Kazuma Satou and his party of misfits have been a delight on the crossover show Isekai Quartet. Although their interactions and mannerisms have translated well to Quartet, their chibi versions lack the sheer energy and crass (this mainly applies to Kazuma) that their full-bodied versions have. If, like me, you’d forgotten just how energetic and crazy the four (especially Kazuma) could be in their own series, the new KONOSUBA -God’s blessing on this wonderful world!- Legend of Crimson movie will serve as a wonderful big-screen reminder.
The story sees the gang traveling to Megumin’s hometown, the Crimson Demon Village, after learning that it’s under threat from the Demon King’s army. While we get a healthy dose of action (with some explosions, of course) in the movie’s climax, the trip is also a chance for us to get acquainted with the rest of the quirky, chuunibyou-like Crimson Demons, and to see Kazuma’s and Megumin’s relationship deepen.
I was expecting a bit more from the relationship side of things, but it was also admittedly unrealistic of me to expect the two to be a couple by the end of the movie. Legend of Crimson only adapts the fifth volume of the current 16-book-series. If there’s further development, it’d likely come in one of the later volumes.
At any rate, there are scenes that plant the seeds for their ship, whether it’s Megumin’s concern over Kazuma possibly fathering a child with her rival Yunyun during an early gag or the cute and even physical moments where they admit their appreciation for one another. And while we’ve known from the series that Megumin’s overspecialization in explosion magic is a source of exasperation for Kazuma, the movie shows that Kazuma ultimately cares more about Megumin than the magic she knows.
Naturally, the nature of the story means that there’s more of an emphasis on Megumin than Aqua and Darkness. I didn’t find this to be particularly noticeable or bothersome, however, and thought that the latter two had enough of a presence. It might be my slight Megumin bias at work, though. Yunyun also gets a decent but surprising amount of focus. I’ve always viewed her as a source of jokes, but Legend of Crimson lets her shine with her abilities and provides a flashback that generates respect for the character.
The comedy is, of course, still the meat of the movie. Thanks to Legend of Crimson‘s premise, we get an amusing first meeting between Kazuma and Megumin’s parents. Later, the movie reveals the unexpected origins of the Crimson Demons (a definite highlight). There are also more familiar gags, but it’s never dull to see jokes involving Darkness’ masochism or Aqua being Aqua. The KonoSuba staple of having exaggerated expressions is always welcome too.
Like I mentioned earlier, I remembered less about Kazuma’s lust. I was quickly reacquainted with this side of the character though since about four sketches revolve around it. These sketches really serve to show how watered down Isekai Quartet’s Kazuma is in comparison — while he has his good qualities, Kazuma is also often a sleazy jerk. The scenes veer into questionable territory at times, but the absurdity of Kazuma’s depiction largely succeeds in making them comical. In addition, his attempts to get laid are thwarted, looked down on and criticized, or even punished through unexpected twists. In one instance, Kazuma regrets his lustful desires from before as he gets pursued by a horde of ravenous female orcs.
Still, there’s no overlooking that Legend of Crimson can often be crass. Although it isn’t recycled as a recurring gag or brought up again, there’s another twist that can be seen as offensive. If you didn’t like this side of the series’ comedy to begin with, the movie won’t change your mind.
While KonoSuba’s two seasons were produced by Studio DEEN, Legend of Crimson is produced by J.C. Staff. I’ve no clue about the staff composition, aside from the movie maintaining some key staff from the series, but I enjoyed their results. The overall product may not carry the sense of polish seen in A Certain Scientific Railgun T, but it’s also far from One Punch Man season two’s level of disappointment. I mentioned the energy of the characters in my intro, and I thought that the animation did a pretty good job of showcasing that energy, like when Kazuma panic-slams his hand on a surface repeatedly or paces at such a rate that he leaves colorful after-images.
The strength of the animation also comes across in the final battle, with flashy abilities going off and looking fine enough to fit in an actual action anime. The animation isn’t fantastic all the time, but it’s satisfactory overall.
Having watched Legend of Crimson in Malaysia, there was a small issue that affected my viewing of the movie, namely the censorship and messed up subtitle timing in one scene. An acquaintance also pointed out that the translation seemed off.
Even so, I had a good time at the cinema. I went in hoping to unwind and relax, and I got what I wanted. I just need a third season of KonoSuba next.