Shut-in NEET Kazuma Sato decides to leave the house for the first time in a while to pick up a new game. It turns out to be a poor choice, and after pushing a girl out of the way of what his sleep-deprived brain thinks is a speeding truck, Kazuma dies. Now in the afterlife, Kazuma is welcomed by the goddess Aqua, who gives him the choice between being reincarnated, heading off to heaven or being transported to a fantasy world to defeat a demon lord with any one item of his choosing to take with him. After being mocked by Aqua for the circumstances of his death (it turns out it was a little tractor putting along, and he died from shock), Kazuma decides to play dirty and choose Aqua herself as the item he takes into the RPG world. Now the two must start their new lives as adventurers to take down the Demon Lord if Aqua is to ever have any hope of returning to her usual duties as a deity.
Kazuma is assigned the lowest rank job class of Adventurer, with his stats somewhat lacking to say the least, aside from having unusually high luck. Aqua on the other hand, being a goddess, immediately lands the class of Archpriest, one of the most prestigious and powerful classes. On the downside, she proves to be fairly useless, putting her points into parlour tricks and spending her time racking up debts. The two post a recruitment ad, and are eventually joined by the explosion-magic obsessed Megumin, a stubborn wizard with chuunibyou tendencies who refuses to learn any form of magic other than her beloved Explosion. She’s also fairly useless, as she can only use her explosion spell once a day and collapses immediately afterwards. Rounding out this dysfunctional party is the crusader, Darkness. Her attacks almost always miss, but she takes great pleasure (and yes, I mean that kind of pleasure) in being used as a human shield as her masochistic nature comes out in battle.
This isekai series was adapted from a light novel by Natsume Akatsuki. Produced by Studio Deen, the animation and designs look as clean as you’d expect from a long-standing studio that’s produced some of the all-time classics. I must admit any time I go into an isekai series it’s usually with gritted teeth, fair to say it’s not my number one genre. However Konosuba moves along at a good pace over it’s 10 episode first season and leans far more into the comedy side, as the party of four tackle low level quests with varying levels of success and varying levels of debt-inducing destruction as Kazuma and Aqua initially tackle the simple goal of just making enough coin to move out of the smelly stable new adventurers can shack up in while they earn their stripes. The world and its rules are quickly established and easy to grasp, and the cast work well together. Each party member gets their moments to shine among many moments that are a bit more questionable as they steadily level up and eventually take on one of the Demon Lord’s generals all while the threat of one of the world’s deadliest creations looms.
Konosuba is fun and funny, and was a pleasant surprise in a broader genre that I usually find a bit of a slog. With it’s self-aware style and borderline useless party of adventurers who usually manage to clutch the win somehow it’s not hard to see why this series has had such an enduring appeal and long-lasting fanbase since the first episode aired in 2016.