That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 11 of
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ?
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is starting to develop a tradition; every time new characters join the team, we're required to follow Rimuru on a tour of the village to see how things are shaping up. This time around, the focus is on how Benimaru's group is settling in, and while the big picture is looking as rosy as ever, Rimuru has somehow ended up in a dangerous love triangle with Shion and Shuna. Eventually, Gabiru and his entourage of Lizardmen show up to steal the spotlight, but a flying kick from Gobta is all it takes to send them packing. The episode wraps up with the arrival of a Dryad, who asks Rimuru to defeat the rampaging Orc Lord. In other words, it's time to get this story arc moving.
As nice as it is to see how the new folks are integrating into the village, I'm not exactly sold on the idea of having Shion and Shuna compete for Rimuru's attention. Considering how this genre is already full to bursting with harem comedy antics, part of me was hoping we could skip that particular song and dance for once. Even when you toss in the admittedly funny image of Rimuru getting stretched and kneaded like a lump of dough, this sequence has a definite feeling of “been there, done that.” Even Rimuru himself calls out Shion's terrible cooking as one of the oldest tropes in the book. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is usually pretty good about adding a little depth or creativity to familiar plot points, but simply pointing out a cliché without doing anything to twist or subvert it isn't quite enough. Unless there's a truly mind-blowing joke waiting in the wings, I doubt the series would lose much by discarding this romantic rivalry.
On the upside, this episode does take a mild step forward in figuring out how to use Gabiru. He still seems to exist purely as comic relief, and he's still not as entertaining as the show apparently wants him to be, but at least the jokes he sets up are a little better when the main characters are on hand to provide the punchlines. If nothing else, he provides an excuse to give more screen time to a much better comic relief character: Gobta. Where Gabiru is just a generic doofus who's destined to get his humorous comeuppance, the series strikes a funnier and more nuanced balance with Gobta. Sure, he's just as dumb as his Lizardman opponent, but the contrast between his simple train of thought and his uncanny knack for picking up new skills makes for more effective comedy. Gobta also has a tendency to catch Rimuru off-guard with his brief flashes of competence, and anyone who can throw our all-conquering hero for a loop is worth keeping around. If the series can come up with some similarly redeeming quality for Gabiru, it would go a long way towards making him more entertaining.
In the wake of all these hijinks, the “all hands on deck” meeting at the end of the episode comes as a sudden reminder that, yes, there is still a big-picture plot here. I'm not entirely sure why we needed a Dryad to teleport in and tell Rimuru to hurry up and fight the Orc Lord, especially since he had plenty of reasons to do that already. Still, just in case avenging Benimaru's people and getting rid of the marauding Orc army weren't justification enough, now he also has to do it because a tree lady said so. In any case, the meeting has the much-needed effect of restoring some sense of urgency to this storyline. We already know that Rimuru's allies are all reasonably powerful, so the seriousness with which they treat the Orc threat helps reinforce the notion that this won't be a quick and easy victory. With that challenge laid down, it's up to the series to follow through and give us an antagonist strong enough to be worth the wait.
Frankly, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has some catch-up work to do next week. Thanks in part to the relative lack of narrative progress in this episode, it feels like we should be further along in the story than we are at this point. I'll cut the series a bit of slack since it's more of a comedy than a drama, but it's running the risk of letting the jokes dictate the pace of the plot. The more time it spends on harem antics and goofy Lizardmen, the harder it'll be to make sure the action doesn't end up feeling rushed or disjointed. Let's get on with it and fight some Orcs already.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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