Kono Suba is the amalgamation of a concept so tiresome and overdone that viewers groan at the mere mention, while retaining an impressive level of effective comedy. At its core, people have regarded this show as a parody on the typical video game world trope. However, to undersell this incredible gag comedy in such a way is treason. With its lovable characters, beautiful visuals and effortless presentation of humour, this show goes the extra mile to bring something fresh to the new year.
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
a fresh blend of comedy in a cruel fantasy world
Adventure, Comedy | Animated by Studio Deen | Dir: Kanasaki, Takaomi
In regards to Anime and media as a whole, comedy has always been one of my favourite genres, and continues to be one of my favourite topics to talk about. With shows like Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku and Yuru Yuri sitting very highly in my personal most enjoyable shows, Kono Suba‘s fresh style of comedy is just what this season needed. I feel that the characters were wacky enough for the jokes to land but still acted like “normal” human beings for the most part – excluding a few questionable scenes here and there.
Likeable and well-written characters
Most importantly, the characters within this show are likeable and entertaining to watch. When writing a narrative for any creative piece, one of two things will always take precedence – characters or plot. With epic fantasy conquest novels, it is clear that the immersive and expansive world was conceptualised before thinking about the characters that would reside within them. Although this may work for pieces of immense proportions, Kono Suba very cleverly leads its narrative through the use of its characters.
One of the biggest reasons this show is as popular as it is (and kept viewers coming back every week) is its defined and developed characters. Despite it not being presented in a dark and brooding manner through tragic backstories akin to what you would expect from a Jun Meada work, Kono Suba gives the viewer the perfect amount of depth. Within such a short runtime of ten episodes, it’s easy to swamp your audience by focusing too much on one aspect of a show – be it visuals, dialogue or action. This show effortlessly strikes an excellent balance between each of its macro features which enables it to present so much content in such a small space of time.
Somewhat slow to start
I personally think that this show is a little slow starting in terms of how much I enjoyed the show. For me, I enjoyed the last few episodes much more than when I first started watching, which seems strange for a gag show given that the formula hadn’t drastically changed from episode one to episode ten.
However, Kono Suba does well in pacing its jokes out and ensuring that the same gag isn’t repeated an irritating number of times in a short space of time. Take the frog episode for example. The show follows the general rule of comedy that the same joke can work up to three times. The gag where Aqua is being eaten after she boasts about her power abides by the rule so that each scenario felt familiar but not repetitive. I feel like this carries through the whole show to create an effective combination of “recycling jokes” without the danger of losing the audience’s interest.
Simplistic narrative and focused storytelling
I’d also like to compliment the decision on focusing the whole season on what is essentially the tutorial village of this giant game world. I personally felt connected to the town and once again demonstrates that the creators of this show knew that they weren’t going to convey an epic battle anime despite setting up the narrative with such a dramatic villain. Speaking of which, we never even come close to seeing the demon king that the team should be desperately working towards.
Kono Suba has never been about conquering the world and saving the kingdom – doing so would return Aqua back to her status as a goddess and would essentially crumble the entire setup of the plot. These characters are the definition of worthless adventurers, and while they certainly have their moments, they’re pretty deserving of the title. Not only are the characters themselves well written and their dialogue rich in emotion, but the actual overall narrative is of such a high quality that it’s easy to lose yourself in the rich yet simplistic world that it produces.
The writers knew that giving their protagonist a positive outlook on the world wouldn’t work well given the already peppy female cast. By contrasting the protagonist so heavily to the majority of the world, it shows how out of place he still feels and effectively sets up various gags between himself and his party members. For a gag show, it seems kind of important that the characters can easily set up jokes with each other, right?
All in all, I really enjoyed this show’s writing and animation. I thought the small features like the lighting and atmosphere of the fantasy world did what was required to create a bright and enjoyable viewing experience. It’s nothing ground breaking, and I understand when people call it bland or overdone. But to me, it’s a fun show and that’s really all that matters for a gag show. If you enjoy light-hearted comedy shows with characters that effortlessly make the audience laugh, I would recommend this show to you.