Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!: Cult Syndrome

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.

Sometimes, as a writer, you get a great idea. It’s terrific, it works well as a character piece, and it’s also hilarious. There’s just one slight problem – it’s only about 45-50 pages long, and you’re writing a novel. So you put the idea in the middle of the book and hope for the best. That’s basically what we get with this 15th volume of KonoSuba. The scenes with Kazuma under Serena’s control are possibly some of the most hilarious in the entire series, Especially if you enjoy watching Kazuma behave like an utter asshole. Which I assume you do, as you’re reading a review of Vol. 15 of this series. The rest of the book is okay, but it feels just not quite as spectacular. It doesn’t help that it’s trying to set up a serious arc for the series’ least serious character, which means that we’re supposed to care about how she’s feeling at the same time as we admire her total uselessness. But then, that’s what KonoSuba does.

The Demon King’s army is not what it once was, and so Serena, one of its last demon generals, is trying to make a deal with Kazuma to just relax and take it easy and not attack the Demon King, something Kazuma is pretty much fine with. Unfortunately, Serena can’t resist not only turning the adventurers into the town into her loyal puppets, but also smugly lording it over Kazuma, gloating about the fact that he’s not as uncaring as he’s said. So he decides to take back his deal, and starts working to do what he does best – humiliate her till she gives in. Unfortunately, the reason this is happening is because the Demon Lord’s army really is making its move and attacking the capital – they’ve even asked the Crimson Magic Clan to help! (No, not you, Megumin.) That said, what may be the most important takeaway we see here is that with Aqua being down here, there’s no one who can be sly enough to trick dead Japanese boys to reincarnating here… which is bad news for the heroes’ strength.

So yes, the chapter with Kazuma under Serena’s control is marvelous, and you’re just unsure enough about whether he’s faking it or not that it keeps you guessing. It’s a very tiny difference between Kazuma being scum and being total scum, and Serena has been just enough of a jerkass herself that we are amused at everything that happens to her. As for Aqua, it’s not a secret that she’s not my favorite, though I do like the fact that she’s not a romantic interest for Kazuma. I do think the idea that the world is failing precisely because Aqua is here rather than up in heaven being a shyster is an excellent one, and I wonder if that might be part of her gloom. The book has a scene near the end where she asks if Kazuma regrets reincarnating here, and it’s almost heartwarming. It almost makes me wonder if the next book will be more serious.

I doubt it, because this is KonoSuba. Still, we’ve only two more to go after this one. If it’s going to trick its readers with drama, now’s the time. Till then, enjoy Kazuma being the worst puppet slave ever.

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