First Look: Ya Boy Kongming!

Alternative title: Paripi Komei
Manga Adaptation by P.A. Works
Streaming on Hidive

Premise

In the year 234CE, legendary strategist Zhuge Liang passes away, signaling the curtain call to The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and the war between Wei, Shu, and Wu. However, this isn’t the end for Zhuge Liang, courtesy name, Kongming. He awakes to find himself in modern day japan, a young man again and bewildered by his surroundings. Here he meets Eiko, an aspiring singer struggling to make her voice heard. Together, the two work to make the best of their odd relationship against the trials and tribulations of modern life.

Gee’s verdict: Breakout

Ya Boy Kongming starts from a strong premise, and it’s nice to see that at least so far, it seems to be making use of it fairly effectively. Even if I don’t fully understand the eventual angle this show is going to take, I’m amused enough by the antics shown so far that I’m willing to see where it takes us. This portrayal of Zhuge Liang adopts the effortless adaptability and efficacy aspects of the figure to pretty humorous effects, such as when he takes to bartending with comical ease. Throw in a couple jokes like his new boss being a gigantic Romance of the Three Kingdoms nerd who needles Zhuge Liang about some of his historical missteps like an armchair general, and it’s a solid enough premise. Eiko is the less proven vector here, showing up with the classic backstory of pursuing her craft because of someone inspiring her during a low point in her life. But thanks to PA Works and their usual technical consistency, she’s an expressive character which I can always appreciate. Overall, the idea of the legendary Chinese strategist applying his skills to the music industry isn’t exactly what I expected from a reverse isekai story, but they do a decent enough job selling the premise in its first episode.

Iro’s verdict: Bold Strategy, Let’s See if it Pays Off

If nothing else, this show gets brownie points from me for having an “up and coming female singer” angle that explicitly isn’t idol related, though it’s still a fairly trite setup. The whole reverse-isekai angle seems to mainly be a way to spice that up with a constant, comical stream of Romance of the Three Kingdoms references and minutiae. That’s fine, because it actually is pretty funny (in the first episode, anyway). The worry is whether Ya Boy Kongming! can keep up the energy and actually make use of its premise, or if it’ll devolve into a a plain, uninspired “gonna be the very best” singer show that happens to have some weirdo in cosplay.

Artemis’ verdict: The Title Is Better Than The Actual Material

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat disappointed by what the premiere of Kongming had to offer, at least in part because the title made me expect something that the material simply didn’t deliver on. That’s not to say the material is necessarily bad – it’s not – but it’s hardly the gut-busting comedy I wanted, either. Honestly, the show’s biggest issue isn’t that the jokes are bad, it’s just that they’re not expressed with the kind of extremely ridiculous high energy that they need to properly land. What I wanted was the historical Chinese version of The Devil is a Part-Timer! by way of something aggressively dumb like SK8. What I got was an anime that felt like it wasn’t bothering to truly commit to its own joke. As a result, much of the episode fell a little flat for me. I might keep watching, but if so, it’ll be a B-list slot to help fill in the gaps if the rest of the spring season ends up a bit thin on content.

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