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konosuba

The Kingly ROSSMAN

Hey, did you watch Re:Zero and think to yourself, "Man, I liked the idea here... But it's just a bit too dramatic for my tastes. Why can't this shit be set in a wacky sword and sorcery, RPG-like world instead of one where people suffer and bad stuff is always happening?" If this sounds like you, then have I got just what you're looking for.... Then after I zip back up I'd show you KonoSuba (aka "God's Blessing on this Wonderful World!).

Yes, there have been OODLES of shows lately that revolve around a loser or group of losers who get magically transported to a real RPG Land, where they must use their knowledge of video games to finally become what they never could in their original lives: important.

KonoSuba takes that basic premise and then essentially shits all over it. This series takes nothing seriously, and shows right off the bat that there are no sacred cows that it's afraid to slaughter.

Things begin with shut-in high school student Kazuma Sato dying while trying to save a cute girl from getting run over by a vehicle on a country road (and just after he dared to venture out into the world at large in order to buy a limited edition game/statuette/body pillow waifu... whatever). Kazuma himself died in the girl's stead (well, she wasn't in any real danger in the first place), and he finds himself in a strange afterlife, being judged by a cute girl who claims to be a goddess.

This goddess — one blue-haired cutie named Aqua — informs him that although he cannot go back to his old world, there is a magical realm that needs his help. You see, there is an evil Devil King who's taking over the place, and the land and its people are in sore need of heroes to help them stop his powerful regime, which is led by an army of dark and wicked creatures. Aqua also offers Kazuma a gift before he head's off into this unfamiliar universe — anything he can think of, from an enchanted sword, to super-defensive armor... Being a smart-ass who's read Ah! Megami-sama though, Kazuma asks for the goddess herself to join him in the new world. Her bosses say "Okay," and off the two go!

The problem is that even though Aqua is a powerful water goddess, she's less useful than a condom to an otaku, seeing as she's selfish as hell and dumb as a box of non-sentient rocks. Kazuma begins to understand the shit-parade that he's gotten himself into when he realizes that neither of them are qualified for anything more than basic manual labor jobs in this new dimension, and Aqua can't go back to her goddess role until the Devil King is totally defeated.

KonoSuba RAINBOW PUKE

Soon our two down-on-their-luck adventurers start to slowly get their shit together, and they begin to form their own party in order to up their chances of coming out of this whole deal alive. Unfortunately for Aqua and Kazuma, the only two people willing to join them are a 13 year-old genius mage who refuses to cast any spell other than "EXPLOSION!" (because "explosive magics are the only real magics"), and a very strong swordswoman who we never actually see fight (because she's a total masochist who prefers to get beaten up instead of dishing anything out). It may sound like everybody involved in this story is a one-note character, but after two seasons and twenty episodes, I have to say that so far everything is still great and nothing has gotten old.

Like I said before, KonoSuba is not anything to be taken seriously. The characters are absolutely fucking nuts, the setting is crazy-weird, and the situations that the main cast stumbles into are the stuff of comedy legends... For example: Megumin (the young mage in the group) needs to practice her EXPLOSION magic (that she only has enough energy to try once per day, after which she collapses to the ground like a ragdoll with her powers too used up to even stand), so she and Kazuma wander off every day to an abandoned castle that she can continuously blow the fuck up with a magically cast mini nuclear bomb. Well of course the castle isn't empty, and it is in fact the new home of one of the Devil King's generals, the dullahan Verdia. Wackiness then ensues when Verdia has enough of getting blown up and confronts the town (where everybody that we know lives) to get them to stahp.

It's not just the broad comedy beats like that that sell this series, it's actually the small bits that made me fall in love with it. From Kazuma's ever-present track suit (why do Japanese kids trapped in RPG worlds always wear track suits?) to the marvelous and otherworldly stuff that our main protagonist comes across but totally takes for granted, almost everything in KonoSuba is a giant walking punchline. Seriously, just saying "Purification!" or "Explosion!" will get me and my friends cackling like idiots.

I will warn you though that if you need high-quality animation in your anime, you will be sorely disappointed with KonoSuba. Honestly, at times this show makes the art style of Slayers look good. And for all you kiddies too young to even know what Slayers is, think of the worst farmed-out-to C-studio episodes of some long running series, and you'll get the gist of Slayers' minuscule budget. Now half that and you'll have KonoSuba's.

I kid... But not by much. But the lack of money really does not hold KonoSuba back in the least. You don't need high frame rates to be hilarious, and KS is abso-goddamn-lutely hilarious most of the time. Hell, even when it's not 100% "on," KonoSuba still has more laughs per 23-minute episode than most comedy series have all season long.

Anyway, beyond all that, the music, and especially the opening and ending songs are perfect for this show. The bubbly-poppy opening numbers, and the slower paced ending themes fit this program to a "T".

So, if you like good satire with enjoyably pleasant characters and absurd situations, you have much worse series you can waste your time on.

What did I think of KonoSuba? It is, in my humble opinion, one of the best comedy series Japan has ever produced. It's consistently crazy funny, and its only downside is how short it is (two seasons of ten episodes each). And true, sometimes they skip some stories from the original light novels (and therefore some side characters just "appear"), but I assume that those tales weren't as good as the ones that we got, and that the writers of the anime know what they're doing, especially considering the gold that they're regularly able to spin.

I give KonoSuba 9 out of 10 EXPLOSIONS of Excellence! Boom...


The MEGAPLAYBOY

Yo, G-money, I'm down with all the dungeons, all the dragons, and alllllll the Middle-Earths, but this Kono-Fuckin'-Suba is where the true mothafuckin' magic be.

I'm jus' sayin', boy, that I once tripped the light fantastically into my own private RPG-land, and I never had flying cabbages, big-tittied Lich-wizards, or big-tittied warrior lasses who like to get spanked. Seriously, yo, what's wrong with my imagination?

Watch it, live it, love it, whack off to it. KonoSuba be where it at, foo'!


The WOLFMAN

I like fantasy books and TV shows and movies and such. Well, I do normally. This anime was just too light. There was no darkness in it at all. Well, that one blonde with the enormous rack was called "Darkness," but she was as light as they come.

I get it, it was a comedy, whatever. I'm just saying, that if you wanted me to like a show based in an RPG world, people need to die horribly, like with painful fire magic or by swords and shit. I don't think that anybody (other than like 2 bad guys) died in this thing. And their deaths were just jokes anyway.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's SUPPOSED to be funny, and NOT a tale of torture and wimpy Japanese shut-in kids getting physically and emotionally torn apart in a more realistic world. I GET IT. SHUT THE FUCK UP. I'm only saying that I DON'T LIKE SHOWS WITH NO DRAMA, and shit without any real peril. Fuck off.

I chortled like once or twice during both seasons, but I laughed more during the original Exorcist, so don't go quoting me on any Blu-ray box art or anything. I give this KonoSuba a finger up. You know which one.