That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 19 of
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ?
At last, a battle scene! Not a border skirmish, not a “getting to know you” duel with some prospective ally, but a real, stand-up fight with a big honking baddie. Rimuru's forces stage an all-out attack on Charybdis, and while they're able to get rid of its flying shark minions, the monster itself proves to be tougher than they expected. Its uncannily fast regeneration means that even Rimuru has trouble doing any permanent damage. Luckily, Rimuru eventually figures out that Charybdis is after Milim instead of him, which means he can request her help without feeling guilty about it. Milim happily blasts Charybdis to smithereens, and Rimuru manages to save Phobio from the explosion and restore him to his old self. Demon Lord Carrion shows up to retrieve his wayward henchman, and agrees to a non-aggression pact with Rimuru as thanks for helping Phobio. All in a day's work for a slime, I suppose.
The battle only takes up around half of this episode, but it's entertaining while it lasts. All of the usual suspects get a chance to show off their skills while fighting the Megalodons, and the series conjures up some respectable animation for the various spells and sword techniques. This fight also marks a noteworthy shift in tone from the battle against the Orcs, as there's noticeably less doom and gloom. Plenty of jokes are tossed in between the more serious lines of dialogue, including Gobta's latest round of battlefield misadventures and Rimuru's frequent exasperation as he tries to keep Milim from laying waste to the entire region. Milim herself makes good use of this opportunity to cut loose, delivering goofy faces and magical destruction in equal measure. Even the colors are brighter, with the Orc Lord's gray rainclouds replaced by vibrant blue skies. As a result, this sequence trades away some dramatic intensity in favor of a more lighthearted atmosphere.
That tone carries over into the episode's second half, where Rimuru and Milim are quick to let Phobio off the hook for his actions. While Rimuru's tendency towards reconciliation is nothing new, Carrion's sudden appearance comes as a bit of a surprise. Even more shocking than his zero-fanfare entrance is the fact that a Demon Lord named after the flesh of dead animals turns out to be a totally reasonable guy who cares about his subordinates enough to appreciate Rimuru's willingness to rescue Phobio. Carrion is definitely playing against type here, and this relatively casual interaction is reminiscent of the first few episodes of the series, in which we learned that some dragons are perfectly happy to shoot the breeze with a humble slime. It's a nice little back-to-basics moment that sidesteps the complexity and consequences that have crept into the series over time; Rimuru doesn't have to fight Carrion to prove his worthiness, they don't have to sit down for a lengthy boardroom meeting, and there's no info-dump about how this affects Rimuru's political situation. It's just, “Thanks for saving my buddy, sorry for the trouble, let's all get along.” As much as I appreciate deep and nuanced storytelling, there's something refreshing about that simple exchange.
On the other hand, despite all the things it does well, this episode doesn't really feel like a suitable conclusion for the current storyline. Neither Clayman nor the Harlequins bother to show up in person, so we don't get any satisfying closure with them. Rimuru doesn't pick up any new information about Leon's whereabouts, so that plot thread remains indefinitely on hold. Both the short length of the battle and the relative ease with which Milim vaporizes Charybdis create a somewhat anticlimactic feeling after all the effort the series put into building up this new threat. It all just seems like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime grew tired of this arc and decided to call it a day and move on. It's a sentiment I can relate to, as I haven't exactly been in love with the last few episodes, but now we're more or less back to square one with very little narrative momentum.
At the end of the day, I'm left with mixed feelings about this episode. On one hand, it offers plenty of action and entertainment, with a healthy dose of shark-busting spectacle. The lighter overall tone and the casual introduction of Carrion recapture some of the magic of the show's early episodes, which feels like a worthwhile trade for whatever dramatic impact is lost along the way. On the other hand, if That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is really closing the book on this storyline, I would've liked to see it go out with more of a bang, or at least tie up a few more loose ends. As it stands, there's no obvious next step for the series to slide into; Clayman's absence from this episode suggests that he and his minions are out of the picture for the time being, and there are no other immediate challenges for Rimuru to tackle unless someone can point him in Leon's general direction. The canvas is about as blank as it can be after nineteen episodes, and a lot is riding on whatever the series chooses to do next.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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