to more ordinary communications, trying to communicate with chūnibyō can be tricky, and here in An Explosion on This Wonderful World!, it’s shown just how limiting Yunyun’s lack of chūnibyō is. In a society where chūnibyō is the norm, Yunyun is seen as an abnormality. I am reminded of the answer to an old health science question that Christopher Boorse posed. In his widely-maligned 1977 paper, Health as a Theoretical Concept, Boorse argued that health can be a value-free concept, and that health is empirical (can be measured). After Boorse’s paper, health researchers counter-argued that health is by definition value-laden and instead, propose that levels of normal function or behaviour in health are better compared against groups within a population.

  • An Explosion on This Wonderful World! provides an anime counterargument to Boorse: although Yunyun looks normal to viewers, and her fellow Crimson Dæmons feel like oddities, to them, Yunyun is unusual. There isn’t a universal measure, and it is fair to say that both interpretations are correct based on the value-based approach. Poor Yunyun is therefore stuck with her people’s unusual mannerisms, and this initially makes it hard for her to fit in with her classmates.

  • With all of this being said, I find that the Crimson Dæmons are able to speak with in the manner of chūnibyō without coming across as being arrogant or insane simply because they do possess the magical power to back their flamboyant style. Pucchin comments on how the first and foremost lesson to remember is that all Crimson Dæmons must be cool, and while Yunyun struggles with those, Megumin and the others have no troubles with things. I do not begrudge competent people if they wish to go for some embellishment, but in reality, I’ve found that most competent people are very humble, and those who embellish tend to be lacking in their ability.

  • The dynamic between Yunyun and Megumin always had me feeling poorly for Yunyun – despite possessing all of the traits that make her a desirable party member (she knows her magic, is kind to those around her and does her best to communicate clearly), Yunyun’s lack of presence makes her easily forgotten. Soft-spoken and shy, Yunyun is voiced by Aki Toyosaki (K-On!‘s Yui Hirasawa and Aoi Inuyama of Yuru Camp△ ), while Megumin is voiced by Rie Takahashi (Yuru Camp△‘s Ena Saitō and Gakkō Gurashi‘s Miki Naoki).

  • The reason behind why the Crimson Dæmons regard explosion magic poorly has not been dealt with yet, and I am therefore curious to see why it’s not something the Crimson Dæmons like: clearly, since Megumin does learn explosion later, and other casters can also use explosion without too much negative consequence, it’s evident that explosion itself is not harmful towards the caster. If there are no physical reasons, and Crimson Dæmons revel in flashy spells without regard for collateral damage (which eliminates morality as the reason for why explosion is not used), then there must be something else to things, and I am hoping that An Explosion on This Wonderful World! will deal with this in the future.

  • When Yunyun picks up a dagger she thought to be adorable, I was reminded of KonoSuba‘s Chunchunmaru, Megumin’s nickname for Kazuma’s personal blade. Owing to how things work in the universe, Megumin’s for the new weapon sticks, and the promptness of Megumin’s name suggests that she’d been thinking of a suitable weapon name for Yunyun since then. Megumin’s dismissive treatment of Yunyun, and Yunyun’s unusual rivalry with Megumin notwithstanding, I imagine that the pair had always wanted to be friends with one another but lacked the directness to be up front about things: in practise, the two resemble frenemies – both outwardly clash, but then when the chips are down, they’re present to support one another.

  • Komekko is one of KonoSuba‘s more interesting characters. First making an animated appearance in Legend of Crimson, Komekko is basically Megumin in miniature and, thanks to her kill-stealing, already has accrued a number of skill points. Outgoing and inquisitive, Komekko loves puzzles, and here in An Explosion on This Wonderful World!, she’s the one who finds Chomusuke. Megumin remarks that Komekko may try to eat Chomusuke: their family’s long been quite poor and struggles to make ends meet, so Megumin and Komekko had spent most of their time hunting for cicadas and crawfish as food.

  • Prior to Chomusuke gaining his current name, Megumin’s classmates decide to christian him “Megumin”, to the real Megumin’s chagrin. Later, Megumin attempts to name Chomusuke “black” (くろ, Hepburn kuro). Chomusuke’s origins are completely unknown early in An Explosion on This Wonderful World!, and Megumin decides it’s better to keep him around at school, versus potentially allowing Komekko to eat him. Although Pucchin initially is against it, Megumin’s able to put a spin on things that convinces him to let her keep Chomusuke around, so long as he doesn’t disrupt classes.

  • The joys of watching the Crimson Dæmons in action stems from the fact that they’re show-boaters, and while this initially creates the impression that Crimson Dæmons are all bark and no bite, when the moment calls for it, their powers are actually quite impressive. Since the Crimson Dæmons already have a natural affinity for magic and spells, a part of their training involves being able to provide a pompous and eloquent introduction with which to strike fear into the hearts of their opponents. The subversion of expectations is what makes KonoSuba hilarious: in a comedy series, it is anticipated that people who seemingly overestimate themselves will take a fall, driving humour.

  • In KonoSuba, by defying that expectation, humour results. In this way, the student’s training speaks to the ludicrous nature of Crimson Dæmon society: for one lesson, Pucchin has the students working on dealing lethal damage to trapped monsters. While it looks inhumane and immoral as an exercise, the monsters are actually far from defenseless, and when Megumin takes her shot at killing a salamander, it breaks free and attacks her. Megumin somehow manages to win, and the other students take their crack at things. Here, Dodonko, Yunyun and Funifura struggle with taking out a rabbit-like creature.

  • Megumin’s efforts to persuade Dodonko to take the rabbit out is interrupted when a large beast appears, prompting all of the students to run off. A hint of KonoSuba makes its way into this scene: everyone dashes off into the forest wearing the same expression that Aqua and Kazuma do whenever misfortune befell them. Besides Dodonko and Funifura, Nerimaki and Arue end up being roped into things, too. They eventually run into Bukkorori, who saves them with a fireball. It turns out he was out trying to impress Soketto, a beautiful woman he’d taken a liking to, but forgot that he lacks any teleportation abilities. Unimpressed, the students end up ditching him.

  • While the scene initially appears to be little more than comedy, the moment where gargoyles attack the Crimson Dæmon village speaks volumes to their society: they appear to be behind most of their own troubles, but are advanced enough in their ability to sort things out, even if the solutions they take initially seem detrimental. The large monster that chased down Yunyun and the others earlier was actually a gargoyle the headmaster had frozen to keep as an ornament, but once the magic expired, they began running amok. The Crimson Dæmons’ solution is to go all-out in attacking them, levelling the village in the process.

  • Comedy then comes from the fact that, despite the battle being the result of the Crimson Dæmon’s own carelessness, the fact that they can trivially restore their village back to functional order in a single night shows that what’s outrageous to viewers is actually not a concern for them. This is actually quite clever and establishes the fact that, even in a world as wild as KonoSuba‘s, there’s always more surprises around the corner than one might expect, and in turn, An Explosion on This Wonderful World!‘s direction becomes less obvious. This creates a scenario where I am excited to see what happens next. KonoSuba had done the same, contributing to my enjoyment of the series.

  • There are a large number of students in Megumin and Yunyun’s class, and while I’ll probably not learn everyone’s names, it makes sense for me to at least learn the names of the students that interact the most often with Megumin and Yunyun. It suddenly hits me that, at least according to An Explosion on This Wonderful World!‘s character profiles, with Arue and the others being twelve, everyone else in the class must also be twelve. However, Megumin and her classmates don’t act twelve, and life at Red Prison feels more akin to what is seen in a secondary school setting, as opposed to a middle school setting.

  • Megumin is shown to be spending most of her time in the school library trying to research explosion magic. From what viewers see, and through background reading, it looks like Megumin’s ability as a student is never in question; this allows An Explosion on This Wonderful World! to purely focus on her story. In storytelling, a given tale’s themes will always be tied with the nature of the struggle a character faces, and while those who consume fiction tend to express disapproval when characters appear overpowered in some areas, it is important to consider what the story intends to do. Here in An Explosion on This Wonderful World!, the aim was never about Megumin’s school life, so for the sake of being able to explore more critical story elements, it’s more helpful to simply has Megumin as a good student, which lends the series more time to delve into Megumin’s road to mastering explosive magic.

  • Dodonko and Funifura are two classmates that end up trying to befriend Yunyun at every turn; insofar, An Explosion on This Wonderful World! hasn’t shown anything else yet, and it’s easy to suppose that the pair’s desire to befriend Yunyun are genuine. Here, they show up and begin braiding Yunyun’s hair, but things come to a quick end when Megumin becomes bothered by an insect and goes after it, disrupting the others in the process. If the source material is followed, I imagine that Dodonko and Funifura might begin taking advantage of Yunyun’s kindness later down the line, and Megumin will have to step up to set things straight.

  • If viewers felt poorly for Yunyun in KonoSuba, her story in An Explosion on This Wonderful World! will only amplify these feelings. Of everyone in KonoSuba, I became very fond of Yunyun because of her desire to do good, possessing the capability to do so, and in spite of all this, the fact that she’s still able to maintain humility. The KonoSuba universe is a bit wild, so seeing a more grounded character was quite refreshing, and so, whenever misfortune befalls Yunyun, I always got the sense that said misfortune was undeserved.

  • Soketto also makes a return from Legend of Crimson – a fortuneteller blessed with the ability to peer into the future, she’s someone that Bukkorori is rather fond of, and after an initial misunderstanding, Soketto realises his actions were not done out of spite. The approach Crimson Dæmons take towards problem-solving is very roundabout: Yunyun wonders why Bukkorori couldn’t just use his magic to complete quests and earn some coin, which could be subsequently used to buy a fortune-telling session from Soketto.

  • With this being said, doing things in a manner consistent with what common sense dictates would yield for a much less amusing outcome, and a part of the humour in KonoSuba, as well as any series drive by comedy, is the fact that common sense is discarded. It is precisely because Bukkorori decides his plan is better that makes things funny: something with a lot of moving parts is more likely to fail, so the comedy here is derived from the fact that it’s obvious to everyone (save Bukkorori himself) that his machinations will not succeed.

  • An Explosion on This Wonderful World! is also written by Natsume Akatsuki: his career began with a submission of Dragontarashi to a competition in 2012, where he placed second, but despite some initial setbacks, Akatsuki began work on KonoSuba, which would become wildly successful after receiving an anime adaptation in 2016. Akatsuki’s greatest strength is being able to find humour in every situation: the comedic element of KonoSuba was the main draw and stood in stark contrast with the grim, serious tenour of other isekai series. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is such an example: this light novel began in 2013 and received an anime adaptation in 2016 later, airing in the same season as Konosuba. This marked the point where isekai would really take off as a genre.

