In the spirit of transparency and openness, I’m just going to tell you all now: I didn’t like this anime. As a result, this review is going to mostly contain me tearing apart all of the issues I had with the anime.
So maybe review isn’t the best word for it, but considering I’m still going to be assigning a rating to the anime, I guess it still is a review. Just a heads up!
Slime Spoilers Ahead!
Isekai Slice of Life
Now there’s a combination I hadn’t even really considered before. I struggle to think of a single example of an anime that uses both of these genres… until now! Lucky for us, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (to be called just “Slime” going forward) is an excellent example of this very combination.
Typically, you expect action, and adventure in isekai content. Unfortunately, or fortunately, Slime lacks both of these things. Minimal action, and a story that would be a stretch to actually call an adventure (more on this later). To be perfectly honest, my misconception that Slime would be similar to a typical isekai had a large impact on just why I was so disappointed with this anime. If only I had known it was going to be more relaxed, with little to no excitement, I could have adjusted my expectations.
And so, overall, I’ve come to realize that Slime is actually closer to a slice of life anime than an action / adventure anime. Which is fine in it’s own right, especially when you consider the sheer lack of isekai slice of life anime out there! It’s actually not a bad concept at all, and with the right mindset, maybe I’d have gone into the anime feeling differently. But there are still so many other issues…
Adventure? I’m Not So Sure…
Originally when I skimmed the synopsis for Slime I had two expectations – one is that this is another case of an isekai “with a twist”, and the other is that the anime would follow the progression of a lowly slime as he journeys from a weak monster to something much more powerful.
Well, I’ve already covered the twist to this isekai, which is that it is more akin to a slice of life anime than an action / adventure anime.
And it turns out there was no progression at all with our slime protagonist, as he began overly powerful and stayed that way for the entirety of the anime.
So our protagonist is overpowered – that in itself is fine with me. I love overpowered protagonists, in fact. But there is something about our slime, Rimuru Tempest, that I don’t love, and that’s an overpowered “Mr. Nice Guy” character archetype. Throughout Slime, we are faced with the exact same situation over and over – something bad happens, and Mr. Nice Guy Rimuru fixes the problem. That’s the entire anime summarized in a single sentence.
Personally, I like overpowered characters with a personality. Whether that be edginess, selfishness, moral ambiguity, pride / arrogance, apathy, stupidity… any of these characteristics will serve to add a secondary dynamic to the overpowered character that essentially can put a damper on their powers. Basically it creates reasons for why the overpowered character doesn’t just use their powers to solve every single problem they face – which leads to a very stale and predictable story.
For example, Momonga from Overlord is extremely powerful, but his extreme caution causes him to act on the side of prudence… and as his character develops, he actually moves towards an antagonistic role by making morally ambiguous decisions due to his increasing lack of empathy for humans.
Another example is Saitama from One Punch Man, who we know can defeat any enemy in a single punch… but he’s not a very bright guy. And so we end up with a comedic situation revolving around an extremely powerful man who has been “failing” at properly being a hero and getting recognition for his work.
I think it’s very important to have characteristics that allow for a more dynamic experience that takes attention away from the overpowered nature of the character. Rimuru lacks any of these, and as a result, our “adventure” is actually just a series of problems being solved by Rimuru with minimal effort. Which is why I’d make the argument that there is no adventure in Slime, because there’s no risk, there’s no danger or excitement – just Rimuru doing things. And once again, this is why I’d argue Slime is closer to a slice of life than an adventure anime.
Bland Fantasy World
I’m a huge fan of fantasy worlds in anime. I love them so much that even when a fantasy anime falls flat, I will still be happy to walk away knowing that I got to at least experience a new fantasy world. Slime included in this.
Still, the fantasy world in Slime felt quite stale to me, for a few reasons.
First, there was no danger. This goes back to Rimuru being too nice and just blindly helping anything that moves – giving everything that breathes around him a name and making them more powerful for nothing in return, and defeating anything that could pose a threat.
Second, because a vast majority of the fantasy races in Slime were all the exact same. Their appearances may vary, but when it comes to personality, every single race in Slime was the same. Almost everyone walked, talked, and acted like humans. Hell, when they were given names they also physically began to look more like humans too.
Typically in fantasy settings there are personality differences between races. For example, goblins are typically more prone to trickery, thievery, and pettiness because they are weak and they know it. Orcs are typically warlike, strong, numerous, but not very smart due to their pig-like attributes (although pigs are actually pretty smart). All I’m getting at is that normally in a fantasy setting, there are distinct differences between races, because they are different. Different appearance, strength, intelligence, homeland, et cetera.
