The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: KonoSuba

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.

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

“People of Axel, the time has come to rejoice and renounce your paltry goddess! Your salvation is at hand!” –Ronan The Accuser, Guardians of the Galaxy

After shut-in Kazuma Satō unexpectedly dies of shock after attempting to save a classmate, he is given a second chance to respawn as an adventurer in another world, equipped with any power or gear of his choosing and tasked with destroying a Dæmon King. However, when Aqua, the deity overseeing this transition, begins mocking his death, he decides to take her with him, coming to quickly regret his decision as Aqua is lazy, incompetent and ineffectual. Aqua is unable to return to her original duties and is forced to accompany Kazuma; upon arriving at the beginner’s town, Axel, they form a party and are soon joined by Megumin, who exclusively wields explosive magic, and the perverted crusader, Darkness. Kazuma grows exasperated at his party’s stunning propensity for misadventure, which brings them face to face with several of the Dæmon King’s best lieutenants even as Kazuma attempts to live a more ordinary life in a world that is anything but ordinary. Despite his best efforts to maintain a normal life, circumstances press his party into assignments far exceeding their ability, and oftentimes, with unexpected consequences: when Kazuma leads the entire town of Axel in stopping the Destroyer, a mobile fortress, he is arrested in the aftermath for having authorised the teleportation of the Destroyer’s main power source to an aristocrat’s home. Originally airing in 2016, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! (KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! or KonoSuba for brevity) became quickly renowned for its humour and setup: being a light-hearted comedy of the isekai genre, KonoSuba provides its viewers with plenty of reasons to smile despite its short length of ten episodes a season.

While KonoSuba might be a comedy whose main purpose is to entertain viewers, the series’ depth becomes apparent with Kazuma’s interactions with his crudely-assembled and seemingly ill-conceived party. Initially, Kaazuma wonders how he’ll ever defeat the Dæmon King and comes to resent his life in this new world, which seems nothing more than trouble for him. Aqua’s lack of sense means she’s constantly in the red for money, Megumin’s obsession with explosive magic limits her combat utility, and Darkness, besides a questionable personality, is unable to hit anything. Kazuma is the only individual of his party with any competence, and finds himself exasperated. However, in spite of the eccentricities of his party, Kazuma’s desire to live life out in this world means that he offers his support and knowledge, however reluctantly, to the others, and over the course of KonoSuba‘s first season, Kazuma does come to slowly appreciate what Aqua, Megumin and Darkness brings their party. This is most apparent when Kazuma is killed a second time: when offered the chance to respawn back in Japan, he turns this down, having found friendship in genuine, if eccentric, individuals. Kazuma’s increasing familiarity with his party’s skills also allow him to successfully lead a counterattack on the Destroyer, and irrespective of the ironic (and unfair) outcome in the aftermath, KonoSuba shows that Kazuma’s party does have what it takes to square off against the Dæmon King one day: for now, it’s a matter of tolerating Aqua, Megumin and Darkness’ antics and getting to a point where such an adventure is possible.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Kazuma’s decision to take Aqua with him sets the stage for KonoSuba, an anime that is probably best described as isekai built entirely around a comedy of errors. In the unlikely scenario where there is a world where one could respawn into and bring anyone item with them, I would probably ask for the Infinity Gauntlet with all six Infinity Stones along with the power to wield them, with bringing Aqua along being a close second for a reason that a screenshot can convey more effectively than words. Of course, Aqua does end up proving herself to be a paltry goddess, and her first act after Kazuma’s request is granted, is to cry her eyes out.

  • After arriving, Kazuma and Aqua get their stats inspected. Kazuma is average across the board but has high luck and intelligence, while Aqua has maxed out stats except in intelligence. In spite of his natural calling being a merchant, he elects to play as an adventurer anyways, while Aqua takes on the role of an Arch Priest, specialising in healing and holy magic. In any given party, the healers might not be the most exciting to play, but for being able to top of health and mana, as well as revive, buff and remove negative status effects, they are of great importance.