  • I ended up watching Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash while attending a conference in Cancún and found it a bit too gloomy, muted and serious for my liking. While this series deals with themes of life and death in an effective manner and had a group of respectable characters whose interactions felt quite natural, I never could get behind isekai that were too serious because the same themes can effectively be conveyed in a purely fantasy world (the protagonists need not come from our world), or within their old world. On the other hand, I greatly enjoy the lighter-hearted series because, since the gravity of the character’s situation is much lower, it becomes possible for a story to explore the eccentricities of these other worlds without the constant weight of life and death hanging over the characters’ heads.

  • Since 2016, isekai anime have quite dominant: seasons have at least a handful of anime like So I’m a Spider, So What?, In Another World With My Smartphone and Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon, and this has generated a bit of disapproval amongst some viewers. Such series are counted as being cookie-cutter series that make consistent bank because viewers are immediately familiar with their worlds, but otherwise might not offer something too novel, and if a given studio is working on isekai, viewers see that as manpower redirected away from working on anime of other genres. For me, I am not particularly fond of isekai where the gaming mechanics are too obvious, and where the story is too serious, but otherwise, I do not object to its presence simply because there’s plenty of other stuff to check out in a given season.

  • This is why, unlike places such as the now-defunct Behind The Nihon Review, I don’t dedicate entire posts to hating on the genre, nor will I write lengthy, purple-prose filled diatribes criticising the people who like isekai – if people like isekai, that’s completely cool, and in fact, I’d love to hear from fans of the genre about aspects of isekai that I don’t understand. Back in An Explosion on This Wonderful World!, Bukkorori learns that his romantic future is bleak, and he runs off in despair. Soketto reveals that she can’t foresee her own future (a perfectly valid constraint on her fortune-telling powers), but remarks that she doesn’t necessarily hate Bukkorori now that she knows a little more about him. Despite being a comedy, the rules that govern how things work in KonoSuba is fairly consistent, and this makes it easier to get behind what happens.

  • With three episodes of An Explosion on This Wonderful World! now in the books, I find myself returning to a world I’ve not seen for three years. After Legend of Crimson, and news of a continuation, I had been quite excited to see where KonoSuba would go, and in the present, having both An Explosion on This Wonderful World! and a third season is wonderful. What makes An Explosion on This Wonderful World! so gripping right now is that, even in the knowledge that Megumin will one day join Kazuma and live up to her reputation as an explosion fanatic, the series still appears to be full of surprises. As such, I expect a solid story ahead here in An Explosion on This Wonderful World!.

  • With this post in the books, and my tax return submitted just ahead of the May deadline , April is rapidly drawing to a close. I’ve got two more posts lined up for this month, and remark that in May, I am going to be rolling back on the posts – come June, it will be the ten year anniversary to the Great Flood of 2013, and as it happens, I also booked a week off for a road trip to the remote mountain roads one province over. Between said vacation and a number of special topics posts (that likely won’t be of interest for readers), I would like to take advantage of the lull in May to get some of these posts prepared ahead of time.

My enjoyment of An Explosion on This Wonderful World! inevitably raises the question of whether or not KonoSuba would have worked had it been framed purely from a fantasy perspective, rather than as an isekai. At first glance, the spin-off does initially suggest that there’s enough going on in this world so that, even if Kazuma had been an ordinary adventurer rather than someone who had come from our world, the series could still tell a compelling story. However, it was Kazuma’s status as a NEET, his perverted tendencies and profound knowledge of RPG video games, that make him uniquely suited to impacting his new world to the extent that he did. It is because Kazuma has a background with video games that he is able to make use of his party in ways that other adventurers could not; in the absence of his past experiences, KonoSuba would not have been able to convincingly show Megumin’s growth in conjunction with her hilarious interactions with Kazuma quite to the same extent. In the case of KonoSuba, the isekai premise makes perfect sense because Kazuma’s old knowledge and beliefs strongly impact the series’ ability to deliver comedy, and similarly, it is because viewers already have some familiarity with the misadventures Megumin will later go on, that An Explosion on This Wonderful World! is able to drive humour. Despite being a solid series on its own, An Explosion on This Wonderful World! is a series where viewers will appreciate more fully if they had previously seen KonoSuba – the style of humour is quite similar to what was seen in KonoSuba, and the experiences Megumin has alongside with Yunyun and her other classmates become all the more significant if one is aware of how they’ll impact the events of KonoSuba. Three episodes in, An Explosion on This Wonderful World! has proven to be a fun addition to KonoSuba, and I am glad that this spin-off is being aired; when a third season becomes reality, An Explosion on This Wonderful World! will gives a bit more context behind how Kazuma and Megumin become closer and strengthen the significance of this relationship.

KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! Legend of Crimson Movie Review and Reflection

“You never know; you hope for the best and make do with what you get.” –Nick Fury, The Avengers: Age of Ultron

After botching a quest thanks to Megumin’s explosive magic, Kazuma and the others return to town to commiserate. Yunyun arrives and begs Kazuma to bear her children, having received a letter from the other Crimson Dæmons, but it turns out that this was a story written by one of their former classmates. She prepares to head off, and the next day, after negotiating with Vanir on how he’d like to sell his patents, is teleported to the Crimson Dæmon’s village to visit. Yunyun saves the group from being accosted by some female orcs, and after arriving at Megumin’s house, Kazuma meets her parents. They immediately take a liking to him after learning of his financial situation, and Megumin’s mother, Yuiyui, locks Kazuma and Megumin together in the same room with the hopes of making something happen, although the two only reflect on their appreciation for what they’ve done for one another. In the morning, Megumin takes Aqua and Kazuma into town, where she shows them around and picks up new robes. Darkness, meanwhile, has headed off to explore on her own, and when they find her, she’s locked in combat with monsters under Sylvia, who is one of the Dæmon King’s generals. Kazuma manages to persuade her to flee, but she returns later in the night, seduces Kazuma, and gains access to the Mage Killer, an ancient weapon the Crimson Dæmons had sealed away generations earlier. While the Crimson Dæmons attempt to fight back, Sylvia, now fused with the Mage Killer, strips them of their magic. Kazuma retrieves a particle rifle from town, which had been used as a clothesline, and manages to defeat Sylvia, but she resurrects herself, hauling Beldia and Hans back from the dead to fight with her. Wiz and Vanir arrive in town with the hopes of finding a craftsman for Kazuma’s products, but find Sylvia rampaging. Desperate to stop Sylvia, Kazuma decides to accept her feelings, buying Wiz enough time to transfer magical power from the Crimson Dæmons to Megumin and Yunyun. They use this power to target Sylvia, who realises at the last moment that Kazuma deceived her before being destroyed. In the aftermath, Kazuma is revived and heads back to Axel with his party. On a quiet day, the party goes for a picnic in the fields surrounding Axel. Megumin wonders if she should invest her skill points in other forms of magic, but Kazuma decides against this and has her cast an explosion, which appears far more powerful than before and forms a heart-shaped cloud that Kazuma is pleased with.

KonoSuba‘s movie, Legend of Crimson, originally premièred in August of 2019, adapting the fifth volume of the light novel series and acting as a sequel to the second season. Like its predecessors, Legend of Crimson strikes a balance between comedy and world-building, focusing here on the Crimson Dæmons, their origins and animosity with the Dæmon King’s forces. In typical KonoSuba manner, a miscommunication prompts Kazuma and his party to visit the home of Megumin and her people. In the process, Kazuma and Megumin become closer as a result of their actions: despite her revulsion towards Kazuma’s antics, she also respects his more admirable traits in accepting people for who they are and creative means of getting something done. As a film, Legend of Crimson further fleshes out the world Kazuma is in, reminding viewers of both how far Kazuma has come in adjusting to life here, and also begins to suggest that the dynamic between Kazuma and his party is shifting somewhat, especially with respect to Megumin. However, Legend of Crimsont also shows how much more Kazuma’s party has discover and master before they can consider defeating the Dæmon King once and for all. While comedy and world-building continues to keep KonoSuba engaging in Legend of Crimson, the inevitable question of whether or not KonoSuba will be afflicted by franchise fatigue must also be considered: Legend of Crimson covers no new direction with its themes, and follows a conventional approach in its narrative. Because it is an adaptation of the light novel’s fifth volume, and the fact there are seventeen volumes altogether, there is a risk that Kazuma’s misadventures may grow derivative by the time he and his party actually reach the Dæmon King.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I believe on this day three years ago, I had spent the day walking Magome-juku and Nagoya’s Atsuta Shrine, before having ramen at a place in Gifu: the staff were a little surprised to hear a Cantonese-speaker ordering in Japanese, and as I remember, their pork ramen was excellent. Before starting Legend of Crimson, I asked readers as to whether they wished for me to do a longer or shorter post. The results of this question were definitive, and as a result, this post will have thirty screenshots per the results of that poll. I am not displeased with this outcome: from a thematic standpoint, Legend of Crimson did not have much I could remark on, and the film can be seen as taking the events of a standard season and fitting them into the movie format. This isn’t to say Legend of Crimson is bad in any way, but rather, there’s less to discuss.

  • After Megumin destroys the fish the party was supposed to be catching and a part of the quest area along with it, Kazuma’s party ends up with nothing to show for their efforts, and moreover, the townspeople begin talking behind his back. For someone who has led a party into taking down three of the Dæmon King’s commanders so far, Kazuma’s not particularly well-regarded because his actions when off-duty are dubious at best. While Kazuma and the others wonder what their next move is, Yunyun appears, and this time, she has a strange request.

  • When Megumin and Darkness express opposition to Yunyun’s wish, Kazuma immediately concludes that Megumin and Darkness must have some feelings for him. This statement is not without basis, however, and foreshadows the events of the light novels. For the present, though, it turns out Yunyun had read a letter, assumed it to be the reality and then figured she needed a solution to save her people, but the letter was in fact, a work of fiction. Receiving this letter sets Kazuma and his party on a journey to the Crimson Dæmon’s village.

  • In order to reach their destination more swiftly, Kazuma asks Wiz to help teleport everyone to the village. Before then, Kazuma also lets Vanir know he’s reached a decision about which offer to accept, and after damaging some merchandise, Aqua and Vanir spar. While Vanir cannot peer into the minds of beings more powerful than himself, he actually is able to hold his own against Aqua in a verbal match simply on the basis that Aqua lacks a sharp tongue, and consequently, watching the two have a go at one another is always hilarious.

