KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! is something special. The isekai adventure with Kazuma (Jun Fukushima), Aqua (Sora Amamiya), Megumin (Rie Takahashi), and Darkness (Ai Kayano) isn’t just one of the funniest anime comedies of the decade; it also stands toe-to-toe with such legendary sitcoms as Fawlty Towers, BlackAdder, and The IT Crowd. It may be hard to believe, but author Natsume Akatsuki has succeeded in crafting a British-styled funny bone within the Japanese pop culture realm. Now hitting the big screen for the first time, KonoSuba! Legend of Crimson continues onward with its trend of wacky antics and world-saving conquests.
Adapting the fifth volume of Akatsuki’s light novel series, Legend of Crimson has the gang visiting the Crimson Demon village, after YunYun (Aki Toyosaki) gets a distressful letter sent to her. There, Kazuma, Darkness, and Aqua get acquainted with the village folk, who wind up being just as bombastic as Megumin. That’s when Devil King general Sylvia (Akeno Watanabe) invades the village with her goblin armies, as she aims to gain an ultimate weapon that can destroy the Crimson Demons. Fortunately, Kazuma and his girl-powered trio have a trick up their sleeves.
It should be known going into Legend of Crimson that watching the TV series or reading the light novels are somewhat necessary for understanding some of the character dynamics. Those who do go in without any sort of knowledge of KonoSuba!, however, will still be greeted with ways to make them roll in their seats with laughter. Scenes where Kazuma is willing to get with YunYun or be almost violated by a sea of orc girl warriors are played out far better in animated form than simply just reading it. The recurring gag revolving around Kazuma’s “popularity period” (or “moteki,” as it’s called in Japanese) plays a big role not only with some of the best jokes of the film, but with the overall plot of this adventure.
Even with the film delivering one self-deprecating joke after another, there's still room for KonoSuba! to throw in a little sweetness into it. The way Kazuma treats Megumin while they share a room together may have some silly perverted elements here and there, but the relationship they seem to build under her roof demonstrates how much our hero cares about her. While the same can be said about Darkness and YunYun (Aqua, not so much), you feel a sense of warmth when you see what Kazuma is willing to do to better Megumin both as a mage and a person. Yes, he may have some hilariously naughty reasons behind some of his actions, but one has to admit that the guy can try to show a selfless action or two once in awhile.
A big reason for the humor working the way it does is because of the voice cast. Rarely has there been someone as grand and over-the-top as Fukushima when it comes to playing Kazuma. His attitude and mannerisms are akin to some of the best characters in British comedy, with the cunningness of Rowan Atkinson's Edmund BlackAdder and the horn-dog mannerisms of Matt Berry's Douglas Reynholm. Takahashi is gleeful and full of heart as Megumin, with her stealing the spotlight from Fukushima when it’s time to let out a big bang! As the main villain in the story, Watanabe delivers a sultry-yet-goofy performance as Sylvia, who gets some big laughs when using her moves on a willful Kazuma.
With J.C.Staff taking the animation reins from Studio DEEN, the quality of the visuals improve greatly for the big screen. However, with Takaomi Kanasaki still at the helm as director, KonoSuba! keeps to its rubbery and cartoonish style that has made the series a gem to watch unfold. It may not be on the same level as when J.C.Staff brought Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? to the big screen earlier this year, but the overall detail that’s in Legend of Crimson works great for the comedy it delivers. With that being said, Megumin’s explosion techniques are brought to life with far more oomph than what DEEN was able to craft.
KonoSuba! Legend of Crimson is a hard movie to talk about, as even some slight reveals would ruin the punchlines that it throws at its audience. Thankfully, this big film adventure is practically a laugh-a-second affair, tossing in verbal and visual gags at a speed not seen since Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. While it doesn’t succeed in stealing Aardman Animation’s trophy for funniest animated film ever made, KonoSuba! Legend of Crimson finds ways to get close to snatching it from their cheese-stained hands.
Promotional consideration provided by Bianca Doria of Ellation. In theaters November 12th & 14th. Click here for tickets!