That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 20 of
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ?
With peace restored to the region, Rimuru sets his sights on a new goal: finding and helping the students Shizu left behind. He and Ranga set off for the Kingdom of Ingrassia, with the rest of the crew promising to hold down the fort while they're gone. Soon after reaching his destination, Rimuru arranges a meeting with Yuuki Kagurazaka, one of Shizu's first students and the leader of the local adventurers' guild. Things get off to a tense start when Yuuki sees Rimuru wearing Shizu's mask, but the two of them quickly find common ground and start chatting about their past lives. Yuuki agrees to let Rimuru become the new instructor of Shizu's last class of five “Summons,” who reportedly have short lifespans as a result of being brought to this world as children. Issues of mortality aside, it looks like Rimuru's biggest problem will be getting these rowdy kids to listen to him.
By the usual standards of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, this is a pretty quick transition between story arcs. The cast gets a chance to celebrate their victory over Charybdis with a big party and some light humor, most of which is briefly amusing but not particularly noteworthy. The only real point of interest in these opening scenes is a hint at Milim's origins as a Demon Lord, but it seems unlikely that we'll hear anything more about this any time soon. With the previous arc's afterparty out of the way, Rimuru is set loose to do some sightseeing in Ingrassia, where he spends most of his time marveling at their architecture. It seems oddly specific for Rimuru to go all starry-eyed over some big panes of glass, but it does make sense that a guy who used to work for a contracting firm would pay attention to the way a fantasy kingdom constructs its buildings, and it's a quick and easy way to suggest that Ingrassia is a step ahead of some of the neighboring countries. While the city as a whole isn't as interesting to look at as the underground industrial designs of Dwargon or the constantly-expanding neighborhoods of Rimuru's own town, this is a reasonably successful introduction to the new location.
I'm not entirely sold on the opening moments of Rimuru's meeting with Yuuki, as the early tension relies on an out-of-character blunder from our protagonist. Rimuru typically has good diplomatic instincts, and considering that he had the whole trip to think about this introduction, you'd think it would've occurred to him that wearing Shizu's mask might cause some misunderstandings with her old student. Needlessly awkward first impressions aside, the chemistry between these two turns out to be pretty good, and I like they way they bond by geeking out over all the anime, manga, and games they left behind. Much like the unexpectedly relaxed encounter with Carrion last week, this sequence has a candid and casual vibe reminiscent of the show's early episodes. The series seems to be getting back in the habit of letting Rimuru just talk to new characters instead of turning every new encounter into its own little conflict, and that trend is working wonders in terms of speeding the pacing along and trimming out some unneeded complexity.
Once Rimuru and Yuuki are done catching up on pop culture references, there's just enough time left to set the stage for the five Summon children. Their backstory leans a little harder on the tragedy angle than it needs to, since at the moment the only thing their shortened lifespans offer to the story is an explanation of why Rimuru is able to become their new teacher with no questions asked. Perhaps the show will do more with the “terminally powerful kids” angle later on, but this setup is common enough in anime that I would've preferred to see a premise that's either more original or less of a downer. Thankfully, as Rimuru points out, the kids seem to be a pretty lively bunch, so there's hope that this storyline won't dwell too much on its sadder elements. Either way, this is a new and potentially compelling challenge for Rimuru to take on, as his new students may be harder to win over than most of his other allies.
In setting Rimuru up as a teacher instead of the leader of his little monster nation, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is making a significant pivot away from some of its recent story arcs. It's breaking the pattern of constantly foiling Clayman's demonic plans and narrowing down the number of active cast members to a much more manageable total. This new plotline also lets Rimuru take a more constructive approach to carrying out Shizu's unfinished business by prioritizing the Summon kids over the quest for revenge. Going in this direction means we may not get as many action scenes out of the deal, but the good news is that it plays into some of the show's key strengths. If you've been longing for a return to the original formula of friendly encounters in a fantasy world, this story arc may be just what the doctor ordered.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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