  • After Wiz teleports them into an open field near the Crimson Dæmon’s village, Kazuma immediately runs into trouble with some female orcs, and the moment is something that a screenshot cannot describe, so readers will simply have to watch that moment for themselves to see the sort of suffering that Kazuma experiences at their hands, and it isn’t until Yunyun shows up with the other villagers that Kazuma is spared from a terrifying fate.

  • Moments like these prompt me to wish that KonoSuba would take Kazuma and his party to more of the world: the Crimson Dæmon’s village is beautifully rendered, and outwardly, has a very peaceful appearance. The artwork and animation quality in Legend of Crimson varies – in moments that demand it, this degrades to the point of hilarity, but otherwise, the visuals in Legend of Crimson are roughly of a similar level to those of KonoSuba‘s second season.

  • The Crimson Dæmons themselves are an amicable people: beyond their grandiose introductions and pride, they’re not bad at all. Kazuma impresses them with an introduction worthy of a Crimson Dæmon, and they are taken into town to meet the leader, Yunyun’s father: he’s a free-spirited individual and explains that his letter to Yunyun was done purely for dramatic effect. However, it is the case that there is a Dæmon King commander around the area, explaining the incursions from hostile forces, and halfway through their meeting, some goblins appear.

  • As it turns out, Crimson Dæmons aren’t just above-average magic-wielders, they’re terrifyingly competent casters who make the spells of Harry Potter look drab by comparison, and appear more akin to Maiar in their abilities. It turns out that the Crimson Dæmons are also a result of the researcher who had once conceived the Destroyer: he had wanted to create a group of people with enhanced magical ability, but ended up selecting for volunteers who had the traits that would come to shape the Crimson Dæmons. In this way, the researcher ends up being similar to the Celestials of Star Wars and the Forerunners of Halo, leaving behind legacies well beyond his time.

  • Upon arriving at Megumin’s house, Kazuma meets her parents, Hyoizaburoo and Yuiyui, and Komekko, who regard him coldly until learning Kazuma is actually well-off, and then immediately begin making it clear that having Megumin marry him might not be such a bad idea. Yuiyui knocks out Darkness with a spell and then creates a situation that forces Kazuma into a situation with Megumin: owing to Darkness’ vehement opposition, this foreshadows her own thoughts towards Kazuma.

  • Despite his attitude, Kazuma is someone who will not end up doing something dishonourable when the chips are down. Even when locked in a room with Megumin, Kazuma ends up furiously debating what to do before his chance passes, and in a later volume, Kazuma does his best to fend off a crazed Darkness, having decided that his heart lies with Megumin. Events of the future KonoSuba volumes have me curious to see if a third season could become a reality, although I cannot comment on what the future of KonoSuba brings: OreGairu is only getting a third season now, and even the runaway hit, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, only ended up adapting four of its eleven volumes.

  • If I had to guess, I’d say that anime adaptations are likely considered more as a means of promoting a light novel series: the third season of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi sits up there with Half-Life 3 as one of the most anticipated and unknown continuations of all time, but since The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi had far surpassed expectations, it was likely decided that continuing it as an anime was unnecessary, and that fans would give the light novels a look were they interested in continuing. As such, it is possible that KonoSuba might be headed down this route, as well. Back in Legend of Crimson, Kazuma and Megumin visit a clothing shop that makes robes in the style Megumin prefers. Kazuma sees a rifle barrel being used as a clothesline here.

  • Megumin and Yunyun both decide to return to their old school in their old uniforms. After visiting the mage’s academy, Megumin and Yunyun’s alma mater, Kazuma swings by a building housing something that is supposed to hold an artifact of terrifying power. While looking back through the events of KonoSuba, it appears that Kazuma and his party’s approach to anything is to wing it: to do as Nick Fury suggests, working towards the best outcome with what’s available at a given moment.

  • It turns out that, being frustrated with a lack of male orcs that could bring the pain, Darkness had set off in search of trouble and found herself face-to-face with Sylvia, plus an army of her underlings. It speaks to Darkness’ durability that she’s able to hold out for this long without trouble, although her inability to deal damage means that acting as a wall is about all she can do. When Kazuma arrives with Crimson Dæmon mages in tow, he gloats to Sylvia that she might as well sod off for the fact that he’s been responsible for disposing of three of the Dæmon King’s generals previously.

  • Sylvia later returns that evening, and seduces Kazuma. Feeling under-appreciated, Kazuma decides to accompany her, at least until Sylvia reveals that she’s in fact, male. She takes Kazuma to the building housing the ancient artefact and asks Kazuma to unlock it. Kazuma’s understanding of Japanese means he has no trouble figuring out the vault can be unlocked with the Konami Code and inadvertently voices this – most of the misadventures Kazuma finds himself entangled in are a result of his own carelessness. His heroics, then, stem from a result of him trying to pick up after himself.

  • While Kazuma lacks heroic traits in general, that he is willing to go to extraordinary lengths and clean up his own messes properly illustrates his real character. Thanks to Kazuma sealing Sylvia into the same vault as the artefact, the Mage Killer, Sylvia merges with it and takes on the properties of a Fire Drake. She immediately takes a leaf from Smaug’s playbook and torches the Crimson Dæmon’s town the same way Smaug blasted Laketown into a tinder. Most of the townspeople are able to escape and prepare to launch a counterattack, but Sylvia uses the Mage Killer’s power to immediately drain out their mana pools, rendering them ineffectual.

  • Until now, the Dæmon King’s generals typically fought alone: Beldia, Hans and Vanir had no armies, but Sylvia is shown as commanding goblins that are fiercely loyal to her. Unlike most antagonists, Sylvia is shown to treat her subordinates fairly, praising them for their actions and doing her best to look after them. The world of KonoSuba is one that continues to defy expectations, which is why the series has been so enjoyable to watch. Rather than being grim-dark or employing deconstruction, many excellent series excel precisely because they are continually unexpected.

  • Without the Crimson Dæmon’s magic, Kazuma and Megumin head off to find an alternative solution: a particle beam cannon that the head researcher had built along with the Mage Killer. The extent of the head researcher’s impact on this world is something that seems to be a rabbit hole: KonoSuba has only touched upon a few of his actions, and the more it feels like this head researcher, with his power to create anything, feels like a Celestial or Forerunner, leaving behind artefacts of vast power that continue to trouble the world after his passing. After recovering this rifle, Kazuma prepares to use it on Sylvia, but when he pulls the trigger, the weapon does nothing.

  • Megumin decides to fall back on her explosive magic, since the other Crimson Dæmons are unable to fight, but the weapon suddenly absorbs her spell, and becomes fully charged in the process. Kazuma decides to give a monologue to Sylvia before firing, with the result that Komekko manages to kill-steal from Kazuma. I’m not sure how the rules in KonoSuba works, but since it was Kazuma’s hand on the trigger, I feel that he should have gotten the credit for the kill. The resulting blast puts a hole in Sylvia, but this is not enough to stop her. This is one of the deviations in Legend of Crimson and the light novels: the original text has the particle beam weapon as what permanently defeats Sylvia.

  • However, in Legend of Crimson, Sylvia refuses to die and manages to resurrect Hans and Beldia with her, creating a monstrosity of poison wreathed in armour. With Beldia’s durability and Hans’ toxicity, Sylvia prepares to take revenge on Kazuma and his party for having caused her so much trouble. Between Hans’s resilience to magic and Beldia’s defense against physical attacks, Kazuma’s group has absolutely nothing effective against this new leviathan; Sylvia spews a torrent of poison at Kazuma’s party, who can do little more than run away.

  • KonoSuba‘s funny faces appear at several points in Legend of Crimson, and I could hypothetically have an entire post with nothing but exaggerated facial expressions. In the interest of not dragging things out, I’ve opted to feature only one such element for this talk on Legend of Crimson, as Kazuma and the others attempt to escape certain death. Wiz’s timely arrival and use of a freezing spell manages to spare Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin and Darkness from complete annihilation.

  • I’ve become very fond of Vanir’s character: after his defeat and transfer to Wiz’s shop, he’s added yet another level of humour into KonoSuba. In Legend of Crimson, he and Wiz appear at the Crimson Dæmon’s village to speak with a crafter, but find them amidst a battle. The two immediately recognise Sylvia and attempt to strike up a conversation for old times’ sake, but Sylvia counts the two as traitors and begins engaging them in combat.

  • Vanir merges with Darkness to create enough space for Kazuma to work out something, a callback to the second season that I welcomed. Ultimately, Kazuma realises that there is one way to buy enough time to stop Sylvia: he decides to accept her feelings as a diversion, allowing Wiz to collect all of the Crimson Dæmon’s magical power and transfer it into Megumin and Yunyun. As it turns out, Sylvia had been longing for something more than just conquest and destruction: she sought to experience love, as well.

  • While Megumin and Yunyun are ostensibly rivals, the reality is that Yunyun had wanted nothing more than someone to hang out with, and so, it is unsurprising that Yunyun and Megumin can definitely work together as the moment calls for it. It turns out that when they were students, Yunyun had used her skill points to learn advanced magic and save Komekko from a pinch, allowing Megumin to devote herself wholly to explosive magic. Megumin is grateful for this, even if she does not always express it, and here, the two show that their rivalry is really just for show.

  • Taking upon the combined magic of the villagers, Megumin readies her explosion magic, while Yunyun casts light of sabre. Legend of Crimson‘s approach to the ending creates a more impressive, bombastic visual spectacle compared to the light novel, and this is one of those cases where deviating from the source material results in a product more suitable for the silver screen. The final, combined magic is finally what kills Sylvia: Kazuma reveals that he’d been messing with Sylvia, and her barriers, which had provided some resistance even against the combined might of the girls’ spells, drop on this revelation.

  • Kazuma ultimately takes the full brunt of the spell and is vapourised along with Sylvia, but before her defeat, Sylvia remarks that the feelings she experienced, even from this sham, was something worthwhile. Legend of Crimson has Kazuma experiencing the full force of the combined spell’s effects, and it turns out that those who die fully recall the extent of the pain, similarly to Angel Beats!. However, thanks to Aqua using her blessing spells to boost his luck, Kazuma’s spirit endures, and he is able to be resurrected once more. Legend of Crimson marks the first time where Aqua does not see unnecessary misfortune, and despite this (or perhaps because of it), the movie shows that humour in KonoSuba can be carried even if Aqua is not made to suffer.

  • When Kazuma is sent to Eris to respawn, whatever is left of him is not shown to the viewer, and Eris, who does see the remains, vomits. Other than Aqua’s remarks that Eris pads her chest, I’ve found Eris to be a more suitable individual for helping those transition between worlds: kind and gentle, she’s been able to offer Kazuma advice and guidance to a much greater than extent than Aqua did whenever he’s been killed off, and Kazuma has considered taking up her offers of respawning him back in his original universe.

