Before we get into this, I want to talk briefly about the Isekai Genre.
We are living in the golden age (or not) of the Isekai genre’s influence on Anime. Simply put, “Another World” stories are the hot new item that anime and manga are chasing. While the industry is big enough and has more than enough stories that aren’t Isekai, its stranglehold on it is unavoidable, and with that comes the backlash.
Now I like Isekai, and there have been some wonderful shows that have come out of it. ReZero is an isekai that pretty much got me back into anime. However, I’ve come around to the view that overall, the Isekai genre is wasting its potential. For a subsect of fiction that is pretty much a blank cheque to tell any kind of story they want, authors and showrunners seem more content in recycling the same plot over and over again. How many times can you tell the “guy gets killed and transported to another world where he reigns as the god-king?” story before it gets stale? Better yet, how many subpar versions of those stories can people stomach before they just get turned off by it all? Last years Reincarnated as a Slime and this year Rising of the Shield Hero are both solid good isekai stories, but how many passed or dismissed them because they are just sick of the same generic plots, that (while done better than most) both of those stories use?
There is nothing wrong with Isekai as a story concept, but I fear that creators are burning through audience patience and goodwill by serving us more of the same generic stories and they won’t be willing to give real good shows a chance. Case in point, let’s take a shallow dive into KonoSuba – God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! after the cut.
Watching a show like KonoSuba reminded me much of my first run through of ReZero, in that it seemed tailored made to help address some of the hangups and issues I have with Anime. While ReZero was focused on tearing down the concept of the shonen action hero, and anime heroes in general. KonoSuba focuses on serving some bitter medicine to the idea of the Isekai power fantasy. Yet while ReZero was done in a dramatic fashion, KonoSuba is a comedy.
And it’s a fucking funny one.
From the world, the characters, the main cast and the inconsistent animation that feels like it was the point. KonoSuba feels like it was made from the bottom up with the intention of throwing a pie in the face of more serious Isekai stories. From the standard reincarnation beginning, right up to the end of the first season, the show boldly marches hilariously to the beat of its own drum and refuses to indulge in the “easy” avenues of other Isekai stories. The beginning is a perfect example of this when series lead Kazuma Sato decides to buck tradition and actually force the “goddess” who is reincarnating him Aqua to come along on his journey to put her in her place. This mere moment in the first episode made me laugh out loud for the sheer genius of it.
As the stories go on and Kazuma and Aqua are joined by the two other main characters. The mage who will only cast ONE spell Megumin, and the holy knight masochist Darkness, the chemistry, and antics between the cast become the heart of the show. It is that chemistry, very reminiscent of the ones from the hit western comedy Always Sunny in Philadelphia in which the cast can’t stand each other, but get along so well that makes KonoSuba stand out from some many other Isekai in the last few years.
Reviewing comedy series are hard, because most of what I want to talk about is something you should just watch the show for, and I don’t want to ruin it here. What I will say though is that KonoSuba is an Isekai story that is bold enough to try and be something different, instead of just chasing popular fads in the hopes of making quick cash. Its comedy is on point, it’s characters are unique and memorable and it never takes itself too seriously (or at all) and all of it’s ripping on the genre is done with love. If you are sick to death of Isekai and want something lighter than ReZero to clean your palate, then absolutely check this out. I know my review on this was short, but this is a show that needs to be watched, not written about.