KonoSuba: Absurd Satire of the MMO

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*intense boob staring*

If you were expecting yet another overpowered protagonist like SAO, or the boring monologues and meticulous planning of Log Horizon, throw away all of your expectations and turn off your brain for a light comedy and absurd satire of KonoSuba.

Heck, in the first episode, a looping montage of Aqua and Kazuma’s lives is played to the tune of uplifting epic background music, which made me cringe. From there on, I knew this anime was not to be taken seriously, so I shut off my brain for a while and just enjoyed whatever KonoSuba had to offer.

KonoSuba starts right off the bat with slapstick comedy and subtle satire of the “character creation” session that MMO players should be familiar with. During creation, Kazuma finds that he’s dead (ironically after purchasing an MMO game, which is an obvious tip-off) and has a choice of going to Heaven or being reincarnated into a fantasy world. He is given the choice to bring anything he wants into the world… or “game”. Normally, players would select enhanced skills or a powerful weapon. Instead, Kazuma chooses the goddess Aqua to come down with him, which sets up the stage for their adventure in the KonoSuba realm. Along the way, Megumin and Darkness join the party, completing the four-person party and possible harem.

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KonoSuba approaches the MMO theme in a comedic and satirical way, breaking dozens of tropes on its way.

The anime does not even bother explaining the mechanics of the world, save for a few “character leveling” mechanics in the early episodes. Kazuma doesn’t even get proper beginner’s gear or money, for crying out loud! Furthermore, the skills system is completely arbitrary, with Kazuma being able to learn any type of skill as long as he has seen it in action. That’s not something you see every day.

More satire can be found when Kazuma officially registers as an adventurer. His stats are average across the board, with the exception of a high LUCK stat and above average INT stat, making him unsuitable for combat. This breaks the usual cliche, where protagonists are expected to be “the chosen ones” in MMO.

Kazuma expected life as an adventurer to be one full of danger and adventure. Yet he spends most of his time doing part-time jobs and earning just enough for basic sustenance. He sleeps in a barn with Aqua. He lives a frugal life, which is far from what “normal” MMO protagonists do.

As a protagonist, Kazuma breaks almost every stereotype of the typical MMO hero. He’s weak as shit and has odds stacked against him. This is different from, say, SAO or Log Horizon, where the protagonists have significant abilities. He is also poor and his destitution affects his daily life significantly, an attribute that we would never see in the protagonists of both SAO or LH.

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The only intense battle in the series.

More humor can be found in the characters of Megumin, Aqua, and Darkness. Let’s start with Megumin, the best grill of the show. She is an arch-wizard. Typically, one would expect a wizard class to be adept in various schools of magic, yet Megumin can only cast Explosion, which kinda defeats the purpose of the role. She also collapses after casting one spell, which further deconstructs the typical wizard class image. Aqua is an arch-priest, yet her INT stats never rise, implying that she’s dumb as rocks though possessing significant Holy magic. Darkness is a crusader, but she has poor accuracy. She seems to be the only “normal” person in the party, possessing high defense, which befits the role of a crusader. Her extreme masochism also oddly fits the role as well… somehow.

Given this train wreck of characters and in-game laws, it would be natural to assume that anything can happen in this anime. Yes, anything, no matter how absurd it may be. And that’s one of the selling points of the anime. Since the characters are a complete train wreck, the plot also suffers. If you’re asking about the plot of this anime… there is no plot and that’s the beauty of it. It’s a whimsical anime that does whatever the fuck it wants. Such examples include the hilarious battle between Kazuma’s party and the Dullahan, which, by no surprise, took like half the series to even start.

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All in all, expect only stupidity, bad comebacks, a decent amount of lewd stuff, Megumin yelling “Allahu Akbar!” “Explosion!” in every fucking episode, and the annoying Aqua screaming at the top of her voice every five minutes or so from KonoSuba. To enjoy this anime, don’t expect too much and let your brain turn off for a while. Ironically, the world is not beautiful as the title would imply.

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