KonoSuba 2 – 01 First Impressions

Picking up right where we left off, Kazuma is in a bit of trouble for his decisions during last season’s climactic battle. Good thing his friends are there to *cough* help him out.

“Give Me Deliverance From This Judicial Injustice”

The NEET, useless goddess, master exploder, and masochistic knight are back in action. Well, almost. There is a bit of a snag, and it all perpetuates one of the best tropes of video game sequels that becomes quite apparent by the end of the episode. You can never start again from exactly where you left off in the previous installment, because there’s no way you’re allowed to start a game with all that cool stuff and a nice house and with a full team. This is achieved through Kazuma’s trial, in which he has definitely done enough crazy and impulsive things to deserve it. The hero doesn’t usually get taken to task after saving the city, but we all know how the real world works. Pile up enough collateral damage and someone will sue you.

Although at times this episode feels like a wind-up start to a new season, it definitely serves to get all of the characters back in to the spotlight just the way we remember them. Aqua is still wonderfully useless in that oddly endearing way. Megumin is still cute in her brutal honest and gets taken advantage of for her magic powers. And Darkness is still all too willing to sacrifice her body for the ‘greater good’. A lot of the other major side characters make appearances, as is convenient for a trial of the main character. It serves to remind us of everyone’s involvement in the previous season while pressing the issues of the new season going forward. All-around great direction for a premiere of a continuing series.

A good parody is going to play well no matter the material it is parodying, but in this case the ‘trapped in another world’ trope is still so much at the height of its popularity (thanks SAO and Re:Zero) that everyone is bound to get the larger context. Moment-to-moment comedy is still this series’ strong suit, with Kazuma being exactly the kind of hero many of us would see ourselves as – cynical and incredulous. The interactions between the main cast play off it so well with a wonderfully funny combination of seriousness and complete derisiveness. The back and forth of defending and chastising him work wonders regularly, and even more so in a trial setting.

The visuals are an interesting matter for review. The character designs, serious battle animations, still shots, and visual effects like explosions are all fantastic, but I don’t remember the comedic faces being so awkwardly cheap looking from the first season. It may be the extreme frequency at which they are used, which can diminish their impact, but in comparison to the usual faces of each character the reaction faces tend to feel a little too off. Nothing can quite do a still-shot montage like this series though, and that is thanks in part to some fantastic music to accompany great individual moments.

Episode Score
8.9/10 (Very Good)

Summary: Our return to this wonderful world is interrupted by a trial for Kazuma. You didn’t think he could get away with all of his thoughtless heroic actions, right?

konosuba-2-01-megumin-in-action

Extra thoughts:
– Star Wars scrawl!… in not very good English.
– She must be a little cold sometimes.
– “Crapuma” and “Kazutrash”
– “He even game me a coupon!”
– They don’t even have any underwear to steal!
– “I want a refund for my concern.”
– Is Darkness going away for a while?
– How have I never really noticed Megumin’s kitten!?

Next time: “A Friend For This Crimson Demon Girl”

Mom, dad, it’s been a while. I’m currently in a really tough position. I’m facing a lot of questions about my choices as an adventurer, and as a human being. But when I think about the people who are close to me, I think I can endure anything. I think I’m a guy who can get things done, when it comes down to it. I used to always say that one day I would do something big. No, I don’t mean anything criminal!

First (Continued) Impressions

Of course these aren’t exactly first impressions, as this is pretty much a direct continuation of the first season, but I also never really reviewed the first season in this format! Premiering at #16 in MAL’s top anime list, you can probably gather that this is a highly anticipated entry in the Winter 2017 lineup. The first season captured the parody of being stuck in another world so beautifully, and in somewhat brief manner, that it’s hard not to want some more of the same. The episode review above comments on most of the major themes present in this series and what it does best – namely parody and character comedy. Instead of being a world of depressing realities and harsh truths (Re:Zero again), Kazuma essentially gets his dream scenario. He gets to be an adventurer with an archetypal cast of beautiful girls on a quest to defeat the big bad, but it’s all just so perfectly tainted by his understanding of what a video game world should be – something that much of the target audience can understand along with him.

The ending for this episode, which clearly must be the opening going forward, is another example of amazing direction and comedic style. Similar to the opening from the first season, it captures a full day in the life of our adventurers. Every little moment of it is its own snapshot of both parody and characterization, culminating in a completed quest. It’s the kind of thing that people will feel compelled to watch every week, even if just to see those amazing dancing skills. It may be a comedy-heavy season, but this has the potential to be the bright light in the new year that we need.

konosuba-2-op-dance

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