Title: KonoSuba Format: Anime (10 episodes)
Writer: Makoto Uezu Director: Takaomi Kanasaku
Genres: Fantasy, Comedy, Ecchi, Harem
KonoSuba is a stupid comedy, and if you like it you’re probably stupid. Those two statements aren’t connected at all; you’re probably stupid regardless, most people are. In fact, fun fact, I’m stupid, which is why I like KonoSuba. You follow my logic there? Good, ‘cause at least one of us has to.
KonaSuba was brought to us by Studio Deen, an animation studio whose track-record is so broad and so stroke-above-par that I don’t actually have a joke here. I guess I could point out that, after more than 30 years and 220 shows, they’re still scared of mecha for some reason. But frankly that’s trivial, digressing from the review, and a waste of your time, which is exactly what I’m here to do.
It’s a modern anime, which means it’s a light novel, and like most anime adapted from light novels, KonoSuba puts its worst feet forward, ironically by keeping its feet off screen to make more room for busts and butts.
Teenaged Otaku protagonist reprises his role from [insert any other light novel here], only he died of spontaneous shock in that world and was transported to an MMO style fantasy world to live out his next life. That’s not a comedic transition, that’s actually the story. The Quindecim bar has apparently lowered its hiring standards, because he’s greeted by Aqua, a blue-haired goddess with the personality of the most annoying type of reality TV star. She tells him, “Hey, loser, I’m sending you to this fantasy world. But I’m nice so I’ll let you bring one thing.” And he’s like, “I’ll take you.” And then she’s all like, “W-w-w-whaaaaat???!” (I believe this is a direct excerpt from the original novel.)
And that’s basically all there is for story. They meet two other adventurers to increase their team competency stat by none, and blunder through random quests around town for the whole season. At a couple points they do some things that you’d think are important, like killing one of the Devil King’s generals, but nothing really changes. Eventually they get a house to share, making the harem undertones even less subtle, but even that is only a minor change to the formula, and I’m fine with that because the formula does a pretty good job at shutting up the crying baby that is my boredom for a few minutes.
Another side-effect of the light novel foundation is the fan service. There’s a lot of it. But, while it prevents me from sharing KonoSuba with my non-degenerate friends, I never found it overly distracting. And, while we’re being positive, I suppose the boobs were slightly less impossible than I’m used to in anime. I mean, their bouncing still defied the laws of gravity, momentum, and probably Hammurabi. Maybe it’s just the hentai talking, but at least they weren’t shaped like someone overfilled basketballs with helium. I’m proud of you, animators. I’m proud and that’s sad.
It feels like the main character (who I just realized I haven’t even named yet but will continue not to out of some ill-advised principle) is supposed to be relatable to me, but it doesn’t work, and that’s really my fault for not being on any sexual predator list that I know of. The way he gets comedically embarrassed by misunderstandings in public is supposed to connect to the universal human anxiety of misjudgment by faceless strangers, but it never really landed because I’ve just never had an underage girl scream about how she’ll begrudgingly go along with my plan to cover her in bodily fluids. I know, I’m the weird one.
I’m tired of anime protagonists who I’m supposed to relate to. Believe it or not, I’m not a very interesting or fiction-worthy guy. So let’s just move on to the other characters, Annoying Bitch, Joke You Always See Coming, and Exhibit A at the author’s pedophilia trial.
Aqua is the kind of character that always surprises you in how she never undergoes any character development. There were several points where I thought she was going to learn a lesson or be less of entitled crybaby brat, but then she would prove me wrong by crying or trying to burn the main character’s stuff. At one point the main character actually comments about how she never learns anything from leveling up, which is actually a meaningful extension of her character into the show’s fantasy world mechanics.
Most people seem to agree that Aqua is the worst character, but I don’t see it. I think they all suck equally, but with a comedic charm.
Darkness is a powerful paladin, who’s defined with two jokes. Despite her great stats and class, she’s so clumsy she can never actually land an attack. And she’s a fervent masochist, who gets sexual pleasure out of tanking hits for the party. That’s really all there is to her character, and any scene she’s in is just building to one of those two jokes. Once you know the premise, you see it coming from ten lines of dialogue away.
Megumin may be jailbait, but she’s fun jail bait- wait, I shouldn’t have worded it like that, please don’t call the cops.
The powerful arch mage chunibyo specializes in explosion magic, the kind of stuff that I like to imagine makes Vladimir Putin feel inadequate when he watches this anime alone at night and cries. The downside is, she can only cast it once per day, and she refuses to learn any other spells because that shit just ain’t cool enough.
While Megumin collapsing face first after casting an explosion is funny, the real charm to her character comes in the more immature aspects of her personality. She wants to be another Ayanami clone, but her attempts are undermined by just how badly she wants it. In her introduction she acts all cool and emotionless, but then the main character tries to take away her phony eyepatch and she starts crying about wanting it back because it makes her look cool. How often Megumin actually succeeds at her aloof façade just sells me on it so much more in those moments she can’t keep it up.
If you can look the dull characters, obtrusive fan service, and lack of plot, and you’re an anime fan so of course you can, KonoSuba is funny. It will have you laughing throughout, and the only downside will be the wondering in horror how you could so willing waste four hours of your life with such stupid crap. It’s been confirmed for a second season, but I’m not so sure I’m on board for that. Ten episodes was a good amount of a bad thing. Anymore and it runs the risk of getting stale and bitter. Still, with what’s out so far, Konosuba is well worth checking out.
Don’t Lose Your Way