KonoSuba 2 Review - Cats, Masks and Useless Goddesses

Jared Popelar · March 8, 2017

I won’t lie to you guys: 2016 was a really rough year.

My home country went through an extremely divisive election, there were no less than thirty-thousand celebrity deaths, the movie and music industries were not doing well at all, and I personally was barely keeping my head above water during my fall semester of senior year. By most accounts, this year was not kind to most of America, and it showed.

For me, there were only two really big saving graces for someone of my interests. First, the DOOM reboot came out that summer and between that, XCOM 2 and Overwatch, probably saved the game industry from slumping as well. And second, the anime shows that year were mostly pretty damn good. This was the year we got Mob Psycho 100, Re:Zero, Yuri!!! on Ice, Keijo!!!!!!!! if you’re in the mood for something less subtle, ERASED, Drifters, Sakamoto desu ga?, a third season of Haikyu!!, Part 4 of JBA, something else I’ll review next week, and my personal favorite out of the bunch, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Syukufuku wo!

Or, if that moniker is too much Japanese in one sitting for you, it’s more widely known by its nickname, KonoSuba.


The show stole my caption…like, I have nothing else to say.

Now, you may recall that I brought this show up a couple weeks ago when I reviewed Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, and in case you haven’t seen the show yet (why the hell are you reading this review for the second season then?), allow me get you situated. It’s a transported-to-another-world anime, so sing along if you know the words: Kazuma (Jun Fukushima) is a shut-in NEET who (minor spoilers) dies not five minutes into the show and is transported to a fantasy RPG world to continue living on as an adventurer. His adventuring party consists of himself as a jack-of-all-trades, an energetic but stuck-up goddess named Aqua (Sora Amamiya) masquerading as a high priest to avoid drawing attention to herself (not that it helps), an arch wizard named Megumin (Rie Takahashi) who can cast her signature (and only) spell exactly once before passing out from exhaustion, and a crusader named Darkness (Ai Kayano) who… there’s no good way to put this, she’s sexually aroused by pain and being in perilous situations, so of course she’s the party’s tank character.

The first season of KonoSuba was entertaining, uplifting and downright hilarious when it was showing during the summer of 2016, and with the winter anime season coming into its home stretch, I thought I’d go ahead and give my opinion on the sequel while it’s still on air. I mean, what else is showing right now that I care about enough to review this week? Chaos;Child? Too bad you have to watch a boring and/or confusing prequel fixated around a quantum bulldozer to keep up with the plot, and even then you’ll still probably get whiplash. Gintama Season 4? Maybe, but Gintama is a show best served without knowing anything about what you’re getting yourself into, and I’m always loathe to ruin things for my audience. Schoolgirl Strikers? Okay, Winter 2017, now you’re not even trying.

As you might expect, KonoSuba 2 picks up right where the first season left off, with Kazuma’s team saving the day and earning a ton of cash, only to then get news that he actually committed a crime in doing so. Honestly, I probably could’ve cut out that last sentence, since many of the arcs in KonoSuba are self-contained within their respective episodes. Every once in a while a story will span two episodes or three, but usually whatever issues our heroes encounter get resolved by the time the ED plays, similar to shows like Ouran Highschool Host Club and JBA Part 3. The main overarching goal everyone is striving towards - killing the Devil King - stays in the background and provides us more opportunity to enjoy our time with Kazuma and company.

And really, if you’re watching KonoSuba because you want to see a grand, overarching story and a thick, detailed plot, then you’re watching the wrong damn show. This show exists for only one explicit purpose: to get you to laugh uncontrollably.


Behold, Kazuma, the Legendary Lifter of Pantsu!

If I went to list every single thing KonoSuba made me burst into tears laughing over, I’d be up all night compiling it. This show is so ridiculous and over the top, there is guaranteed to be something you’re going to almost hyperventilate over. I don’t think I’ve watched one episode of this show without finding something to snicker at. Season 2 completely succeeds on that front, and that’s enough for me to recommend it by itself right there.

