Kazuma Sato is a stereotypical otaku gamer who loathes the sun and leaves home only to go to school and the video game store. He’s the last person you’d expect to become a hero, yet he springs into action when he sees that a girl from his school is about to be hit by a speeding vehicle—or at least, that’s what he thinks is happening. In reality, the vehicle in question is a tractor, and the girl is injured by Kazuma’s pathetic attempt to save her. Worse still, Kazuma suffers a heart attack from the stress of the whole situation, and his family laughs when they find out how he died!

Now the afterlife isn’t looking much better for Kazuma. Aqua, the Goddess of Solitude, has informed him that Paradise doesn’t have video games or manga—just sitting out in the sun for eternity. Thankfully, she’s ready to give Kazuma another option: there’s another world, one very much like his beloved role-playing games, and it’s being threatened by a horrible Demon King. Kazuma can enter this world, as he is now, and become an adventurer to save the realm and reap the rewards of real heroism. As a bonus incentive, he’ll also be given any one magical item, weapon, talent, or another thing of his choosing to take with him.

To Aqua’s annoyance, Kazuma chooses her, and The Powers That Be accept his request. Now they’re both trapped as Level One nobodies. Kazuma has no class (meaning that he doesn’t have a fantasy world occupation, but he doesn’t have the other kind of class, either) and Aqua is now an Arch-Priestess dedicated to herself. Unfortunately, this doesn’t give her much power since nobody worships her on this world. Soon they are joined by the sorceress Megumin, a tween whose one explosion spell renders her unable to move for the rest of the day, and Darkness, a masochistic knight who only joined the crusade against the Demon King because she heard horrible things happened to the women warriors they took alive… horrible, kinky things. It’s not much of a party, but it is better than Paradise.

Gleefully satirizing Japanese role-playing games and anime/manga series based on the premise of real people becoming trapped in a fantasy world (e.g. Sword Art Online), Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! is one of the funniest manga I’ve had the pleasure of reading in some time. Granted, I must admit to some bias as a gamer with a preference for RPGs who knows the various tropes being parodied chapter and verse. The story, based on Natsume Akatsuki’s original web novel series, moves well and the characters are amusing, though they have yet to progress beyond one-note jokes in this first volume. The artwork by Masahito Watari matches Akatsuki’s story, switching between the standard shonen house style and a cutesy chibi style to keep up with the series’ shifts from serious action to drama and slapstick comedy.

This volume is rated T for Teen and I consider that a fair assessment. There’s a lot of fanservice and adult situations, but no outright nudity. The raciest material involves Darkness, who imagines herself half-naked in bondage when confronting one of the Demon King’s generals, as she says that she will be forced to do “freaky hardcore hentai” stuff as a prisoner.

Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!, vol. 1
by Natsume Akatsuki
Art by Masahito Watari
ISBN: 9780316552561
Yen Press, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: T (13+)

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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