That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime puts a gooey new spin on isekai fantasy. This week, Nick and Andy debate whether or not its unique quirks are enough to set it apart in a crowded genre.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
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Hey Andy, do you happen to know the time?
Uh, it's about 11:00 here.
IT'S S L I M E T I M E
I am physically feeling that image right now, thanks.
That's perfect, because we're finally talking about this season's obligatory new isekai series!
I put it off for as long as I could, but we're finally talking about the fantasy show of the season, Goblin Saver.
Frankly, I don't see what all the hub-bub was about. It's a pretty standard Slime-of-Life show.
I dunno, I'd argue that it's a pretty slick production all around!
Puns aside, I've really been looking forward to discussing this show. This year has seen a lot of innovation in the Isekai subgenre. We've had Isekai But With Slaves, then Isekai But With Slaves But Not As Bad This Time, and now we've got Isekai But It's Not Garbage.
Not Garbage is a good way to put it. I'm not a big fan of isekai power fantasy stuff, and this series definitely trades in those tropes. There are moments in the series that I genuinely like, but it also had one of the roughest first episodes of the season for me.
I mean, it starts with the literal firebombing of a child in WWII Japan.
And then I almost walked away completely at the five-minute mark when it made a shitty joke about our protagonist wishing he were more "aggressive" toward women while he was alive.
It still irks me that this created the skill that makes him such an overpowered demigod in the other world.
Thankfully, this just means he can vore things.
Also by virtue of being a 37-year-old virgin, we get a literal "that makes you a wizard" gag to form the other half of why our spunky little slime can start the power level snowball.
Now imagine if he'd lived to the end of No-Nut November. He'd be unstoppable.
Beyond that rough premiere, I've actually been enjoying That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. It feels like a show that finally unlocks the appeal of the overpowered reincarnation stories that have mostly left me bored over the last few years. The moment our protag started chilling out with a giant evil dragon who's supposed to be sealed within the depths of the earth for all eternity, it clicked with me that this show's mostly going to be about having low-stakes adventures, which is where it's managed to stay 90% of the time.
I'm totally here for "37-year old dude spends his time playing Sid Meier's Isekai Civilization". I'm less here when he has to consult Isekai Wikipedia or spend time talking through tutorials.
That's another thing that stuck out to me. Rather than your typical teenage otaku
self-insert, Slime Boi is actually an honest-to-god adult, with a job and everything.
A job and a lot of shame.
BLAST MY CACHE
That man just destroyed untold gigabytes of elf fetish hentai
At least he had good taste in elves? This is some straight up Deedlit content.
Well, this guy grew up in the '90s, when anime girls had weirdly pointy chins and their boobs were not yet made of jello.
It's so disappointing when he meets the elves in his universe and is somehow happy with the downgrade.
But yeah, just by virtue of not being a teenager, Rimuru the slime distinguishes himself by being a pretty reasonable dude who takes things in stride and mostly just chooses to help people out. For example, after he vores his dragon friend so he can see the outside world again from inside Rimuru's stomach, it turns out that this messed up the Monster Hierarchy in the area.
Now a bunch of down-on-their-luck goblins are up a creek with the neighboring direwolves, so he decides to help defend them.
I was going to mention that I like how quickly he decides to help the goblins, but then I remembered that it involves so much more slime vore.
He's a good Slime Guy is what I'm saying. He seems to approach every situation with a level of understanding that feels natural coming from a guy pushing 40, in a way that a lot of equally kindhearted teenage isekai protags don't seem to earn.
He has a kind of pragmatism that doesn't let him become as indulgent as his contemporaries. I still find the power level flaunting off-putting, but at least it's done to force his opponents to surrender so he can expand his video game town rather than overkilling enemies in the most gratuitous manner.
Not that he doesn't still manage that.
The direwolf fight is probably my least favorite part of DJ Slime Time so far. It's entirely about Rimuru clowning some dogs and then brutally killing one of 'em, so the otherwise chill vibes of the show really clash with the content there.
Although the five seconds where it becomes Wolf's Rain
are still pretty good.
RIP Daddy Wolf. At least you got some sweet sakuga for your efforts. Thankfully, the aftermath of this battle delivers probably my favorite dumb conceit in the show.
Unlike other light novel anime this season that can't even make the effort to name their characters, Slime Isekai takes things a step further and decides that monsters don't start with names, but once given them, they literally power up into more important characters.
The best of which is this sweet pupper whose wags get TOO STRONG
Listen here show, if you think I'm gonna forgive you killing a dog by making all the other dogs bigger and fluffier—
well you're right, but still...
