Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!: God’s Blessing on These Wonderful Adventurers!

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.

After a couple of volumes where I felt that perhaps the page count did not justify the limited content within, this final book in the main KonoSuba series seems to be just right. The final battle against the Demon Lord contains just about everything you’d want in a KonoSuba book. Kazuma wins by being kind of scummy and tricky; Aqua wails and whines but is also kinda lovable; Megumin casts explosion so much that the overuse of magic makes her nose bleed (at least I hope it’s due to overuse of magic, as otherwise that’s one weird fetish); and speaking of fetishes, Darkness is Darkness. The only thing missing is Yunyun being toyed with; she’s here, but mostly functions as a real competent person. As for the plot, it’s pretty much what you’d imagine, and the one big surprise I had with the book was not seeing one of the characters killed off, but when it happened.

We pick up where we left off last time, with our heroes getting most of the Demon King’s minions out of the castle by simply having Megumin carpet bomb it to death. And yes, she does this with Yunyun and the other heroes IN the castle. Then they’ve got to go find Aqua, which Kazuma does almost immediately, as he overthinks a trap for dumb people and therefore picks the dumb option. We then get a series of KonoSuba-esque scenes, which involve fighting minions, arguing, and comedy, until everyone reunited and takes on the Demon King and his most powerful supporters. Unfortunately, the Demon King is not named that for nothing; he’s pretty much impossible to kill, unless Kazuma does something that he’d really rather not do, as he was told that if it happens again there’s no turning back…

I’ve spent several reviews discussing the romance, such as it is, in KonoSuba, and it’s therefore amusing how little it actually matters here. Megumin’s still in the lead, yes, but that’s mostly by default, and it’s mentioned that darkness is turning down the many marriage proposals she’s getting for a reason, and that, after the final battle’s legend is passed around, Princess Iris has more of a crush on her “older brother” than ever before. But the romance is irrelevant because it’s secondary to the family. This whole adventure came about not because they actually wanted to kill the Demon King, but because Aqua was depressed. By the end of the book we’ve solved that, although I think Aqua wishes there was a way to do that that involved less of her sobbing desperately. The series ends restoring everything to the status quo, although things will presumably be easier with the lack of a Demon Lord making all monsters stronger than they should be.

There are many other unlicensed spinoffs in this series, featuring Darkness, Dust and Yunyun, Cecily, etc. The author also says he has ideas for sequels – this volume has several final battles, both in Axel and at Iris’ castle, but we don’t actually see any of them, and it’s hinted he may write that as well. That said, aside from the upcoming fanbook, I think Yen On is finished with KonoSuba novels for now. This is a very satisfying conclusion, and all fans should enjoy it.

Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!: Runaway Goddess, Come Home!

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.

Last time I suggested the entire book had been written around one 40-50 page scene. This one’s even worse, as the entire book is entirely setup for one 3-4 page scene. The author even admits in the afterword that they had the ending to this book in mind right from the start of the series. It’s pretty spectacular, frankly, and fans of Megumin will be over the moon. That said, there is also the rest of this book to deal with. Good news, it’s also good, though it does not quite hit the highs that the end gives us. It’s the second to last in the series, so we’re setting up for the final battle here, but we’re also showing off how well everyone has integrated into Axel, and how much Kazuma, Megumin and Darkness have mellowed out and become boon companions. And in some cases more than that, as Kazuma and Megumin try once more to try to lose their virginity. (Take a wild guess how well that goes.)

As we saw at the end of the last volume, Aqua has run away to go defeat the Demon Lord, though it’s pretty clear she wants the rest of her friends to catch up ASAP. Instead she gets Handsome Sword Guy (whose name she forgets, and so do I), Cecily, and Yunyun… which is actually a far more balanced party than her normal one, so she mostly ends up very bored on the journey when she’s not accidentally tempting monsters to eat her. Kazuma is, alas, very reluctant to come after her as he’s back to Level 1 after recent events. That said, his level is back to baseline but he still has his skills… which gives him an idea. An idea involving Vanir, Wiz, and a very difficult dungeon…

If there’s a runner-up in terms of best bit in the book after the Rise and Rise of Megumin, it’s the adventures of Vanir and Wiz in the dungeon, keeping the useless Kazuma safe while also letting him get in the last hit to raise his level again (and then lower it, as he’s cheating as per usual). Vanir is just the same as always, but it’s an absolute delight to see Wiz getting obsessed with clearing the dungeon and just as over the top. They make a very good team. As for others in the book, the award for “worst person in the world” has to go to Zesta, who not only pervs hard on Kazuma, Megumin and Darkness, but is such a lustful pervert that even high-level monsters run away as they are worried he’ll try to screw them. (He will, indeed, try that.) He’s also the one who gets a horrible idea regarding Serena’s powers to return the pain she receives back on the giver, which relies on her being a virgin. KonoSuba is not about to forget its roots of being terrible in the best ways.

So all the main players have finally arrived at the final battle. Will our heroes triumph? Will the demon lord prevail? Will Kazuma die again? And what’s up with the link between this world and Japan? That will wait till the final volume next time. Till then, this was a lot of fun. Also, I find it hilarious that it took till Book 16 for Megumin and Darkness to learn Kazuma is from another world.

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.