This week we’re going five volumes deep into slime and it’s not as gross as it sounds. No, Kodansha Comics is releasing their fifth chapter in the That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime manga series. The title is a bit sillier than the series is at this stage, but at the start, it certainly leaned on its slime-related origins. In this latest volume our hero (also, he’s a slime) takes on a nightmare-level beast and the fallout of war is handled.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
DISASTER STRIKES After laying waste to the orcish forces that threatened the Forest of Jura, Rimuru’s group now faces Gelmud and the dreaded orc lord. And with some encouragement from Gelmud, the orc lord evolves into his ultimate form: The Orc Disaster! Could this new and fearsome foe outmatch Rimuru’s razor-sharp wits and unimaginable power? Or will The Orc Disaster dine upon slime with a side of kijin in the climax of the forest war arc?
Why does this matter?
This is one of the most self-aware fantasy stories I’ve ever read. The main character comes from our world and dies only to be reincarnated in a world where lizardmen and magic reign supreme. He’s used his logic of fantasy stories, and his hard work, to take over and lead people. He’s also grown as a character taking on more responsibility and more badass powers.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
There sure is a lot of talking on the battlefield. This volume opens with a new threat entering the battle that our protagonist Rimuru and his faithful men have already won. As the characters attempt to figure out the enemies’ power set they discuss and lay down their attacks like one might expect in an RPG. Taiki Kawakami writes and draws this manga and does an impressive job with the war scene. Customary of manga like Death Note, Kawakami utilizes rules, be it the enemies’ power set or the heroes’, to help set up stakes and dangers with every act made on the battlefield. This helps increase the tension and make the battle mean something. When a new enemy enters the battle (Geld the Orc Disaster!) things get very tricky for the hero. Talking commences and thinking too, and it’s interesting to see how Rimuru defeats a seemingly unbeatable foe. Tucked into this battle is a deeper meaning, which helps flesh out the villain to be more than just an evil bastard; he’s an Orc attempting to keep his people alive.
The second half of the manga explores what it takes to keep people fed and stop war from starting again in the fallout of a major battle. Rimuru ends up being the head chairman and this section helps build up his leadership skills. This section also does a bit of world-building, which will assuredly become a major factor when leaders of other parts of this world see he’s creating a massive community of Orc, lizard men, and goblin settlements.
Kawakami draws some epic fight choreography in this volume with the Orc Disaster being a major highlight. One tactic Rimuru uses on him requires his slime form to encompass him and the visualization of this helps convey the kinetic nature of the moment, even though it’s as if he’s got a ketchup spill on him. The second half maintains a level of entertainment due to the politics going on, which lean heavily on characters’ facial expressions and body language.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The characters talking out loud during battle can get annoying and it slows down the pace of the scenes. Sure, it also adds a layer of tactics and emotional concern to a scene, but it’s highly unlikely they could have a full dialogue while dodging attacks.
My only other gripe is how this volume ends. It’s not much of a cliffhanger and instead reads like the end of everything. This volume could easily be the last as the hero has won and all seems well in the world. There are still some powerful forces out there that know of him, but nothing is done to establish their hate or frustration for Rimuru, let alone their next move.
Is It Good?
I had a lot of fun with this volume due to a deeper meaning in the enemies’ defeat. It’s an element I did not see coming which adds to the series’ development of its hero. For the longest time, this series was about discovering new fantasy elements and the hero learning new abilities, but leadership is now the name of the game, giving That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime a unique take on the fantasy tropes it revels in.