The second season of KonoSuba reunites us with the familiar yet woefully incompetent band of adventurers from the first season as they continue in their endeavors to obtain a life of luxury. Though they’ve been subject to their fair share of misfortune in the past, their luck isn’t about to change as their ineptitude and circumstances spur the party towards ever greater conflict and misadventure.
Due to the way in which KonoSuba’s distinctive style of comedy and character chemistry are ingrained in its overarching presentation, it’s a straightforward expectation that the second season pattern itself after the first and offer more of what came before. In many ways, KonoSuba delivers on just this. Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin, and Darkness are as dysfunctional and hilarious as ever, the fantasy world’s RPG elements remain one of the core comedic components of the story, and the visuals do a great job of bringing that world and its characters to life through detailed and expressive animation. With that all said, the second season does differ in a few subtle ways from its predecessor.
The most pronounced of these differences concerns the way in which KonoSuba handles its central band of adventurers and the overarching comedic style of the show. The characters themselves are just as you might remember them. Kazuma is as mischievous, sarcastic, perverted, and shameful as he always was but the second season tries to exhibit his resourcefulness and underlying good nature as well. Aqua is a blithering, narcissistic, moron who balls her eyes out at every chance she gets but this season of the show reminds us that, despite these disgraceful traits, she is still a Goddess. The same kind of shift in characterization can also be said for Megumin and Darkness who find themselves benefiting the party just as much as they hinder it.
The point of these positive characteristics is not that the characters have changed but rather that the show’s attitude towards them has shifted slightly with the advent of the second season. Though KonoSuba may at times highlight any one of their legitimate strengths such as Kazuma’s cunning, Megumin’s raw firepower, or Darkness’s endurance, the characters remain as awkward, unorthodox, and hilarious as they were before. But not necessarily as inept. Originally, the party’s success would often stem from either the necessity for them to succeed and therein their crude sense of determination or simply comedic happenstance where the situation would resolve itself within the chaos of their own poor decision making.
This time around however, Kazuma and his party are far better legitimized through their actions. They don’t miss every shot they take. They work together to overcome problems and though their means may be unconventional, they get the job done. Each of the characters’ skills were always instrumental and important to their eventual success or failure however their competence is far better showcased by the events of the second season.What this all amounts to is that, while KonoSuba may be built upon its parody of the RPG fantasy genre, on many occasions the second season plays it straight.
The ramifications of this are pretty apparent and though the story of our adventurers doesn’t progress all that much, the show itself behaves a bit differently because of it. Outside of Megumin’s explosion sequences, none of the characters every really got the chance to look all that cool. This more positive depiction of the characters allows for some pretty flashy action sequences, some great animation, and some truly awesome moments. These sequences also feature their fair share of comedy however, for the first time, the characters get to appear heroic in their own way. The downside to this is that many scenes this season either lack an effective comedic purpose or drag on for far, far too long. For viewers who felt that the character comedy was often repetitive or one-dimensional, these prolonged scenes may exacerbate those issues.
This isn’t entirely because of the change in attitude towards the incompetence of the characters however it’s certainly an element of KonoSuba’s slightly worsened comedic pacing. Some would-be jokes drag on for what feels like the entire episode. Many jokes don’t even end with a sufficient punchline and when they do, it often feels like they took too long getting there. This isn’t to say that the show isn’t funny anymore because it’s still exceedingly humorous. Rather, in terms of comedy, KonoSuba’s second season has higher highs and lower lows. At times, it marries its newfound characterization to the situation perfectly like in the cases of Kazuma’s lizard runner strategy or the finale of the show which are both as visually spectacular as they are hilarious. In other instances, a single joke hangs aimlessly over a scene as characters converse for the sake of awkwardness alone rather than for a distinct, comedic purpose.
With the exception of that key difference, the second season of KonoSuba handles itself quite similarly to the first and presents a variety of new, refreshing characters and developments. Wiz is featured more regularly this time around and Yunyun is a great addition to the cast though she doesn’t appear all that often. The world of KonoSuba was populated with all of the token monsters and magic typical of its fantasy setting however it continued to innovate in its own way. It breathed life into its dopey and inconvenient world through creatures like the lizard runners who gather in hoards to race each other as a mating ritual and the running hawk kites which charge in groups at the hardest object they can find. While the world outside of Axel remains mostly uninvestigated, it’s monsters like these and the other various, recurring adventurers which give the show such great verisimilitude.
Though the comedy of the second season may fall slightly short of the high bar set by its predecessor, all of the best elements of KonoSuba remain. The individual gags of the central four characters are excellent and their character chemistry with one another is endlessly entertaining. Though each of them are practically a hindrance to one another, each member of the group understands each other in a fundamental way. They don’t always get along but they possess a strong sense of camaraderie all the same, often enabling and colluding with each other because of their shared despicable natures.
The animation, while infrequently even more slapdash and silly than the first season, was excellent in how it captured the personalities of the characters and their great range of comical expressions. Despite a few rough patches, KonoSuba brought something new to the table and above all else, remained thoroughly engaging and hilarious.