By Natsume Akatsuki and Kurone Mishima. Released in Japan as “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o!” by Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Kevin Steinbach.
I was expecting more comedy this time around, and I was right. There are lots of very funny moments in this volume, sure to please the fan of KonOSuba. Chris’ secret is now known, but that doesn’t mean that she and Kazuma are not playing Robin Hood on the sly, burgling evil noble estates in order to acquire sentient armor that proves to be far more trouble than it’s worth. Meanwhile, the Eris Festival is upon us, and a jealous Aqua wants to have a festival dedicated to her as well. The result is the subtitle, a parody of Pokemon Red vs. Blue, in which the traditional religious festival gets turned (mostly thanks to Kazuma) into more of a giant blowout, complete with food stalls, beauty contests, and giant killer cicadas. However, just because it’s a full-blown comedy does not mean we can’t have character development.
It feels odd to be talking about character development in a series like KonoSuba, but it’s true. Megumin has come a long way from the start of the series, and despite the occasional explosion has become the most sensible of the group (Kazuma forfeits this title enough that you can’t use it for him anymore). Meanwhile, Darkness, after the events of the last volume, is acting Governor of their town, and is thus drowning in responsibilities (including having to police Kazuma and Aqua). The gag here is that, for a moment, you think the same thing might be happening with Aqua, who spends much of the book actually being sensible and responsible. But of course it can’t last – Megumin and Darkness have room built into their characters for growth, but Aqua’s “useless goddess” properties are much harder to move on from. She’s too funny not to keep it up.
And then there’s the love triangle. It’s clear from this book that both Megumin and Darkness have come to terms with their love for Kazuma and want to take things to the next level. It’s also clear that Kazuma knows this… the question is whether he’s too immature to actually be able to take their feelings seriously, as he brags to Chris about harem ends and the like. Of course, his words are bravado for the most part, and by the end of the book, where the cliffhanger seems to imply Megumin wants to confess properly, he seems almost terrified. I do wonder if a series like KonoSuba can bake an actual relationship into its premise. Can Kazuma answer either Megumin or Darkness properly, or will there be wacky comedy confessions and then back to the status quo? As for “harem” ends, the series thankfully still seems to be avoiding that sort of thing… Chris/Eris’ relationship with Kazuma is not the “bratty siblings” that he and Aqua have, but it doesn’t feel romantic, which is a good thing.
For all the romantic potential, at the end of the day KonoSuba still runs on its comedy, and there’s lots of that here. Fans of the series will get a kick out of this book.