It won me back with that twist, but now I'm angry that this incredible power was used to downgrade a monster girl. Cowards!
I knew I could trust this show to not fall prey to the Monster Girl Agenda. But for real, I do appreciate that most of Rimuru's conflicts are resolved by using his powers to negotiate rather than just beating people up. It's nothing amazing in the grand scheme of things, but it's a level of complexity so often lacking from this genre that I'm happy it exists.
Heck, the second arc of the show even manages to give its literal mustache-twirling villain some dimension.
The resolution of that arc sped by so quickly that I really wish they had devoted more time to that shitbag so his story could have the impact it probably deserved. I'd much rather spend more time on dwarf politics than the Shizu plotline.
My feelings on Shizu are complicated. I think her story is a solid piece on its own (even if it's a huge downer), but it clashes heavily with Rimuru's entire vibe.
It is a hard left turn to go from Storm Puppies
to Giant Tragedy.
You want some nice isekai nonsense? Rimiru is your slime. You want a kicked puppy? Here comes Shizu. It's not enough that her mom died in the firebombing. It's not enough that she gets to be magically enslaved. She also gets to befriend a fox-thing.
And then it's not enough for the fox pup to die, oh no, she's forced to absolutely murder it AND her random friend we were introduced to 10 seconds ago. Of course all this backstory is so that we'll be sad when the fire boss inside her breaks free and ruins the village.
Then we get a whole episode of "How will Rimiru defeat this incredibly strong foe?!" but the answer is just
He forgot he was immune to fire, so then he just vores it without a problem. It's such an incredible letdown of all the tension and buildup with Shizu. There are great moments like the shot of tears evaporating off her face, but I didn't care for how it was all set up and paid off.
The show at least treats the scene as a genuine anticlimax where even Rimuru's taken by surprise, but it definitely clashes with the seriousness of Shizu's storyline in a way the show never quite resolves.
Also the slime consumption isn't sexualized in the show but uh
The most somber vore sequence ever animated.
I'm still unsure how I feel about Shizu's resolution. Like, the idea of her finally finding peace is nice, and knowing she got to live some semblance of a happy life was neat, but she also literally becomes a power-up for Rimuru, which doesn't sit right with me.
It feels wrong to me. I really liked the sequence when Rimuru discovers she's Japanese and uses his god powers to show her a happier Japan.
But by the end, she just exists to give him a human body and a reason to care about the demon lord plot. It's an incredibly blatant "get the plot moving" arc that tries to subvert the destined lover thing and doesn't succeed.
It's an earnest attempt to tell a touching tragic story, but the show ain't equipped to handle that much depth.
I do appreciate that Rimuru feels a little weird about the whole situation.
I was gonna say, at least he gets to enjoy food again. RIP Shizu, you will be remembered through
Sadly, his other appetites will have to wait until he can absorb a cucumber or something.
Someday he will return to his true form.
That'll have to wait until after this whole Orc/Ogre war Rimuru's stumbled into gets resolved, which will hopefully involve less child murder. Slime's at its best when the stakes are moderate and everyone's just helping each other out, not pontificating onthe weight of a life
Oh yeah, I almost forgot that from Tokyo Ghoul
to Double Decker!, I can't watch a single anime this season without clowns getting involved.
I'm not excited about the show teasing a war, but I do like the ogres despite their visual downgrades, and I want to see more of the fantasy monster cultures merging to join the eventual Slimopolis.
I mean we can look forward to lizards with hair and turtlenecks, so I guess I'm still on board.
It's probably not a great sign that when they said the army had 200,000 soldiers, my first thought was "so half a day's work for Rimuru", but I don't think Slime's goal is to build dramatic tension so much as it's just about enjoying the ride. Like, we all knew the Ogres were going to join Rimuru, but the way we got there was interesting to watch.
Benimaru is split between his pride as a leader and the reality that he's not strong enough to protect the few people he still has left. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it gives him interiority beyond his role in the D&D party, and that's enough to keep me invested.
It's certainly a bigger reason than any other isekai I've watched in recent memory.
That sure is an
Slime's far from a perfect show, but it manages to keep a steady jog where its contemporaries are dragging their asses on the carpet.
It's clearly trying, and thankfully the bar is set so low for its genre right now that I'm okay with that.
It's not breaking any boundaries, and I expect that I'll rarely remember it once it ends, but in a genre that's given us nonsense like In Another World With My Smartphone
, I appreciate the reasonable diversion.
Yeah, when you put it that way I will definitely take this iteration on isekai slice-of-life.