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The Spring 2023 Anime Preview Guide
Konosuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World!

How would you rate episode 1 of
Konosuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World! ?
Community score: 3.8

How would you rate episode 2 of
Konosuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World! ?
Community score: 4.0

What is this?


One year before a certain useless goddess and NEET extraordinaire hit the scene, Megumin, the "Greatest Genius of the Crimson Magic Clan," is hard at work. Ever since a life-changing encounter in her youth, the young wizard has dedicated her every waking moment to the pursuit of the ultimate offensive magic, Explosion. (Well...every moment not spent hustling food from her self-proclaimed rival.) And while the big sister's away, the little one will play. On a routine trip into the woods, Megumin's little sister, Komekko, finds a strange black kitten. Little does she know that this cat plays a key role in unsealing a Dark God's tomb...

Konosuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World! is based on Natsume Akatsuki and illustrator Kurone Mishima's Konosuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World! spinoff novel series and streams on Crunchyroll on Wednesdays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

When it comes down to it, Konosuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World! is the story of a young girl with a dream no one else approves of. As a child, Megumi freed a monster from its seal and was saved by a mage who used explosion magic to deal with it. Now she seeks to master that magic. And while it is the most powerful and destructive magic around, the problem is that it's completely impractical for normal use—to the point that people see it as a joke.

It shocks me how invested I am in this story, but there's just something about having a character who is following their dream against all odds that speaks to me. Megumin isn't an idiot by any metric. She understands all the negatives but doesn't care. She saw the beauty and wonder of explosion magic and is entranced by it. It's the meaning to her life and she won't let anyone dissuade her from it. This makes her both easy to root for an identify with. After all, we've all at some point been made fun of for something we liked—not because it was hurting anything but because it wasn't “normal.”

Her situation also makes for a great setup for humor, especially once the school setting and the Crimson Demon's unique culture enters the picture. As we see in this episode, the school is more about teaching them to “look cool” than to cast magic. Making poses and honing catch phrases—and making up wild stories about how awesome you are—is the foundation of their curriculum. Yunyun being the sole member of the school who realizes just how cringey everyone else is just adds to the humor of the situation.

As a prequel to the main KONOSUBA series, there are a ton of little in-jokes and callbacks everywhere you look. That said, it's still perfectly watchable to newbies who haven't seen even a single episode of it. And while this episode is far from the absolute hilarity of some of the main series' best episodes, the core to the humor shines through here as well. It's nothing groundbreaking but if you're a fan of the main series or deadpan humor, you'll probably enjoy this one.

Rebecca Silverman

I was going to say that this spinoff of KONOSUBA featuring the explosion-happy Megumin is probably better if you're familiar with the original story, but now I'm not so sure. I am familiar with the first KONOSUBA from both anime and light novels, and this just isn't quite hitting the right notes. I think that's because it's almost playing things too straight; rather than hamming up the ridiculousness of Megumin's home village, a group of people who call themselves “Crimson Demons,” it's just presenting everything as perfectly ordinary. This is an approach that can work if it points out the absurdities in a subtle way, but that's not happening here. It tries, but they're framed so seriously that it falls just shy of the mark.

That's largely due to nothing being played up as much as it could be. During gym class at the absurdly named Red Prison school, students are meant to be coming up with signature “cool” poses to use on the field of battle. This is an excellent opportunity for weird contortions and over-the-top statements, but we just get a lot of girls standing on one leg holding their arms out, preferably in a way that accents their breasts. Their teacher, Pucchin, is better at it, presumably because he is the teacher, but the girls mostly seem embarrassed by him, which doesn't quite work with the previously established culture of their people. It feels like the episode can't settle on an approach, and while this is pleasant enough, it doesn't capture the same inanity and lunacy of its predecessor.

This could change, of course; the original KONOSUBA didn't have a perfect first episode either. It does do a good job of setting up Megumin's fascination with the Explosion spell, despite everyone trying to talk her out of it, and the implication that she freed some sort of all-powerful evil sorceress because she thought she was putting together a 3D jigsaw puzzle is pretty great, as is her complete and total failure to make a reasonable wish that's neither too much nor too little. Character designs are a mixed bag, with the aforementioned evil sorceress having some truly uncomfortable-looking breasts while Megumin's little sister is absolutely adorable. Also, the episode has a weird habit of showing us Megumin framed by random things (boobs, crawfish…). This is probably worth a second episode if you like the character, but otherwise, it's a pretty tepid experience all around.

Nicholas Dupree

You know, I never could get into the main KONOSUBA series. Its particular brand of caustic characters and cynical comedy just rubbed me the wrong way, and I never felt compelled to watch past around episode two. So I was pretty cynical myself about this new spin-off. However, while this premiere wasn't exactly to my taste in comedy, I found it mostly inoffensive and easy to sit through.

The biggest issue, for me, is that the jokes just didn't land. I got a couple of chuckles from Megumin immediately asking her mysterious mentor for world domination, but largely the delivery of the gags just didn't do much for me. Whenever a character would start demonstrating their comedic quirk—the headmaster gives long-winded speeches, the eye-patch girl is super chuuni, etc.—it didn't feel organic. Rather, it seemed like an obligation to throw in meta humor because hey, that's what KONOSUBA is supposed to be about! I'm sure part of it is also just missing in-jokes and callbacks that established fans will recognize and appreciate, but on a moment-to-moment basis the jokes fell flat more often than not. Since this is predominantly a comedy, that also meant there wasn't much to the story or characters outside of those gags, so there was very little to grasp onto here.

On the positive side, I'm always an easy mark for witch school stuff, and Megumin's alma mater fits the aesthetic pretty well. The overall production does a good job capturing an authentic fantasy vibe while still working in comedic anachronisms without drawing too much attention to them. I'm not sure if there's a larger explanation for why Megumin's father dresses like a Bancho to sell his magic wares, but it's a sharp look and got another sensible chuckle out of me. The opening scene also has some wild effects animation that really sells Megumin's fascination with explosion magic. Plus, while the humor wasn't to my taste, it also didn't exasperate me the way its sister series did, so that was nice.

Overall, though, the gags just didn't land well for me, and not being annoyed isn't the same as enjoying myself. I imagine fans who already know and love Megumin from the original series will be happy to follow her academic adventures, but as somebody uninitiated, I just couldn't get into it.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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