At some point, the spell had to break. There were so many ups in the last two volumes that KonoSuba 8 could’ve only kept up the hype by climaxing in a threesome with Megumin and Darkness. Sadly that’s something that’ll stay exclusive to doujinshis (for now), so let’s see what KonoSuba 8 had to offer instead.
Volume 8 is largely about a festival held in honor of the Goddess Eris. Just that Aqua is having none of it and makes it so that her followers of the Axis Order (or whatever we agreed on calling it) are also allowed to have stalls etc. and honor, well, her. Kazuma seizes the opportunity and becomes an advisor to the council responsible for organizing the festivities by promising them fat profits but really just making everything as barely legal and erotic as he can (which obviously does result in fat profits, go figure).
I’m gonna be honest with you: Volume 8 really can’t compare to the last two books and put a dent in my hype. The Axis followers do their usual schemes, Aqua seems unusually tame until it finally comes to light she wants to make the next festival all about herself, Kazuma gets slowly driven into a corner; it’s all very par for the course and predictable. There’s also no real development in character relationships, the characters themselves, or the storyline at large. It feels like a spinoff or filler book. Maybe volume 8 is just there to sow the seeds that will eventually ramp up into another bigger story arc, but what we got here left me unusually cold for a KonoSuba book.
The highlight in my opinion – and I use highlight quite liberally here – is the short event with Kris – Eris’ embodiment on “Earth.” I like Eris as a character in general since she’s a very straightforward and smooth personality in KonoSuba which is, in this case, unusual and gives her character a nice contrast to the rest of the cast while it’d make her at best a bland character in other series. It feels like she and Kazuma are getting slightly flirtatious and closer to each other and as such I felt like them grouping up again to steal the Aegis actually mattered. The Aegis itself is painfully cliche as a character and the whole event around finally catching it with a beauty contest made me physically cringe.
Volume 8 pretty much closes with Megumin teasing that she wants to meet Kazuma in his room at night to discuss something important – and if this cliffhanger doesn’t pretty much sum up what volume 8 is – filler content – then I don’t know what does. It’s fine and entertaining enough, KonoSuba is never really bad or boring, but volume 8 pales in comparison to where we’re coming from and is only carried by its characters and legacy rather than by its own merits; nothing as memorable as the events in volume 6 and 7 happens. If this was a different series where I cared less about the characters, it’d probably go another point or two down – depending on how the humor’d catch on then. However, it is still KonoSuba, I love Eris and Darkness, they’re the best, and if you disagree then… I’ll have to write a strongly worded letter to your mum.