What They Say:
After returning from their trip to Japan, Kazuma and the gang find themselves in a sticky situation! The metal monstrosity known as Destroyer is fast approaching and if they don’t do something quick, the town is done for! Kazuma takes the lead, Aqua prepares to disable the barriers protecting the behemoth, Megumin and Wiz get ready to unleash their magic, and Darkness is…just standing there? Explosions abound as the fight to save the town begins!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
A giant arachnid fortress is rampaging through the land, putting Kazuma’s life as an adventurer at grave risk! Determined to save his town (not to mention his beloved succubi), Kazuma finds himself appointed the leader of the defense effort against this monstrosity. Using his own disreputable reasons as a guiding star, Kazuma taps into his teenage lechery to assemble a militia of the all the town’s men to assault the spider to great superficial success! Author/Mangaka Natsume Akatsuki comes out of the gates strongly, providing humorous parody even in the heat of life or death struggle; with the women’s calculated and precise use of power juxtaposed against the men’s wanton destruction and passion providing all the details the reader needs to be reminded just who the truly powerful are in the story thus far, even in jest. Akatsuki continues his open ribbing at the Shonen/RPG genre with the literal usage of the “Protecting Her Smile” trope, the riled up men shouting it from the rooftops before descending upon the crippled mobile fortress. All this hustle and bustle mixed with a good dash of luck propel the small beginner town to victory over the Destroyer, and celebrations and riches flow openly! Sadly (or perhaps not) for Kazuma, the fanfare from his victory is quickly erased by the same inspirations that brought him to glory.
The women continue to be the most compelling characters of this comedy manga through volume 4, with their colorful personalities still prominent despite the seriousness of the major conflict ahead. Megumin, everyone’s favorite crimson wizard, experiences a crisis of identity of sorts through this volume, easily the most notable development between the three main heroines. Firmly planted in her superior abilities using explosion magic to solve all the world’s problems, Megumin sees that confidence shaken early in the effort. This is an important piece of character development as for the first time she is acknowledging just how useless her one-and-done ability can be. Imagine a Megumin with some tactical thought, a backup plan, or maybe even a little proactivity to combat her immediate liability after firing off one of her patented explosions? However, like most folks attempting to correct a weakness, overcompensation leads her right back home to the arms of her destructive brand. If this crisis of confidence wasn’t enough, it appears as if a new player has entered the fray and brings some powerful magic of her own.
As mentioned earlier, Kazuma’s less than kind ventures through his new world have finally caught up with him, ironically in thanks to his heroic deeds. Suddenly seeing himself on trial for sedition against the kingdom, Kazuma gets every sleazy activity he has ever done thrown in his face as the court case quickly devolves from a trial on this single action to a trial of his entire personality. Considering Kazuma is an utter sleazeball, he is quickly thrown in jail to await his death, ushered by a local Lord whose home was destroyed during his impromptu promotion during the assault on the Destroyer. Don’t let this rush of consequences fool you, as Natsume Akatsuki has no intention of allowing Kazuma to think as insularly as Megumin earlier in the volume. Determined to prove his innocence, Kazuma shamelessly allows Darkness to sacrifice herself for his cause.
Normally the most useless of the bunch, Darkness steps up to the plate in Kazuma’s defense, displaying a mysterious medallion to the judge and bartering with the angry Lord Alderp for one more day to prove his innocence. The price that Darkness has to pay for this negotiation has yet to be seen, but it sure doesn’t look pleasant. I suppose the delicious comeuppance that was on the horizon must once again set for us readers.
With each of member of Konosuba’s stable of primary characters (except Kazuma) experiencing at least a modicum of development in volume 4, Natsume Akatsuki takes an interesting approach to a genre he has already been wonderfully tearing apart. Kazuma as a hub for the female characters to grow around (begrudgingly or otherwise) makes for a great flip on the common utilization of women in fantasy stories, especially the popular “sucked into another world” tales. Kazuma getting his comeuppance, even if superficially, is a fun trip for the reader; especially given the atrocities most of us reap in RPGs of the same vein. Masahiro Watari’s art, as usual, is strong with good use of facial cues denoting comedic moments even in the intensity of battle. Watari also always finds some time to poke fun at Kazuma as well, giving him looks of supreme arrogance mere moments before embarrassment. The manga adaptation of Akatsuki’s light novel series of the same name continues its strong path, quickly seating itself as one of my most anticipated releases every month on the review cycle.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: July 18th, 2017
MSRP: $13.00 USD