By Natsume Akatsuki and Kurone Mishima. Released in Japan as “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o!: Chūnibyō demo Majo ga Shitai!” by Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Kevin Steinbach.
KonoSuba returns with its fourth light novel, though unusually there’s plenty of manga in this volume, which adds an extended ‘what you will see in this book’ manga chapter (none of it is seen), as well as a two-page spread in the middle. This is perhaps not surprising given that our heroes spend much of their time at a town devoted to hot springs. The subtitle this time around is a parody of the manga Yozakura Quartet, started by Del Rey and finished by Kodansha Comics digitally in North America, from the artist behind DRRR!!. You would think, given Wiz’s presence on the front cover, that she is the fourth member of the group to merit the title, but no, Wiz is sensible (and quite powerful) throughout, except for her horrible shopkeeping skills. No, Kazuma is just as bad as the rest of his crew, and this volume is happy to emphasize that.
We’re on a vacation this time around, ending up, as I indicated, at a city renowned for their hot springs. Sadly, Aqua keeps turning their springs into plain old hot water whenever she uses them, so things aren’t going well. You’d think she’d be happy, given that the town is filled with Axis Church followers – i.e. HER followers – but she’s as whiny and put upon as ever. Darkness, meanwhile, is having a ball – as a follower of Eris, she’s treated like absolute dirt, which makes her incredibly happy (and by happy I mean aroused). She’s a bit less happy with the fact that the group is now perfectly willing to use her family name to get their way, something she’s really rather avoid. As for Megumin, aside from a few stray moments, she’s the sensible one this time around. Kazuma may seem a better candidate, but not only does he die AGAIN, but he also gets everyone in trouble by not realizing that this ISN’T a transported-to-a-game world and that some “easy-level” monsters are in fact not so easy.
No one really reads KonoSuba for the plot, which is good as there isn’t much. Our villain is seen meeting with a busty woman who is never seen again, so I imagine she’ll pop up as an antagonist in future books. No, KonoSuba is read for the humor, and there are many, many wonderful jokes here – the dog food and “Legendary Sword Excalibur” being two of my favorites. (Let’s take a moment to realize that Kazuma, who is on the verge of being allowed to reincarnate into a nice life on Earth, is literally annoyed into returning to the KonoSuba world.) The cast are all terrible, with the exception of Wiz, and possibly Yunyun, who shows up at the end to deliver the ridiculous cliffhanger. We’re now caught up with the anime, meaning Book 5 should be new to most readers. (I’m going to take a wild guess and say the anime did NOT end with Yunyun’s request.) If you like tremendously silly light novels, KonoSuba is exactly what you’re looking for.