Series Review – Konosuba: Season 2

Written by Bananaowns

Images courtesy of Studio Deen

Last winter, Studio Deen managed to surprise the anime community with an excellent comedy that seemed to come out of nowhere.  Soon enough, our favorite explosion seeking sorcerer became a mainstay of the anime community as the wait continued for the second season of Konosuba.  Well, the wait was not too long and the second season of Konosuba managed to maintain the same quality that the first season expertly presented.  For those interested in my thoughts on the first season, feel free to check out my review of the first season, but this piece is going to be solely on the second season.  I am Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth anime review.

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Story and Characters

If you were not a fan of the first season, the second season does not drastically change up the formula of the first.  The series still focuses on the ragtag group consisting of Kazuma, Aqua, Darkness and Megumin as they seek to bring down the Devil King.  So in a way, this second season adds very little to what was established in the first season, which is not a bad thing.  It merely continues what made the first season so great.

Once again, the series excels with its comedy.  The first episode alone provides a fine example of the hilarity this show presents.  The end of the last season saw Kazuma getting arrested for his actions.  The second season opens up with a trial that had me dying of laughter.  Witnesses are called up to testify on all the running jokes that were prominent during the first season.  Fans of comedy will not be disappointed here.  The season even ends just as well as the first with a look into a hot springs town filled with residents trying to scam the main party.  The situations are ridiculous, but manage to perfectly play up the comedy.  There isn’t a single weak episode here.

I do have two issues with the story this time though.  These are negligible, but can be an issue for some.  First of all, the season is only ten episodes long.  This is no different from the first season, but it leaves the viewer hungry for more adventures because of the short run time.  Secondly, there is a significant focus on Darkness in this season, which means a lot of scenes showcasing her perverted sadism.  In a statement that is sacrilegious to many fans, Darkness is my favorite girl of the series, but I do think this masochistic aspect was played up too much during the middle section of this season.  I mean, I loved every second of it, but for those that are not big fans of the character; this could be a potential turn off.  However, there really is not anything more to say.  The series is still an excellent comedy that is just as good as the first season.

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Animation and Sound

There is not much more to say about the second season that wasn’t already in my last review.  The animation quality is not going to impress with the exception of the explosion scenes.  However, the goofy quality of the scenes actually manages to enhance the comedy.  Between the character expressions and overall goofy movement, the entire animation just exudes comedy.  Of course, I do have some criticism of the animation though.  The first couple episodes played up this goofy animation quality to an extreme level which was distracting at times and almost bordering a bad categorization.  Thankfully, the series returned to its normal animation quality relatively quickly.

As for the sound design, there really is not difference between this and the first season.  The voice acting is superb in every way.  The performances showcase a mastery of comedic timing with their perfect delivery.  Kazuma is sarcastic, Aqua is a brat, Megumin is basically an explosion pyro and Darkness is a masochist.  The voice actors continue to display the characters with the same care and love of the first season.  Again, the music of the series fits perfectly, my personal favorite track being the catchy new opening.  Overall, the sound design and animation matches the quality of the first season.

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Final Thoughts

The second season of Konosuba was every bit as good as the first season.  There are some problems, but they are relatively minor compared to just how good of a comedy that this show manages to be.  I am absolutely craving for more Konosuba.  At the time of this review, a third season has not been announced, but hopefully we will be graced with some more episodes.  I give the second season of Konosuba my Bananaowns’ Stamp of Approval.  It is one of the best comedic anime that I have had the pleasure to watch.  I’ll be back next week for another review and thanks for checking this one out.

Bananaowns stamp of approval

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Series Review – Konosuba

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.

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Story 

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.

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Characters

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.

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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.

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Final Verdict

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.

Bananaowns stamp of approval

 

Spring 2016 – Anime Preview

Written by Bananaowns

By now the winter season is almost over.  To me, this winter season marked my first season of watching more than two shows that were currently airing.  It was kind of ridiculous.  Over the course of the season, I managed to watch Myriad Colors Phantom World, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, ERASED, Grimgar of Fantasy & Ash, Bubuki/Buranki, Koyomimonogatari, GATE, KONOSUBA, Four Rhythm Across the Blue, and Dimension W.  To be honest, I enjoyed all of these shows immensely.  The spring season is almost here and with that comes a bounty of new shows.  This week’s piece will highlight some of the shows that I am looking forward to.  Of course, I’ll probably have some additions and may even have some drops.  Anyways, I am Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth Anime feature.

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Gyakuten Saiban also known as Ace Attorney

Brought to you by A-1 Pictures, Ace Attorney is an animated adaptation of the video game series of the same name.  The anime focuses on the defense attorney, Phoenix Wright, as he tries to prove the innocence of his defendants in a variety of unusual cases.  I love any media that deals with the legal system and Ace Attorney looks like it will be the anime that scratches that itch.  The show carries a promise of an investigative atmosphere, with the cases being a sort of puzzle for Phoenix Wright to figure out.  On top of that, it appears that there will be some comedy caused by the actions of the attorneys and the prosecutors.  People have plenty of great things to say about the source material, so I hope that the anime lives up to the game series.

