“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.