Now I’ve talked about Isikai series before (at least I think I did last time I covered one, then again right now I’m thinking I’m going to have to check to see if I already reviewed The Monolith Monsters, been at this two years now, really should have kept a check list) the genre of anime where a person from this world winds up in another world. It’s not exclusive to Japan either, Narnia and Alice in Wonderland are both examples. But as genres become popular you get A LOT of different versions , just look at the multitudes of Scooby Doo clones after its rise. So today we are looking at a comedy series in the genre that recently a dub of which came out and which amazingly for a comedy anime, was genuinely funny.
KonoSuba or Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! to give it its full title, translated into KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! is adapted from the light novels of the same name written by Natsume Akatsuki. As mentioned before this is a isikai series so our lead Kazuma Satau ends up in a fantasy world – his way this happens though, one of the more “normal” ways, is a bit of a silly version. Kazuma dies (that’s not the silly bit) and is greeted by the goddess Aqua who offers him 2 choices Heaven which she describes as like an old persons home, or reincarnation. After breaking down those two choice she slyly offers him a third, a special reincarnation fully grown with all his memories into a fantasy world to help defeat the demon king, she even lets him take a special item of his choice to help. However while Kazuma thinks it over, Aqua rather tacklessly makes some rather nasty remarks (she already mocked how he died) so in an ultimate act of spite, Kazuma chooses her and she gets dragged to the fantasy world too.
The fantasy world is described a bit like a video game and follows similar roles, getting assigned a class, having stats, levelling up by getting XP and gaining new abilities. When finally getting to join the Adventurers guild (turns out there was a recruitment fee) Kazuma has only average stats except above average intelligence and amazing luck, Aqua on the other had has insanely high stats except for below average intelligence and really bad luck, but while Kazuma can only get the basic adventurer class, Aqua starts out in the advanced class Arch Priest.
Our two other leads Megumin and Darkness are introduced in the second episode with Darkness getting more development in the third. These 4 end up forming a bit of a jrpg group ( read my review of Final Fantasy 1 for more the basic idea) but it also begins to dissect or have funny twists on the concept. Megumin knows an incredibly powerful spell but she can only cast it once and then collapse, and it’s the only spell she knows cause it’s the only one she wants to know. Darkness is a tank with massive stamina (in mmos tank means the person who keeps the enemies hitting them so the others can attack safely) but is only this because she’s a masochist which is genius since in real life that’s probably the only reason she would want such a role. Aqua has massive stats but wastes most of her skill points on party tricks.
The 3 leading ladies were specifically designed to be a break away from the waifu material you often saw in such series by having their huge flaws (Aqua’s also a bit of a dick) which lead to something surprising happening. People ended up falling for the characters BECAUSE of their flaws, Megumin especially with her love of explosion to the point it becomes endearing. People saw the girls not as some perfect people but rather liking them for all their flaws.
The first series adapts the first 2 volumes of the manga though more attention and time was given to the first volumes adaption with 6 of the 10 episodes given to its events. This does mean the later episodes can feel a little rushed in places, namely Kazuma’s first meeting with people was left out of the adaption, the series just going “oh this is Wiz we bumped into her earlier”. However outside of that, the series flows very well and as mentioned any one who has ever played a JRPG or mmorpg will get a good laugh out of it.
As mentioned this show now has a dub. Normally dubs of comedy anime series have a hard time and often don’t work since cultural jokes get lost in translation. Look at the difference in comedy shows from the UK and the United states for example, those are two countries with the same language and the comedy is different, so imagine one that is a completely different language on the other side of the planet. Imagine all us nerds’ glee when we found the dub was genuinely good and funny. Jokes are on point without being Americanized (nothing beats a jelly doughnut… nerds will get that reference) and will at the very least get a smile out of you if not a laugh.
There is a second season (which is good cause season 1 ends with a cliff hanger) but it’s not been dubbed yet, however with the praise the dub has gotten its only a matter of time till that gets dubbed too. Of course till then you could always get the light novels to read they go even further than season 2, let’s see how many volumes are translated… SEVEN! ok I have a lot of reading to do.