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Boku no Hero Academia also known as My Hero Academia

Studio Bones is tasked with animating the smash Shonen Jump Manga, My Hero Academia.  The story focuses on a world filled with superheroes, each one born with a different power.  The series stars, Izuku Midoriya, a boy born without powers who has an intense desire to be a hero.  One day he manages to encounter the legendary hero, All Might, who may prove that Midoriya’s dreams can be a reality.  I am a reader of the manga and cannot wait to see how certain scenes are animated.  From the PV’s shown, the animation and voice acting appear to be pristine.  Given the pedigree of Studio Bones and the success of the source material, it looks like this show will be great.

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Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?

I can’t wait for that to get an easier name from the English translation.  This show represents my first foray into the unabashed fan service of an ecchi romance.  The story follows a gamer traumatized by his realization that he fell for a female player online, who was actually a guy.  He decides to never trust a girl online after this incident.  Two years later, a female player proposes to him, and it turns out that she’s real.  I really enjoy this concept and am hopeful that it will provide a lot of comedy.  This show looks like it will be a guilty pleasure, but one that I will enjoy immensely.  The animation and voice acting appear decent enough.  It’s animated by Project No.9.  I’m not too familiar with this studio, but hopefully the show will be at least entertaining.

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Koutetsujou no Kabaneri also known as Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

Here’s something to think about: is something a ripoff if it was made by the same studio that produced the original work?  To put it mildly, this show appears to be heavily inspired by Attack on Titan.  However, it is animated by Studio Wit, the studio that animated Attack on Titan.  It basically combines steampunk and zombies.  There are walled cities to protect people from monsters that can only be destroyed by attacking a specific location, but these monsters can also turn people into undead creatures as well.  A series of trains runs between these cities to transport supplies and people.  The main protagonist builds a weapon to pierce the monsters’ weak point and finally gets the opportunity to test his weapon when the train is attacked.  The internet community has lovingly called this show, Attack on Trains.  Despite looking like Attack on Titan, this show appears to be good.  The animation has looked amazing from what we have seen so far.  As long as this series manages a certain level of entertainment, I will certainly be satisfied with it.

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Magi: Sinbad no Bouken also known as Magi: Adventure of Sinbad

Brought to you by Lay-Duce, the studio that animated Classroom Crisis, Magi: Adventure of Sinbad is sure to be an entertaining watch.  The story tells the origins of Sinbad, a prominent character from the Magi series.  It also goes into the backgrounds of a variety of other characters from the series as well.  This show will be a welcome return to this series as we wait for a third proper season of Magi.  The manga version of this spinoff has been entertaining, but it still remains to see how this adaptation will be animated.

These five shows are the ones that I am looking forward to.  Now I can already see myself adding on a ridiculous amount of shows once the larger audience reactions are known.  Typically, this will occur after the first three or so episodes.  Like with this past season, I will make a recommendation video or two, it just depends on how many shows I watch.  Expect a recommendation around the fifth week or so of the spring season.  Come back next week for another anime feature.

Winter 2016 – Anime Recommendations Part 2

Written by Bananaowns

Images courtesy of Kyoto Animation and Studio Deen.

I am currently recovering from an elbow injury and a subsequent bad reaction to medication, so this week’s piece will be relatively short as a result. The winter season has been a solid season of anime so far. As we continue towards the end of the season, I have a few more recommendations from this season. Again, this does not mean that these shows are all amazing, but have been entertaining enough to keep me watching.

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Myriad Colors Phantom World

This season’s work by Kyoto Animation is rather generic, but entertaining. The release of an experimental virus has allowed humans to see extra-dimensional beings called phantoms. Some children born after the outbreak have developed special powers that allow them to battle and banish phantoms. Naturally, the anime follows a group of high school students because everything in anime needs to involve a high school. There is no overarching story, but rather an episodic focus. It is mostly focused on dealing with the personal feelings and backgrounds of the main character’s harem. The characters are not anything special, but are somewhat interesting. So if you do not like harem shows, then you won’t like this. The animation quality is superb and the music is pretty good as well. It’s a fairly average show, but keeps me watching from some reason.

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KONOSUBA

Now this is another show with a similar concept to Sword Art Online, but with an added comedic twist. The story follows a recently deceased otaku as he gets offered a chance to be resurrected. A goddess will revive him if he defeats the Demon King of another world. In a bout of spite, the goddess gets sent to this world with the otaku as well. From there, a cast of quirky characters is introduced ranging from a masochistic knight and a mage that loves explosion magic. This series is a superb comedy and that is what sets it apart from the rest of the SAO clones. The animation is good as well, but the main focus is the comedy. It is definitely a much watch of this season.

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Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

This show is the only one other than ERASED to have a shot of being the show of the season. The story focuses on the pursuit of a traditional Japanese performance art called rakugo. At first it follows the story of an ex-convict trying to get into the world of Rakugo. From there, it largely goes into a flashback regarding the story of the rakugo sensei of the ex-convict. The story is an adult-centric story about the pursuit of a craft and it is really compelling. The Rakugo performances are outstanding and highlight a rather unknown tradition to western audiences. The animation is beautiful as well and perfectly styles the traditional motif. That’s it for my anime recommendations for this season; I’ll be back next week for another review.