That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 4 of
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ?
What does any good hero, slime or otherwise, do after getting through their first big conflict? They go shopping, of course! Rimuru heads to the Dwarven nation of Dwargon in the hopes of finding skilled artisans who can help rebuild the Goblin village and provide some decent clothes and equipment. While Dwargon itself is apparently open to all races, the same can't be said of the area outside its gates, where Rimuru and his Goblin guide are accosted by human thugs. The ensuing altercation briefly lands Rimuru in a jail cell, but this setback turns into a lucky break once he befriends the Dwarf guard captain. Rimuru is eventually introduced to the Dwarf smith Kaijin, who agrees to help out the Goblins after Rimuru finds a slimy way to fast-track one of his projects. Things seem to be going well for our gelatinous hero, but an ominous figure is lurking at the edge of the ending credits.
This episode takes a little while to get going, as it starts by front-loading all the necessary exposition about the Dwarves and their mountain kingdom. Most of it is par for the genre course: Dwarves are good at making stuff, they live on top of a big mountain mine, and so on. The one potential point of interest is the kingdom's open-door policy towards a variety of species, but the series doesn't really go into detail there. Aside from some comedic interactions between Rimuru and his monster companions, these opening scenes are mostly dedicated to narrative housekeeping as we transition between locations and story arcs. I'm a little intrigued by the backstory of the village's original named Goblin, and the same goes for Ranga's thoughts on serving Rimuru, but it'll take more than a couple lines of dialogue to turn either of these into worthwhile subplots.
In keeping with the show's usual pattern, the obstacles and challenges Rimuru faces in Dwargon are easily dealt with. The thugs at the gate are basically cannon fodder, his brief imprisonment is never more than a mild inconvenience, and he's able to solve Kaijin's problems by eating a sword and barfing up a few duplicates. There's very little dramatic tension to be found in any of these situations, but this episode does a nice job of finding humor in that lack of difficulty. We get a hind of video game comedy in Rimuru's battle with the adventuring party, and Great Sage's deadpan description of the aftermath of the encounter is worth a laugh or two. The jail time features even more amusing details, from the notion of using a barrel to imprison a slime to the way Rimuru casually slips in and out of the cell bars. While That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is clearly throwing its hero a bunch of softball challenges, that issue is easy enough to overlook as long as the show is willing to poke fun at itself.
It also helps that Rimuru himself remains an entertaining goofball. The show's sense of humor is neatly tailored to play off of his personality by taking little jabs at his flaws and fantasies. His episode-long obsession with meeting cute elf girls makes for a good running joke, and it comes up just often enough to be funny without feeling overplayed. I would've loved to see the final scene flip the script by having the elves differ wildly from Rimuru's expectations, but at least this moment of mild fanservice is handled well. The running text commentary on Rimuru's “practice session” in the jail cell is also pretty amusing, and again the series is able to get good mileage out of the joke without dragging it out for too long. I'm also still enjoying the contrast between Rimuru's generally good intentions and the tough guy act he puts on around new people; he's clearly having fun being a badass slime, and that contributes to the episode's lighthearted tone.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is definitely coasting a bit this week as it gives Rimuru an easy break between story arcs. While the result is pretty light on narrative substance, the comedy is good enough to carry the day. Considering that the main character is a blue blob, one can hardly expect this show to take itself all that seriously. Still, I'm glad this week closes out with a hint of upcoming conflict, as the writing isn't quite clever enough to sustain this level of idle silliness for much longer. If the next big story arc can present a genuine challenge or at least an interesting moral dilemma for Rimuru, that should be enough to keep things oozing along nicely.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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