  • In the aftermath of Legend of Crimson‘s whacky adventure, Kazuma and his party now have a total of four confirmed kills under their belt. After the events of the Crimson Dæmon village, Megumin considers using some of her points towards other kinds of magic, and I had personally hoped she would have at least dumped some points towards regeneration, which would let her cast explosive spells more frequently. At least, this would be normally expected in a series that adheres to standard notions of character growth, and ultimately, Kazuma decides that Megumin is fine the way she is.

  • With the movie, and its corresponding post, now in the books, it is not lost on me that discussions elsewhere on Legend of Crimson is quite limited, as well – this movie is one of those times where something can be enjoyable, but not offer much in the way of conversation. Overall, the movie earns an A- grade (3.7 of 4.0, or 8.5 of ten) for me: while the novelty has certainly not endured, the film shows that Kazuma’s current world is still full of surprises that can manifest in interesting ways.

  • Megumin’s last explosion of KonoSuba (for the foreseeable future) hints that she does care for Kazuma and is beginning to see him as more than just a party member who can reliably get her out of trouble. It’s a fitting ending to the film, and now that I’m fully caught up with KonoSuba, there is the question of where I will go next with the isekai genre. There is no definitive answer, since for my part, I only really watch series based on how much I think I’ll enjoy them; with this being said, if there are recommendations, I’ll be happy to give them some thought. In the meantime, I’ll be looking to wrap up Bofuri before dropping into Halo 2 now that we’re a mere two days away from its release for Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

The light novels mitigated fatigue by continuing to introduce new characters and build out the world for Kazuma, as well as adding new depth to existing characters and introducing disruptions to the status quo that allow for new relationships to be explored. Legend of Crimson hints at this with Megumin’s last explosion creating a heart-shaped cloud that Kazuma praises, and while a continuation of KonoSuba‘s animated adaptations could result in some of the Kazuma’s more exciting stories being given new life, there is always the risk that further seasons of KonoSuba could come across as being repetitive in nature if not properly structured (i.e. after some wild adventure that involves a massive fight against a seemingly intimidating and unbeatable foe, Kazuma is victorious, becomes closer to his party and learns something new about them). This is a challenge that the studio will need to address – while KonoSuba is undoubtedly successful in its adaptation of the light novels so far, that we’ve not even reached adapting half of them indicates that there’s still a ways to go, and with this distance, plenty of opportunity for fatigue to be introduced. With this in mind, considering how well the Marvel Cinematic Universe similarly struck a balance between comedy, world-building, and character growth over a massive franchise spanning more than a decade, the fact that we’ve barely scratched the surface in the animated adaptation of KonoSuba means that the series could also do an exceptional job similar to the MCU by making the most of the still-unexplored facets of Kazuma’s world as the light novels have done. In this scenario, KonoSuba could stand to excite viewers should continuations of the series become a reality: knowing the writing that went into KonoSuba‘s existing adaptations, any continuations would likely find novel ways to keeping things fresh for viewers while at once, keeping the series faithful to what made it enjoyable to begin with.

God’s Blessings on This Wonderful Work Of Art: Review and Reflection on KonoSuba’s Second OVA

“The essence of lying is in deception, not in words.” –John Ruskin

While attempting to maintain the air of a seasoned adventurer at the Guild, Kazuma is approached by Ran, a freshman adventurer who seems taken in by his stories and experiences. Luna has a new quest for Kazuma and his legendary party, and Kazuma finds himself unable to turn this down – he gathers Aqua, Megumin and Darkness, taking them to a derelict ruin rumoured to be housing golems, and after successfully destroying it, returns to the Guild with yet another story to tell. With the golem threat removed, Luna sets Kazuma on an assignment to see if there’s anything noteworthy in the ruins. With his party, Kazuma discovers that the ruins was once the home of a Japanese adventurer who asked for the power to engineer everything, but over time, became disillusioned with his task to destroy the Dæmon King and lapsed into creating robots for his own amusement. This individual turns out to be the same researcher who built the Destroyer: Kazuma despairs at reading his journal, but also resolves to unlock whatever the individual had built. When he opens the vault, he finds an android inside that subsequently begins beating up the party, forcing Megumin to use her explosion magic, which destroys the ruins completely. Kazuma later learns that his “fan” was actually on Luna’s employ, falsely praising Kazuma so they could motivate him to deal with quests that other parties would not take. Frustrated, Kazuma employs his “steal” skill on Luna and Ran in revenge. This is KonoSuba‘s second OVA, which is set a ways after the second season and deals with yet another misadventure of Kazuma’s: this time, the tables turn, and it is Kazuma on the receiving end of humiliation.

By portraying the life of the head researcher who had built the Destroyer, KonoSuba‘s second OVA gives insight into the level of detail that went into Kazuma’s new world. The first season had simply shown this individual as an exceptionally talented, if absent-minded engineer who inadvertently destroyed an entire civilisation upon finishing the autonomous fortress, but in the OVA, it turns out that he had similar origins to Kazuma – both were antisocial individuals who hail from Japan, and while the head researcher had started out with motivation and an honest intention, seeing the futility of his quest and what he could accomplish alone eventually led him to lapse back into his old ways, although his powers to create advanced constructs indicate that at least his drive to build never left him. The contrast between Kazuma and this adventurer serves to show the importance of companionship, and in particular, how having a party with him has led Kazuma to, often against his wishes, undertake quests that serve a tangible purpose for his current world. In the absence of his party, and specifically, had Kazuma requested anything other than for Aqua to accompany him, it is conceivable that he may have lost his motivation to undertake quests and do things for those around him. As a result, while Kazuma’s decision to take Aqua with him, motivated by a petty desire to humiliate her in revenge for laughing at his death, seemingly appears to be a poor choice, it has also resulted in the constant need for Kazuma to fight for those around him, keeping him on the path of being an adventurer and bringing him a considerable ways in getting closer to the Dæmon King.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • It is nice to go back to my usual programming: I don’t particularly enjoy shredding negative reviews, even if it is to make the point that sesquipedalian criticisms are usually uninformed, and so, I’m going to enjoy this talk on KonoSuba‘s second OVA. It turns out that, thanks to his antisocial tendencies in his past life, Kazuma is ill-informed on common food items and even in a fantasy world, is unprepared to order manly food items. He’s unexpectedly interrupted by Ran, who appears to be a new adventurer and wants to hear more about his stories. Luna then coincidentally appears, and Kazuma feels duty-bound to accept the quest even though he’d wanted nothing more than to do nothing.

  • Whereas Megumin is always game if there’s a chance to use explosion magic, and Darkness is likely to accept any quest where she might sustain damage, it takes a bit more effort to get Aqua going. Their latest quest is a seemingly run-of-the-mill one – investigate some ruins and deal with any golems there. Golems originate from Jewish folklore, being animated beings created from inanimate matter, but beyond this, has been subject to different interpretations.

  • Because of Aqua’s reluctance to take the quest, Kazuma steals her staff, which forces her to accompany the party out. One random bit of trivial about Aqua is that her hair ornament resembles a water molecule, mirroring her namesake and powers: I’ve not cared to see whether or not the ornament gets right the 104.45° angle between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms, which come from the electrostatic repulsion of the lone pairs, but the fact that the smaller beads on her hair ornament are bent is satisfactory in conveying the shape of a water molecule.

  • Throughout KonoSuba, Aqua and Kazuma’s fights are always funny to watch: the second OVA is no different, and I certainly enjoyed watching the two bounce off one another. The second OVA was released four months after the second season ended, in the July of 2017. A glance at my site archives show that this was an interesting month for the blog: I had just written one of the biggest posts of all time for Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, which I consider to be one of my best posts of all time, and had a few other interesting pieces out, including for New Game!! and Washio Sumi is a Hero‘s final act.

  • When the golem of the ruins appears, it is in the form of a mecha with a Japanese influence, and after intercepting one of its punches, Darkness notices it’s much lighter than it appears: it’s clearly not a golem of traditional lore, having a hollow interior rather than being entirely solid as one would expect. In spite of this, the mecha would be quite strong, and the fact that Darkness can stand up to it speaks to her own physical strength – had Kazuma continued fighting her during the second season, he certainly would’ve been annihilated.

  • Taken aback at its design, Megumin refuses to blast the mecha, desiring to tame it and have it become her pet. Kazuma immediately objects, but one could make a case that since Megumin had been looking after the cat, Chomusuke, since the second season’s second episode, she’s got at least some experience in looking after pets and therefore, unlike most childrens’ series that use pet care to convey messages of responsibility, Megumin would be able to do a decent enough job.

  • During the course of her tussle with the robot, Darkness’ chest piece gets knocked off, and the robot begins to screw with her mammaries. For Darkness, it’s just another adventure – she enjoys the experience in her own way, and the OVA does something that the TV series certainly wouldn’t in its animation. That the robot does this suggests that it has limited sentience, and while it’s no BT-7472, it does hint at its creator’s mindset.

  • In the end, Kazuma has to work hard to convince Megumin that destroying the golem is a necessary evil, and she relents, using her explosion magic to knock it down. While her explosion spell is presented as visually having the same yield as a very small suitcase tactical nuclear device, that it leaves its opponents intact after one shot suggests that the spell is more bark than bite: even a low-yield device would inflict severe burns and blast damage at close range.

  • Megumin is so utterly devoted to explosion magic that, despite having enough skill points to spend in other areas, she refuses to do so out of pride, and so, even two seasons in, she’s forced to have someone carry her rather than pick up spells for increased mana regen. This leads one to wonder if there’s a hard cap on how much one can buff certain spells: in most games, there’s a limit to how far one can invest skill points. For instance, in The Division 2, those running the Demolitionist specialisation can only push their signature weapon damage up to a maximum of 125 percent and further increase explosive damage up to a maximum of 25 percent, after which they’ve reached the cap and must spend any accrued specialisation points on something else.

  • Kyoya Mitsurugi makes another appearance, and Kazuma wastes no time in humiliating him. In any ordinary isekai, Kyoya would be the protagonist, going on adventures to prepare himself for facing the Dæmon King and coming to terms with whatever unresolved tensions he had remaining from his old life. KonoSuba completely discards these expectations, and it is for this reason the series is so successful – a good series isn’t about being as grimdark or philosophical as possible, but rather, for doing the unexpected. This is why Madoka Magica is an excellent series: not because of its “realistic” portrayal of suffering, and certainly not for the imagery that gave the impression philosophy was a requirement into appreciating the series themes, Madoka Magica took a familiar concept and went in a new direction with it.

