|A very good cast, good comedy, extremely fun to watch, characters tend to pay for their negative qualities||Only 10 episodes, visuals are pretty poor, comedy can itself be hit or miss|
You simply never know when a show is going to jump out and surprise you. There are just shows that sound pretty average for many reasons, but then end up being one of the favorites of the season. The show abbreviated down to Konosuba is one of those shows. It seemed like a very standard “regular guy thrown into a fantasy world” situation. That genre has been somewhat mixed with or replaced by the “trapped in a game world” situation though. Regardless, I didn’t think Konosuba would be anything more than just a standard setup with maybe some laughs along the way. Instead it easily turned into the funniest show of the season for me and definitely the best surprise of the winter season. So many times we run into shows that don’t live up to our hopes and end up a negative kind of surprise. This is that rare case of the opposite.
I’m not surprised in the least at the success the show ended up having. It was a show with a 10 episode run that was probably a safe bet for DEEN. Since the animation art and animation is pretty weak in general and had a low episode count, they were probably prepared for a weak reception. Instead though it was popular enough for the studio to announce a sequel at the end of the 10th episode with the sales expected to be one of the strongest for the season as a whole. This show just caught everyone offguard and its success caught DEEN offguard as well. That’s the kind of surprise we can all enjoy.
The setting is a little different than the norm, but not too far. Instead of the MC just getting tossed into a fantasy world for no reason…he died. Literally died. He’s basically been ported over to this other world with his soul getting a new body and going off with that. There isn’t really any going back. He is dead in that world and the only way he actually goes back is through reincarnation. Not that it makes that big an impact since the MC didn’t seem that involved in the world before. A shut-in character who was focused on games. The only reason he died was that he went outside to pick up a game in person for a bonus that came with doing that. The best thing though is that the MC doesn’t die from anything cool but is a rather surprising death. Spoiling it would be too much though.
In the end Kazuma is in the afterlife where he meets another main character in Aqua. A goddess handling the deaths of youths in that region of the world. Surprisingly not the ideal kind of goddess one might imagine, she gives him a few options. Reincarnation, going off to Heaven, or the third option of being reborn as he is in a different world. That world being under the threat of a Demon King and there being a need for someone to deal with this guy or else people will stop reincarnating there. The key is that Kazuma ends up taking the offer and for “reasons” he ends up taking Aqua with him to this world.
What comes after that setup is a tale of pure hilarity. It’s hard to put into words why the setup for this show works so well for comedy, but it truly does. This world is a fantasy kind of setup, but the people and situations are ripe for comedy. Just that…it is still a very dangerous world. That can be sometimes forgotten though since the main cast are actually pretty strong. Just they are balanced out with massive flaws as well. The plot itself is pretty simple. Kazuma has to gather up allies and get stronger in preparation to take on the Demon King someday. But how he gets there and the hilarity that happens along the way is something really special. The strength for the story is that they really do manage to create a lot of comedy out of these little adventures.
There are two major arcs that unfold, though calling them major might give too much seriousness to them. The first arc is actually longer than the second one, but both still tell a good story. There are threads that go through the episodes. Skills or abilities learned at one point in the story will come back to being fairly useful later on. The show has fun with using parody a lot of the time and in the end the main cast is not one that you would normally expect to turn to in order to save the day.
The characters are where this show really shines though. Kazuma is a pretty good main lead. There are times he can cross the line to being a bit too much of a jerk, but that’s not very common. He’s a character who tends to see himself as the reasonable and normal person of his group. Although really he has plenty of flaws and is just as messed up in a lot of ways. Can be a bit perverted and mean at times, but also someone who can think through a problem situation. One of the rare characters that really uses his head since he doesn’t have a lot of amazing abilities right out of the gate. The guy does have to put in the effort. While he can be mean, comedy will often have it come back to him at some point. He’ll suffer just like anyone else in the main cast. An interesting lead with his good and bad attributes.
