That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 24 of
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ?
With the curtain closed on the main story for now, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime shifts gears with a couple of side stories to close out the season. This week's episode focuses on Shizu, with a standalone tale from her days as a masked adventurer. Summoned to the Kingdom of Filtwood to help defeat a demon, Shizu quickly realizes that not everything is as it seems. Between demons disguising themselves as humans and the government's blatant attempts at turning the gathered adventurers against one another, something's rotten in the state of Filtwood. After an inconclusive duel with a demon who goes by the nickname “Black” (or “Kuro,” if you prefer the original Japanese), Shizu discovers the sinister secret behind the kingdom's request for aid.
One-shot stories like this can be difficult to pull off, especially when they only use one or two characters from the main series. With so little established material to work with, this episode faces the challenge of telling a compelling story from beginning to end in about twenty minutes, and it does a respectable job under the circumstances. We get a decent central conflict with a couple of twists and turns, plus a couple of satisfying payoffs as both Black's initial summoning and the kingdom's demon-slaying legend come full circle by the end. This episode also presents an interesting change in tone from the main series, taking a darker and more serious approach than we tended to see with Rimuru's journey. Most of the weak points are understandable side effects of the limited screen time: the pacing is too quick to really establish a sense of ominous intrigue, and Shizu's fellow adventurers seem to fall down a conveniently-placed plot hole after the battle in the main hall. Neither issue is a deal-breaker, and the fight between Shizu and Black is impressive enough to give the episode sufficient entertainment value.
It helps that Shizu makes for a reasonably engaging protagonist, and in some ways she's actually better equipped to carry an action scene than Rimuru. While she's clearly tougher than the average human, Shizu's powers aren't unlimited, and it feels like she's barely keeping up during her duel with Black. That impression of the main character being in real danger heightens the dramatic tension and makes for a more compelling scene; this is an area where the main story sometimes struggled because of Rimuru's seemingly unbeatable wealth of abilities. Black is the only other character who makes a lasting impression in this episode, which makes sense given that he's on tap for an appearance in the recently announced sequel season. This episode succeeds in depicting him as an individual with his own values and priorities, even if they're largely inscrutable, and that always makes for a more memorable antagonist than a disposable baddie like Orthos. If nothing else, I'm curious to see how he'll interact with Rimuru in the future.
The one thing this episode doesn't do, and arguably should have done, is provide additional context or a fresh perspective on the events of the series up to this point. Sure, we get to see an example of Shizu's past adventures, but this doesn't really tell us anything about her that we didn't already know. It would have been nice to see a different side of her personality, or perhaps learn more about how she viewed the world, but there simply isn't enough downtime to provide that level of character development. Instead, the focus on introducing Black makes this feel more like a promotion for the next season than an extension of this one. While I'm all for a subtle hint or two at what's to come, devoting this much attention to it feels like a misuse of screen time.
That brings me to the inevitable question hanging over this episode: is it good enough to justify its own existence, or would That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime have been better off extending its central narrative by another week instead? This is a plausibly entertaining detour, and it offers a significant chance of pace from the rest of the series, but I'm not convinced it adds anything worthwhile in terms of character development or worldbuilding. It's an especially hard sale to make when you consider how the main story came to a sputtering halt last week, and I can't help but wonder if that weak finale might have been a little better if it'd had this extra screen time to work with. From where I'm standing, it looks like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is ending with a sideshow instead of its headline act, and that's almost never a good idea.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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