  • Isekai series are often criticised for saturating the market, and this complaint invariably comes from the fact a fair number of them take the adventure very seriously. When many isekai create this atmosphere, the repetition can make it difficult to tell one series from another. However, KonoSuba never has a dull moment and remains very memorable. It seems that when Kazuma’s party is not on an assignment, they remain quite able to find things to do, such as building a paper mâché mecha from spare milk cartons. Of course, having now seen the very best of what isekai can do, I am curious to learn more about more conventional series.

  • I’ve heard that of late, Goblin Slayer and The Rising of the Shield Hero are two isekai series to keep an eye on; the former is about an adventurer who exists to kill goblins, and the latter is about an adventurer whose signature gear item is a shield, and how he works his way towards saving the world and coming to terms with himself. Both series does feel like they have a more grim and serious feel to them: here, I note that I watched Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash some three years ago, but never got much from that series because of how melancholy it felt, and how cold that alternate world was. Because of this, I never ended up writing about it after I finished.

  • After being convinced to return to the ruins and see if there’s anything worth salvaging, Kazuma takes his party back into the depths to explore. Aqua is immediately attacked by undead dolls and is forced to exorcise them. However, even for their troubles, it seems like there’s nothing of value in most of the rooms. The frustrations of a cleared-out area is one I’m familiar with: while I’ve not touched an MMORPG for over a decade, I recall that in The Division, one of the biggest gripes I had about the Dark Zone were landmarks that were already cleaned out, but towards the endgame, I became powerful enough to clear landmarks on my own, and this led other four-man teams to reconsider fighting me. I think that the last time I played a proper fantasy RPG was Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. I remember enjoying that game, but for reasons I’ve forgotten, I’ve never actually finished the main story mission.

  • KonoSuba‘s superb animation quality and artwork means that, when the moment calls for it, Studio Deen can fall upon deliberately worsening the animation to create a point. Aqua usually falls victim to this, and while she’s just delegating the combat strategy here so she wouldn’t have to do anything, in the second season, after absolutely botching her duties when their party was tasked with hunting Lizard Runners, she throws a a tantrum so hard that her art style devolves into something that resembles the abominations created by an individual with a streak of infamy the size of Arizona. That KonoSuba does this suggests they are poking fun at that particular style, and in the interest of not having the individual find this blog via Google’s indexing and proceeding to spam my comments with various all-caps threats, I’ll refrain from naming them.

  • Like Megumin, the summoning circles and sequences whenever Aqua uses her magic are a wonderful sight to behold, rich with vivid colours and visual effects. It looks like being a mage, warlock or equivalent in the world of KonoSaba would be a fun thing provided one specs themselves out properly, although in a classless game like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, I’ve actually opted to go with a range of specialisations. My character is a combination of archer and mage, specialising in offensive magic and sharpshooting. Of course, this renders me ineffectual at close quarters combat, but one of the nice things about Skyrim is that over time, one could hypothetically level up different attributes well enough so that they are a jack of all trades. Now that I think about it, it could be fun to go back into Skyrim and actually beat the main storyline.

  • Upon reaching one final room, a private chambers of sorts, Kazuma discovers a safe with a keyed lock, and sets about looking for anything that might unlock this safe. The party finds a journal of sorts, which follows the annals of the fellow who came to this world, asked for the ability to create anything through sheer force of will, and sought to stop the Dæmon King, but slowly lost his motivation over time. He was eventually hired by another nation and asked to build the Destroyer, but failed to implement any failsafes. On the surface, KonoSuba‘s second OVA provides a bit of world-building by shining more light on the Destroyer’s creator, but the OVA also accomplishes something much more.

  • With due respect, this is something I was not expecting; both Kazuma and the older adventurer share similar backgrounds, but the distinction of having a devoted, if eccentric, party in his corner means that Kazuma is always pushed into adventure whether he likes it or not, and he finds that in spite of himself, he wears the role of leadership surprisingly well at times. This screenshot was chosen in the spirit of showing off Aqua, and returning to the flow of things, reading the old adventurer’s journal does provide the access code into the locked room.

  • It turns out that the adventurer had in fact created one robot up to his specifications, although when Kazuma activates it, it immediately begins beating up everyone in the room. Darkness seems to be enjoying herself thoroughly, but Aqua, Megumin and Kazuma are terrified. In the end, Megumin destroys the facility, which fails the quest outright. The older adventurer’s ability was a well-chosen one, and as I’ve noted previously, I would’ve likely asked for the Infinity Gauntlet with all six Stones, plus the power to wield it. With the quest butchered, Kazuma and his party return to town.

  • After having spent some time reflecting on Kazuma’s world, KonoSuba‘s second OVA returns to comedy with yet another surprising twist: Ran is actually doing a quest herself by approaching Kazuma and asking to hear about his stories, and she’s dissatisfied with how dull Kazuma is, negotiating for a boosted quest reward for her troubles. Kazuma had followed, feeling that he should step in to help out, but the contents of Luna and Ran’s conversation leaves him humiliated beyond all measure when it turns out it was a clever ploy. The page quote was chosen for this aspect of the OVA.

  • Darkness, Aqua and Megumin had felt bad for Ran earlier and resolved to comfort Kazuma when the truth got out, but the reality is even more amusing, and for once, viewers get to see Aqua enjoy things. Her squeaky laugh is adorable, and upon seeing this, Darkness immediately decides that they’ll have to be kinder to him once things blow over. After the events of the last OVA, KonoSuba‘s second OVA shows that humour is indiscriminate in this world, and so, no one character ever suffers disproportionately for their troubles. Instead, everyone can suffer in an unprejudiced, unbiased and fair manner. This is how KonoSuba keeps things engaging, and with this post, my last of April, in the books, it’s time to go ahead and enjoy the movie.

Despite its masterful use of comedy, KonoSuba manages to weave numerous other themes into its story that greatly enhance the series’ enjoyability, and when given the space to do so, KonoSuba demonstrates that it can strike a balance between world-building, character growth and comedy – the second KonoSuba OVA is superior to the first in this manner, using a quest to give Kazuma’s party more insight into the man behind the Destroyer, and also to remind viewers that despite his gripes, Kazuma’s party is far more valuable to him than he would care to admit. Insofar, Kazuma and his party have contributed to the destruction of two of the Dæmon King’s commanders (Verdia and Hans), and further, have removed at least one more (Vanir). With three kills under his party’s belt over two seasons, KonoSuba shows that in spite of their ineptitude and shortcomings, the unique synergy that comes together in Kazuma’s party, thanks in no small part to Kazuma’s cunning and ability to lead, gives him a fighting chance against the Dæmon King where others have previously been unsuccessful. While KonoSuba might be known for Aqua’s tantrums, Megumin’s explosions and Darkness’ perversion, as well as the ensuing humour, the series also demonstrates that it is set in a world rich with stories, and moreover, that the series isn’t going to squander the opportunity to entertain its viewers in more ways than just one.

KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! Season Two Review and Reflection

“Eris pads her chest.” –Book of Truth, Aqua Mod.

After the government official, Sena, arrests Kazuma, he is interrogated, imprisoned and put on trial for alleged crimes against the state, but during the trial Darkness reveals herself as a member of the well-heeded Dustiness family, sparing Kazuma from execution. The trial is suspended, and Kazuma finds his possessions being seized to pay for his debts. He is subsequently sent to neutralise giant toads, and receives assistance from Yunyun. Megumin and Yunyun continue their contests at Wiz’s shop, where the backgrounds to both are shown in detail. Kazuma later accepts an assignment to investigate a dungeon and encounters Keele, an archwizard who had been seeking a priest to help him move onto the next world. Aqua and Kazuma succeed in their assignment and are rewarded. Darkness later returns and asks for help in getting out of an arranged marriage with Lord Alderp’s son, which had been one of the conditions of releasing Kazuma. While Lord Alderp’s son, Walther, is a devoted knight and kind individual, he actually has no interest in Darkness. Sena appears and pushes Kazuma’s party to investigate explosive dolls coming out of Keele’s old dungeon. Here, Kazuma and Darkness find Vanir, one of the Dæmon King’s commanders. He possesses Darkness, forcing the party to kill her with the hope of taking Vanir out. They are successful, and after Darkness is revived, Kazuma is given a full pardon. However, Vanir manages to survive, having an extra mask housing his spirit, and he takes up a position at Wiz’s shop. He proposes a partnership with Kazuma to sell products from Kazuma’s old life, and later, Kazuma dies again at the hands of lizard runners from his party’s incompetence. While mulling over Vanir’s proposal, Megumin suggests visiting the hot springs town of Arcanretia. Their journey is fraught with danger, but they finally make it to Arcanretia, which turns out to be the headquarters of the Axis devotees. After evading the town’s fanatical population, Kazuma manages to make it to the hot springs. Meanwhile, Aqua runs afoul of the town while investigating the degradation of the hot springs, but they believe her to be a sorceress in the employ of the Dæmon King. Upon reaching the source of the hot springs, Kazuma’s party encounters Hans the Deadly Poison Slime, another one of the Dæmon King’s commander. With conventional attacks being ineffectual, Kazuma allows himself to be eaten, which creates the space for his party to defeat Hans. Despite their success, Aqua’s magic renders all of the mineral water into ordinary water, leading Kazuma’s party to be kicked out. They return home to Axel, and find Yunyun awaiting Megumin’s challenge. Thus, KonoSuba‘s second season draws to a close, and with this, I am one step closing to reaching the movie.

Continuing on in the same vein as its predecessor, KonoSuba‘s second season impresses with its humour. The second season also capitalises on its runtime to develop its characters further: Darkness and Megumin had previously been a masochistic crusader and hyper-specialised arch-wizard, respectively, who would come to enjoy being in Kazuma’s party despite his shortcomings. With the time in the second season, Darkness’ identity as Lalatina Dustiness-Ford and her noble background becomes covered; despite being of an aristocratic background, she prefers the excitement of adventuring over the more monotonous nature of nobility, much to her father’s chagrin. Similarly, Megumin is revealed to have been a highly talented Crimson Dæmon from an impoverished background, and Yunyun’s desire to challenge Megumin is her way of remaining in touch; her background is the opposite of Megumin’s, but she found herself incredibly lonely. Building out the backgrounds for Megumin and Darkness thus serves to help viewers appreciate who’s in Kazuma’s party and that despite their eccentricities, they are ultimately good people to have in his corner during a bind. Ultimately, this enhances the connection that Kazuma shares with his party, reinforcing the idea that irrespective of what misadventures may await Kazuma, and whatever laughs that viewers may enjoy as a result, Kazuma and his group will find some way to pull through, ensuring that KonoSuba remains within the realm of comedy at all times. Comedy is KonoSuba‘s greatest strength, and the second season manages to find new ways to ensuring that its humour remains fresh; additional character exposition helps to create new contexts and situations that keeps the series enjoyable, while simultaneously building out Kazuma’s world out further that leaves viewers excited to see what happens next.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • KonoSuba‘s second season opens right where the first one left off: the second season picked up ten months after the finale for the first season ended. Some viewers would’ve been able to read ahead in the light novels to gain an idea of what Kazuma’s fate was, but for anime-only folks, the wait must’ve been excruciating. Because I come to the party much later, I did not have that wait, and therefore, went from the first to second season without the delay. Kazuma’s trial showcases the archaic judicial system in his new world: the due process is little more than a show trial, and ultimately, it takes Darkness revealing herself as a member of the Dustiness family to save him. Before delving deeper into this post, I note that there were a great deal of moments in KonoSuba worth writing about, and not all of them made it into this post; the series is something that would’ve been possible to write in an episodic fashion for.

