KonoSuba, which is the much-needed shortcut to its real title “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o!” (God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World), decided one day that the isekai genre was taking itself too seriously.
What with most titles failing to reinvent themselves and still insistent on using the same tired tropes in the flattest way possible. It was time for Truck-Kun to finally kill the right person to send in the right fantasy world. Therefore, today we stand thankful for Kazuma’s numerous sacrifices and praise “Kono Subarashii Anime ni Shukufuku o.”
What happened so far in Konosuba
Following his pathetic death in the most laughable circumstances, Kazuma Satou (a hikikomori/MMORPG fan) ends up in the afterlife, where the rude and obnoxious Goddess Aqua faces him. She gives him two options: he can either endure the boredom of Heaven or be reincarnated in a fantasy world with RPG mechanics where his task would be to defeat the Devil King. Emboldened by his experience in video games, Kazuma accepts to be reincarnated and, when prompted to choose only one item to bring with him, decides to bring Aqua along, counting on her divine powers to breeze through his quest (that and a bit of revenge for overtly making fun of him).
Now, who would have thought that being an antisocial NEET would translate into a bottom-of-the-barrel adventurer in a fantasy world? Not only are his hopes of overpowering broken on the altar of social realness, but he quickly understands that Aqua is utterly useless despite her godly powers.
They start at the bottom of the ladder like in any RPG, having to find small menial jobs and sleeping in fragrant barns to make ends meet. To make more money and accept bigger quests, the pair hires two new members: Megumin, the chuunibyou mage completely obsessed by her Explosion spell, and Darkness, the curvaceous holy crusader with no talent for fighting and a wild streak for masochist behavior. Contemplating the dysfunctionality of his party, Kazuma decides to give up on the Devil King and enjoy life as it comes. Unfortunately for them, that is not what fate has in store for our group of goofs, and soon, adventure knocks on their door…or just breaks into their barn. You can decide.
What is going on with Studio Deen?
Season 1 of Konosuba aired from January 14, 2016, to March 16, 2016, and the second season from January 12, 2017, to March 16, 2017, for 20 episodes. The series is directed by Takaomi Tanasaki, written by Makoto Uezu, with an OST composed by Masato Kouda.
The protagonists are all useless -to varying degrees- in KonoSuba. Great! Time to rebel against individuals like Jesus-Kun (read: Kirito). Time to parody and make fun of those tired codes we keep seeing in fantasy anime and elements found in RPGs. First of all, the two main points used in isekai are turned into ridicule from the get-go: Kazuma’s stats suck and what is supposed to be his harem sucks even more, to the point he himself is not trying to pursue the ladies actively. His only saving grace is his maxed-out luck and, if you know RPGs, we all know that it is the most nebulous existing stat as it is near impossible to determine exactly how it influences the rest (thank you, RNG magic).
Kazuma is cynical, realist, selfish, lazy, and even a bit of a pervert. But in this situation, that makes him awfully relatable and reliable: he will not go after powerful targets even if the reward is high, will not jump in situations that do not present any advantages, and will try to come up with a plan using the resources at hand. His seiyuu perfectly convey his blasé attitude: Fukushima Jun’s delivery is dry, deadpan, and tired. Those bits where the girls call his name when they are in a pinch, and he goes “Yes, I’m Kazuma” in a here-we-go-again tone and continues to add short and sardonic comments in between. The girls’ nonsense? Hilarious. He is the most level-headed member of his party, a hard worker, and a good leader when completely broke.
Aqua’s attitude would normally attract a lot of hate. Still, that big ego, unfiltered honesty in the form of high-level trash-talking, and unrequited grandeur are quickly drowned by her cute stupidity and feeble mind. She unapologetically is herself, and it will stay that way. Megumin (a fan favorite) is the most reserved. As a Crimson Mage, she actually has the skills to learn more spells but is set on dedicating her craft to Explosion even if it completely dries her mana out after one use. And she so earnestly does so. Her chuunibyou discourse (we recognize the official chuuni eyepatch), shyness bordering tsundere antics, and ability to still make her voice heard when needed give her a really charming aura as the youngest.
Darkness is the last member to join the group, but certainly not the least colorful. Under her dignified appearance, “Lalatina” is a raging masochist who lives for the blows, emotional abuse, and the humiliation of defeat. Taking advantage of her robust physique, she does not hesitate to throw herself at the enemy to savor the taste of the violent interaction, her lecherous imagination turning banal conversations into hardcore fanfictions. Yet, hidden under the layers of perversion, her more innocent nature often appears as a young lady raised in high society.
There is a bit of blushing here, a sprinkle of love ideals there, a touch of romanticism… never mind the fact that they are all tainted by her degeneracy. This over-the-top party is surrounded by a cast of interesting supporting characters with defined personalities bringing diversity to the different interactions. Aqua’s holy nature makes her aggressive around Wiz the ghoul, Kazuma fully displaying his perverted side with Dust and Keith, YunYun bringing the tsundere out of Megumin, among other things. The group in itself is a walking contradiction. Those four individuals should not be able to produce results nor get along, but the way they start improving their relationship is so natural that one cannot see why it could not exist. It is a good thing that they can be dysfunctional together.