Aqua is the next character that should be brought up….she’s an odd sort. While she can often be the one who suffers for comedy, she’s not just some victim. She is a goddess pulled from her former position. She can be cocky, arrogant, greedy, selfish, etc. But Aqua is also pretty powerful and a reason they can turn some situations around. She’s also a bit of an idiot. While she can be cocky, she is quick to beg for help when needed. And while you could list her flaws to hell and back again…she’s not a bad person. A powerful hate for the undead (maybe due to being a goddess involved with reincarnation) and does mostly care about her friends XD.
Probably my favorite character is the party member Megumin. A very strange person in some ways, but in others one of the easier characters to relate to. From her name she is obviously not that normal. Her clan being called Crimson Demons, though whether they are demonic or not I’m not entirely sure. Regardless they are pretty powerful magic users and Megumin falls into that mix. A skilled arch-wizard….who has a minor personality flaw. She’s completely obsessed with her favorite spell. Which isn’t a bad thing except she won’t use anything else and it’s a mana guzzler so her usefulness is hampered by that. A very powerful character who somewhat cancels out her strengths with her weaknesses. But like with the rest of the cast that’s not wholly true. Megumin might have her flaws, but her strengths don’t vanish because of that. It just requires time and place usage. Megumin is one of the more reasonable of the bunch outside of her desire for spell casting. Has a more normal level of shame and gets bothered by more normal things.
The last member of the party is Darkness. A durable crusader who…also has a real personality flaw. It’s more fun to see in action, but this is a pretty darn extreme character flaw that often creeps into the mix. Darkness does have a strong sense of justice and a desire to protect people. She’s an honestly good person at heart. It’s just that her character flaw mixes into her behavior making her look more like a very…warped individual. Darkness is a character you’ll either love or be very concerned about. Either way she definitely stands out.
The show isn’t a visual masterpiece, you just can’t argue that it is. Now it’s not always weak visually. Megumin’s spells actually tend to be pretty nicely animated and there is some good CG being used at moments. The show seems to know when it needs to really boost the visual strength of the show and for the rest it kind of takes it easy. Still, the normal quality for the show is mostly below average. The style is the kind of cheap type that would make you expect the show to not be a good one. In some ways though it works.
There are kinds of shows that need good visuals to really be great and there are those that can actually be great even with bad visuals. The kind of comedy and action in this show a lot of the time can work with the lower quality level. The expressions you get are in some ways funnier than if they were A+ animation levels. Not that I wouldn’t support the show getting a visual boost for a future season. But in some ways the fact that this isn’t a great looking show a lot of the time isn’t the kind of negative you’d imagine it to be.
The music is pretty good in the show, though a lot of it is forgettable. The OP/ED combination was pretty nice though and I did want to watch them each week. The excited and energetic OP and the more relaxing ED worked together in a good way. The voice acting is pretty good with this show though. All the main cast sound good and seem to fit their personalities. I certainly can’t complain about the job done on that front.
In the end I’d say Konosuba is the best surprise of the winter season and arguably one of the better shows. It’s not the same emotional ride as some series, but it’s a very fun show that entertains almost every week. Only one episode didn’t have me laughing, a 9 out of 10 ratio isn’t a bad result. This show knows how to play with some expectations and have events unfold in ways I didn’t quite predict. It does have a decent group of side characters. From shop owners to other adventurers, there is no lack of odd individuals for the main cast to run into.
Being a show so heavily leaning towards comedy it may be a hit or miss situation for people. If you aren’t laughing in the first 3 episodes then you probably won’t care that much for the show. I’d fully recommend people checking it out though. The cast is pretty darn entertaining and it’s a great contrast to the seriousness some shows are when it comes to this kind of fantasy world setup. A great run and one I’ll certainly miss until Season 2 arrives.
Tags: anime review, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Anime, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Anime Blog, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Blog, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Review, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Screenshots, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Season 1, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Season 2, Konosuba, Konosuba Review
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