Review of KonoSuba (Season One)

konosubaseason1

Hurrah! I am now a Crunchyroll subscriber. Many moons ago I visited the site and was told that the service was unavailable in my country. That restriction appears to have been lifted now, allowing me to take advantage of a their fourteen day trial. Just as well because watching stuff over there for free is nigh on impossible, unless you have the patience of a saint, due to the constant barrage of adverts. The anime that took my Crunchyroll virginity is KonoSuba – a funny fantasy show about a Japanese shut-in, who is resurrected in a mystical land, after perishing in rather embarrassing circumstances.

OVERVIEW

In the first episode, of this light novel adaptation, teenager Kazuma Sato is given a second lease on life and transported to a magical kingdom. He hopes that his knowledge of MMORPGs will serve him well in this new land, but due to his puny stats he is only able to make a minimum wage via construction jobs. Although a career in adventuring is more lucrative, Kazuma is unable to complete any of the quests posted at the local guild. The one time he attempted to vanquish five giant toads it didn’t go well and culminated in his travelling companion Aqua getting slimed worse than Peter Venkman of Ghostbusters fame.

Aqua, by the way, is the rude goddess who gave the departed Kazuma the option of ascending into heaven or reviving in a world that is presently being hounded by the nefarious Devil King. Due to an afterlife legal loophole, Kazuma was able to drag Aqua with him into a nation where sorcery and medieval weapons are the norm. If Aqua ever hopes to return home she’ll have to aid Kazuma in accomplishing his ultimate goal of defeating the aforementioned demon monarch. Despite being blessed with divine healing magic, Aqua isn’t much help. She is cowardly, useless in a fight and extremely selfish.

CHARACTERS

Thankfully for Kazuma’s sake he is able to band together with more friendly, albeit unusual, allies as the series progresses. Megumin is the first person to answer Kazuma’s call for party members. She is a young caster who commands destructive Explosion magic. The ability to fire off a nuclear blast may sound handy, but the problem is that Explosion is the only spell Megumin knows. Even worse, whenever Megumin activates her signature move she collapses in an exhausted stupor and is unable to do anything else for the rest of the day. What a useless witch. Getting tired after one explosion is “bang” out of order.

Darkness is the next and final person to join Kazuma’s four-man group. Clad in armour, she is a blonde crusader – although the sword she wields is just for show. Due to terrible accuracy, which rivals the aim of a Rambo baddie, Darkness is incapable of striking any assailant… or even stationary targets for that matter. On the plus side Darkness is a courageous protector who willingly soaks up all damage directed at her teammates. The role of tank suits Darkness to a T, as she is a masochist who loves nothing more than being on the receiving end of physical pain and verbal abuse.

VERDICT

My rating for KonoSuba is four stars. As someone who enjoyed Slayers, I really dug the show’s mix of comedy and fantasy. It was fun to see whom Kazuma would face next, in his adventures, as the villains come in all shapes and sizes. The lineup of antagonists includes a slighted Dullahan, a runaway arachnid fortress and even flying cabbages. Natsume Akatsuki, who penned the source material, has created an interesting universe that borrows ideas from MMOs. Just like in a video game, KonoSuba’s characters acquire skills by levelling up. The first talent that Kazuma learns is the steal ability, which he promptly uses to pilfer panties. I’ll have to try that next time I roll a rogue in DnD.

KonoSuba isn’t perfect though. The early episodes could be better and the series doesn’t really click until Kazuma’s team has been fully assembled. I also thought that the artwork was inconsistent. At times the visuals are okay and on other occasions they look rough. Studio Deen continue to live up to their reputation of delivering erratic illustrations. I’ll forgive the scenes where characters go off model though, as no one expects masterpiece drawings from a comedy. Overall I had a grand time with KonoSuba. The first season only spans for ten episodes, but thankfully a new series is already out and available to watch on Crunchyroll (the website… as far as I know bread does not stream cartoons.)