After a traffic accident, Kazuma Sato’s disappointingly brief life as a hikikomori was supposed to be over, but he wakes up to see a beautiful girl before him. She claims to be a goddess, Aqua, and asks him if, instead of dying, he would like to go to another world and bring only one thing with him. Kazuma decides to bring the goddess herself as his ‘one thing’, and they are transported to a fantasy world filled with adventure, ruled by a demon king. Now Kazuma only wants to live in peace, but Aqua wants to solve many of this world’s problems, and the demon king will only turn a blind eye to this strange new world’s peace for so long…
I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Konosuba. I love the premise, the idea and the characters. Season 1 was hilarious but I was hoping for a bit more… I don’t know… progression? But still the group are pretty much incapable of completing a quest without one of them having an absolute meltdown and they continue to get themselves into more and more debt. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching it for the silliness, but I expected at least something to change. All I’ve been able to see is some character development and an enhancement in the sheer mania of the group.
That’s not to say that the mania itself isn’t enjoyable. The more we get to know the characters, the funnier the situations are. And now I’m well into the second season, the series plays on this to its advantage. I think my favourite example of this so far is when Kazuma and company form part of a convoy to travel to another town. They spot a stampede of hawk kites charging in their direction on the horizon – maybe even straight at them. That’s when they’re informed that groups of hawk kites tend to charge at the strongest thing on the road, which just so happens to be Darkness’ adamantite armour. To lure the kites away from the other travellers, Kazuma ties the masochistic Darkness to the back of a wagon and drags her towards a cave. Aqua is frantically and constantly healing her as they go and, just as they lure the animals into a nearby cave, Megumin jumps out and nukes them with her explosion magic.
What I continue to love about Konosuba is that every episode starts with outrageous humour and end with outrageous humour. Watching as Kazuma, Aqua, Darkness, and Megumin suffer through numerous setbacks due to how dysfunctional each of them is. The more silly the situation gets, the stranger and sometimes the more grotesque the artwork gets. Somehow, the tackiness just makes things even more hilarious, especially when this involves close-ups of Aqua and the contorted faces she often makes when she realises just what she’s gotten herself into.
The music and sound in Konosuba usually just blends into the background, which is what happened in the first season really. There isn’t anything particularly special or catchy about the opening or closing credit soundtracks and I often found myself skipping them to get to the story. For such a zany and crazy anime, the ending songs are uncharacteristically tranquil and lax – especially considering that it’s the three heroines of the show that are singing them. For Konosuba, it’s all about the hilarity and the silliness of the story.
Konosuba has been generally well-received in the anime community and it’s done a lot to help rehabilitate Studio DEEN’s lagging reputation in the fandom. Its downright ridiculous characters are in their element in a fantasy world that refuses to take itself seriously. It uses fantasy RPG elements to their best advantage but never relies on them to tell the story – it’s all driven by the characters. Whatever Kazuma’s group are doing, it makes for an entertaining watch. Whether it’s Aqua crying to Kazuma at some self-inflicted situation, Megumin’s never-ending quest to perfect her explosion magic, Darkness and her masochistic ways or Kazuma trying to make something of himself and just failing (and dying) miserably time after time. I’m sure more seasons in the future will be welcomed by the majority. Me? Perhaps, if the story starts to progress a little more. I’m looking for something with a bit more substance next time.