That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 16 of
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ?
Remember how Rimuru spent last week negotiating and forging new alliances? Well, I hope you're ready for more of that. Gazel pays a second visit to the town and drops Vesta off to serve as Rimuru's newest subordinate, and the population grows even further when Gabiru's crew of Lizardmen show up to volunteer their services. Once Rimuru finishes assigning jobs to all of the new arrivals, it's on to the next task. Fresh trouble drops in from the sky in the form of a pink-haired Demon Lord named Milim. She has an insane amount of magic power and is more than happy to crush anyone who gets on her bad side, but Rimuru manages to befriend her before things get out of hand. While having Milim as an ally seems like a good thing on the surface, this new friendship could bring Rimuru into conflict with the other Demon Lords.
If you feel like you've sat through this episode's opening scenes before, you're not too far off the mark. Just as Rimuru spend last week figuring out what to do with the surviving Orcs, he now gets to do the same thing with Vesta and Gabiru. It's nice to see Vesta get an opportunity to redeem himself, but his reunion with Kaijin doesn't carry as much emotional weight as Geld's heart-to-heart with Benimaru did. That might be a matter of how much time has passed since the Dwargon story arc, though in any case the sense of repetition doesn't do this episode any favors. The town (or perhaps we should call it a city at this point) is also getting so heavily populated with named characters that the process of recruiting and evolving monsters is less noteworthy than it used to be. Gabiru's new dragon wings are kind of neat, but his presence barely merits a footnote for how little it changes the big picture.
Milim, on the other hand, arrives with plenty of fanfare. She has two qualities that make her a potentially serious threat: an overwhelming amount of destructive power and an unpredictable temperament. We've seen that Rimuru can strategize his way around powerful opponents and force his way past foes who won't listen to reason, but the combination of those traits seems to have produced a character who can cause some real trouble for our all-conquering slimeball. Even after Rimuru wins the obligatory low-stakes fight scene, Milim's decision to work with him comes across as more of a whim on her part than as some kind of master plan on his part. I'm hoping the tired old “she has small boobs” jokes don't get overplayed in the long run, but apart from that she seems like an intriguing agent of chaos. It's just a shame her little duel with Rimuru comes so soon after the swordfight with Gazel, since the functional similarities between the two scenes add to that persistent sense of repetition in this episode.
If anything, Milim's introduction actually makes Gazel's role in the story seem redundant in hindsight. Last week's negotiations gave the impression that the alliance between Rimuru and Gazel might be a starting point for a new story arc, but now it's Milim who's filling the role of a new ally with powerful enemies. In that case, why not just skip the Gazel interaction entirely and have Milim be the one who forces Rimuru to give his little country a name? At this point, the only thing Gazel has done that Milim couldn't have is drop a bag full of Vesta on Rimuru's doorstep. I want to give the series the benefit of the doubt here, but after two episodes of setup we have little more than a vague sense of what the next story arc will be about. While That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has always been able to deliver strong endings, it really needs to shake this habit of dragging its feet at the starting line.
Taken on its own merits, this is a perfectly watchable example of the series doing its laid-back, lighthearted comedy routine. However, the structural similarities between this episode and its predecessor make it seem like the story is stuck in a holding pattern while it figures out what to do next. If That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is going to take things easy for a few weeks, then it would've been nice to see a little more narrative variety instead of just a steady stream of new folks waltzing into town. On the upside, Milim appears to be volatile enough to stir up plenty of trouble on her own, and she has enough powerful rivals to spark a suitably epic conflict. Now the series just needs to give that conflict a shove in the right direction.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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