KonoSuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World anime recently premiered and so far, it has been a delightful treat. I admit that it’s not the best in terms of visuals and comedic delivery, but true fans will know how much it means for this story to be adapted. Megumin’s spin-off series focuses on the arch wizard’s backstory when she was still a student in her hometown. One of the best parts about this is seeing her journey from the beginning when in fact, we already know how amazing (and destructive) her explosive magic will be in the future. I am filled with so much happiness and nostalgia writing this review right now, especially since I’m also listening to the ending theme song performed by voice actors Rie Takahashi and Aki Toyosaki. Such a burst of cuteness!
The Spark That Started It All
As a fan of the original series, I am really happy to see Megumin in the spotlight. We first see some adorable scenes with her sister and family, followed by an extra flashy flashback, and lastly, her enrollment into the magic academy. Megumin is lively, cheerful, and a bit mischievous at times. Most of all, she dreams big — as in world domination, demon lord, or explosions kind of big.
I think the premiere episode sets up a really good stage for establishing Megumin’s love and dedication to learning to master the destructive art of explosion magic. It’s one of her most obvious traits. While everyone else jokes and laughs at its impracticality, Megumin is so passionate about it because she witnessed the magic firsthand. I get it too — that explosion scene with the mage was just so captivating and beautiful! It’s definitely one of those unforgettable life-changing moments. It’s no wonder she becomes so diligent in her studies.
I also really loved that in the premiere’s opening, we hear Kazuma’s narrations while in the ending, we see Megumin imitating the stance of the explosion spell. I think it’s a wonderful way to wrap up the first episode. I can’t help but wonder about what Megumin released from the tombs and maybe this is stirring something related to the plot…
The “Cool” Crimson Demon Clan
Explosive magic is dramatic, yes, but I guess it just comes naturally to Megumin. The series highlights the unique and melodramatic Crimson Demon Clan. A lot of the jokes and comedy come from this. For example, the lessons at the Crimson Academy are all about learning to act, pose, and introduce themselves in a “cool” manner for battle. I believe school settings are fun for world-building because it makes us relate to the characters’ learning journey, but this…well… the second-hand embarrassment kills me every time. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s only Yunyun, bless her, who feels shy about all of it.
Another magic training happens in Episode 2 and I say that it also did a good job of showing how crazy the Crimson Demon clan is with their over-the-top magic display. I particularly enjoyed seeing Megumin with her loud and scheming personality, especially when she and the girls were leveling up. Their whole class seems fun. The gargoyle scenes had me laughing too with their expressive reactions, something reminiscent of the original series.
Megumin and Yunyun’s Friendly Rivalry
In episode 3, I was pleasantly reminded of how I came to love the original anime bit by bit. It’s not the flashiest or most visually appealing show out there, but the characters are so easily likable. We met Yunyun before and she doesn’t look like the desperate or lonely character the original series made her out to be. I genuinely enjoyed seeing the third episode expand on Megumin and Yunyun’s relationship. When they were studying in the library, helping the local NEET, and the part when they were walking home — all of it was so simple and fun. They are both very smart and weird in their own ways. Actually, I think Yunyun is my favorite here. She is precious by all means and I can’t help but cheer for her alongside Megumin. I also realize that the past three episodes have all ended in the most heartwarming and wholesome ways. I love that.
My Explosive Frustrations
To say that it was a perfect score would be untrue because honestly, I wasn’t blown away as much as I hoped to be. The beginning felt lacking in so many aspects like comedy and its attempts at first-episode impressions. Don’t get me wrong — Megumin is amazing, but everything else left me yearning for more personality. Aside from the explosion scene, the animation also felt awkwardly mild. From a series with so much energy and chaos, this spin-off felt… ordinary. I feel like it just had so much to offer and it just didn’t hit the mark. While I love the joke of the Crimson Demon clan being the way they are and girls being girls (and their very, uhh, distracting chests), I do have some trouble finding them charming right now. It frustrates me because these girls definitely have the potential to be more than “side characters.” I can’t help but feel something missing because there is not much chemistry or dynamic among everyone else. For instance, I loved watching whatever entertaining shenanigans or crazy banter Kazuma’s group had. It’s something I wish this KonoSuba spin-off series can build more with its cast as it goes on.
Looking Forward to More Megumin
Overall, I’d say that KonoSuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World is off to a good start. Putting aside the troubles I said earlier, the fact that I am seeing Megumin’s spin-off animated is already a happy one for me. Megumin is amazing and I’m glad she’s getting all the appreciation she deserves. She exploded her way into our hearts, into her own movie, and now into her own prequel series. I can’t wait to see more expressive and wholesome moments, parts that really highlight the best and funniest of Megumin’s journey towards — that’s right– EXPLOOSIOOON!
If you enjoy the series, don’t forget to vote in our weekly polls! New episodes come out every Wednesday at 25:00 JST.
Images via Bilibili
© Natsume Akatsuki, Kurone Mishima / KADOKAWA / KonoSuba Explosion Production Committee