It’s generally a mistake to assume the quality of a TV series or movies from the gif sets on Tumblr. With countless images and memes of Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo! aka Konosuba appearing since the Season One premiere and intensifying since the Season Two premiere several weeks ago, it looked to me like a cliché comedy. I assumed it was a fan-servicey, gamer-marketed mess with no story to speak of. but my curiosity got the better of me, and I started watching. In retrospect, the title should have given me a clue: tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic or not, it translates to God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World. Konosuba is about enjoying being alive and enjoying life.
The story starts with the protagonist, Kazuma, as someone who isn’t enjoying life. He’s shut himself off from the rest of the world and doesn’t really care. So the best possible thing happens to him; he dies. He had no real reason to live anymore, so he gets killed. Konosuba’s message is not subtle. Now that he’s very dead, Kazuma gets his clichéd second chance reincarnation. Approached by an immature goddess, he’s offered a new life in an extremely unpleasant sounding RPG style alternate reality to defeat the “Demon King.” His mind and memory, however, will be totally intact. He still gets to live as himself. Aqua, the goddess, tells him he can take one thing with him. He chooses to bring her with him, thinking that a goddess will be an ace in the hole for combat. His choice forces Aqua to live life as a mortal, to actually be alive. But Aqua is proven useless in combat and the pair is forced to add more people to their party. In keeping with the theme of appreciating life, they’re joined by two weirdos whose take on enjoying life has made them outcasts from society: Megumin, a Chunnibyo mage with questionable abilities and Darkness, a knight with perverse tastes. These four spend most of the series trying to stay afloat financially and accidentally advancing further into their quests.
The enjoying be alive and seizing life theme is not uncommon in anime, but Konosuba is the only one I’ve seen that’s a true comedy. Series like Durarara and Mirai Nikki have comic relief, but they are serious, often bleak shows. Konosuba isn’t serious or bleak, and it isn’t just “a comedy.” It’s really funny. Konosuba has absurd situations that are incredibly one of a kind and makes jokes at the expense of all the characters. Konosuba’s format is that of a traditional anime comedy, but it has a powerful message. That message sets it apart.