A manga that’s all about fantasy, but in a unique RPG sort of way.
There aren’t a lot of options for fantasy fans who want something a little different. It’s usually straight fantasy (dwarves and elves) or some quasi-fantasy, but now you have Kodansha Comics’ That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime. Its third volume comes out this week.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
OGRE BATTLE After taking on the will and form of the Conqueror of Flames, Rimuru gains new, incredible skills and continues his journey to improve the conditions of his subordinates. But before long, Rimuru hears a distress call and finds his companions crushed by a motley crew of ogres! What quarrel do these menacing ogres have with Rimuru and the residents of the goblin village? And has Rimuru finally met a group of foes able to contend with his seemingly overpowered abilities?
Why does this matter?
The progression of the story is an interesting one with each volume coming into its own and finding the identity of the series. The first volume spent a lot of time developing the main character and the odd nature of becoming a slime. The second delved more into the high-fantasy world he inhabited after dying in the real world. It’s in this latest volume that the series has started to feel like it has a grasp of the world, its characters, and ultimately its purpose.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s always good to level up. Courtesy ©Fuse/Taiki Kawakami/Kodansha, Ltd. All rights reserved.
This volume splits evenly between three parts. Rimuru, aka the slime, opens the book still in the human form he recently discovered was capable of his powers. The leader of goblins and pretty much at full badass mode, Rimuru spends this portion discovering what sort of powers he’s picked up (as a slime he steals the powers of anything he vanquishes) and further develops them by combining powers. Like a good RPG, Taiki Kawakami plays up the strategic angle of having magical abilities and preparing for anything that comes in your way. There’s also an interesting development with the strange voice Rimuru can hear and ask for directions (which is sort of like the in-game guide) and there are clear hints there’s more to this voice and the world.
The second part is all about Rimuru encountering some goblins (who look way different than you’d expect) who are incredibly powerful. The first section plays well into the second, showing off the new abilities and the strategy required in battle. There’s also a much needed reminder that Rimuru can be hurt. He’s basically walked his way through a lot of battles so far, but there’s a good reminder that even in the smallest of skirmish Rimuru could be killed. New partnerships and friendships are formed which add interesting dynamics to the manga.
The final section is all about a mysterious army that looms ever closer to Rimuru’s villagers. There’s a dangerous threat nearby that even Rimuru may not be able to combat with an army way bigger than what he has in his forces. A lizard army is also introduced, which should spell trouble as things develop.
The art in the manga is good, especially when magic and action is concerned. There’s also an interesting section where Rimuru names the new band of characters that join him and after they are named they evolve. Kawakami draws faces quite well which is, of course, a highlight of this transformation scene. There’s also good foreshadowing and cutaways to the shadowed villain that holds dominion over the army.
He’s just a common slime. Courtesy ©Fuse/Taiki Kawakami/Kodansha, Ltd. All rights reserved.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a manga meant for younger boys (mid to late teens) so expect some awkward references to breasts and some idealized perspectives from women about Rimuru. The women in the book fawn over Rimuru which isn’t earned or explained, but is clearly there to represent every boy’s dream. Rimuru also reflects on breasts like that of a 13 year old. That makes this book more of a comfort for young boys — maybe not in the healthiest of ways either — rather than a lesson. There are good lessons about talking your way out of a fight and attempting to be good natured with folks even if they’re angry with you though.
Is It Good?
This manga is progressively getting better with each volume. It seems to be finding its footing, establishing its story and separating it from other high fantasy and making its own path. Along the way it is developing the main character and his ever growing powers and responsibility. By the time Rimuru goes to war fans should be ready and eager for it.