One of my favorite feelings is when I come across a show that completely floors me by vastly exceeding my expectations with regards to how much I’d end up enjoying it. Konosuba is that kind of anime. The premise isn’t that out of the ordinary for it’s genre, an otaku gets transported into a mystical land resembling an open-world video game. Despite the acclaim that Konosuba has been getting, I entered it with cautious excitement since I have been let down by shows with a similar setup in the past. But, that initial sense of doubt was swiftly put to rest since I had a jolly good time with this anime.
The protagonist in this show, Kazuma, a shut-in weeaboo, dies in the very first episode believing that he ended up saving a girl from an untimely death. Then he gets transported into a state of limbo where he’s informed of what exactly happened to him by a blue haired goddess, Aqua. While he thought that he died doing a noble cause, Kazuma finds out that he died in a rather embarrassing manner. I don’t want to spoil what happened, but it definitely made me pause and had me laughing aloud for a solid 5 minutes before I could compose myself to continue watching.
After Kazuma comes to grips with his death, Aqua, the goddess that I mentioned earlier, presents him with three choices. Be reincarnated, ascend up to Heaven, or start a new life in a new world with all his current memories intact. Kazuma decides to go with the third option, and decides to have Aqua tag along with him (much to her dismay) since he’s allowed to bring one thing with him.
Once this introduction is set in stone, you are treated to constant hilarity and lightheartedness throughout. I’m surprised on how well this anime executes as a comedy show, but in the words of Todd Howard, “it just works”. Normally I’d expect this kind of show to be action or drama oriented with occasional moments of levity, but Konsuba is a treasure trove full of comical and laugh-out-loud moments, even with the full understanding that the world within this anime is teeming with dangerous creatures and enemies. The narrative going forward is quite transparent. Kazuma and Aqua need to recruit fellow allies to aid them with their adventures, and attain more strength and experience in order to eventually battle the Demon King that threatens the safety of everyone living in this world.
Probably this show’s bread and butter is it’s memorable cast of characters. Kazuma is an excellent main protagonist. Every now and then he does come off as rather boorish and cantankerous, but he’s still a pretty likeable character. While he can be a bit shrewd (and deviant) to those around him, he’s also an admirably fast thinker and knows how to get out of a tricky and arduous situation that would normally stump others for a long period.
Aqua is a character that we are introduced to in the first episode, and she follows Kazuma around as one of his partners. She is quite self-centered and constantly bickers with Kazuma annoyingly, but she is quite powerful since she is a god. Unlike Kazuma, Aqua can be very dense and slow-witted, and she does act manipulative at times in order to get whatever she wants. Despite all these negative traits that I’ve mentioned, I still really enjoyed Aqua as a character since I found her interactions with Kazuma to be very amusing.
One of the characters who joins up with Kazuma later on is Megumin. At first glance she’s a pretty quirky individual, but Megumin is also quite charming as well. She belongs to a clan that specializes in magic. While she is probably the strongest ally that Kazuma has in his team, it comes with one negative caveat unfortunately. She only knows how to use explosive magic, which is incredibly strong as an offensive maneuver but ends up draining up all of her stamina instantly after just one attack. Aside from her ravenous love for exploding bombs, she is one of the more ordinary members in Kazuma’s crew.
The final member that gets recruited by Kazuma is Darkness, an iron-willed knight crusader with an unwavering sense of justice. One of the humorous aspects about her is that while she is able-bodied and not very easy to take down, she always seems to miss all of her attacks. Another thing to note about Darkness which might unsettle some potential viewers is that she is also a hardcore masochist and happens to be even more perverted than Kazuma (which is quite a feat in my opinion). Regardless on whether you end up liking or hating her, I think Darkness is one of the standout characters in Konosuba since she is quite eccentric and kooky.
One of the areas where I thought this anime would struggle at was in the art department. I’ve read that Studio Deen was the studio behind this anime, and a lot of the shows in their arsenal (even the ones I really like) tend to have pretty subpar animation, so I expected mostly the same results. But lo and behold, I thought it was pretty good! While I wouldn’t necessarily call it a technical marvel, it was a visually pleasant show. The backgrounds and fight scenes were exceptionally detailed, especially the one that involved the flying cabbages. And even when the animation quality did dip, it never felt like a jarring problem to me because it actually added to the comedic effect in my opinion rather than coming off as a glaring misstep.
As for the music and sound effects utilized in KonoSuba, I thought they were serviceable and fit the scenes nicely. The OP made me feel eager for each episode, and I enjoyed the mellow nature of the ED track since it does give you a moment to catch your breath and calm your nerves after a pleasant laugh fest. The voice-acting was excellent in this anime. Initially I did find Kazuma’s voice to be a bit too detached and deadpan in delivery, but his voice did end up growing on me as the show went on. His VA complements the other voice actors in the cast quite nicely since they each have very unique and distinguishable personalities.
All in all, I thought that KonoSuba was a pleasure to watch and definitely one of my favorite comedy anime shows that I’ve covered. While the story itself isn’t out of the ordinary and quite typical for the genre, this anime has a very delightful and engaging cast, and most of the episodes will have you laughing loudly
and angrily waking up your neighbors at 12 in the morning. If you love anime that centers around a more comedic spin to the Adventure-Fantasy genre, I’d highly recommend KonoSuba.