Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Studio Deen
Comedy is difficult due to how hit or miss it can be. Comedic anime is no exception to this rule. So when you have a show that creates comedy out of the tired virtual-MMO trope, there is almost an expectation that it will suck. Luckily, the show that I am reviewing today managed to be an example of a comedy that worked perfectly. Konosuba had a relatively short run of ten episodes, but was quickly picked up for a second season. I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth anime review.
The story places a focus on Kazuma, a recently dead otaku. Kazuma died in a rather hilarious accident and was sent to the afterlife where he met the goddess, Aqua. Aqua gives him another chance at life by offering to send him to another world where he can go on adventures and battle monsters. He is also allowed one gift from the goddess before he is reincarnated. Being a gamer, Kazuma readily accepts this deal, but chooses for Aqua to accompany him in a spite of rage.
In terms of gigantic story, there really is not an overarching plot that receives a lot of attention. The closest thing would be dealing with the Devil King and his servants, but this does not get that much development. Instead, the show features a series of episodes where Kazuma attempts to complete quests with his rather dysfunctional team. Every episode sets up some sort of quest that leads to a variety of comedic moments. This is rather dynamic because it is a mixture of comedic styles. One moment might feature more physical comedy while another creates it with the interaction between the characters. The point being the plot serves as a means of delivery for the comedy. The comedic moments arise out of the ridiculous situations that the characters are placed in and this works to great effect.
The main characters of this series are the reason why this show is so great. Their interactions and quirks create the best comedic moments of the show. I’ll give a brief rundown of the four main characters. Kazuma is the straight man of the show. Unfortunately, he has to deal with the utter incompetence of his party. He is probably the most competent out of his entire group. He is a very sarcastic character and his interactions with the party are some of the best. My favorite running joke is his tendency to reply with “I’m Kazuma” whenever another character says his name. It’s a relatively minor way to showcase his sarcastic nature, but it’s a perfect example.
At first, Aqua appears to be a very proper goddess, but that perception is gone by the end of the first episode. She is a brat and an air-head as well as selfish. Her known negative qualities are shown by her wasting her experience points on party tricks instead of another spell that could help with quests. At lot of the comedy from her comes from placing her into situations where she’s not treated that well. Her reactions during one episode where she has to stay in a cage, is one of her finest moments in the series.
Megumin is the resident mage of the group with the one caveat that she can only perform a single type of magic. Unleashing this magic leaves her exhausted so much that she collapses and can’t move. This problem is aggravated at her tendency to prematurely cast her magic. She is absolutely useless after using her magic given that she can only use it once a day as well. Her comedy derives from her intense love of explosions as well, so much so that the rest of the town considers her to be insane. She would rather die than give up her magic.
The final character, Darkness, is my favorite of the bunch. She’s a crusader that literally cannot hit anything with her sword, but despite this, she continues to put herself in harm’s way. Darkness acts this way because she is a rampant masochist. She gets off on getting hit by monsters or even just the thought of getting harmed. She even details an entire fantasy to a villain, to which the villain is absolutely embarrassed. Overall, the cast of main characters are astounding and make this show.
Animation & Sound
The animation quality for this show is not a highlight, but works with what the series is trying to accomplish. The goofiness of the animation actually fits with the comedic overtones quite well. Now there are a few moments of astounding quality. The effects on the spells are a rare jump of quality for the series. These scenes look so well done that is quite surprising. The animation is not its strongest point, but it works.
The sound quality of this series is shown through the great voice acting. Kazuma’s voice actor perfectly captures his sarcastic nature. The rest of the cast is of a similar quality. Aqua’s voice actress brilliantly exhibits her bratty nature. Darkness’s voice actress is a standout to me because of how much she commits to her masochistic nature. As for the soundtrack, it’s simply decent. There is not a bumping soundtrack here, but it gets the job done. Overall, besides the voice acting, there really is not anything that manages to standout about the presentation.
Konosuba remains one of the finest examples of a comedic anime. I cannot wait until the next season airs. The story provides the situations that lead to the many comedic character moments. The main cast of characters is perfectly dysfunctional. I realize that doesn’t make too much sense, but it fits. The comedy is the result of the absolutely insane interactions between this main cast of characters. The animation is decent, but nothing special. However, the voice acting is phenomenal. I give Konosuba my Bananaowns’ stamp of approval. It’s a short watch, but well worth it. I’ll be back for another feature next week, so thanks for checking this one out.