  • Kazuma and Aqua initially take up various jobs around town to make ends meet and settle into a mundane life, but Kazuma grows bored and attempts to complete some quests around town for coin. Their first assignment in killing giant frogs is successful, but ironically, Aqua proves useless, being nearly eaten on several occasions and coming out of each mess in tears. Voiced by Sora Amamiya (Moeka China from Hai-FuriHibike! Euphonium‘s Kanade Hisaishi and Dumbell wa nan kilo moterru?‘s Akemi Sōryūin), Aqua’s leading trait that contributed greatly to KonoSuba‘s hilarity is the fact that Amamiya does a fantastic job of capturing Aqua’s crying and whining, which are better known as “Aqua noises”.

  • Megumin is a wizard specialising in explosive magic and the second to join Kazuma’s party. Her power is great, as her spells deal as much damage as a fuel-air explosive, but this comes at an extreme trade-off: after casting one spell, she’s depowered to the point of being unable to walk, and her magic regenerates very slowly, so she can only cast one spell per day. Megumin is voiced by Rie Takahashi, whom I best know as Yuru Camp△‘s Ena Saito. As Megumin, Takahashi brings out this wizard’s fantasies with conviction – Megumin speaks the same way chūnibyō do, and her eyepatch accentuates this, having no impact on her performance.

  • Unlike the chūnibyō of anime set in the real world, Megumin’s dialogue and claims actually do have a basis in this world. Despite wielding great magic, Megumin’s many limitations and initial lack of self-restraint is why parties are reluctant to have her on board. In many ways, Megumin handles like The Division 2‘s Demolitionist specialisation in that in both cases, high explosive damage is the name of the game, but both have obvious limitations. The Demolitionist specialisation in The Division 2 grants the M32A1 that deals massive damage but is limited to closer-range engagements, and the higher rate of fire means one runs out of specialised ammo more quickly.

  • Kazuma is shocked when a beautiful crusader, Darkness, expresses interest in joining his party; his heart skips a beat, and he’s tempted to say yes, at least until Darkness reveals her perversions. Because of her inability to hit anything, most parties aren’t keen on having her around despite her durability. However, Kazuma eventually does accept Darkness’ request to join his party, and despite his reservations, Kazuma’s party now has a healer, tank and DPS, giving him the bare minimum of skills to at least begin considering an adventure.

  • As an adventurer archetype, Kazuma excels at nothing in particular and is versatile enough to learn almost any skill. Initially, Chris, one of Darkness’ friends, offers to teach him the thieves’ ability to steal. When coupled with his high luck, Kazuma is able to use this seemingly trivial ability to great effect, although he starts off by screwing with Chris and Megumin when asked to test this ability out. Kazuma’s questionable mind notwithstanding, his generalised build means that even if he’s not aware of it yet, he can grow into the adventurer role quite readily.

  • The town of Axel has its share of eccentricities; every so often, the town’s adventurers are called out for some ridiculous quests. Shortly after assembling his party, Kazuma’s first experience of a “raid” is when cabbages attack, prompting everyone to go cabbage harvesting. Kazuma is initially flabbergasted, but soon decides to participate, since each cabbage harvested yields coin. It is here that the extent of Darkness’ love for being beaten up comes to bear: she sustains hits from multiple cabbages and appears to be enjoying every second of it.

  • When one thinks about it, Megumin is actually a pretty normal-sounding name: Megumin is typically the diminutive form of Megumi, a Japanese name that means “Blessing”, and in addition to being a pun on KonoSuba‘s title adds further hilarity to Kazuma’s situation in that his party is composed entirely of eccentric people. In this way, KonoSuba is actually not too dissimilar to Futurama in that Planet Express shares a similar makeup of unique individuals whose tendencies might be baffling and where members do not always get along, but during times of extraordinary need, will go to great lengths to defend one another.

