By Hirukama, 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.
Spinoffs can be hard. Spinoffs written by someone other than the original author are harder. And when you get a spinoff written by someone who’s not the original author based on a mobile game that likely was also not written by the original author, well, you’re really starting to get into trouble. Hirukama is best known over here for the Reborn as a Vending Machine light novel that’s currently getting an anime. He also writes the longest running KonoSuba spinoff, Ano Orokamono ni mo Kyakkou wo!, which focuses on Dust, the loser guy who seems to linger around the edges of the main series. We’re unlikely to get that, if only as it doesn’t star Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin and Darkness. This book we are getting does feature three new girls who have the plot built around them, but it has healthy doses of our main cast as well, so fans will not feel cheated. Is it good? Eh.
For those wondering where in the main story this fits in, it’s left deliberately vague, but I’d say around Volume 8, mostly as Megumin and Darkness show no signs that they’re in love with Kazuma at all. While trying to stop a disaster, Megumin blows up a wagon containing a) a monetary tribute to nobility, causing him to go deeply in the red, and b) the supplies to a dance troup/adventuring party. The troup consists of Lia, the theoretically sensible one with the mysterious past; Cielo, a noble whose upbringing caused her to develop an extreme fear of men; and Erika, a girl who tries her hardest to be cute, and is also searching for her birth parents. Kazuma, on seeing them, is reminded of Japanese idol groups, and decides to make them stars!… mostly as making them stars will help pay off his debt. Unfortunately, these idols have fanboys, and they’re also trolls. No, not internet trolls, real trolls.
The three new girls, of course, are deliberately meant to contrast with the three regular stars. Cielo and Darkness are both blonde nobles trying to get away from all that by adventuring. Erika focuses on cute as much as Megumin does on cool. As for Lia… well, OK, she’s not that much like Aqua, except perhaps for her pathological messiness. She is, however, the character whose plot matters the most, as her amnesia turns out to be an important key to defeating Daniel, the troll lord who has decided to stan her. Everyone gets to do their bits. Megumin fires off explosions, Darkness is masochistic, Aqua screws up everything, etc. Unfortunately, it really does feel likely someone trying to write an “original flavor” fanfic with their own OCs, to be honest. By necessity, this cannot grow or develop any character except the new girls… and actually, it ends up just being Lia. That means this rides on how funny it is, and the answer is: not as funny as the main books.
If you really love KonoSuba, you can certainly enjoy this. As a spinoff, though, I’d rather read the Megumin books.