One of the craziest fantasy manga ever continues this week, courtesy of Kodansha Comics. It’s all about a human who dies and ends up waking up as a slime. Now a monster, Rimuru develops his powers to become not only a super strong wizard of sorts but also the leader of a group of outcast monsters. But all monsters are outcasts and that’s a problem Rimuru is trying to solve.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
COMMANDER IN GRIEF Milim is now a resident of Tempest, but her presence there sets off a chain of events that begins with the entrance of a rival demon lord’s servants. Rimuru, as the leader of the Jura Forest Alliance, must swiftly and delicately handle this potential threat, but it won’t be easy to do so while managing the behavior of an all-powerful yet child-like demon lord and leading an entire nation of monsters…
Why does this matter?
If a sword and sorcery manga with a focus on the intricacies of politics and hierarchical systems sounds great you’re in the right place. It’s also an interesting manga because it keeps building on itself, starting with a slime in a dark cave and now moving on up to the exploration of weird foods in a world not like our own.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
If you dig the art of parley you will enjoy this issue quite a bit. It seems like all the action, plot twists, and other dramas that occur in this manga always lead to Rimuru seeking to parley and work things out. It’s in these scenes that strategy come into play and it’s fun to see how Rimuru pieces things together and processes what to say next. That might sound boring, but throw a catastrophe-level wizard on the other side of the table and you can see why it gets tense. Rimuru is very capable of fighting but it’s in these moments of dialogue that his leadership comes through.
The parlay occurs twice in two different scenarios, splitting the book’s focus in half. The first half is with an evil dude who has evil intentions entering Rimuru’s town to cause some trouble. The second involves a band of characters Rimuru’s men save and bring back to town. It’s in this latter parlay where things get interesting, focusing Rimuru’s attention on a single character. The story does a good job establishing this character’s potential in becoming not just a leader, but a champion. This manga has always been good with laying down RPG vibes and this volume is no different, focusing on the character like one would when using a character creator in a video game.
It can’t be perfect can it?
So there’s a lot of talking, but very little action. The action in the book is more of a fleeting scene to get characters from point A to point B, and it doesn’t even involve Rimuru. That takes an ounce of the enjoyment out of this manga which is usually very good at the role-playing-style fight scenes.
Aside from this, this volume continues to use Rimuru in ways that are somewhat boring. The first few volumes were all about building this character either physically with new powers or emotionally. As it stands, the character hasn’t changed much in quite a few volumes. With no growth it’s becoming apparent that he’s simply going through the motions to achieve whatever task is before him. Knowing how powerful he and his band are can make one come to the realization that nothing really matters.
Is it good?
I like this volume due to the verbal chess required of Rimuru to get out of sticky situations. The world is robust as ever too, but at its heart there isn’t much in terms of growth or stakes. That is a growing problem that hasn’t been rectified in quite a while.