Title (English): KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!
Title (Japanese): この素晴らしい世界に祝福を！
Animation Studio: Studio Deen
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Heaven or Hell? It’s quite a simple choice… isn’t it? Apparently Heaven is boring and Hell is Hell. What if instead, the other third choice, Purgatory, was a parallel world in which you are placed as a new adventurer in a game-like world to stop an evil Demon King? Now that sounds better! Welcome to Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (referred to as KonoSuba from now on), where the choice is exactly that!
On his way back home from the video game store, shut-in NEET, Kazuma Satou, notices a girl about to get hit by a vehicle and he pushes her out of the way. When he wakes up, he finds himself in limbo where a goddess, Aqua, tells him (in the most humiliating and hilarious way possible) that he is now dead and it’s her job to send him to Heaven or Hell. Aqua tells Kazuma that both are no fun and she recommends sending him to an alternate dimension where a fantasy game-like world exists. She tells him that he is allowed to bring one item/person into the world with him. After being annoyed by Aqua telling him to hurry up on his decision, Kazuma grudgingly says he wants her to accompany him. Another goddess says that his decision is valid, and so she sends him and Aqua into the other world. Aqua is now stuck with Kazuma, as he begins his adventure to defeat the Demon King.
KonoSuba earns points from me just for purely being enjoyable. Unlike other anime of its kind that try to be serious with its fantasy game-like settings, KonoSuba shows how much fun it is just to simply to play these kind of games. It’s the polar opposite to Hai to Gensou no Grimgar which is also airing this season. While the world itself is real, and I’m pretty sure death in this world is permanent, it has a rather light-hearted nature to it that makes you forget about that. All the ‘players’ are all technically dead anyway.
Another part of what makes this anime fun is sympathizing with Kazuma as he has to deal with his party members’ less than optimal combat abilities. Despite Kazuma being the lowest-class possible, and all of his teammates being advanced classes, he has to work the hardest to ensure his party’s survival since all of them are terrible at their jobs, at least in the traditional way. Clearly, none of his teammates have ever played an RPG before and they don’t have much common/game sense, which only makes their antics all the funnier. All gamers can relate to this feeling of having teammates that weren’t up to snuff. I hope this kind of thing continues, because it’s gold right now.
While the world itself looks nice, the character designs aren’t the best. There’s some inconsistencies in their facial structure in some scenes that is a little off-putting. A close-up shot of a character one time may not necessarily be the same the next time, even if their facial expression is the same. The animation is half-decent but nothing special as of right now. Considering how much I like the rest of the anime, I wish the art and animation part were better.
KonoSuba brings in a mixture of veteran and rookie voice actors. For me, it’s been quite a while since I last heard Sora Amamiya voice a character. The last time I heard her, she made her debut as Kaori Fujimiya from Isshukan Friends. Since then, she went on to become one of the best rookie voice actresses from last year. Now she returns as an experienced voice actress doing Aqua. Ai Kayano is the other veteran voice actress doing Darkness. Kazuma is voiced by Jun Fukushima (not to be confused with Jun Fukuyama, one of the industry’s most well-known), and Megumin is voiced by Rie Takahashi. Both are relatively new, but are doing their roles well.
I’ve said this before, but KonoSuba is a ton of fun. I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed an anime like this in a long time. I now anxiously await each episode every week not because of story, not because the previous episode ended on a cliffhanger, but simply because I want to spend more time in this world with this wacky set of characters. The comedy is pretty good for those familiar with games, but can still be enjoyed by someone unfamiliar with gaming terms. This, to me, is one of this season’s sleeper hits, in a season overshadowed by one particular show… which I’m sure we all know about. Even if you’re tired of all of these fantasy-game anime, I would still recommend giving KonoSuba a shot just for an old-fashioned good time.
Anyone watching this, or is now considering giving this a shot? Let me know in the comments!