  • In the days subsequently, Kazuma takes up quests at the government’s behest to begin paying back the debts he’d incurred for destroying the nobleman’s palace. Supervised by his interrogator and government official, Sena, Kazuma falls back on the old standby of hunting giant toads. As always, Aqua is immediately eaten, Megumin manages to slay a few but is eaten herself after being immobilised, and even Sena falls prey. Ultimately, it takes Yunyun’s arrival to sort things out: Yunyun had been introduced as a secondary character during the OVA, but for folks who’d missed the OVA, KonoSuba‘s second season does a solid job of introducing Yunyun and establishing her as Megumin’s self-proclaimed rival.

  • Megumin and Kazuma’s fight for the bath leads them to both get in at the same time. Kazuma appears to be fond of messing around with things like gender equality and the like when it helps him to get ahead, and I’m actually a little curious to learn what contemporary reviews of KonoSuba‘s second season, especially at places like Anime News Network, were like. This topic is a bit of a minefield to venture into, and I note that it is one I am not fond of dealing with because of how heated discussions can get.

  • Kazuma accepts a quest from Luna to take a look at unknown activity in a dungeon that was supposedly cleared of all monsters and inhabitants long ago. Kazuma decides to take up the quest, knowing he won’t get a night’s worth of sleep until his debt’s been repaid in full. Kazuma asks Megumin to stay behind: her explosive magic is useless in close quarters. However, even with just Kazuma and Aqua, and despite Kazuma’s new skill set in stealth and detection, Aqua’s holy presence attracts the undead to her, making the journey a perilous one.

  • Upon reaching the end, Kazuma and Aqua find that the named elite at the end is Keele, a former Arch Wizard who once served the country but then was enamoured with a royal lady. He eventually ran away with her and turned to the dark side to save her. However, despite being a Lich, Keele is unexpectedly friendly: despite the intimidating introduction, he is actually polite and receptive towards the two, asking Aqua to purify him and send him onto the afterlife to reunite with his wife. I absolutely loved this scene: it exemplifies KonoSuba‘s ability to make light of dark situations, and this is one of the motifs in the series, that not everything necessarily needs to be taken seriously all the time.

  • With Keele’s last request filled, he peacefully accepts Aqua’s purification, leaving Kazuma and Aqua to take possession of his treasure. To the Guild, While Kazuma initially intends to turn the entire sum in to help address the debt, Aqua manages to convince Kazuma to ease up a little and he ends up joining Aqua in indulging. Unlike most series, KonoSuba shows the outcomes of partying too hard, and Kazuma is left regretting the decision in spite of himself. By KonoSuba‘s second season, food and drink are given reduced emphasis: now that Kazuma’s acclimatised to this world more, the focus can remain on the more exciting aspects of his adventure.

  • I’ve noticed that, of all places online, Tango-Victor-Tango is the only place to insistently call KonoSuba “Gifting this Wonderful World”, when the official English title is God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World and the literal translation of the title is “A blessing to this wonderful world”. Originally, a few sites also called it “Gifting this Wonderful World”, but Tango-Victor-Tango is the only place remaining to continue to refer to the series as such. I’m not too sure how this translation of the title came about: looking at the Japanese, the kanji 祝福 (Hepburn shufuku and jyutping zuk1 fuk1) translates directly to blessing, the giving of good wishes. Unless one felt themselves above the laws of language, there’s no way to interpret this as a gifting of good wishes. I’ve made a few efforts to change this back when I was a member of that particular community, but was met with heavy resistance, so I feel like I’m missing something fundamental here.

  • On a cold winter’s day, Darkness reappears, seeking help from her party: it turns out the terms of Kazuma’s stay of trial was in exchange for her marriage to Lord Anderp’s son, Walther. Kazuma privately decides to see this one through; despite her durability, Darkness lacks effective offensive capabilities, and Kazuma sees her as a liability more than anything. Outwardly, he convinces Darkness that at the very least, she should meet Walther.

  • One of Kazuma’s talents, for better or worse, is being able to play his party’s members and convince them to undertake tasks that they might normally object to. In particular, Kazuma is able to keep Megumin in check by giving her the chance to use her explosive magic. When Sena appears with a task for Kazuma, he suggests that Megumin is suited for this assignment and would be able to further her explosion magic, as well as her reputation, further. By the second season, my favourite character has shifted over to Megumin for her personality traits and how she deals with Kazuma.

  • Because Ignis Dustiness-Ford is a noble of high status, Kazuma has no intention of messing around when Ignis promises him an award of sorts if things go well. He immediately agrees to keep Darkness in check during her meeting with Walther. However, Darkness has her own plans, and does her utmost to put her perversions on full display for Walther to check out. This ironically backfires; Walther appreciates Darkness’ being forward and open about herself, compared to other nobles who put on airs and maintain a facade.

  • Ultimately, things devolve into Kazuma duelling Darkness for no apparent reason other than to show Walther the sort of person that Darkness expects to have in her life. While an inferior swordsman and far weaker than Darkness, Kazuma’s unusual array of tricks allows him to hold his own against Darkness. He eventually manages to best her by suggesting that he’d humiliate her in the worst way possible, causing her to lose focus. Kazuma’s Drain Touch finally deals appreciable damage to her stamina pool, and she collapses as her imagination goes into overdrive.

  • In the end, seeing the dynamic between Kazuma and Darkness leads Walther to calls things off: he’d been interested after seeing the real Darkness, but realised he probably wouldn’t be able to make her happy. To further compound things, Darkness lies that she’s carrying Kazuma’s child, and in an unsurprising twist, Ignis is pleased beyond words. Before anything else can go down, Sena appears yet again with grim news: Keele’s dungeon does not appear to have been completely cleared, and strange exploding dolls are now coming out of it, posing a clear and present danger to Axel.

  • Because Aqua has a tendency to attract the undead, Kazuma takes Darkness with him to investigate the source of these dolls. The cleared dungeon presents no threat, but shortly after, Kazuma and Darkness come face to face with their enemy: Vanir, one of the Dæmon King’s generals. Darkness and Kazuma waste no time engaging him in combat, but after Vanir is seemingly defeated, his mask latches onto Darkness and he takes over her body. While Vanir is powerful enough to see into the thoughts of all weaker minds, Kazuma’s devious nature makes him harder to read, and Darkness puts up a considerable resistance when he possesses her.

  • Darkness is simultaneously repulsed and turned on by fighting such a formidable foe, but despite the best effort of Kazuma’s party, nothing seems to have an impact on Vanir, who now also has access to Darkness’ physical prowess. Ultimately, Kazuma decides that it will be necessary to use Megumin’s explosive magic to take him out, and Vanir is finally destroyed. Darkness sustains a great deal of damage in the fight, but she’s quickly returned to health, and with this, one more of the Dæmon King’s commanders is now down for the count.

  • Seeing Kazuma lead his party to victory over Vanir convinces the kingdom that he and his allies are most certainly not enemies, and besides a complete exoneration, his debt is also cleared. This marks the first time we’ve seen Sena with a genuine smile on her face, and I found that this moment exemplifies the sort of thing that makese KonoSuba worth watching – characters all have a depth to them that makes them pleasantly life-like. As it turns out, Sena is utterly devoted to her job and does her best to ensure justice is dealt, but outside of her duties, she has a penchant for yaoi and is said to be a patron of the Succubus’ dream services, indulging herself in fanciful dreams in exchange for not revealing the presence of this (likely illegal) service to those she serves.

  • It is here that Kazuma brings out his ultimate humiliation on Darkness: while she normally enjoys being subject to public humiliation from strange sources, the seemingly ordinary act of calling her by her real name, Lalatina, brings her genuine shame. This scene also highlights the quality of the artwork in KonoSuba: the anime does a phenomenal job in its scenes, and large crowds are given the same attention and detail as the eye-catching combat sequences. Between the artwork and the hilarious atmosphere, KonoSuba is exceptionally captivating.

  • As it turns out, Vanir had an extra Horcrux housing his spirit, and when his first was destroyed, he fell back onto the second one. Seeing what could be, Vanir decides to stand down from his old role and begins working at Wiz’s shop. From here on out, Vanir becomes a brilliant addition to the cast: unlike Wiz, he has business sense, and his sharp mind makes him a perfect foil to Aqua.

  • Kazuma’s felt the time was right to upgrade his loadout, but his new gear set is too heavy to move in, and the katana he’s ordered is unwieldy. He eventually turns down the armour, gets his sword cut down to a wakizashi size that better suits his combat style, and finally, struggles to come up with a name for it. Megumin intervenes and decides to call it “chunchunmaru” (literally “Blade of the Birdsong”): it’s an unexpectedly endearing name stemming from the Japanese onomatopoeia of chirping birds, and Rie Takahashi’s delivery of the name is adorable.

  • On his next quest with his new weapon, however, general incompetence from his party (and Aqua in particular) results in Kazuma dying yet again. Kazuma is resurrected, has his body desecrated by Megumin, and then later, considers a proposal with Vanir that may save him the trouble of having to die again in a quest. Ultimately, Megumin convinces everyone to go to Arcanretia to rest up and take on the sights of a new town. Since fast travel is not a feature of Kazuma’s current world, and technological limitations preclude swifter means, the best way to travel is by covered wagon. Owing to limited space, however, the party must fight for a seat, settling things via rock-paper-scissors.

  • Aqua gets defeated in each match, reducing her to a squeaking puddle; throughout KonoSuba, Aqua’s tantrums are hilarious to behold, but this one takes the cake. Irritated, Kazuma begins pulling on her face to shut her up, and Aqua’s whining becomes incoherent, sounding like Mandarin. Up until KonoSuba, Sora Amamiya, Aqua’s voice actress, was counted as being quite monotonous in her voice work, but all critics found themselves eating their words after her performance as Aqua. While one might feel sorry for Aqua, she typically causes her own misfortune as a result of her own overconfidence and incompetence, and so, viewers can laugh at her suffering guilt-free.

