Original Run: January 14, 2016 - March 17, 2016 Number of Episodes: 10 Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai, Supernatural Based on the Series Created By: Natsume Akatsuki and Kurone Mishima
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo. Reader discretion is advised.***
After dying a humiliating death, Kazuma Satou (voiced by Jun Fukushima) is brought to the afterlife. There he meets the goddess Aqua (voiced by Sora Amamiya), and she gives him two options. He can either be reincarnated back to Japan and start all over, or he can be summoned to a parallel world to defeat a fearsome demon lord.
Kazuma’s gamer instincts kick in, and he chooses the fantasy world. He is then allowed to bring one item of any power level with him on his journey, and Aqua does everything she can to make the decision as annoying as possible. Fed up with the goddess’ sass, Kazuma chooses to bring along an instantly distraught Aqua.
They enter their new life and try to become adventurers. However, they soon realize they need a party. Since no one wants anything to do with them, the pair settle for whoever they can get. And who they get are the explosion-happy mage Megumin and the powerful but clumsy knight Darkness (voiced respectively by Rie Takahashi and Ai Kayano).
Now, this team of four are ready to take on whatever may come – probably.
Given the sheer volume of anime I watch, it is never not amusing to observe people’s reactions as I tell them the surprising number of staple shows I have not had a chance to see. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo (KonoSuba) was one such example.
From the time when I first heard of this show to the posting of this review, I feel I have seen more than my fair share of isekai anime.
To those who do not know, an isekai series tells the story of a protagonist who was brought to a fantasy world from their more contemporary one. And to those who really don’t know, this sort of anime has flooded the market in the past few years. Although there are some outstanding pieces such as Youjo Senki, No Game No Life, and the recent – as per this post going live – The Rising of the Sheild Hero, they are the exception.
Isekai anime do turn a lot of people off, and I can understand why. Even though I am a fan of this subgenre, many of these types of stories feel formulaic and rehashed.
I can now say, KonoSuba is one of those rare exceptional specimens. In fact, I’m going to take it a step further:
KonoSuba is now my absolute favorite isekai anime. It is no exaggeration when I tell you I was utterly astonished by how fun this show was. This series had a lot going for it, but the two points that stood out the most were:
- Its characters
- Its uniqueness
The main cast of Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin, and Darkness worked as well as they did because they never took anything seriously.
Now, I’ve seen other isekai anime do this too, but there was one key difference here. Many of these types of shows do have a significant threat that needs to be faced. There is often death, violence, and loss. Even if zero negativity happens for the focal characters, something awful is occurring somewhere. Not in KonoSuba.
To be frank, this series’ world was as mundane as a world with magic and mysticism can be. There was no great evil poised to conquer all. I mean, yeah, there was an almighty demon lord, but he was miles away. Our heroes’ home base was far from any real danger.
In essence, KonoSuba was a silly slice-of-life series that happened to focus on adventures and experience grinding. And like any good slice-of-life story, the characters’ personalities needed to be the lifeblood, and they very much were in this show.
Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin, and Darkness knew how to play off one another. Each of them, in their own way, was a huge ass-hat. They were all stubborn, manipulative, greedy, pushy, needy, and desperate because literally, no one else would tolerate them. However, all their negativity was kept localized, and their pettiest moments were between themselves.
This group was able to turn relatively straightforward missions into far more entertaining ones. To them, anything could be solved with a big enough explosion. Also, god forbid it when someone tried to push this team around. None of these four had any issues with playing dirty, and that came in handy since none of them were weaklings.
And that was part of the most impressive element of KonoSuba.
Over the years, certain story tropes have taken root within isekai. Among them are extremely overpowered main characters; people who just can’t be touched because they could damn near do anything. KonoSuba wasn’t like that at all.
Each member of the party had something they were proficient in:
- Kazuma had high luck
- Aqua was a master healer
- Megumin was a powerful sorceress
- Darkness was a formidable knight
They had stats that, on paper, looked incredible and useful. Too bad they all had a major flaw. Kazuma had low skills in fighting and magic. Aqua was easily distracted. Megumin only had one super-destructive spell that could only be used once a day because it drained all of her mana and she refused to learn anything else. Darkness, though a strong attacker and defender, couldn’t hit anything to save her life.
This was the most powerful collection of bumbling idiots I have ever seen, and I loved every second they were on screen. And this was just one of the things KonoSuba did that broke the mold of a typical isekai anime.
Here was a show that preferred to be tongue-in-cheek with itself instead of doing what has been done to death.
Plus, and this is the most exciting thing of all, there is another season to this series, as well as a movie that just came out in theatres at the time of this review being posted. That means there is, hopefully, much more of KonoSuba to enjoy.
Ummm, I don’t know; this series was pretty damn solid.
I mean, granted, KonoSuba was quite fanservice heavy, and I have criticized other shows in the past for being that. I’m serious, the boob physics in this show were outrageous, almost comical. Hence why I didn’t find this to be annoying.
KonoSuba was focused more on its characters and building its world. Any lewdness was secondary, and often, the point of a joke.
Darkness, for example, was an unapologetic masochist. The smallest inkling of the possibility of pain got her excited. So, if that is your thing as well, then you’re in luck, I guess. However, this was a part of who Darkness was, and there were moments when a more relatable personality broke through.
Other than that, the only place KonoSuba would have to worry about is in the handling of its next season. This series set a high bar, and while that is nothing against this installment, it does matter for the franchise as a whole.
So really, if I am going to have anything to talk about negatively concerning this show, it could only be in season two’s review. And since that is coming just a few days after this post, we won’t have to wait long to find out.
This was fantastic.
If a series wants to get on my good side, becoming my favorite entry in its genre is probably the fastest way to do that.
With brilliant characters, a fun as hell story, hilarious situations, and a willingness to do things differently, what isn’t there to like?
For those reasons, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo has earned a recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.