I’m late to the party on this one. A year late to be exact. Everyone was always telling me that Konosuba was the best thing ever, better than it had any right to be, and I just thought they were blowing it out of proportion and went to watch something that actually caught my interest. Well, fast forward to the present and, well, I admit that I was wrong, it is that good.
Our story begins in modern day Japan where a young man leaves the darkness of his room to purchase a first print edition of a video game. On his way home from the store he sees a young girl about to be run over by something and so he heroically jumps in and pushes her out of the way. He awakens to find himself seated before the goddess Aqua who informs him that he is dead, but that he didn’t die the heroic death he thought he did. He died of shock from thinking that he had been run over, when in fact the vehicle was actually a slow moving tractor and would not have hit the girl to begin with. In other words, he died a hilarious and pointless death. The goddess laughed at him and called him an idiot, supposedly his family laughed at this cause of death too. Aqua then offers him the chance to reincarnate in a world beset by monsters, a fantastical world, and he is allowed to take one thing with him to help him on his journey. So what does he do? He takes the goddess with him out of spite, and so begins their adventure through this fantasy world.
First off, I wanna make something clear. Kazuma is now one of my favorite protagonists. He’s an ass through and through, there is no doubt about that, but he has legitimate reasons for being the way he is. Everything he does is out of spite because he puts up with so much shit on a daily basis. His companion, Aqua, wastes all their money on booze and never gets anything done to the point he consistently refers to her as the useless goddess. And then there’s the rest of their party. Megumin the Arch Wizard knows the most destructive form of magic in existence, but it’s the only kind of magic she knows by choice, and she collapses after using it making her a literal glass cannon. And then you have Darkness, a blonde, big-breasted crusader who is only good for being a meat shield, and she can’t hit the broad side of a barn with her sword even if it was a centimeter in front of her. That isn’t a joke by the way. On top of that she’s a masochist that takes any form of abuse, be it verbal or physical, as some sort of reward and she has perverse fantasies on a regular basis. Calling this party a band of misfits is an understatement, but they’re a group that makes for entertaining comedy and when their plans actually work out it makes sense. But out of all of them I find Aqua to be the least likable. Kazuma actually has a legitimate reason to be an ass towards everyone, but Aqua doesn’t. She just views people as being beneath her because she’s a goddess. Her comedy is funny, but it does get tiring after a while and you start to feel bad for Kazuma because most of his problems, such as a debt that he just can’t seem to escape, originates with her 9 times out of 10. Its gotten to the point where if a romance is ever introduced, I sincerely hope it isn’t her. I would much prefer Darkness because the two of them fit together great.
As for the story itself, setting the characters aside, there isn’t much to it. Kazuma and Aqua’s goal is to defeat the Devil King who terrorizes the land. Doing so will allow Aqua to return to being a goddess. However they never really make any progress on that because no matter what they do they can’t get out of the very first town. They’ve made a life there and they almost never have any money because it keeps going towards random debts that Aqua or Kazuma incur. In other words they’re the newbies who never leave the the first town in an RPG.
That brings me to my next point: This is a show set in a fantasy universe with RPG like stylings. I feel like its been forever since I watched an anime set in a legitimate fantasy world that was not an MMO or a former MMO. It’s an honest to goodness fantasy world where concepts like leveling up, acquiring skills, taking on quests, and spelunking in dungeons is a natural part of life. Adventurers get these magical little ID cards that record their progress, showing their current level and skills, and allows them to pick the skills they want to learn(Provided they’ve seen the skill in action.), and apply the points. Besides those built-in RPG mechanics, it feels like a genuine fantasy world and I love that.
Artistically speaking, Konosuba is fairly average in the looks department. Everything is given just enough detail to make it look nice, but the artists didn’t go above and beyond. It was like they weren’t given much a budget(Which might also explain why there are only 10 episodes in the first season.). The special effects for magic attacks on the other hand are very detailed and look about as nice as one could possibly want them to be. They’re very flashy and over the top at times.
One thing I will say that bugged me was the breasts. Normally I don’t take issue with that kind of thing, but here it just seemed a little weird. Despite being contained by clothing they still flop all over the place as if there are no bras in this world and they appear kind of saggy, and I mean that is a general rule of thumb not just a few characters. Something just seems a bit off about it. Well, until you get to one episode where clothes are nearly non-existent but I’ll leave you to see that episode yourself because it is personally my favorite.
In all honesty Konosuba’s soundtrack just kind of blends into the background. There isn’t really anything special about it and I haven’t even gone looking for any of the music because I took no interest in any of it. I also didn’t really care for the opening or ending themes. I preferred to skip them given the chance. The sound effects are also par for the course so not much to say there really.
Despite any grievances I may have with this clearly budget show made to advertise a light novel, it’s still one of the best anime I’ve seen in recent memory because the laughs just kept coming and the material is good for what it’s worth. Obviously many people agree with me on that and the fact that a second season was actually green-lit(and currently airing.) means that it was far more popular than they might have anticipated. This is definitely a series that I would own on Blu-Ray when it hits shelves stateside because it’s just that good, though I may stick to the Japanese dub if there is an English dub because I get the distinct impression that this shows brand of comedy will come across a lot better when viewed in Japanese with subtitles.