  • The journey to Arcanretia is a straightforwards one until Darkness’ armour, composed of a special metal, draws the attention of Running Kite Hawks, forcing Kazuma to take responsibility and fight them off using uncommon tactics. The other passengers of the wagon train are impressed, but Kazuma turns down their reward, feeling it to be his fault an otherwise uneventful trip was made troublesome. He repairs Darkness’ armour after dinner, but during the night, undead begin assaulting the camp. Aqua clears them away with her usual magic, and the wagon train is similarly impressed, but Kazuma again notes its his fault. For his perversions and laziness, Kazuma retains some honour about him, and this is what makes his character an interesting one.

  • The town of Arcanretia is a beautiful one, and represents a wonderful change of scenery from Axel (which is itself a pleasant-looking place). Set in a valley between the cliffs, and surrounded by waterfalls carrying water from mountain springs, Arcanretia gives off a Rivendell vibe. However, the town, like everything else in KonoSuba that looks pleasant, is deceiving: it is home to the fanatical Axis cult. These worshippers of Aqua are devoted to the point where they will relentlessly hassle anyone to join them.

  • When Kazuma helps a local retrieve her fallen apples, Darkness begins to express jealousy that Kazuma is looking at someone else, at least until the local attempts to convert Kazuma. He is only spared in the last moment when Darkness reveals herself as a member of the Eris cult, which sends the local off in a huff. It turns out that the Eria and Axis factions are at odds with one another, although curiously enough, despite the townspeople’s response to Darkness signifying just how wide the gap is, Aqua herself gets along with Darkness without any issue. Meanwhile, Megumin finds herself trampled by the townspeople’s overbearing desire to convert her and is reluctant to go out the next day.

  • Kazuma finds Aqua at the church, acting as a priest and giving strange advice to the townspeople who’ve come to confess their sins. He later steps into the mixed baths at the hot springs to unwind, finds another fellow who’s fed up with the insane citizens, and eavesdrops on Darkness and Megumin before getting his rear handed to him when caught. Wiz had accompanied Kazuma’s party on this journey after finding herself in need of some rest and relaxation and had earlier entered the baths: like Kazuma, viewers are doubtlessly left wishing that he’d been there sooner. The water of the baths is of a very high quality and feels like the water seen in a Miyazaki or Makoto Shinkai film.

  • Later that evening, it turns out Aqua’s presence is most unwelcome, and the town is up in arms with her actions. Her purification magic renders the hot springs’ water into ordinary water, which defeats Arcanretia’s main source of income. This was foreshadowed when she inadvertently turns Kazuma’s tea into water, and does the same thing to Darkness’ grape juice at breakfast. Angered about Aqua’s actions and accusing her of impersonating Aqua, Arcanretia’s citizens make to destroy Aqua and her party in a witch hunt. The finale to KonoSuba‘s second season thus looks to be a bit more anti-climatic than the first, which featured the Destroyer.

  • Aqua manages to escape and make for the hot springs; despite the Arcanretia’s poor treatment of her, she’s still intent on doing good, feeling it to be her duty. Since the only thing I can do with this screenshot is laugh at Aqua’s plight, I’ll explain the page quote: it is one of the most famous lines from KonoSuba and refers to the Goddess Eris, who uses additional means to augment her bust owing to her being jealous of Aqua. While seemingly a throwaway line, it can be interpreted as being quite deep, being a catch-all phrase for referring to those who try to make themselves more impressive than they are. I’ll remark that Eris padding her chest is not so different than stat padding, an action that makes an individual look better without contributing to the game: unlike Eris, who pads her chest, I don’t pad my stats.

  • Once Kazuma’s party arrives at the top of the mountain and passes the guards, they find the same fellow Kazuma had encountered in the baths earlier. This fellow inexplicably brings to mind Lucky Star‘s Minoru Shiraishi, a hapless fellow on the show’s Lucky Channel segment, and it turns out he’s the source of the poison afflicting the hot springs in Arcanretia. Upon revealing his identity as Hans, one of the Dæmon King’s generals. Hans brags about having consumed the hot springs’ caretaker, immediately angering Wiz, who begins to attack him. Hans is voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda (Hibike! Euphonium‘s Takuya Gotō and Damian Baldur Flügel of Violet Evergarden).

  • Despite Wiz’s power, she’s ultimately unable to stop Hans after he reverts to his true form, an amorphous monstrosity impervious to all physical attack and possessing high magical resistance. Rather than taking Hans on with brute force, Kazuma uses another one of his ploys, drawing Hans’ attention off his party while they attack him. In the process, Kazuma is killed again and reduced to a skeleton, but Megumin casts an explosion that knocks out Hans long enough for Wiz to destroy his main body.

  • Aqua then finishes off the weakened form of Hans with support from the townspeople, ending his threat once and for all. This battle with yet another one of the Dæmon King’s generals came completely out of the blue, was thrilling to watch and also demonstrates that even without any preparedness, Kazuma can effectively manage his party to victory. The battle with Hans exemplifies KonoSuba‘s ability to conceal extraordinary moments without giving them away, and added to the thrills of the second season.

  • In the end, after a mixed-bag of a trip, Kazuma and his party return home to Axel, where they relish in the town’s more ordinary citizens and the familiar scenery. It turns out that Yunyun had been visiting their residence daily with the hope of meeting up with Megumin and hanging out under the pretext of a challenge. With KonoSuba‘s second season in the books, the only thing standing between me and the movie is the second OVA. I will be wrapping this one up on very short order, and there’s a few more posts upcoming before April draws to a close: I’ve been working on a longer post that’s required a bit more effort, and while this one’s still in progress, the heavy lifting is done, allowing me to continue with more conventional posts.

World-building is something that KonoSuba‘s second season excels at: the first season had been focused on the town of Axel and Kazuma’s attempts to acclimatise to life here, but by the time of the second season, Kazuma’s presented with opportunities to explore a little more. Arcanretia marks the first town outside of Axel Kazuma visits, and the journey there creates a new dynamic amongst Kazuma’s party; that KonoSuba has held the viewers’ attention this effectively despite being largely confined to Axel for two consecutive seasons, but can convincingly construct a living, detailed world, shows that the possibility for adventure and exploration (and the attendant hilarity that Kazuma’s party excels at) are limitless. One must ask the question of what sort of (mis)adventures await Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin and Darkness before they can square off against the Dæmon King, but one thing is certain: whatever path lies ahead, it will be superbly enjoyable to watch. As the curtain falls on KonoSuba‘s second season, viewers are given the assurance that Kazuma will be afforded some downtime before his next adventure; unlike the first season, which ended on a cliffhanger, the second season closes with Kazuma reclining on a chair before stepping out to help out around the house. For viewers of the time, this would’ve been a much more satisfactory close to the season, and therefore, when the movie was announced, I can imagine that it would’ve been to general excitement. I’m almost at that point now, and will be venturing into the realm of the movie as soon as I wrap up the second season’s OVA.

God’s Blessings on This Wonderful Choker: Review and Reflection on KonoSuba’s First OVA

“Have you acquired creepy, specific old stuff from an antique or thrift store that gives you powers but fucks with you in unforeseeable ways? Bring it to Curse Purge Plus! I use science to un-curse the items for cash, and you get to keep the powers! Don’t pay for cool stuff with your soul. Pay for it with money. You know, like how every other store in the world works?” –Rick Sanchez, Rick and Morty

Kazuma visits Wiz’s shop with the entire party in tow. Here, Megumin runs into Yunyun, her so-called self-proclaimed rival, and the two get into an altercation. Amidst the chaos, Kazuma notices an innocent-looking choker described as being able to fulfil wishes. Wondering if it’ll boost his luck stats, he tries it on, only to learn from Wiz that the choke actually will kill anyone who fails to recall their original wish within four days. Kazuma attempts to recall it and has each of Wiz, Darkness, Megumin and Yunyun do questionable things, feeling his wish might’ve been connected to humiliating them in some way. However, after four days, Kazuma still has not remembered what his wish was. He prepares to die, and admits that having done all that to the others, he feels a sense of serenity. It turns out this was his wish, to have some peace every now and then, and the choker relinquishes its grip on Kazuma. Embarrassed beyond measure, Wiz, Darkness, Megumin, Yunyun and Aqua beat the living daylights out of Kazuma, who finds himself in the respawn point in front of Eris once again. Released three months after the original run ended, KonoSuba‘s first OVA continued in the vein of its predecessor with its humour, and this time, with no imminent adventure or threat to the town of Axel, follows Kazuma’s own misadventures in exploring a side of his personality that was only seen once during the first season proper: Kazuma’s less-than-clean thoughts had not been a point of contention, and his actions towards Darkness in season one’s penultimate episode stemmed from a misunderstanding. However, in KonoSuba‘s OVA, Kazuma’s perversions come out in full force as the OVA’s driver.

In spite of such a crass and callous storyline, KonoSuba makes Kazuma’s mistreatment of Wiz, Darkness, Megumin and Yunyun amusing to watch, while at the same time, foreshadowing the precise relationship between Kazuma and Aqua. After realising his doom is inevitable, Kazuma asks Wiz to act as a lap pillow for him and eventually starts grouping her. Darkness, he has go through punishing exercises, and with Megumin and Yunyun, he decides their challenge will be strip rock-paper-scissors. Aqua, on the other hand, is asked to fetch lunch. While Aqua is convinced that Kazuma will do something questionable to her, she invariably is spared each and every time. In the end, Kazuma apologises to everyone for possessing thoughts of perversion towards them, but for Aqua, he apologises for seeing her as strictly a friend. Thus, what was probably a crude OVA suddenly takes new meaning in providing a bit more insight into how Kazuma sees Aqua: despite their frequent noisy quarrels, Kazuma does hold Aqua in a higher regard than he lets in on. In addition, the OVA also introduces Yunyun to viewers; for now, the most that we’ve seen of Yunyun is that she’s another Crimson Dæmon of the same order as Megumin, that she’s envious of Megumin in some way, and that the animosity is mutual because Megumin is jealous of Yunyun’s figure. These are the OVA’s contribution to KonoSuba: aside from its humour, the OVA also drives character development that would subsequently become more important as viewers enter season two, exploring new facets of the characters to augment their dimensionality.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Because OVAs typically deal with events that are outside the scope of a given story, they offer a unique opportunity for character interactions that the main story otherwise won’t have the time to cover, creating a unique experience for viewers. This is why I tend to cover OVAs separately, and so, I’ll be doing the same for KonoSuba, whose first season proved superb and left me wondering why I didn’t watch this series sooner.

