Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!: Gamble Scramble

By 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.

As expected, the relationship upgrade between Kazuma and Megumin we saw in the last book takes a step back here, with one or two exceptions – indeed, it’s a very ensemble cast-led work this time around. Continuing where the last book left off, Kazuma and company are asked to escort Princess Iris to another country, where she is supposed to meet her fiance, and also ask why they’re cutting off the money that they given them to help exterminate the demon lord. The country they go to is a gambling casino-style country, which is good news for everyone but Aqua, but they’re also cutting off funding because… they’ve made a deal with the demon lord? Can Kazuma help his “little sister” get the money her country needs and also avoid getting arrested? And what about the engagement?

There’s an excellent conceit behind the main plot, as it’s pointed out that Kazuma and company have already defeated so many of the Demon Lord’s generals that the rest of his forces are starting to panic. While it has its individual moments of failure and humiliation, KonoSuba has always made sure that our heroes win out in the end, and we’re seeing the fruits of that. That said, it also makes the enemy more desperate, as we see here with the nation of Elroad seemingly deciding to throw in with the Demon Lord to avoid getting wipes out in the war that is no doubt imminent. The other major plus in this book is seeing Princess Iris in action. While her personality is seemingly that of the typical “oniichan-worshipping younger sister”, Kazuma being the oniichan in question, she’s also from a long line of heroes, and has “borrowed” a legendary sword. As such, expect the action scenes in this book to be minimal – Iris is just THAT good.

As for the regulars, Aqua is back to her normal self after her high point of the previous book. Darkness gets a lot to do, and has a few good “masochism” moments, but continues to be hamstrung by the Dustiness side of her character requiring her to be the “straight woman” of the group. Megumin is, like Kazuma, taking their recent understanding in stride, with it only coming up when it needs to, but otherwise continues to show the growth and maturity (yes, really) that we’ve seen recently. Again I like the fact that, with one or two brief exceptions, Kazuma is really only into two women in the cast – Megumin (compatibility-wise) and Darkness (physically). We again get a few scenes showing he’s just not attracted to Aqua, despite her somewhat frustrated denial of this, and he really does seem to see Iris as a younger sister figure, to the point where he does not really get the fact that giving her a cheap plastic ring he bought in the country might be seen by her as something more than just a “a toy for my little sister”.

This is another solid volume in the series, with a few good laughs and fun times all round. It also helps advertise the side novels again – apparently Iris becoming Megumin’s “minion” and taking instruction from her comes from one of the Explosion books. Still, that series begins here soon as well, so hopefully we’ll see it one day.

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