  • As the Guild’s receptionist, Luna is seen frequently giving out assignments, providing quest rewards and updating the quest board. She’s often the bearer of bad news for Kazuma and his party, such as when Aqua wonders why her cut of the rewards from the cabbage hunt was reduced, and it turns out that she’d also harvested the lower-value lettuce in the process. Throughout the course of KonoSuba, Aqua’s tantrums are hilarious, and alone, would carry any other anime.

  • It therefore speaks volumes to the strengths of KonoSuba that Aqua is just one of the many reasons this anime is so compelling to watch: I completed KonoSuba within a very short period of time, and normally, I’m much slower about a given series. Striking a balance between world-building, character growth and humour, there are few anime quite like KonoSuba, and while I am aware that the isekai genre is oft-maligned owing to market saturation, KonoSuba is one of those series that defies expectations: I imagine that all but the most devout isekai haters would fail to enjoy KonoSuba: this series excels because it never takes itself too seriously, which seems to be a limitation in other isekai series.

  • If and when I’m asked, Darkness is my favourite character of KonoSuba: not for any physical attributes that she may possess, but because her personality is so over-the-top. Each of Aqua, Megumin and Darkness have a very distinct personality, a far cry from the archetypes I’ve come to become very familiar with as a result of my preference for easy-going, slice-of-life series: such exaggerated characters and standout personalities helped to make KonoSuba a first-class comedy that is especially memorable.

  • While the quest starts off slowly enough, the giant alligators soon arrive and begin attacking Aqua, who, in a panic, begins using more of her magic in a desperate bid to clean up the lake faster. The alligators begin attempting to bite their way through the cage, causing Aqua to tumble: the cage manages to hold, and Aqua completes her task, but at a great personal cost. It is not lost on me that I could probably have a post dedicated to Aqua’s funny faces, and that post alone could be the length of any ordinary post, given the frequency of Aqua’s tantrums and misfortunes.

  • KonoSuba‘s visuals are of an excellent standard: clean character designs, detailed environments and generally smooth animation makes the anime a treat to watch. When Aqua finishes purifying the once-scummy lake, viewers are treated to the differences before and after: following Aqua’s work, the lake looks beautiful, with crystal-clear waters stretching out as far as the eye can see. The solid artwork and animation in KonoSuba helps with its immersion factor by bringing Kazuma’s new world to life; despite his greviences with it, life here doesn’t seem that bad.

  • When returning back to town, Aqua encounters Kyoya Mitsurugi, another fellow who had respawned in this world and imagined Aqua to be some high-level deity rather than the paltry goddess that she is. Unlike Kazuma, Kyoya requested a cursed sword with which to fight the Dæmon King, and acts the stereotypical hero, but because he also has an inflated opinion of himself, he grates on Kazuma, who ends up taking possession of Kyouya’s sword, beats him in a one-on-one and then sells the sword.

  • Kyouya appears to be a rival for Kazuma, and in any ordinary isekai, Kazuma would be the antagonist or anti-hero at best. However, KonoSuba has Kazuma as the hero, so it is Kyouya that possesses antagonistic traits. While Kyouya has nothing but respect for Aqua, the real Aqua, being selfish and petty, lays down a beating after realising that she’s short cash from the damaged cage from their previous assignment.

  • Verdia is one of the Dæmon King’s generals. Formerly a knight that fell into Darkness, rather similarly to how the Great Kings of Men became the Nazgûl, and now serves the Dæmon King. When Megumin hammers his castle with explosions day after day, his patience runs out, and he heads to Axel, promising to slay the one responsible. While as powerful as the Nazgûl, Verdia does not have the element of fear on his side: the Nazgûl’s chiefest weapon was fear, so against fearless opponents, Nazgûl would be forced to resort to physical weapons. Verdia is eventually defeated after Kazuma reasons as an undead, he would be weak against water.

  • One aspect of KonoSuba that I am fond of, and not many people appear to have mentioned, is the depiction of mealtimes. From fried frog legs to cabbage chop suey, watching Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin and Darkness eating in the downtime away from their adventures both serve to show the cuisine of this parallel world, as well as give a sense of normalcy in a reality most unlike our own. Les Stroud of Survivorman said that being able to do things with normalcy in a survival situation can help one take stock of their situation by returning a sense of control, which goes a long way in bolstering morale. While Kazuma might still be in over his head in this world, being able to sit down to a good meal consistently gives him a chance to unwind and regroup.

