Cinema is a new frontier for this blog and hopefully one that is here to stay. I know I’ve neglected the site this past year now that life has turned into a more stable (boring) pacing, I think I’m ready to get back on track. Let’s reopen business and talk about one of the most anticipated adaptations to the big screen: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: Kurenai Densetsu. I’ve reviewed the show before, and not wanting to be repetitive I’ll try to focus on the movie. Be warned that this review is going to be full of spoilers.
About the movie
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! Kurenai Densetsu (この素晴らしい世界に祝福を！紅伝説) is a 2019 movie adaptation of an ongoing novel of the same name. The movie was announced on June 2018 featuring the same cast that participated on the anime. It premiered on September 2019 (Japan) with a running time of 1h 30min.
Kazuma’s party is suddenly alerted by an outrageous letter delivered by Yunyun. The letter requested that they come to the Crimson Demon Clan’s village, that is facing a threat that could mean it’s ending. (Taken from IMDB)
Konosuba Kurenai Densetsu was the last movie I saw on theaters before the world plummeted into a nightmare and what a fit pick to bid farewell to the movie theater going experience. My first impressions of the film were underwhelming, it was good but not what I expected it to be. The moment I learned about the adaptation was going to adapt one of the most beloved volumes of the light novel, you could not just wait to see it. My initial thoughts were that this story and adaptation did not need to be a movie, I could picture this story fitting half a season. It reminded me of the latter half of the second season. Could it not be the beginning of the third season? Why did it have to be a film? as a result many other questions popped up. A couple of months later, now that it was available easily, I watched it again. Before that I also re-watched the first two seasons and now I think I understand why they chose this format instead of another season: The story fits better as a standalone piece of media, it allows a self-contained story faraway from the usual location to give us a more detailed view of this world and the characters. As a production, you don’t have to worry about continuity or ending with a cliffhanger, and as the audience, you get the whole picture in ninety minutes.
Konosuba is first and foremost an Isekai show, it has all the elements, archetypes and tropes that any other shows in the genre have. The difference lies on what do you do with those pieces. One aspect of Konosuba that doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves is its world-building. The movie serves the purpose of expanding what we already know about the Crimson village, the intentions of the Demon King Army and the consequences of bringing people from another world. It develops these premises around our main characters, it’s there for a purpose. We immerse on this vast fantasy world and its inhabitants, this could be seen as filler but the direction and writing of the movie elevates them into an important part of the storytelling. As an example, we get to know why the Crimson Demons are treated like weirdos in this fantasy world, the show gives you hints with Megumin’s behavior in addition to how the other characters treat her. The movie doubles down with that even giving us how they came to be and it’s a hilarious conclusion of this setup with the Crimson Village that you do not expect. It pays off in a satisfying way, you laugh at it while learning more about this universe.
The core of the story is their characters and their interactions. Megumin is the star of the movie. As I said before the show gives you hints here and there but now we get to see where she comes from consequently why she is so bent on learning Explosion magic which is more than a chuuni obsession. The main struggle with her is coming back to the place where she endured so much to achieve what she always wanted. Megumin’s story is one of hardships in particular with her family and her time in the magic academy. She also gets closer to Kazuma and the prospect of a romantic relationship is hinted but don’t get high hopes for that. It solidifies her status as the most important girl in the story. Kazuma is the other half of the movie, beginning to question why he is still in the same place as before: He already beat 3 Demon King’s generals, save more than twice the city and kingdom, even making himself a name on the guild. So why he is not popular, why is he still stuck with a useless goddess, a one-trick magician and Lalatina. All these troubles got him no more than crushing debt and traumas so he will get what he always wanted: To be popular with girls, even if he goes to the strangest places to find it. There’s an arc for his character, the Kazuma we knew from the show is not the same at the end of the movie, but just barely. Aqua and Kazuma also strenghts their relationship which goes from uncooperative partners to friends, they trust each other with resemblance of mutual respect and banter. Darkness is there too.
Yunyun is the dark horse of the movie. You could not talk about the movie without the involvement of her character. In the show she is treated as a punching bag which IMO is something that gets old quickly. Konosuba Kurenai Densetsu redeems her completely, giving us a personality, background and motivation. You get to know her, to understand her feelings of being ostratized on the Crimson Village only because she is normal and embarrased to behave like the others. One of the most important aspects of building Yunyun’s arc is her relationship with Megumin which relies on parellels between their backgrounds. Yunyun is not a petty loser girl who chases Megumin to engage in a feud, they are friends who supported each other during hard times. The character has been reborn and now I want to see more of her in the main story in the same status that the movie gave her.
Now for the things I didn’t like. My main gripe with the movie is that the comedy has been toned down. There were some gut-busting moments but there wasn’t the same bulk as the show, I know the movie focused more on the characters but you cannot ignore one of the main aspects that made the show shine above others. I cannot believe there wasn’t enough time for more jokes. What also need more time was developing the villain, the final battle is great but it’s the same thing that happened in Alcanretia City. The stakes are not that high or at least you already know how it’s going to end, so make the villain more interesting and not repetitive of the previous ones. Vanir was a one-episode villain however he stole the entire running time he was in. Sylvia could have been the same, but literally gets dumped with the other dead villains. Darkness might as well not be in the movie, she disappears for almost the entire running time. I don’t want her character to be reduced as the punching bag. She has genuinely wholehearted relationships with the rest of the group and we saw her growing during the two seasons of the show so what’s the point of throwing her under the bus on the movie adaptation.
Transitiong any kind of media to the big screen is hard work; anybody can make a movie, only some can make a good one. Konosuba Kurenai Densetsu falls into the good side. If you enjoyed the show, even if you only watched it once, I absolutely recommend this film. I think this is one of movies that gets better after you revisit it, there are details that could evade you the first time that are important to both the movie and the story that will come later (hopefully). Konosuba Kurenai Densetsu is available where Anime is, you can also spend some money on the BD and listen to the commentary track and other extras.