Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku Wo! – 01
「この自称女神と異世界転生を！」 (Kono Jishou Megami to i Sekai Tensei o!)
“The Self-Proclaimed Goddess and Reincarnation in Another World”
Are you tired of the main protagonist of your RPG-inspired anime being overpowered? How about one who’s not competent at all? Everyone’s personality is broken, and it’s a lot of fun.
An RPG-inspired World. What’s The Hook?
This is another anime inspired by RPGs, and sorry, I haven’t seen the first episode of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar yet, so I won’t be able to compare it to that. (I’ll get to that when I have free time tomorrow.) But I can quickly summarize the biggest difference between this and all the other [MMO]RPG-inspired anime (.hack, Sword Art Online Log Horizon, Overlord, DanMachi, etc): This is a comedy.
While the others usually have funny elements, or make use of humor, the first episode of KonoSuba was a total lark. Hiki-NEET Satou Kazuma (Fukushima Jun) is killed in the most embarrassing way, reincarnated by an impatient goddess, drags her along out of petty spite, cackles evilly while he’s doing it, and she’s as dumb as a bag full of bricks. There appears to be a dramatic structure to this, i.e. the whole “Kill the Maou [Devil/Demon King]” thing, but it’s not the point of the story. The point is to watch two (soon, four) dysfunctional adventurers do dysfunctional RPG things.
The other big difference is that, like Overlord and DanMachi (and possibly others), the fantasy world here is real. And, much like DanMachi, all the blatantly RPG-derived elements are justified because SHUT UP, real RPG-style world!! Which is to say that they’re flagrantly copied and justified in the most gamey way possible, but I find this world a lot better than it did in DanMachi, because everything about the episode is screaming, “Don’t take this seriously. Have fun!” (Granted, DanMachi’s system ended up working pretty well because “The gods did it” is a pretty good reason when the gods are walking around, but that came later.) So while it’s not breaking radical new ground, it’s having fun with a goofy idea. I can dig that.
A Level One, Underpowered Protagonist
Another thing I hear about that frequently annoys some viewers is when the main (usually male) protagonist in a magical-fantasy-action-harem series starts out overpowered and unbeatable. Just this season, both Luck and Logic and Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle did this, to varying degrees of success—Luck and Logic justified it by making the protagonist a widely-known veteran (which worked well), while Bahamut took the more clichéd approach. Here, we have something more along the lines of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, but with a twist—not only is Kazuma starting from level one, he’s pretty much incompetent. Which means a completely different viewing experience! We’ll not only get to see him claw his way up the ladder—starting with nothing but a tracksuit, so that even the acquisition of a weapon or proper adventurer clothes will feel like a victory—but we get to see the world utterly crap on him as he does it. Which will probably be fun, because…
Everyone’s Personality Is Broken
What got me excited about this show comes from Takkun’s preview:
Its colorful cast of characters is what brings the whole thing together. And by colorful cast, I mean how atrociously bad everyone is at what they’re trying to do.
I can already see what he means! The comedy started a little slow for me, and the pacing might be a tad pokey, which makes sense since another show director Kanasaki Takaomi helmed, Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?, was oddly lethargic at times. But it started to come into its own when Aqua (Amamiya Sora) started freaking out about Kazuma picking her as his item, and how he did it out of petty spite in the first place. And then he started cackling, and he won me over! Sorry, I have a soft spot for a petty protagonist who knows when to deploy a satisfying evil laugh, even if the universe went out of its way to puncture his ego at every juncture. I’m looking forward to meeting the other broken losers, especially the mage who apparently loves explosions. Hey, I love explosions too! Let’s be friends.
The animation can get wonky at times, though I’m not an animation fetishist, so it didn’t bother me much. I also really liked the goofy work montage at the end, and I’m not sure why. It was uplifting in a way, ya know? The hiki-NEET went from being a shut-in to having an outside job, getting along with his coworkers, partying, and sleeping with a goddess (not that way). And Aqua apparently goes hard, which warms the heart of a
drunk beer aficionado like myself. The ultimate punchline was, once again, a little slow coming once it was there. I still laughed, I just felt it didn’t maximize its oompfh.
Like I said, I’m excited to this mage teammate that’s coming up. This episode about met my expectations, and we’ve got a couple of writers considering this show, but a second episode will tell us more how the adaptation will go. Tell us what you think about this episode, and whether this is something you’d like to see blogged. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets at least a second post.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – An RPG-inspired fantasy adventure where everyone is hilariously bad at their jobs. No overpowered protagonists here #konosuba 01
- Kazuma is voiced by FukuJun. Not the FukuJun, but a FukuJun. I definitely get Manabe from Kotoura-san vibes from him occasionally.
- There’s definitely a stereotypical RPG vibe with how the adventurers—usually the female ones, though not exclusively—often wear unrealistically scant clothing. Though to its credit, not only do some men get the treatment, but none of the main characters do, obligatory skirts aside. That + the lampooning tone = no problem (for me).
- There were lots of close-ups of Aqua’s mouth. Also, this. The camera tells me this is important.
- What was with the pause? That was odd. I don’t know if it was tongue-in-cheek or a hint that this really is a video game, but it was certainly odd. I just appeared, disappeared, and went uncommented upon.
- She may be kinda dumb and have a weird way of dealing with the world, but she is cute. Give in, Kazuma-san. It’s your destiny.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: $%&@* cuss words, Stephen, what is best in life?, It depends, and Momentum & mental space.
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