But Slime doesn’t create any distinctions at all. Goblins are just as kind as humans, dwarves no different from lizardmen. Everyone was just too similar, which is why there were absolutely no issues with all of these different races coming together to form one big happy family in Rimuru’s city. The whole scenario just felt bland because there was no variation whatsoever across the varied fantasy races. They may as well have all been humans, as far as I’m concerned.
The biggest joke of all was when the rampaging orc army just all of the sudden changed their ways and became super friendly, regular dudes. Yeah, okay, they were under a spell… but if I was someone who had lost family (or my home village) to these orcs, my feelings towards the orcs wouldn’t just instantly change. Luckily, Nice Guy Rimuru is there, and anyone / everyone that interacts with Rimuru becomes infected with his niceness, so the former rampaging orc army became a large group of loving and nice orcs. Maybe it’s a hidden skill Rimuru possesses?
There were some exceptions though. The demon lords, edgy as they are, had their own thing going for them. I also really liked the fairy queen, who seemed to act a lot like you’d expect a fairy to – irritable, impatient, quick. The dryads also seemed to act like one would think, appearing only when they feel it’s necessary, and putting the safety of the forest above all. Also, Gobta actually struck me as the most “goblin-like” of the goblins, which was nice to see at least.
Rimuru is a Slime, Until He’s Not
This actually sort of carries on with my last point about most of the characters being humans. We know that Rimuru is a reincarnated human in slime form, so it makes sense for him to think and talk like a human. But I thought the purpose of the anime was to follow the life of a slime in a fantasy world?
Because that’s not exactly what we get. You could replace Rimuru with a human and nothing would change. Give him a spell that lets him absorb creature’s abilities, and just like that the slime aspect is no longer needed. After all, aside from the first one or two episodes, the fact that Rimuru is a slime completely loses relevance. He’s already overpowered, and just going around helping people. Nothing would change if he was just a human from the start in that sense.
Plus, once the anime gives Rimuru a human form, that’s it. He uses his human form for most of the remaining episodes of the anime. In the final arc, he stays in his human form the entire time with the exception of a single scene. Not surprising though, because Rimuru being a slime is just a gimmick that falls flat almost immediately. Of course they’d want to just evolve him into a human and get on with the anime from there, no need to hang onto the gimmick that constitutes the anime’s name right?
What exactly was the point in Rimuru being a slime?
If he had started out weak, and had to struggle as a slime while getting stronger, then I’d be completely OK with it. Honestly, the only thing I can think of is that Rimuru had to be a slime to that he could hoard health potions and magic crystals in his body, which just seems stupid to me. Once again, you could just create a spell for that, “bottomless box” or something. Not exactly something exclusive to slimes when you can bridge the gap using magic.
I took many issues with this anime, but I think that the slime gimmick takes the cake. There was no reason for Rimuru to be a slime, other than for the sake of doing something slightly different from other isekai / fantasy anime. But they don’t even leverage the fact that Rimuru is a slime to create any unique situations, so what we end up with is just a gimmick that amounts to nothing special.
Slime is an anime that tried to do something different, but failed to actually do anything different. And what it did do, I believe was worse than any other isekai anime out there. Instead of something unique, it was a gimmick, and a very boring one at that.
If you asked me for an anime that was like Overlord, but for young children, I’d tell you that Slime is the perfect anime for you.
Again, to be fair, if Slime was purposely going for a slice of life / super relaxed, no tension aesthetic, then kudos to the anime for trying to create a more lighthearted isekai. It upset me finish this anime with the expectations I did, but I will admit that maybe I should have re-evaluated my expectations of the anime and tried to adapt after the first several episodes. I definitely think that it’s unfair to dislike an anime for not conforming to the genre. But I also think that all of my other issues with Slime still stand – I’ve never been so bored with a fantasy anime before watching Slime.
I’m going to give That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime a 3.5 / 10.
I love isekai, but this anime managed to still completely disappoint me, by creating an extremely bland happy-go-lucky fantasy world and falling flat with it’s “unique” concept that ends up being a total gimmick.
I’ll also give Slime the Paragon of Virtue award, for Rimuru’s character who can do no wrong, and will not hesitate to solve every problem in existence without breaking a sweat.
The good news regarding Slime is that I won’t have to watch the sequel to know what happens, which will amount to some saved time in 2020.
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.