Is it selfish to dream?
I was actually surprised by KONOSUBA: Legend of Crimson on a few fronts. And before you start wondering, it wasn’t regarding the sexual references pervasive through the movie (they were of high comedic value). KONOSUBA does what it’s known for and sets us up with frequent misunderstandings on behalf of its characters for high comedic payoff in the same scene or later on. In fact this movie was everything I was hoping for and expecting from the KONOSUBA movie. It also exceeded expectations as well.
The main focus of the movie followed the characters Megumin, Yunyun, and you guessed it Kazuma. Kazuma of course is the butt end of most of the jokes and is the glue that holds the crew together. As the movie gets further explored we start to realize that the Crimson Demon tribe that Megumin belongs to is a powerful group of advanced magic users. They have the power to teleport and deliver high destruction spells to their enemies. The tribe as a whole seems to respect Megumin, and there is tension between Yunyun and the tribe. We discover the source of both respect and tension. The tribe bases their value system on your overall power level and combat usefulness.
Megumin is respected more than Yunyun because her overall magic potential is much higher than Yunyun’s. Also Megumin respects the culture of expressive self-introductions, another area where Yunyun falls short. The one thing the community frowns on in Megumin’s case is the fact that she has learned “joke” explosion magic.
For Megumin explosion magic has been her identity the entire show. She is a one trick pony literally. Once her spell goes off she is too exhausted to move and must be carried by another member of her party. If she would conform she could teleport and cast high damage magic spells which are more versatile and useful. She stubbornly holds onto her dream of using explosion magic.
Megumin is confronted by the conflict that ensnares the village in its confrontation with the Demon Lord’s army. Because she can only use her magic once a day, she has less combat efficiency than the other Crimson Demons. The other Crimson Demon’s can fight without tiring easily, dealing devastating damage to their enemies. It’s a power that Megumin could have too, if she gives up on her explosion magic. After seeing how useful Megumin could be in contrast to what she actually is begs the audience the question: what if Megumin were like the other Crimson Demons?
The film illustrates that sometimes what we want isn’t always compatible with the world’s expectations. The film also asks hard questions such as: can I keep being who I want to be? Can I chase my own dream? Even if others consider that dream a joke? Even if others can’t see value in that dream? The questions boil down into one a more basic question.
Is it selfish to dream?
Megumin’s dream imposes her will onto others. It has others make sacrifices for the things she wants. Yunyun has to sacrifice her ability to do advanced level magic, so she can save Megumin’s sister. Megumin could have saved her sister but hesitated to do so at expense of her dream. Kazuma has to carry around Megumin, she is a burden after she uses her magic energy. Megumin could be far more useful if she gives up and chooses something besides her dream.
At the end of the film Megumin asks Kazuma to change her skills so she can be more useful. Megumin seems resigned to having to concede to herself that her tribe is right. She can be far more powerful if she sets aside explosion magic. She just can’t do it herself. Kazuma however amplifies Megumin’s explosion magic, making it more powerful. Instead of accepting Megumin’s request, Kazuma reaffirms to Megumin that she should keep pursuing her dream.
The KONOSUBA movie is an exercise in identity crisis and delivers on this subject masterfully. And don’t worry if identity isn’t important to you, there is plenty of action, comedy, and sexual tension to keep you preoccupied.
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