To keep things interesting as the series continues doing what it does best, it reintroduces some supporting characters from the first season and brings them into a little more prominence than before. More specifically, Wiz gets a lot more screentime than she did in the first season, and that enables her to interact with the rest of the main characters in ways that wouldn’t have been feasible otherwise. She provides quest hooks, her shop eventually gets new management (and that’s all I can say without spoiling something), and she just gets more opportunities to play off of Kazuma and his friends, which just adds on to the show’s comedic value in my opinion.

Speaking of which, the jokes and punchlines are just as on point as I remember them from Season 1. Kazuma is just as lowbrow and grounded as he was previously. Aqua is still useless and whiny but nevertheless spirited and enthusiastic. Megumin still holds great pride in her Explosion magic and still has an aptitude for giving things ridiculous names. And Darkness… well you saw the first picture of her from a few paragraphs ago, so she’s still doing alright for herself as well.


We have assimilated Kazuma into our fold.

KonoSuba 2 works chiefly as a direct extension of the first season; it’s more of what made the original so damn funny with a couple spices thrown in to keep it from going bland. I understand that last sentence was a little loaded, so let me reiterate that KonoSuba succeeds in every respect as a comedy show. KonoSuba doesn’t change up the formula in any significant way because it doesn’t need to. If Studio Dean just had the same characters bumbling around and doing the same thing they did from Season 1, that wouldn’t really affect my overall score in my opinion. But we do get a couple great additions on the side of an already fantastic main course, and in my book that’s perfectly alright for a show that makes me genuinely laugh as loud as this one does.

Because, as if I haven’t made this clear enough by now, KonoSuba is an absolute farce in the best possible ways. There’s just something about our dysfunctional band of “heroes” that gets them to spark and interact in a way that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Any comedy show that has an inkling of self-awareness knows that the basic premise of comedy is tragedy. It’s the context and the other characters' reactions to the tragedy that ultimately make a scenario funny, and KonoSuba knows exactly how to do that. Every joke in the series hits because, not only is this a fantasy world so we can set up even more elaborate and escapist scenarios for our protagonists, their personalities are so exaggerated and memorable that whenever they do react to something, it feels genuine to that character. The audience says, “Yep, this is exactly something Darkness would get turned on by,” and yet we’re still surprised by just how over-the-top the actual reaction is that we can’t help but laugh, even though we saw the joke coming from a mile away.

This formula has worked wonders for KonoSuba up to this point, and Season 2 has refined it down to an art. It’s superb.


I’m not the only one getting a very Phoenix Wright vibe from this, right?

I do have a couple minor complaints about Season 2 in particular, primary one being that I feel like a few characters don’t quite get all of the screentime they deserve. Many scenes and setups in this season have Kazuma and one of the girls doing what amounts to a two-man dungeon without the other half of the cast around, and that means KonoSuba is trying to KonoSuba with only half of a deck sometimes. It’s still hilarious, rest assured, but I feel like we do get a little inundated with those scenes, and as a result, the show feels more modular in regards to certain combinations of characters. Thus we get the suspicion that more time is being given to some characters over others.

This is probably not the case in actuality, and likely a paranoid rambling of an overly skeptic college student, but it really does feel like there’s an imbalance present between the four leads. Darkness actually goes off on what amounts to a side quest just by herself, so for the first three or so episodes we only have three characters to play with and it just feels incomplete in that regard.


Well, technically four characters if we count this cutie.

There’s also this strange overarching story where Kazuma gets arrested under suspicion of being a spy for the Devil King that doesn’t really go anywhere and just kinda dangles over the show awkwardly. Sure, it’s motivation for Darkness to take a hiatus and queue up a plot hook later, but really the series could’ve done without it. As presented, this subplot is just…there, at the lack of any better words.

All that said, I want to reiterate just how minor bordering on petty these complaints are when you look at the project as a whole. Because KonoSuba is one of the funniest damn shows to have come out recently. Its second season reiterates the same, great formula that made the first season a standout last summer, with a few extra characters and well-earned twists to keep things from getting monotonous. As far as I’m concerned, if it isn’t broke, there’s no need to fix it, and in the case of KonoSuba, it’s not going to require maintenance any time in the near future.

And in case you need more convincing to check this out: Megumin has a kitty now.

Next time: The Godfather, more or less.

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