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.
Another new KonoSuba novel, another obscure yet nerdy subtitle for the volume. This one never even got licensed in North America at all, it’s for the kids’ series Bakusō Kyōdai Let’s & Go!!, which is about mini-car racing. Fortunately, the novel itself has no actual car racing, but it does introduce us to the rest of Megumin’s Crimson Magic Clan, as we head to her hometown after there is news of an attack that will destroy the village. As it turns out, Yunyun and Megumin are the staid, sensible ones in this group, which consists entirely of overdramatic nerds living out their grand magic fantasies – only they actually have magic power to back themselves up. Even Megumin’s parents don’t escape this, though they’re more concerned with her relationship with Kazuma. And, as it turns out, it’s a good thin they came, as there really *is* a demon invasion happening, though at first it seems like the Clan has it under control.
Despite Yunyun being on the cover and jumpstarting the plot, this is not really her book, it’s Megumin’s. And Kazuma’s, of course. I’ve talked before about how his group feels more like a close-knit (if dysfunctional) family than anything else. That’s definitely changing here, as Megumin explicitly says that she’s fallen in love with him, something that Kazuma somehow manages not to quite understand. it’s a bit difficult for Megumin to admit it anyway, mostly as Kazuma is still several shades of terrible at times, though usually every time he tries to do something stupidly selfish it comes back to hit him in the ass. But Kazuma is Kazuma, so you also see exactly why it is that she fell for him anyway. Darkness is likely in the same boat, though this isn’t her book, so we don’t get much of that and instead get more of her being totally useless at anything except defense. As for Aqua, I’m relieved to say that there is no sexual tension there whatsoever. Let’s keep it that way.
This is the first book that hasn’t (yet) been adapted into an anime, but the adaptation, when it comes, should go very smoothly – there’s going to be a lot of fun set pieces here. Leisure Girl was particularly amusing, and the female orcs wanting to ravish Kazuma is a nice reversal of the standard fantasy “orcs want to rape the women all the time” trope. There’s also a few nice fights, particularly the one at the end, even though it consists of the whole Clan essentially dodging the demon lord while Kazuma tries to figure out what can stop them. The best scene, however, is right at the end. I will try not to spoil it, but it involves Megumin recognizing her own shortcomings and trusting Kazuma to help her get past them… and Kazuma realizing that Megumin’s happiness is more important. It’s really sweet.
Next time, to Darkness’ horror, we will be meeting the princess of this land, and I have no doubt fresh new disasters will ensue. Till then, KonoSuba remains a funny, light read, and anyone who likes to see the standard fantasy light novel tweaked on the nose will want to pick it up.