  • Immediately after arriving in Wiz’s shop, Megumin does her best to ignore one Yunyun, a fellow Crimson Dæmon who openly challenges Megumin to a duel of sorts. All Crimson Dæmons possess similar physical characteristics, with dark hair, red eyes and an affinity for magic. It’s been a while since I’ve played any fantasy games, but I still have fond memories of my Ragnarok Online and World of Warcraft days in high school on a friend’s private server. I was particularly keen on playing the casting classes and loved offensive magic. Although a busy university schedule would mean this would come to an end, I ended up buying Skyrim and played a hybrid character with offensive magic and archery skills.

  • While Megumin might be prone to delusions of grandeur and have a fixation on explosive magic, it turns out that she’s also bothered by more mundane things, like the fact that Yunyun’s bust is far larger than hers – in a fit of jealousy, she begins beating up Yunyun, who had earlier been looking at a choker after Wiz reveals Yunyun, upon hearing that Wiz was acquainted with Kazuma’s party, had been visiting daily in the hopes of running into Megumin. Feeling bad, Yunyun decided to buy the choker, which runs for a hundred thousand Eris. Apparently, one Eris is equivalent to one Yen, so the chocker would cost about 1280 CAD.

  • Kazuma wonders if the choker would be a good idea, since granting wishes is similar to increasing luck, and puts it on to try it. However, it turns out it’s a cursed choker, of the same sort of item that Mr. Needful would’ve sold in his shop during Rick and Morty‘s first season, Something Ricked This Way Comes: every item had some sort of mysterious power that came with an incredibly high cost, (e.g. a typewriter that churns out best selling murder mysteries but then actually made the murders happen). Summer takes a job at this shop, but to spite Mr. Needful, Rick ends up creating a contraption that removes the curses, leaving the item with only its powers, and then opens Curse Purge Plus to put Mr. Needful out of business.

  • For a reasonable amount of Eris, Rick’s Curse Purge Plus would’ve certainly been able to remove the killing curse on the choker, leaving Kazuma with a wish-granting choker. However, Rick has always shown a distain for fantasy and magic. To introduce his character into KonoSuba would ruin the universe outright – Rick would solo the Dæmon King in seconds with science, and then there’d be no series. Hence, without Curse Purge Plus to save his fate, Kazuma must determine what his immediate wish when he put the choker on was; recalling the original wish dissipates the curse.

  • I believe Rick and Morty‘s fourth season will resume somewhere in May: the first two seasons were excellent, and season three was enjoyable enough, even though I found it a little less inspired than the first two. Season four’s first half has been fun so far, and I especially liked the fourth episode, which showed the extent of Rick’s insecurity and how his desire to control everything in his life comes from the idea that despite his incredibly vast knowledge, there are things that even he cannot control, and that he saw in himself a weak man for fixating over something that others have been able to better manage. Of course, this isn’t a Rick and Morty talk, so I’ll return the party back to Kazuma, who now seems doomed to die.

  • Whereas Kazuma has been shown to have a tendency towards perversions in the first season, circumstance would prevent him from becoming out of control. When there are no threats on the horizon, and with the girls feeling sympathetic for the plight Kazuma finds himself in, Kazuma uses this situation to have everyone do questionable things. He sets about asking Wiz to act as a lap pillow and has Darkness do a hundred pushups. Since this is an OVA talk, the results are something I have no qualms about showing here.

  • Incidentally, with the distancing measures now in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the ensuing lack of access to a gym and my usual weights, I’ve been exercising in a reduced capacity with sets of techniques that don’t involve dumbbells or plates. Push-ups are a highly effective upper-body exercise, and I will do spiderman push-ups on my palms or go on my knuckles depending on what I need to train for that day. The benefit of knuckle pushups are that they increase resistance and build up toughness of the knuckles, but also increase the risk of injury if not done correctly.

  • As the day wears on, Kazuma becomes bolder in his perversions, and he now lies face-down on Wiz’s bare thighs. He decides to move things outside with Megumin and Yunyun’s contest, after sending Aqua off on a bread run and leaving Darkness inside to finish the hundred push-ups on her own. While Kazuma’s been asking the others to engage in questionable acts, the worst he has for Aqua is quite unremarkable, foreshadowing what Kazuma’s real thoughts on her are.

  • The end result of sending Aqua to grab food of any sort has hilarious results: she brazenly denies having taken half of Kazuma’s sandwich despite having puffed-up cheeks and crumbs on her face. Of everyone in KonoSuba, Aqua’s reactions are the most hilarious to behold: the first episode of the first season established this within minutes of introducing her, and since then, KonoSuba continues to find ways of putting a smile on viewers’ faces by having Aqua suffer at the hands of (minor) misfortune as a result of her own actions.

  • Megumin and Yunyun are made to play strip rock-paper-scissors, a variant of a simple game in which the loser has to gradually remove one article of clothing. A few years back, I read a paper on an algorithm that could raise one’s win rate to around seventy percent: shortly after GochiUsa‘s second season came out and people wondered if they could consistently beat Chino, Megu and Maya in the rock-paper-scissors game. Most were unsuccessful because of the randomness of the game, but with the algorithm, I ended up winning a majority of the game. Such an algorithm would probably help one to stave off total humiliation in this situation.

  • In order to stave off Kazuma’s perversions, Megumin and Yunyun agree to a truce and attempt to draw as many times in a row as possible, but Kazuma shifts things up, and Megumin deceives Yunyun into drawing yet again, but then wins, causing Yunyun to go ballistic. As it turns out, Yunyun is voiced by Aki Toyosaki (K-On!‘s Yui Hirasawa and Yuru Camp△‘s Aoi “Inuko” Inuyama), which is a hilarious addition: Toyosaki may not be everyone’s favourite voice actress, but in some of her roles, she plays characters with a very serene and relaxing voice. As Aoi Inuyama, there’s a very calming sense one gets when listening to her speak, but Yunyun feels more generic as a character.

  • Towards the end of the day, everyone is floored from Kazuma’s requests: Darkness is spent from the exercises that Kazuma’s set her, and both Megumin and Yunyun are burnt out from their fighting, lying face down still clutching at one another’s clothing. Aqua is sitting in the middle of a pile of trash crying her eyes out; it’s a sight of destruction that evokes a simultaneous sense of pity and comedy.

  • Aside from the mess, Aqua herself is defaced – someone’s drawn on her face with a marker, leaving her in tears. Ordinarily, because Aqua is the architect of her own demise, such moments are funny, but the OVA’s setup means that this is one of those moments where viewers would sympathise with Aqua. The choice to show the aftermath means that viewers are left to wonder horrors Aqua and the others will endure as Kazuma’s time runs out in the days upcoming.

  • Day two kicks off with Kazuma using Wiz’s chest as a pillow while watching Darkness do squats, and Megumin and Yunyun in various outfits. While the community seems to be in universal agreement that Wiz is probably the hottest of everyone in KonoSuba, I’ve also been reading that folks count Darkness and Wiz as being tall; this is probably a relative measure, since Kazuma is short by most standards.

  • Even if this is an OVA and I’m a little more relaxed about what I can and can’t show in a post, I’ve opted not to show the bath scene, since there are some boundaries that I can’t really cross. the gist of it is that on the third day, Kazuma attempts to embarrass Megumin after setting Aqua the task of creating an onsen, and this backfires when Aqua succeeds in creating a single jet of water that hits him in the wrong place, resulting in a reaction that this blog won’t play host to.

  • As death nears for Kazuma, even he begins running out of ideas for what he could have everyone do. With this in mind, a classic conversation topic for people is exactly thus: if one were to be limited to four days of life, what would they do in the time remaining to them? For me, I’d probably spend that time reading a good book, cook steaks and lobster, and go for a walk in the nearby hill that overlooks half the city in good company. These exercises give insight into what matters to people, and for me, the things in life I value most are good people, food and books.

  • After considering using a spell (diffindo!) to sever the choker (Megumin had even considered Sectumsempra! followed by Aqua’s powered-up Rennervate! to bring Kazuma back to life), the girls decide to let things run its course and give Kazuma one more day to figure out his original wish. Under a star-filled sky, Yunyun and Megumin’s rivalry appears lost amidst Kazuma’s situation – Megumin explains to Yunyun that the reason why everyone’s gone along with Kazuma’s wishes was precisely because beyond his perversions, he offered everyone a place to party where previously, they had been rejected. Thus, it meant something to them that Kazuma’s accepted her into the party.

  • Having done a variety of perverted things to Wiz, Darkness, Megumin and Yunyun, Kazuma prepares to die and admits he’s at peace now. He freely states that he ogles everyone in the party, and that for Aqua, he counts her as a friend above all else. However, Kazuma’s wish for peace was his original wish, and the choker falls off in an anti-climatic fashion. The girls’ sympathy and understanding for Kazuma’s situation suddenly gives way to the realisation they’ve been had.

  • Because anime tends to use specific visual styles, I’m tempted to say that Darkness, Megumi, Yunyun and Wiz take their revenge on Kazuma for abusing them, while Aqua is probably angered because Kazuma doesn’t see her that way. The ensuing physical beating is probably severe, matching what the Doom Slayer regularly does to monsters in DOOM, and it’s probably safe to assume that even the kind-hearted and gentle Wiz took part. With this post in the books, I’m turning my sights towards the first Violet Evergarden movie, and I do have a minor update: since Oregairu‘s third season was announced to be delayed, I will not be writing about that in the foreseeable future.

Because guessing when an OVA is set relative to the main series has become something of a frivolous pursuit I’ve taken to doing for OVAs, if I had to guess, I would say that KonoSuba‘s first OVA is set between the eighth and ninth episodes of the first season, after Kazuma finds Wiz’s shop and moves into the mansion, but before Kazuma and his party destroy the Destroyer and Kazuma lands in trouble for being the leader of the party that destroyed an aristocrat’s property. Typically, OVAs set between the events of two episodes, during the course of a series, serve to provide a glimpse at the characters’ daily comings-and-goings outside of the adventures that form a key part of the story. In the case of Kazuma, the first OVA shows him as being a less favourable character than one would like, and the misfortune that befalls him is oftentimes, a consequence of his own actions. However, while it is hard to feel sympathetic for what happens to Kazuma after he spends an entire episode abusing Wiz, Darkness, Megumin and Yunyun, what is known is that since Kazuma and Aqua are central to KonoSuba, I will need to wrap this talk on KonoSuba‘s first OVA pronto and get on watching the second season, which begins where the first season left off.