Light Novel Review: Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! – Volume 1

YenPress continues to publish a wide-variety of Manga and Light Novels within the UK and America and today we will be sharing our thoughts on the first light novel release of Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! – Volume 1

Title: Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! – Volume 1
Publisher: YenPress
Author Natsume Akatsuki
Illustrator Kurone Mishima
Pages 176
Language English

Synopsis:

Game loving shut-in Kazuma Sato’s life as a young schoolboy in Japan abruptly comes to an early end…or at least it was supposed to. When he opens his eyes, though, he sees a beautiful goddess that offers him a once in an after-lifetime chance to be reborn in a parallel world. The catch is that the world is violent and threatened by a growing evil! Fortunately, he can choose any one thing to bring with him. So he chooses the goddess, Aqua! And so his adventure with his gorgeous companion begins–if he could just get enough money and food to survive, keep his goddess out of trouble, and avoid grabbing the attention of the Demon King’s army!

Our View:

Despite reading a selection of light novel in the past, especially Accel World and Sword Art Online, Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! Is the first series I have managed to read without any prior knowledge of the world and the characters that inhabit it; and yet somehow I found it to be easily accessible and enjoyable to read.

Most people will recognise Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! as an anime series with two seasons (one of which recently ended); but before being adapted into this anime series that many know and love Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! was a light novel series; a product which YenPress have brought to western audiences in this first ‘English translated’ volume of the series. In it readers are introduced to main protagonist Kazuma Satō, a 16-year-old self-proclaimed pro gamer, who after dying by way of an unfortunate accident finds himself being given an ultimatum by the goddess Aqua in which he is tasked with protecting a distant world from the evil Demon King.

It’s a comical story with a rather imaginative introduction; whereby the hopeless NEET (i.e. Kazuma) tries to save a girl’s life but in the process ends up being killed and used by a god for her own agenda. Naturally the laughable situation continues when Aqua offers Kazuma any one thing to take with him on his journey to this alternate world by which Kazuma wishes that Aqua herself would join him on this venture. It’s at this point that the first volume of Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! begins to shine; by introducing fans to this fictional RPG styled world and the new friends that it can bring through the numerous difficulties they experience.

Throughout the remaining one-hundred-and-forty-pages we see Kazuma and Aqua become acquainted to the lifestyles of this ‘unique world’ and the challenges that bring them. For instance this particular world operates like that of a MMORPG and as such people wanting to become adventurers must not only register their details at the Inn (like a guild) but they also have to accept quests in order to receive money for food, weapons and clothes. That’s not all either as each person within this world (especially those who wish to be adventurers) find themselves being able to level up, learn new skills and abilities through the use of an ID Card that displays there stats once registered at the in. It’s a bizarre blend of real-life with JPRG mechanics and in some instances could be comparable to Sword Art Online’s virtual worlds; albeit this time it’s actually real and not digital.

Understanding the fundamentals of how this world works isn’t entirely important to the events of the story; but we are given enough descriptive information – and reminded about it through the chapters – so it’s not something that’s easily forgotten. Naturally this isn’t the story that’s being told; the story being told is that of Aqua and Kazuma must defeat the Demon King but upon discovering the realities of this world it soon dawns on them that they won’t be challenging the Demon King anytime soon. Resenting to this fact we find ourselves shifting through a variety of different story elements of self-discovery in this new world which leads on to the introduction of new characters, such as the arch-wizard Megumin and the tank-class-styled warrior Wizard; both of whom have their own unique quirks and personalities,  a selection of quests – including one involving cabbage hunting – as well as the impending threat from a Demong King general to keep things tied altogether for a cliff-hanger-styled ending to the first volume.

As you can probably tell this first volume light novel release of Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! offers a lot of content for what, in some aspects, is a relatively short book but this is mostly done to how the story has been written and presented itself. Sure enough the story is engaging, comical and entertaining – at times I found it extremely hard to put down – however the book is not only separated into chapters but also in to chapter arcs with eight arcs per chapter and four chapters in total included with this first volume. I get the impression that each chapter arc signals the end of a scene or location; unfortunately however at times it feels like these are placed mid-dialogue (especially in the third chapter) and as such feels like your become disconnected from the flow of the story; especially during mid-conversations between characters.

For me this is my only gripe with the book as on most occasions you would have naturally flowing text and story only for it to be stopped (and in some instances resumed in the next chapter arc). Of course while this aspect of the book disappointed me it did have another benefit. These chapter arcs are usually four pages long and as they are short they provide that ‘short burst’ of reading which can not be achieved through the forty page chapters. It’s a like it, loathe it movement but as someone who prefers to read big chunks (rather than small) then it’s not to my liking.

As one would expect Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! – Volume 1 is not just cover-to-cover of text depicting the adventures of our adventurers as before readers get to the actual ‘written content’ readers will find a selection of ‘magazine quality paper’ featuring artwork depicting various scenes in full colour form as well as a character breakdown introducing (once again in comical form) the characters that appear within the story. It’s a nice addition but as they are placed before the main written content it does feel slightly out of place. Throughout the book readers will also find full page artwork which relate to scenes that occur at that part of the book; all of which are great to look at when not reading the text that surrounds the page and at times helps immerse yourself in the story being told even more.

Overall Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! – Volume 1 was a great experience that provided fun, laughter and a few surprises but most of all it was enjoyable from start to finish with it’s simplistic but descriptive writing style. If you enjoy the mechanics found within Sword Art Online’s virtual world and a story that offers some lighthearted comedy then Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! – Volume 1 is one worth adding to your reading list.

Score: review-stars-4

Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! – Volume 1 is now available within the UK and America.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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