Original Work Written By: Fuse
Published By: Micro Magazine, Yen Press
Anime Directed By: Yasuhito Kikuchi, Atsushi Nakayama
Anime Written By: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Licensed By: Crunchyroll, Funimation
Available On: Crunchyroll
I just love light novel titles, don’t you?
Earlier this week, the final canon episode of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime aired, bringing first (and hopefully not last) season to a close. Now, with all the canon episodes done and viewed, we can take a look back at the whole picture and ask: was it worth our time?
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (ugh, that title…) is yet another in a long line of Isekai shows to have come out in the last decade. And I do mean long list. Therefor, if it wanted any hope in standing out against it’s contemporaries, the show would’ve had to do something radically different, right? Something that grabs our attention and refuses to let go, that the genre has never done before!
Well, that’s the odd thing. Slime doesn’t do anything new. In fact, as an Isekai show, it’s rather cliche. Yet, the show doesn’t just stand out above the crowd. It towers above them as a new classic in the genre.
Well, classic might be a strong word. Isekai trash is still as it’s always been: trash. However, I feel we can finally embrace the trash within us and have fun anyways. And in the end, isn’t that all that matters?
The premise is simple Isekai fare. A guy gets stabbed to death and, for no particular reason, he’s reincarnated as a slime in a fantasy world. He quickly gets stronger, thanks to the help of a dragon (we’ll get to him) and goes off into the world to lead a new life. Along the way, he makes friends, fights world ending threats, and does other such adventurous things. Simple, right?
Well, there are a few interesting things that Slime does to break up the formula. One: Rimuru, our protagonist, doesn’t follow the “Might Makes Right” mentality of so many other anime heroes. He’ll try his hardest to avoid conflict as much as possible, preferring to solve his issues through kindness and pacifism. He’ll fight if necessary, yes, but he’ll never resort to it unless needed to. After so many shows where the hero just leaps into the fray without a second thought, or just straight up enjoys the thrill of the fight, it’s refreshing to get a hero like this.
The story also sticks to it’s guns the whole way through. Rimuru wants to make a world where everyone can live peacefully. Naturally, it doesn’t make sense to do this through violence, right? So he goes about it by forging alliances and peace treaties, using his abilities and resources to build a nation and help others as much as possible. The message is clear: fighting won’t achieve true peace.
Contrary to what many other anime would have you believe.
He’s also not the only person from his world to be sent there. Many other people have been reincarnated from his world into this one. This is a simple narrative trick that brings our hero down to earth. He isn’t some divine special case chosen by the gods because he’s a living escapist fantasy. He got lucky and reincarnated by pure happenstance, just like many others. Having our protagonist not be a heavenly, one-of-a-kind savior makes him more relatable, and improves the narrative quite a bit.
Sure, he’s still an extremely OP character. But he wasn’t just granted these powers on a whim. He earned them by pushing himself, working hard and reaching new heights. Though he did rely pretty heavily on a power boost given to him by Tsundere Dragon Veldora. But even then, he earned that power by showing Veldora his greatest power as a slime: kindness.
This premise is also used to give us some genuinely charming and touching moments. Not too long into his time there, Rimuru meets Shizu, a girl who was summoned there all the way back during the World Wars. As far as she knows, Japan burned in a fire bombing that ended the country. So Rimuru, a former member of modern society, uses his powers to show her that Japan is in fact still around, and prospering to boot, bringing unparalleled joy and relief to Shizu.
I’m only mildy ashamed to admit it: an Isekai made me cry. Of all the things I was expecting, that was about the farthest from what I imagined.
The whole story is also fairly well paced. While I do think that the last few episodes were a little rushed, likely due to production times and running out of material to adapt, the first half is a downright masterpiece in pacing. No beat of the story lasts too long or goes by too quickly. They last long enough to work well.
At least in the first half. As I said, the ladder does have some rushed pacing issues. However, it never gets too annoying or terrible.
There are also a lot of fun, comedic takes on traditional fantasy/Isekai characters. Veldora the Storm Dragon is a lonely tsundere. He doesn’t want to burn lands, he just wants a friend to keep him company. Gobta comes across as a useless gag character, but he’s actually incredibly strong and competent in battle. Hell, his fight with Gabiru is one of the series best, even if it is a bit one-sided.
Still, there is an over abundance of characters that are simply just… cliche. These characters have no twists to their format and are pure, predictable Isekai characters. They’re executed well, don’t get me wrong, but it can’t be denied that they don’t stand out as well as some others in the cast. They get the job done, and they do it well. But they’re far from exceptional.
That’s the whole story of TTIGRAAS (doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, does it?). It gets the job done, and it does it well. However, it’s not Shakespeare. It knows what it is, and it sets out to do it well. It’s a fun fantasy romp that makes you feel good.
Remember when shows would do that?
Art, Animation and Sound
In terms of visual quality, Slime may be the best Isekai ever made. No, that’s not hyperbole. I genuinely believe that. The show looks fantastic, and it’s animated just as well.
Rimuru being a slime is the best thing about the visuals. The animators get incredibly creative with his animations. From how he moves to how he expresses himself in his slime form, every minute of his screen time is just charming and makes you feel good! Just the sight of him alone makes me happy beyond compare!
Not to say that everyone else is lackluster. Each character has a distinct and memorable design that stands out. No two characters look the same, and you can always tell who you’re looking at. They’re all charming, extremely well animated, and I’ll remember them for a long time to come.
Aside from the characters, the world of Slime itself is just gorgeous! The show’s backgrounds all have a water-color style to them that is bright, charming and always pleasant to look at. Each area is varied, making it super easy to tell where the scene is set with little confusion. If the world looks that good, than I want to be stabbed and reborn as a slime to experience it myself!
Don’t take that as an invitation. I’ve got work this evening, they’ll kill me again if I miss it and send my ass straight to another world. Probably Re:Zero, knowing my fucking luck.
The fight scenes are also really phenomenal! They’re extremely well animated, easily some of the prettiest scenes in the show, with some incredible choreography and creative use of the different characters powers. While the story is firmly rooted in pacifism, which I deeply appreciate, I can’t help but get excited when the action begins to ramp up.
The sound design is also fantastic. From Rimuru’s flopping sounds when he moves to the kinetic boom of a kick to the head, every sound sucks you right into the show’s world. It gives the fights weight and impact, making them all the more exciting. None of the sounds were obvious stock sounds, and they all felt unique and original.
All in all? This show is an extremely pretty watch from beginning to end. With the animation, art and sound design as good as it is, it’s clear that a lot of effort went into this production. However, one gripe I do have is the music. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong, but it is very forgettable. I can only really hum one tune to myself, and even then I get the feeling that I’m not even close to what it is.
Aside from the openings. Those are total bangers.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is an incredibly odd show. On the surface, it’s a generic Isekai through-and-through. But if you did deeper, you’ll find one of the most genuinely charming, heartwarming and well told stories in the genre. It’s not without it’s flaws, but it’s still a damn good show.
Give this series a watch. It was designed to make you feel good, and it does so with smashing success. Sure, it’s cliche. Yes, it’s still Isekai trash. But anime, whether it be Isekai or Shounen, has always been trash. That doesn’t change the fact that it makes us happy, nor should we be ashamed for loving it. It doesn’t matter that it’s Isekai: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is joyous fun through and through.
Now if only it had a title less exhausting than a marathon…