When KonoSuba’s anime adaption first aired back in 2016, it was a surprise hit. Since then, publisher Yen Press has capitalised on its success by licensing the light novels, manga and various spin-offs. The latest of these releases is Konosuba: An Explosion on this Wonderful World!, a prequel series following Megumin’s childhood in the Crimson Magic village. Does this story live up to the charm of the main series? Let’s find out!
As mentioned above, this spin-off revolves around Megumin and how the mage came to be so obsessed with explosion magic. One fateful day, our hero was saved by a legendary female mage who wielded explosion magic, and having seen this magic in action Megumin couldn’t get it out of her mind. Unfortunately, the people of the Crimson Magic Village looked down upon explosion magic because its drawbacks outweighed its usefulness. Other forms of advanced magic required much less MP to perform, and even if you’d dedicated your life to learning explosion magic you may never be able to actually use it. Despite this, Megumin refused to give up on her dream, secretly putting her experience points into explosion – and thus she begins on the road to explosions on this wonderful world!
While this first volume is focused on Megumin, it also spends plenty of time with her childhood friend Yunyun. We’ve known for awhile due to the main series that Yunyun didn’t have any friends at school and saw Megumin as her ‘rival’, but it’s great fun to see this first hand. Yunyun spends most of her time challenging Megumin to impossible challenges, only to lose and end up handing over her lunch everyday. Despite this the two are clearly firm friends, even if Yunyun can’t see it.
The other interesting thing about this volume was the introduction of Megumin’s familiar: Chomusuke (temporarily known as ‘Shadow’ in this series so far). In the main series of KonoSuba Chomusuke just randomly appears one day, which originally led me to believe that was all there was to its introduction. It’s nice to see that the familiar does have a backstory of her own to tell.
This manga is an adaption of a light novel of the same name (which Yen Press are bringing to the West later in the year), and while I usually find manga adaptations to be somewhat lacking this proved to be a fun read. Mangaka Kasumi Morino does a good job at capturing what makes KonoSuba fun with varied facial expressions for our characters, dramatic ‘chuunibyou’ moments and good comic timing. I suspect that the light novel serves better in focusing on the inner thoughts of Megumin and co. but the manga is by no means poor on its own.
Another point in the manga’s favour is that it’s short and already finished in Japan at 5 volumes. KonoSuba: An Explosion on this Wonderful World!’s light novels finished at 3 volumes, so this should give the manga plenty of time to cover everything that happens. Towards the end of this first volume we’re shown that the monsters around the village aren’t acting normally and interlude chapters show us that Megumin’s younger sister Komekko might have accidentally helped a great evil escape, so there’s certainly plenty to look forward to in the next volume!
As previously mentioned, this series comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Kevin Steinbach. The translation reads well and is problem free. This release also includes colour pages at the beginning, which is a nice treat.
Overall, this manga adaption of KonoSuba: An Explosion on this Wonderful World is off to a strong start. While fans might want to wait for the original light novels to be released, those who prefer reading manga (or happen to be diehard fans of the franchise) will find plenty to like here. Megumin’s path to becoming the ultimate explosion wizard is nothing if not entertaining.