Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Hilariously Frustrating World
I’m Anna, an editorial assistant working on a new light novel series from Yen Press, Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World by Natsume Akatsuki. Working on this series was truly a delight, and I thought I’d share a bit about why.
Konosuba parodies a familiar premise—hikikomori Kazuma is transported to another world that strongly resembles the video games he loves. The problem is, the resemblance extends only to how the world operates, not his role as the main character of the story.
In fact, the incident that leads to his passage to this other world begins with an attempt at playing the noble hero, only to find it was nothing more than a delusion of grandeur. In the world of Konosuba, intent on foiling his every expectation, “main character status” grants him nothing more special than an exceptional Luck stat.
Although it could have granted him more if he hadn’t chosen to begin his adventure with a petty act of spite. An understandable one, of course, but Kazuma is no saint undeserving of the trouble that awaits him as the protagonist of a comedy series. As an editor, I wanted to make sure the snark (and despair) of his first-person perspective and the author’s excellent sense of timing packed the same punch in the English version.
I loved the dramatic irony throughout the book. Kazuma’s familiarity with video games should help him in this world, but common sense is just far enough removed from what he knows that his expertise only leaves him more unprepared, like an experienced gamer forced to play a game made by people with no idea what they’re doing. With a tiny contrivance here or a little twist there, it’s as if the universe is expending as little effort as possible to make things frustrating. (Or perhaps expending disproportionate effort to making even little things infuriating.) Why does a party trick cost so many skill points? Why is harvesting cabbage such an ordeal? Why are the members of his party so specialized they can’t even function? The creativity in some of these ridiculous situations is downright hilarious.
Similarly, the characters and the way they bounced off of each other was a lot of fun, too. As I mentioned earlier, the entire adventure begins with Kazuma’s spite, which was only prompted by Aqua’s treating him so unnecessarily poorly to begin with. Megumin’s and Darkness’s quirks are perhaps more benign but no less troublesome as they refuse to compromise on simple things that render their incredible potential useless in most situations.
And yet, as much as I love watching these characters get frustrated at every turn, I genuinely enjoy them. They’re all a little peculiar—outcasts in some way—and the little glimpses of sincerity and success strike a balance that keeps the schadenfreude from devolving into total meanness.
If you like well-executed, lighthearted comedy and clever twists on video game and light novel tropes, check out Konosuba!