That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 8 of
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ?
If you haven't watched this week's episode of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime yet, you might want to brace yourself, because this one's a serious tearjerker. Shizu has regained her normal form after Rimuru's battle with Ifrit, but her life is quickly nearing its end. She uses the time she has left to tell Rimuru her story, which ends with her unfinished mission to confront the Demon Lord who summoned her into this world. At Shizu's request, Rimuru consumes her body, inheriting her final quest along with the ability to mimic her human appearance. After the surviving human adventurers say their goodbyes, Rimuru begins preparations to seek out Leon Cromwell and confront him on Shizu's behalf.
Compared to the hasty pacing of last episode's flashbacks, Shizu's story is much more compelling this time around. Much of this is down to improved presentation; instead of a bare-bones collection of individual scenes, we get a more cohesive tale told in Shizu's own words and at her own pace. Not only does this make it easier for the audience to get immersed in the narrative, it gives this story arc a more personal, and therefore more emotional, tone. The writing also finds a more comfortable balance between detail and momentum where it gives us enough information to put Shizu's story into context without getting bogged down by a surplus of names or lore. These improvements in storytelling are coupled with an impressive amount of nuance when it comes to Shizu's perspective on the whole thing. She has enough lingering regrets that her passing isn't exactly an upbeat or peaceful event, but she also carries enough happy memories to keep the show from veering into overly melodramatic territory. That middle ground is ideal for a main character's death scene; tragic enough to open the ol' tear ducts, but not excessively so.
While Shizu clearly takes central stage here, her death is also noteworthy in the context of Rimuru's character arc. This is the closest thing to a defeat he's experienced since being born into this world with an arsenal of slime powers. Despite all his skills and allies, he's unable to save the person he was destined to meet, and that goes a long way towards countering the impression that this journey has been too much of a cakewalk for our slimy protagonist. The recurring theme of the importance of names also plays into Rimuru's connection with Shizu; by sharing the names they had in their previous lives, they remind us that this is more than a parting of ways for two recent acquaintances. For Rimuru, it's a loss of the only person who could relate to his world-hopping situation. On the less depressing side of things, Rimuru finally has a concrete goal in his mission to track down Leon Cromwell. Unlike his vague desire to find other people from Japan or the temporary challenges presented by previous story arcs, this is the kind of driving motivation that can propel Rimuru (and therefore the series) forward in the long term.
Despite the goofy manner in which it's revealed, Rimuru's new human form plays a significant role in this episode. The physical resemblance to Shizu is key, as it gives the human adventurers an opportunity, belated and indirect though it may be, to say their own farewells to her. The emotional weight of this scene caught me a little off guard; I had expected a tearful farewell between Rimuru and Shizu, but once again the series has surprised me with the time and effort it has put into developing Kaval, Eren, and Gido. They've gone from being disposable extras to a likable team of supporting characters, and as Rimuru points out, their chemistry as a group makes them a good fit as Shizu's final traveling companions. If this scene is any indication, the option of having Rimuru appear as a human or a slime will also help the show alternate between drama and comedy. He can look like a person when things get serious and facial expressions are a vital method of conveying emotion, and then go back to being a blob for the more lighthearted stuff. It's a simple trick, but it should serve the series well if it intends to keep up this narrative balancing act.
This easily is the best episode of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime to date, and that's all the more impressive when you consider what a tonal departure it is from the show's goofy title and premise. Shizu's story arc may have started off as more of a slow burn, but it's ramped up over the last few weeks to the point where this episode is able to deliver multiple emotionally compelling scenes. At the same time, Rimuru has come away with a tangible motivation and the ability to take on an appearance that's better suited to the visual demands of more serious interactions. Forget about being “good for an isekai comedy,” this is good dramatic storytelling period.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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