The story is fairly simple, and the plot slowly advances throughout the two seasons. KonoSuba is more comedy/slice of life in a fantasy world than fantasy/action/adventure. We do get the action/adventure side from time to time, but it serves more as a tool to introduce new shenanigans, add to the world-building and reinforce the group’s dynamics. In Konosuba, it is not a matter of bad pacing, but rather a matter of what you really are watching here: forget about the Devil King and his minions for now. Those are for the season finale because the scenario only progresses literally during the last 2 episodes in each season.
The comedy is constant and pretty solid. This comes as a big surprise since gimmicks such as Darkness’ vice tend to get old quickly. However, the show avoids that hurdle by adapting it to the context (the meeting with her fiancé is a riot). The animation is…particular. Apart from the gorgeously animated action scenes with their flamboyant magic, sharp movements, and God’s Blow or God’s Requiem (also the jiggle physics, do not forget the jiggle), the rest is a bit discombobulated. However, those distorted facial expressions, “sloppy” designs, and inconsistent character animation actually add to the absurdity and comedic timing of the anime. It is a point anime/manga like Gintama, Cromartie High School, or Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid understood: if you are going to use comedy and go for derpy faces to give stronger visuals to facial expressions, the original character design cannot be too detailed, or the transition between comedy and seriousness is bound to create a visual gap.
Our protagonists are far from perfect, and they are shamelessly aware of their less glorious side. For all her cuteness, Aqua’s face when she cries out of cowardice is comedy gold. Darkness’s expressions when she experiences sexual delight are more hilarious than erotic. Koichi Kikuta, the character designer for both seasons, even stated that instead of using the cuteness portrayed in the visual novels, he decided to showcase “their more human sides, like their unflattering traits and their distressed moments.” One reproach that could be made regarding the backgrounds is that they are pretty but too generic. In total, we get to see two cities, and in between, the group is not really exploring the country they are in.
Studio Deen has announced that they will start working on Sasaki and Miyano, a yaoi slice of life due for 2022.
What do we know about Konosuba Season 3 so far?
It might or might not be a thing. On July 18th, it was announced that new KonoSuba material was in the works and that the franchise would be back. The announcement was pretty blurry, making sure to keep us in the dark about the nature of said material: movie, OVA, or season 3? Time will tell.
What are fans saying about Konosuba Season 3?
KonoSuba being the big franchise it is, you can bet that the community is active. And if you add the fact that Studio Deen announced more content not that long ago, you can bet the dormant fans are not up and busy. Little talks about Season 3 appear, however, which is understandable. The medium used is still unknown, but there is no point in discussing the same points back and forth.
At this point, all one can do is wait patiently.
Between the fanarts, memes, translations of spinoffs not yet licensed in English, updates about games and events, and fan videos, there is a lot to sift through on Reddit and Twitter. The show has excellent scores on MAL, IMDB and Anilist.
Will there be Konosuba Season 3?
KonoSuba started as a web novel written by Natsume Akatsuki from December 2012 to October 2013. It was then serialized as a light novel from October 2013 to May 2020 (17 volumes), with Akatsuki still writing and illustrated by Kurone Mishima. Three spinoffs have followed: KonoSuba: An Explosion on this Wonderful World (centered around Megumin – 3 volumes), Kono Kamen no Akuma ni Sōdan o (Oneshot), and KonoSuba: Extra Attention to that Wonderful Fool, focusing on Dust. It was written by Hirukuma, illustrated by Yuuki Hagure, and started in August 2017 (7 volumes – ongoing).
An ongoing manga adaptation of the main story illustrated by Masahito Watari started in September 2014 (13 volumes). Megumin’s spinoff also received a manga adaptation from May 2016 to December 2017 (5 volumes). As of April 2020, the light novel has around 9 million copies in circulation. It has also received a lot of positive reviews over the years.
Two OAVs were released in July 2016 and July 2017, respectively, right after each season. The movie KonoSuba: Crimson Legend was released in August 2019 and was also a success with the public, as reflected by its scores of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.49 on MAL. KonoSuba also generated quite a several games spanning on different platforms (from PC to PS4). The mobile game KonoSuba: Fantastic Days has been officially localized in English. Eastern Star released the first season + OVA1 on Blu-ray in 2020 and then proceeded to do the same with season 2 + OVA2 in 2021. The series is often found in the Top 20 best-selling Blu-ray rankings (for animation) released each week in Japan.
As expected, the merchandising around KonoSuba is gigantic. Between the different products and the collaborations, it can be not easy to go for just one goodie—tapestries, keychains, figures, dakimakura, postcards, drama CDs, among other things.
There is definitely something for everyone. On Google Trends, KonoSuba affirms its popularity with a map covered in blue. It is an international phenomenon. The graph shows a constant interest by not reaching that zero. The highest peak can be observed around the time new content was announced.
When will Konosuba Season 3 be released?
No date is available as of yet.
What can we expect in Season 3 of Konosuba?
Is it even a third season that Studio Deen is cooking right now?
They are making sure to keep silent about it as the project is not referenced on their website. The visual novel is now over, making it easy to find ample content to adapt. After all, Kazuma and his goofy ladies still have much to learn before the final fight, news characters to meet, debts to pay off, and…why not? A bit of real romance.