That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 12 of
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ?
I wouldn't quite call it a do-over, but That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime definitely spends a good chunk of this episode checking off plot points that it could've gotten through last week. Rimuru officially accepts Treyni's request to defeat the Orc Lord, though that task is looking harder than ever now that he knows about the enemy's unique skill. It turns out that the Orc Lord's soldiers eat everything in their path, whether it's an enemy or a dead comrade, and they gain the powers of whatever they consume. Rimuru sends Souei out to secure an alliance with the Lizardmen, and the chieftain agrees to hold off on attacking the Orcs for the seven days it'll take for the rest of the village's forces to arrive. Unfortunately, after receiving some misleading advice from a masked figure named Laplace, Gabiru decides to usurp his father and sends the Lizardmen out on the offensive several days early.
This episode is significantly more focused than its predecessor, as it cuts down on the comedic interludes and spends more time moving the plot forward. That may not be the best news in the world if you're here for the slime-themed humor, but it does at least mean that we're finally getting somewhere with this Orc Lord storyline. Treyni's presence at the conference table has an interesting effect on the mood amongst Rimuru's allies, as it's clear that some of them are a little uneasy about having a Dryad show up out of nowhere. Great Sage's description of the Dryads seems to imply that they don't mess around when it comes to defending their forest, so I'm curious to see if there's any danger behind Treyni's gentle demeanor. Either way, she manages to push Rimuru into committing to a course of action, and that allows the story to finally get moving in earnest.
As the various characters and factions start making their big moves, Gabiru's role shifts from pure comic relief to something a little more serious. In theory, that should be a good thing, since it gives him some extra depth as a character, but the script isn't quite able to reconcile his “idiot prince” routine with his new plan to take the throne by force. It ends up feeling like there are two different characters named Gabiru in this episode: one is a grandstanding buffoon who's dumb enough to take a creepy magic clown's advice at face value, while the other is a reasonably competent military leader who's willing and able to seize power for himself. There's such a stark contrast between these two personalities that it's hard to believe they're the same person, and as a result his hostile takeover is less convincing from a narrative perspective. Instead of the natural consequence of previous events, the change of power comes across as an artificially forced plot point.
Despite that Lizardman-shaped plot hole, the show succeeds at building upon previous episodes' hints that the Orc army is not to be taken lightly. We've been told that they're a major threat several times already, but the revelation of their “Starved” skill offers a more tangible reason for Rimuru and friends to be worried. On top of making every casualty a potential power-up for the Orcs, this new information also sets up an obvious thematic connection between Starved and Rimuru's own Predator skill. The idea of eating your enemies to gain their abilities gets a lot more horrifying when it's applied to a swarm of cannibalistic pig monsters, even if they are sometimes depicted with unconvincing CG animation. This premise also amplifies the consequences of the dissent within the Lizardmen's ranks, since it means that Gabiru's strategy is just making the Orcs stronger.
It may be a week late, but this episode manages to accomplish most of the work that its predecessor left unfinished. Rimuru is officially all-in on the upcoming battle, and the Orcs have been talked up enough that I'm eager to see what will happen when the fighting begins in earnest. Sure, Gabiru's rise to power isn't exactly a beacon of good storytelling, but at least it adds an extra obstacle for the heroes to deal with. At this point, the value of all this buildup hinges on how satisfying the payoff ends up being. It doesn't necessarily need to be a multi-episode bloodbath, but I'm going to be pretty disappointed if Rimuru just steamrolls through these guys in ten minutes or less.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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