Ever dreamed of finding yourself as the destined hero of a JRPG-style world? KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World has fun showing you why that might not be as fantastic as you’d think — and to great comedic effect.
At first, KonoSuba seems like every other anime in the popular subgenre of “Otaku protagonist transported to a fantasy JRPG world”. Kazuma, your average otaku, dies heroically saving a girl while on the way to buy a new video game. In the afterlife, he meets Aqua, a goddess who offers to let him be reincarnated in an RPG fantasy world. And he can even bring any one object with him into the fantasy world as a bonus.
Then comes the twist. Mocking him, Aqua explains he didn’t die heroically: He died of a heart attack and the girl was actually in no danger at all. In fact, Aqua just wishes he would hurry up and choose so she can move on to her next client. More than a little pissed, Kazuma chooses his “any one object”: Aqua herself.
One would think that having a goddess on your side would be a surefire route to success in an RPG world, but as Kazuma is quick to find out, Aqua was a terrible choice. While a gifted healer full of holy magic, she isn’t particularly smart. Rather, she is egotistical, selfish, greedy, lazy and gives no forethought to the future.
Soon they are joined by two more party members — those with stats that look great on paper but has glaring eccentricities that make them all but shunned by the other guilds in the starting town.
The first is Megumin, an arch-wizard specialising in the world’s most powerful magic: explosion magic. Unfortunately, she refuses to cast any other kind of magic. So with her low level (and thus low mana pool) even casting a single spell is enough to leave her temporarily immobile and unable to cast again for the rest of the day.
The second is Darkness, a crusader who is eager to take the hit for any party member in battle — though not because of loyalty. Rather, Darkness is an extreme masochist who derives great pleasure from being hurt in battle. Moreover, as a swordsman she is terrible and is practically incapable of hitting her target.
Kazuma’s role in the party is that of the straight man. He constantly makes derisive comments about his party’s quirks or the cliché nature of the world around him. That said, he forms an obvious kinship with the three girls.
As Kazuma so correctly laments, alone the three girls range from useless to stupidly inept. But together, they actually make a well-rounded team. Darkness is the perfect “tank”, able to take hits and keep the enemies’ attention. Aqua is a great healer, able to keep Darkness alive. Lastly Megumin can wipe out all enemies attacking Darkness in a single blow. In the party setting, it is actually Kazuma who is the least valuable — though his steal skill and luck prove pivotal more than once.
Much of the comedy in KonoSuba stems from how Kazuma comes to view the world he always dreamed of. He quickly realises he is not the “hero” of the world as he would be in a game. Instead, he finds himself starting at the bottom — doing day labour alongside Aqua just to get enough money to sleep in a stable. Adventuring and killing monsters tends to be either humiliating (getting covered in slime) or dangerous (dying in any number of horrible ways). Soon all he wants is a place to live while doing as little as possible.
The girls more or less come around to his way of thinking. While in theory Aqua wants to defeat the demon king so as to return to being a goddess, Megumin wants to blow stuff up and Darkness wants to get hurt in noble battle, they are happy enough to do the minimum of work whenever possible. When confronted with traditional heroes, they find them creepy more than anything else.
The only thing that really gets them into the spotlight is their respective egos. Aqua feels she must be seen as an amazing person. Megumin can’t stand people trash talking explosion magic. Darkness feels the need to act the perfect noble knight in public — especially if it allows her to get hit. When these buttons are pushed, none of them are able to back down, even when they should. Needless to say, this gets them into large amounts of trouble.
KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World is an anime that has a lot of fun mocking the tropes of the typical JRPG fantasy world via a colourful cast of characters that are enjoyable in their own right. The comedy is so spot-on with its deadpan nature that it’s hard not to be drawn in by that alone. In the end, it is a must watch for any JRPG fan or Dungeons and Dragons player out there.
KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World aired on Tokyo MX in Japan and can be seen for free and with English subtitles on AnimeLab.