Alright… alright, I’m a little late with KonoSuba. It’s one of those shows I’d been meaning to watch for a long while now – one I never got around to. Of course, that was my mistake, because it is absolutely brilliant in so, so many ways.
KonoSuba has invariably gained what can only be described as a cult following. Now, without sounding pretentious, I tend to stick away from the things that have garnered this sort of attention. For the only reason being, they are not usually to my liking.
KonoSuba on the other hand, is the exact opposite. In fact, it shattered all my – frankly low – expectations. I’m willing to say it even challenged my opinion of popularity in a much wider sense. And when behaviors and thought processes are challenged like that, is that not a mark of value when viewing a show?
One thing I was instantly grasped by, is the humour; an aspect I find anime has a hard time with in general. Though, that is not to ascertain a problem. Only it differs from what I personally want from comedy. This is where my love of KonoSuba developed, in what it has to offer in terms of pure entertaining comedic value.
I can count the number of anime I found truly amusing on one hand – KonoSuba holding firmly onto one of those revered fingers.
Now, what DO I want from comedy?
Something slightly witty, something relevant, something that doesn’t exclusively rely on sexual innuendo/tension, and ridiculously overused clichés. Instantly, this puts me at a disadvantage when watching anime. The kind of content I desire is available, of course it is. Only, the opposite saturates the medium. Shows like Eromanga Sensei and Sword Art Online. Comedic value is an integral part of the anime medium as a whole. Sure, there are serious shows with little to no humour in them, but they are a minority. After all, what is produced will represent the demographic that makes up the majority of the audience.
So then, why does KonoSuba come out ahead of others in the same category? Somehow managing to succeed where others fall into ambiguity.
In some sense, KonoSuba is alike many shows. Being inherently different isn’t what makes it stand out. It is the simple fact of how well done it is in comparison. It’s easy to imagine how it could have been mediocre, how it could have slumped into the pits where many of those other ‘Isekia’ shows reside. (Yes, that means you, In Another World With my Smartphone…) And yet, KonoSuba is more than that, it represents the best comedy anime has to offer. It doesn’t stifle itself for a cheap laugh. It doesn’t always play it safe with cliché. In fact, many of its strong points are in satire of such ideals, though subtly conveyed.
In the Name of GREAT Characters!
To carry this humour we have a set of wonderful characters. Those being, Aqua, Darkness, Megumin, and Kazuma. I include our main character last because I regard him as something of an outlier. Not because I dislike him – though I do – but because of how he is a parody of himself: The ‘video game’ protagonist who knows nothing of how to be a protagonist. It’s almost a parody of a parody. I find that the he’s created in a way as to not be entirely likeable. He has all these expectations that are never met. The outcomes of which are a mainstay of KonoSuba’s relentless hilarity.
What I adore most about the characters is how they each serve an individual role and purpose. Not only in the story of the show, but in the dynamics of the character interactions themselves. Aqua being the big-headed one – the one with the only true ‘power’ in the troupe. Darkness the ‘meatshield’ who thrives on her masochistic tendencies. And, without a doubt my favourite, Megumin. She’s the closest character KonoSuba has to the ‘cutsey-innocent-girl trope.’ She’s the closest to Kazuma, and with her ‘one-shot-pass-out-explosion-magic’ she comes to rely on him (the others too) for getting her out of the action and into safety. It’s this reliance, and the character interactions that flow from it, that make the show what it is. It’s character driven, and I love that.
Impacting Art Style
You could say that KonoSuba’s art isn’t the greatest, though I think a statement like that would be slightly off-point. For the simple reason being, it works as it is. It’s stylised, and the characters aren’t always drawn to look 100% attractive, 100% of the time. It lets a more diverse set of emotions flow across the screen – being able to display what the impeccable characters have to offer.
What strikes me the instantly is… well, how breasts are drawn and animated. I know this may seem like a point of… preference rather than anything objective. Yet, as I see it – and I’m entering into the treacherous land of real-world-comparison here – they have substance! You might think I have gone off on a tangent with this one, however, I honestly believe it adds something positive to the show – even if that is nothing but a breath of fresh air. There are too many shows which depict breasts the size of steroid-pumped Watermelons, and they just… rest there like lumps of inate concrete. KonoSuba as the bravery to do things differently, to set itself apart from the classic norm. Anyway, that’s enough of that!
Beyond this, the art is good, as are the character designs and animations. It’s not spectacular. It doesn’t reach the heights of studios such as KyoAni, but does that really matter in a show that is great in every other narrative aspect? I think not. Perfection really is a fickle thing to strive for.
The background art is often very nice too; giving us a pleasant representation of KonoSuba’s world. It’s better in places than others. Though, when it is good, the style it takes is very aesthetically pleasing. It strikes a calming balance amongst the unrelenting humour and action sequences, letting us cool of for a second before plunging us into the next moment of hilarity.
M0re to Come?
Recently there has been an announcement that there is something more to come of KonoSuba. It is not clear as to what this is, nor the form that it might take. Of course, we’re all hoping for a 3rd season. Though, after the ‘dialogue’ with the author, I have to wonder how likely this might be. Still, I would take an OVA any day of the week. As long as KonoSuba is in the title, I’m all up for it!
KonoSuba is definitely one to watch. If you enjoy comedy, it is something of a necessity on your lists. Push it right to the top, if you haven’t already. Regarding pure entertainment, it’s a show that is very hard to beat.
Have any thoughts on KonoSuba? Anything I’ve missed? Tell me!
Thank you for reading, as always!
-Chris (Follow me on Twitter, below!)