  • Misunderstandings between Kazuma and Aqua happen virtually every episode, although as winter sets in, and Kazuma’s party takes up a quest to hunt down snow sprites, they find themselves on the receiving end of the Winter Shogun’s wrath. Kazuma is killed in the combat, and finds himself face-to-face with Eris, another Goddess. Unlike Aqua, Eris is more understanding and capable; it is here that Kazuma is offered a choice to respawn in Japan, although he comes to realise he’s begun valuing his time with Aqua, Megumin and Darkness. Before he can make a firm decision, however, Aqua revives him, and in the moments after, Aqua, Megumin and Darkness express their genuine concern for his well-being.

  • Aqua and Kazuma visit a shop run by Wiz, one of the Dæmon King’s generals. Aqua takes an immediate disliking to her, but Kazuma expresses a desire to learn some Lich skills. Despite Aqua’s protests, Kazuma soon picks up Drain Touch, which allows him to transfer mana between two individuals. While Wiz might be aligned with evil, her gentle and friendly personality suggests otherwise. Wiz is more than happy to help out Kazuma and the others for her part, being neutral to the conflict between the Dæmon King’s army and other residents of the world provided that said army is operating against civilians.

  • Having lodged in a stable all this time, Kazuma’s fortunes shift when the owner of a large mansion asks Wiz for advice on dealing with restless spirits. Becuase this is Aqua’s speciality, Kazuma’s party accepts the job; the owner has agreed to allow Kazuma and his merry band to live here provided they succeed in the exorcism, and while things initially seem easily managed, Kazuma and Megumin soon learn that this haunted mansion is very haunted.

  • While trying to find the bathroom and address nature’s call, Kazuma and Megumin encounter the supernatural forces in the mansion first-hand, which manifest as dolls. This was one of the most hilarious moments of KonoSuba thus far, and giving Kazuma and Megumin a chance to bounce off one another. In the end, Aqua ends up pacifying the spirits, and Kazuma learns that the reason why the mansion had become haunted to begin with was because Aqua had exorcised spirits from a nearby cemetery to mess with Wiz, prompting the spirits to take up residence in the mansion instead.

  • From Keith and Dust, two fellow adventurers, Kazuma learns of a Succubus shop that specialises in spicy dreams to help male adventurers de-stress. My immediate impression was that this felt like a scaled-back version of Ishuzoku Reviewers, a series so reviled that even Japanese television stations pulled the show from airing. I’ve not actually seen Ishuzoku Reviewers for myself, and therefore, what I do know of it is from word-of-mouth. This may be a part of my Terrible Anime Challenge series some day, but for now, in KonoSuba, viewers get to laugh at Kazuma’s response to the very existence of such a shop.

  • As congratulations for their new home, Darkness’ family sends her crab and expensive alcohols. That crab is counted as a luxury food in this world is a subtle but pleasant indicator that for the presence of magic, kings and castles, Kazuma’s new world definitely shares commonalities with our world. For me, Dungeness Crab is the more common crab I see in cooking: it tastes excellent when steamed with ginger and green onion. However, my favourite crab would be snow crab: with a sweeter and brinier flavour, it is excellent on its own. Recalling the succubus shop’s suggestion to not overdo things or risk not recalling their dreams, Kazuma struggles to maintain self-control during dinner.

  • In the end, Kazuma ends up falling asleep in the baths and mistakes Darkness as a dream rather than reality. When faced with Kazuma’s own perversions, Darkness reverts to a shy and embarrassed manner, a far cry from her usual self, further compelling Kazuma to believe that this is a dream. However, it turns out that Kazuma is actually still awake, and moreover, Aqua and Megumin have captured the succubus who had arrived to deliver his dream. They prepare to annihilate the succubus, and Kazuma gets beaten up in trying to clear up the misunderstanding. The next morning, he and Darkness agree to forget the events of last night.

