KonoSuba: The Easy Way Out

この素晴らしい世界に祝福を! (KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!)

At first glance KonoSuba is not special. All previews pointed to a fantasy adventure style anime with the same bells and whistles as every other. As of now, not many things come to mind when I think of what was wrong with this series. I enjoyed it, a lot. Although, there is one problem I have with KonoSuba which differs from what others have been saying. Many are upset at the cut and paste character personalities of the supporting cast and repetitive gags they find themselves in. However, I believe the problem rests solely on our main character.

Character: Kazuma / Username: Lucifer012 – DeviantArt

Our protagonist Kazuma is absolutely average and an antisocial shut-in high school boy. After his untimely death in our world he is reborn into a fantasy adventure RPG-esque parallel realm, tasked with defeating the evil king. As he soon discovers, hard work is required so he may pay for his living expenses and advance this new life of his. Even the new friends he has made are helping him to build his social skills. All supporting characters follow their own cookie-cutter formula: the narcissistic goddess (Aqua), stubborn middle school girl in over her head (Megumin) and the masochistic pylon (darkness). Our hero soon finds himself stuck with this band of eccentrics because no other party would take them.

I feel there is a deeper meaning to this show and I want reveal the ideas the comedy/jokes/gags are hiding. To begin with, did I foresee our characters in KonoSuba to be special? No. Was I expecting this show to blow my expectations out the water? No. But they did, surprisingly. Characters feel increasingly more genuine with each consecutive episode. Every interaction feels natural. Voice actors/actresses sound sincere in their dialogue. Nothing feels forced. The pace at which the world builds on each character experience is slow and subtle.

Aqua (KonoSuba) Minimalistic by AncorsCharacter: Aqua / Username: Ancors – DeviantArt

But something is missing here. Something I have not seen anyone talk about yet. This show is about learning to deal with new surroundings. Kazuma is forced to survive in his new world and learn little by little. Beyond the standard character stereotypes is an idea, a pattern that shows itself quite often. Sure KonoSuba has its typecasts, but it flips them all on their head. How this show represents itself is what sets it apart from the others. There’s a vibe it gives off. As if the team responsible for this series intended for us to feel this way. It’s ironic. I mean the show, not the production team. Nearly every situation the team finds themselves in strays from what was expected.

We expected Kazuma to be the chosen hero that will vanquish the evil king, when in reality his stats only qualify him to be a trader, the lowest level job. He could make an honest living doing this, yet he still chooses the path of glory. He was reborn to this world in order to become an adventurer, not to work a minimum wage job. Still, he finds himself on a construction site from day one, repairing the wall around the town in order to make ends meet, and he begins to settle in this job before he recognizes the rut he has put himself in. As a shut-in he finally begins to understand the value of hard work.

Character: Megumin / Username: FikriMochizou – DeviantArt

That is what makes this series stand out. The life of an adventurer is not so laidback. Which brings me to my point, why I dislike KonoSuba. The amount of complaining Kazuma does, that this life is not as easy as it should be. He was expecting to “[be] lauded as [the] chosen hero”, to live the easy life of a high level adventurer. He makes similar statements of longing for a helping hand apparent in nearly every episode. He is a child feeling entitled because he was not coddled when he arrived to his new world. By the end of the series his unending crying of ‘this is not the life I wished for’ got old. He never experienced the full weight of society because he was still attending high school before his death.

If Kazuma were not so upset at his situation all the time the shows theme would be drastically different. He would be happy to be around his teammates, no matter how ineffective they are. When our protagonist finds himself in a tough spot he gets the job done. So why does he keep blaming everyone and their mothers for his own troubles? Even after each member of his party used their powers to turn the tides of battle, he still regards them as hopeless. Although they have their weaknesses, the team clearly has the strength and intelligence to help push Kazuma forward in this second chance he was given.

Character: Darkness / Username: greenmapple17 – DeviantArt

I understand this show could just be a parody of typical fantasy adventure anime, but it plays itself so seriously I am not sure if it should be put in the parody category at all. Overall, I enjoyed this show a lot. It’s not every day I get to genuinely laugh at a show as funny as KonoSuba. I am just not sure how much longer I can take Kazuma’s grievances, over his new life not being easy enough. Unfortunately this trend will likely lead well into season two, but I have my fingers crossed that he will progress and adapt to his surroundings as any adult would do.

 

-Venomspreader

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