Ah, Konosuba. The fantasy RPG parody that swept the anime community by storm with its bizarre mix of problematic characters and real world cruelty put in a fantasy setting ushered in a new thing for those in the anime community to fawn over. Many were swayed into the cult of explosions, and no one still likes Aqua. So it was natural that a second season would be coming in order to keep the hype train rolling. Though shorter, how does season two compare with its season one predecessor? Um…well…
Konosuba. Boy dies in a hilarious accident, transports him and the most useless goddess in the world to a fantasy world where he becomes an adventurer and realizes that the hopes and dreams of being a world renowned protagonist adventurer are nothing more than dreams because the world sucks. Meets a pyrotechnics obsessed loli and a hardcore M crusader, blah blah blah, you’re probably aware of the series’s synopsis in some way or another. (I assume)
As per usual with continuation cours of an existing series, Konosuba 2 continues the story of our merry band of dysfunctional characters as they deal with various other events, characters, and pains in the neck where the important thing to remember is “Anything and everything can and will go wrong.” This key component is what keeps the series going as it allows the various outlandish character interactions to continue on and on without end, thus creating the series’s comedy and largely is the reason why people like this series so much.
But what separates this season from its first one is one thing: Intensity. While the first season definitely showed that each of these characters had a few screws loose in their head, this season on the other hand shows us just what it means to crank something up to eleven. There’s more Aqua whining, more Darkness masochism, and more Kazuma being an all around asshole, showing us just how mentally deranged all of these characters are and boosting the show’s concept of “anything and everything can and will go wrong” as a staggering amount of the comedic scenes are thrown off the rocker to become far wackier than what may have originally been expected.
However because the series does so much to try and ramp everything that it did in season one to an extreme, a lot of the jokes end up becoming reused and the gag usually runs its course extremely quickly. The biggest example of this is Darkness’s masochism, where she gets off on something every episode, squealing in glee that she’s getting physically abused, thrown around, verbally abused, or deprived of something for about two minutes and making the entire scene very awkward for the viewer. We get it, she’s a pervert. Don’t shove it in our face in every other scene.
Overall, Konosuba 2’s story is, as expected, a continuation of the first season with the only difference between the two is how far the jokes go. Konosuba 2 really tries to push the boundary as to how far they can go on any given gag which vary in success depending on which gag that they’re trying to ‘improve’ on.
+/- Largely the same story
+/- Well executed situational and character interactions (Comedy is subjective.)
– How far they took the jokes had some negative impact
The four party members of Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin, and Darkness take on the same roles of the asshole, the useless goddess, the loli nuke, and the masochistic tank. They’re largely the same characters, have the same relationships with one another, and bounce off each other in the same dysfunctional way that they did in season 1, so there’s little to say here.
As for the other characters though, season 2 gives us quite a number of…interesting individuals. There’s Yuyun, several other members of the Demon King’s commanders, a cat, and an entire town full of very problematic individuals. The side cast dictates the situation that our troublesome adventurers have to deal with, and these largely one-off villains/characters manage to give off an impression (though not always positive) that makes them memorable. Is it the good kind of memorable? Eh…it’s at least not the bad kind, so that’s a plus I suppose.
+ Main 4 characters still bounce off each other well
+ Side cast manages to be memorable (Though wanting to remember them is debatable)
Studio Deen’s track reputation has always leaned on the idea that they’re bad at animation/art. Konosuba is no different. Its first season raised a few eyebrows on how they did fanservice, and the characters’ expressions never seemed human. Konosuba 2 continues that track record, and manages to make Deen’s art quality crystal clear.
The rise in intensity of the series’s jokes and gags are coupled with similarly exaggerated facial expressions and movements by our cast of characters that gradually seem more inhuman as the episodes roll by. The animation is choppy sometimes, the art deforms the characters greatly in some scenes, and sometimes it just looks…ugly. But for Konosuba, it works.
Due to the nature of the series being this wild and crazy comedy series, the art coincides with the voices to give off the series’s crazy feel. The constant screams of comedic agony are coupled with wild faces crying their eyes out, characters awkwardly stare in the distance looking stonefaced, and movements are exaggerated to coincide with whatever crazy thing is going on on-screen. So yes, the art sucks. There may not be any fluidity, the characters look off a lot of the time, and physics sometimes shits itself, but hey, it works. And that’s the important thing. I think.
+ The art just…works. Somehow.
– Extremely inconsistent and sometimes downright ugly
– Choppy animation
In my opinion, Konosuba’s OST doesn’t really have much to it. Its OP is a generic pop song that doesn’t feel like anyone would give two thoughts about, and the ED, while nice due to the fact that it serves as a complete contrast to the series’s usual tone, is a mellow piece that’s ok, but doesn’t really have much to it. Sure it can be memorable, but it doesn’t have any kind of wow factor.
But when it comes to voice acting, Konosuba is something else. Amamiya Sora’s screams as Aqua are still ear gratingly good, and Kayano Ai manages to keep up Darkness’s masochistic tendencies to the level of “Should I be watching this…?”. The voice acting honestly makes the scene, and without the kind of intensity that the seiyuus give for their performance, the impact of each comedic moment would be lost.
+ Great voice acting
+/- Good OST, but doesn’t feel memorable
I like Konosuba. It’s a far cry from most shows featuring a dude thrown into a fantasy world surrounded by women (which is surprisingly a very common setting) by making him incredibly weak and turning him and everyone around him into nutjobs for the sake of comedic value. This season however…I’m not a big fan of it. Contrary to the first season, I didn’t feel the urge to watch the next episode as it came out and for good reason: it’s trying just TOO hard. As mentioned before, the increased intensity of the jokes runs the gag very quickly, and as such, makes the joke not funny and more awkward. This is what I didn’t like. While I still say that Konosuba is a good comedy series, the comedy that it tries to pull this time around is something that I would regard as ‘unfavorable’ because it REALLY tried to make you laugh by being the ‘lolsofunny’ series it tries to be.
Did I like this show?
Despite that, I did like watching it. It’s fun watching second seasons of stuff and seeing what more the story has to offer. I did genuinely laugh at a good chunk of the series, and I still enjoyed myself.
What didn’t I like about this show?
To point something off easily, Darkness. While I would say Aqua is my least favorite character in this series, Darkness takes the cake as the one thing about this season that I didn’t like. Every scene with her is just another round to show off how much of a masochist she is, and while yes, she does show us what else she can be (as the early episodes have a bit of an arc devoted to her), the only impression that I can get from her is “More, more, more!” said in ecstasy. While yes, it is a large part of her character, you could at least try to not make it fucking awkward to watch her get off on shit. Like jesus christ you could make a full-length episode or two just out of her masochistic shenanigans this time around!
Would I recommend this anime?
If you watched season 1 and liked it, then yes, you probably should watch this. Otherwise, I’d honestly be careful with Konosuba. As always, comedy is subjective, and the wackiness of this series won’t sit well with some people. This season in particular I’d tread lightly cause, some of the scenes can get pretty awkward and for me at least, kind of killed my enjoyment of the series, leading me to not like it as much as I did in the first season.