  • When the mobile fortress, Destroyer, appears, Axel deploys every available adventurer to help stop its rampage: this ancient mobile weapon was designed by a scientist for his nation and their desire for a superweapon, but the weapon backfired and destroyed that nation instead. Beyond its sheer size, the Destroyer is protected by a shield of sorts. Here, I make the distinction that the Destroyer of KonoSuba is not the same Destroyer from Thor: the latter is an Asguardian suit of armour armed with a powerful energy beam, and was destroyed by Thor in the movie.

  • The arrival of a foe like the Destroyer gives Kazuma a chance to see his party members as they are: Darkness, despite her usual mannerisms, is devoted to stopping it and protecting the people, while Megumin is a hair from crapping bricks. Meanwhile, Aqua is concerned for those who will be fighting. This bit of character development indicates that Darkness can get things done when her motivation is present, Megumin needs more support from those around her when the chips are down, and Aqua can fulfill the role of support despite her appearances. Thus, when the Destroyer finally arrives, Kazuma’s party, along with Wiz, manage to immobilise this mobile fortress.

  • Subsequently, Axel’s other adventurers enter the mobile fortress in search of its power source. They locate it, discover the sad, yet comical history behind its designer, and Kazuma lends his power to give her enough mana to run a teleportation spell. With the core gone, the immediate threat appears to have been neutralised, but the ruined Destroyer has one final surprise for the adventurers. KonoSuba places these obstacles to the ending as a mode of comedy, but anyone with familiarity with bosses in video games will know that final bosses always have a few tricks up their sleeves.

  • The Destroyer prepares to go critical anyways, but fortunately, Aqua’s vast mana pool means that Megumin can immediately be re-powered after her initial shot. She summons her best explosion spell of the season, creating a blast that vapourises the Destroyer and saving Axel from total annihilation. KonoSuba‘s final fight is as serious as the series gets thus far, but even then, there’s plenty of humour interspersed throughout the battle so viewers never gain the impression that the fight is hopeless.

  • With this, my talk on KonoSuba‘s first season draws to a close, and I will be moving onto to the OVA and second season on very short order. KonoSuba‘s season is an A+ (4.0 of 4.0, and 9.5 of 10): striking a balance between character growth, comedy and world-building, KonoSuba exemplifies what isekai can do with a brand-new world, and my conclusion is that isekai, however saturated the genre might be, is enjoyable because of nuances that the different stories tell. With KonoSuba, I’ve found that the comedy-driven isekai definitely has its merits, and note that the only thing stopping KonoSuba from being a full-on masterpiece is that the series didn’t make me cry or change my world-view. If the second season can make me cry tears of laughter, I will have no qualms with hitting this wonderful series with a perfect ten!

There are very few anime out there that manage to consistently maintain a smile on my face, and KonoSuba succeeds here every minute of every episode. From Aqua’s over-the-top reactions to misfortune and her ability to swiftly go from being a pompous goddess to a puddle of tears, to Megumi’s delusions and love for explosive magic, and Darkness’ perversions, each of Kazuma’s party members seems to know just how to provoke an amusing response from Kazuma. Watching Kazuma bouncing off everyone drives much of the humour in KonoSuba, and all of it is well done: none of Aqua, Megumin or Darkness are made to suffer needlessly, with the comedy coming from the unfairness of the overall situation, whether it be being hauled in for treason after accidentally teleporting the Destroyer’s power source over an aristocrat’s home, or relinquishing a major reward to pay for damages caused after defeating one of the Dæmon King’s generals. The frequent humour continuously reminds viewers that the alternate world in KonoSuba is one to take in jest, rather than seriously, and this in turn creates a limitless potential for adventures and chaos: a parallel universe that doesn’t take itself seriously is unencumbered by rules, limitations and whatnot, leaving all of the focus on the characters and their (mis)adventures. This is where KonoSuba excels, and with its first season in the books, I advance onto the first OVA and second season with a very keen interest.