Konosuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World!: The Strongest Duo!’s Turn

By Natsume Akatsuki and Kurone Mishima. Released in Japan as “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Bakuen wo!” by Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Kevin Steinbach.

First of all, I want you to know that placing that exclamation point in the title where it belonged according to the cover art wounded me deeply.

The KonoSuba Explosion series has tried its best to be a dedicated prequel, but the end of this third volume finally has to take us into the main series proper. Most of it is spent with Megumin, on the outskirts, watching the wacky antics of Kazuma and Aqua. She’s trying to join adventurer parties, which are all desperate for spellcasters, but not her specific type of spellcaster. No one wants the girl who only knows how to fire off giant scary explosion and destroy property. Admittedly, she is faring better than Yunyun, who no one will approach because she’s too intense (read: desperate), and those who do approach her turn out to be predators. (Yunyun states she’s thirteen years old a lot in this book, a fact that I had conveniently erased from my brain but now it’s there again, being creepy and awful.) By the end of the book, after disparaging them so much, Megumin may finally be able to admit that what a girl like her needs is a party of idiots.

While genuinely a dedicated prequel, this series is also quite happy to set up events that we already know about in future books, such as Wolbach and Host, who is already having enough trouble dealing with Komekko without being forced to deal with even MORE Crimson Magic Clan folks. As is increasingly common in her character in these books (we don’t see all that much of this side around Kazuma), Megumin acts rude and nasty at times to cover up her own embarrassment at having to admit love and affection. This even applies to Chomusuke, who she at first talks about happily sacrificing before admitting that she’ll do no such thing. And of course it isn’t just her – the one major trait she has in common with Yunyun, who is otherwise a comedic punching bag, is their inability to deal with talking about who they like.

This pays off in a scene near the end, when Megumin (pretending to be asleep) actually hears just how much Yunyun respects Megumin and how cool she thinks she is. Of course, she then uses a sleep spell on Megumin so that she can go off and sacrifice herself, but it’s OK, the emotional moment was there – as Megumin will remind her over and over again. This book also has the job of separating the two here, given that when we first meet Megumin in the main series, Yunyun is nowhere to be seen, and it does a pretty good job, though not as well as it handles Megumin. Yunyun is a character that requires a certain balance to have the reader sympathize with her but also laugh at her, and the author, let’s face it, leans too far to one side much of the time. I worry, as does Megumin, how Yunyunn will fare on her own, but as seen in the main series, she’s still OK, if suffering.

And so this series comes to an end… except there’s a sequel to it out soon, KonoSuba Explosion Bonus Story!, which will tell us about events prior to Book 10 and why the princess looks up to Megumin so much. It should be silly and fun, with a small touch of heartwarming. Which is what you get with these books.

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