It’s been a long time since I have been as dumbfounded about the hype over a show as I am after sampling Konosuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World.
The basic idea behind the anime is simple enough: a NEET, through what must be the most convoluted set of circumstances ever used to drag a NEET into a fantasy world, makes the occasional witty comment about the pros and cons of JRPG-like mechanics in the real world while amassing a party of girls who all range from idiotic to completely insane.
A subversion of this genre blend of harem and trapped-in-a-fantasy-world has a lot of potential to be timely and funny in the wake of popular franchises like Sword Art Online taking center stage in recent years, and the artwork for Konosuba is charming and colorful. However, sadly, witty commentary and funny antics that show how life working like a JRPG would be both horrible and fantastic in different ways constantly takes a backseat to the lowest common denominator: sexual jokes.
It’s obvious where both the writers and the animators have invested their time and effort: rear and/or chest centric “male gaze” shots abound and every little motion a female character makes causes their breasts to bounce exageratedly. (It’s not quite GAINAX’s infamous levels, but it’s still obviously exagerated because LOL BREASTS ARE FUNNY.) An entire episode’s plot is about our main character learning stealing skills – specifically, the ability to steal anybody’s panties, even if he’s trying to take something else. (Because LOL PANTIES ARE FUNNY AND ACCIDENTAL PERVERT NEETS ARE DEFINITELY NOT AN OVERDONE TROPE.)
All of this winds up being at great expense not only to the potential satire, but the characters. Our “hero” is rather unlikable, and it’s hard to trace his character path despite having a clear goal from the first episode. His party, while refreshingly not all instantly in love with him, can pretty much all be summed up as punchlines. You have the useless godess, the girl who must blow everything up, and the masochist.
It was tempting to rate Konosuba lower than I did, but when I ignore the extremely confusing hype-train and the fact that the tropes the show embraces are all tropes I’m personally sick of to begin with, I come to the conclusion that the show is all-around average. Fans of shonen harem anime will probably enjoy the series, but it brings nothing new to the table whatsoever.