Anime is home to a wide variety of shows. From the adrenaline-pumping action of Demon Slayer to the chilled romance of Horimiya, there’s something for everyone. One specific genre of anime, though, has been a mainstay in the seasonal anime cycle for well over a decade at this point: isekai (ee-sehk-eye).
Every anime season, without fail, will include at least 10 of these shows, with each being almost identical to the other. The black-haired, overpowered protagonist gets all the girls and saves the world. There, I just described a vast majority of these shows, so now you don’t even have to watch them. However, there is a handful of isekai that break this mold and do something interesting for a change. The one that does this the best is Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World. This series not only goes against most of the classic isekai tropes, it also takes the absolute piss out of them.
Before I tell you why Konosuba is one of the better isekai, I should probably explain what an isekai is. For those of you who don’t spend too much time watching anime, isekai is a genre that involves people being transported to another world. This can be accomplished in several ways, such as getting stabbed, getting hit by a truck, dying of old age (a lot of death here), or just being randomly teleported. A good example would be the newest Spider-Man movie: characters from other worlds are teleported to another world, textbook isekai.
Now that you have the general idea of what I’m talking about, let me properly introduce you to Konosuba. The show revolves around Kazuma Sato, a teenage boy who never leaves his home. The one time he does, he winds up dead and is whisked away to another world. On the way there, he meets the goddess Aqua, and his journey to save this fantasy world begins.
That all sounded relatively generic, right? Reclusive hero, all-powerful goddess, fantasy world, all tropes of the genre. But like I mentioned before, Konosuba takes the absolute piss out of it. For starters, Kazuma doesn’t die in some sort of freak accident, he dies from shock after trying to save someone by jumping in front of an extremely slow tractor which he thought was a truck. And the goddess Aqua is useless, absolutely useless. The introduction of these two characters and their personalities perfectly sums up everything that this show is trying to do: using the audience's expectations of an isekai to create some of the best comedy possible.
Once Kazuma and Aqua are sent to this fantasy world, you’d think that within the first few episodes they would leave the starting town and be on their merry way, but that’s not the case. Instead, they get day jobs to earn money so that they can get absolutely trashed every night at the tavern. Yeah, these aren’t your average adventurers, they’re worse, and that’s what makes them enjoyable. Kazuma and Aqua aren’t the only characters that are parodies of the genre; everyone they meet is as well.
Isekai shows typically have similar character archetypes. Besides the overpowered hero and the all-knowing goddess, usually there is also the mighty wizard and noble knight. I’ve already mentioned Kazuma and Aqua as the hero and goddess, but the other two are here as well, and they’re just as hopeless. For the mighty wizard, there’s Megumin, an arch wizard who, instead of having a vast knowledge of spells, can only use explosion magic and can also only use it once a day. After she uses her spell, she also can’t move, not the biggest asset to a group that fights monsters. The knight of the group is Darkness who, instead of being a pure and noble knight, is, instead, a masochist who can’t hit anything with her attacks (essentially a glorified meat shield).
Combine these two with Kazuma and Aqua and you have one of the worst groups in all of anime, and that’s why they’re great! You’ll never know how they’ll handle a new situation. Will Darkness make the villain uncomfortable as she screams to be attacked more? Will Megumin launch an explosion spell that pisses off an undead knight? Will Aqua flood the entire town and then be forced to pay for the repairs? You’ll just never know.
This insanity isn’t just limited to the main cast, their idiotic hijinks affect everything else from the villains to the story as a whole.
As I said before, Konosuba takes place in a fantasy world. These types of worlds all have similar elements such as guilds, monsters, dungeons, and, of course, an evil demon king to overthrow. These things are also in Konosuba, but like the characters, they’re far from normal. Whilst the guild is still presented as a place for adventurers, Kazuma and the gang will more likely than not be getting absolutely wasted at the bar instead of taking on jobs. Dungeons don’t fare much better with the largest dungeon in the show being home to a dude who wanted to make a robot girlfriend because he was lonely. Lastly, you would think that a demon king and his army would be serious and intimidating. Instead, the undead knight is a pervert, the lich doesn’t want to hurt anyone and is running a shop, and the slime only attacks a village because it’s home to a cult that tried to convert him (which is fair enough). Then you throw in Kazuma and his band of idiots and you have one of the funniest and most refreshing isekai ever made.
Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World is one of the best shows to come out in the last decade. Not only does it go against many of the tropes that have plagued the genre, but it’s also just an extremely fun watch. Whether you’re a fan of anime or didn’t know it existed, I would strongly suggest giving Konosuba a chance. Who knows, maybe it’ll get you interested in watching more (and become isekai trash like me).
Have you seen Konosuba yet? Do you think another isekai does a better job? Let us know in the comments and we can all discuss what we love about this trash genre of anime.