Saying the iseaki genre has overstayed its welcome in recent years is an understatement.
Once upon a time, the isekai used to be a respective genre for the anime medium. Many of isekai anime that came out before 2016 range from good to great. Some of my favourites being Escaflowne, Fushigi Yuugi and El Hazard. Unfortunately ever since Konosuba and Re:Zero the isekai genre has rapidly gone downhill in terms of quality. Not only various isekai anime since Re:Zero were fundamentally bad in every way, but they take such a mockery of the genre. Instead of exploring fascinating worlds, stories and characters we get horrendous dere tropes, sick waifu pandering, beta husk main leads, recycled and shameless world-building.
It doesn’t help that many of the authors behind are clearly inexperienced writers with no passion for telling a story and only doing so for the money. This is not to say that every isekai anime post Re: Zero was bad in fact there was a couple of isekai anime that I liked and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is one of them.
A show I had no exceptions manages to be the best modern isekai I have seen period.
The plot setup is what you expect from this genre. The protagonist gets killed by an accident in the real world. The protagonist gets sent to a fantasy world, the protagonist has to adapt to the new surroundings you get the drill. Despite the typical isekai set Slime actually manages to do some things partiality different.
For one, our protagonist is a middle-aged man instead of another teenager. This aspect alone really made Rimuru Tempest stand out of them as he’s going to be much more mature and layback protagonist for the viewer to relate to.
One thing that I appreciated is how self-aware it is. The show loves makes fun of cliches and tropes for the fantasy/isekai genre for example in one episode Rimuru comments on the glowing angry red-eye cliche. (Goblin Slayer and Berserk 2017) I found it so humorous that I could not stop laughing. Speaking of comedy, the comedy in Slime is also very good.
It has a great sense of humour from start to finish, many of the jokes seemed to land perfectly thanks to comedic timing and structure and the show is generally funny.
The show is, for the most part, is well-paced never dragged or rushed.
The writing least for the first half is one point with very little hiccups. My favourite arc in the show was the Shizu arc. Not only that arc was amazingly well written from beginning to end but this was the arc that made me love Rimuru. I already said he was different from other isekai protagonists but this was the arc that demonstrated it the most, especially with he’s ‘swell written dialogue.
If there was one thing that Slime has over other isekai anime is the amazing attention to detail with its world-building. The world-building for Slime is outstanding because not only the series was capable of making the world feel alive but the attention to detail from the monster races, lore and various locations were stunning. Everything I said so far ties up to the main theme of Slime which is cooperation. We see characters from various races and backgrounds come to work together to build the ultimate monster village, so they can live in peace.
Sadly this series is not perfect. For one, despite the fascinating simple nature, I feel the show barely had stakes when it comes to conflict. Many of the conflicts that happen in this season were solved with ease due to overpowered Rimuru and his pals were. It may not be as bad compare other isekai anime it doesn’t make it less jarring knowing that Rimuru and his pals would quickly solve any conflict with little to no struggle.
Hopefully, this problem will be fixed in season 2.
The second half is notably weaker than the first half. Not only the show became mostly directionless, but the writing started to be quite problematic at times. It was a shocking cliche overall.
The dialogue became less charming and the final arc of the season wasn’t all that interesting. It’s such a shame that this season ended on a weak note yes it second half had some great moments but these moments didn’t save the second half from being inferior then again I’ve seen worse isekai second half *Cough Shield Hero, Re:Zero and Konosuba*.
Now we have the characters which are surprisingly pretty great. They may not be the best-written cast in the world or anything but they are still a likeable and fun bunch of characters that you can grow attached to in some way.
At first glance, Rimuru Tempest may be another self insert isekai protagonist with no personality and quirks but as the series progress you will start how unique and different Rimuri is compared to any other isekai protagonist and that is why he is mature. Before this series, all isekai protagonists were either goofy, loud and over the top and that trend got tiring over time as they were a bunch of isekai anime, especially in recent memory just featured a generic teenage protagonist. Besides those differences, I really like Rimuru as a protagonist.
I found him to be very smart. I really liked his determination of making his own town and it was very likeable for beginning to end despite him being overpowered then again I blame the writing rather than the character.
The supporting characters are also very good.
Each of the supporting characters is unique in terms of characterisation and personality.
I also liked how they developed alongside the plot, meaning they are not just mindless minions that follow Rimuru for the sake of it. They all follow Rimuru’s because of various reasons why they want to
My favourite supporting characters were Milim, Souei, Shion, Benimaru, and Shizue.
Studio 8bit is a pretty niche studio when it comes to anime as they haven’t made anything that is the worth of apart from numerous throwaway animes. So, I expected this series to have mediocre visuals, but the animation staff of Slime proved me wrong.
The character’s designs were well drawn especially Rimuru’s human form. The background scenery is beautiful to look at, and it’s filled with colour.
The animation is smooth, crisp, well animated and consistent. It didn’t rely on still frames nor recycled animation.
The soundtrack was done by Elements Garden, the same people that produced the soundtrack for Uta no Prince Sama and Symphogear. Personally, I thought the soundtrack was pretty good for an isekai. The soundtrack features a good score of adventurous, upbeat, 8bit and fantasy tracks that perfectly captures the tone of the series.
The opening themes for Slime are absolutely fantastic. Both of them give that peaceful and lack back vibe of the series. My favourite out of the two is the 2nd opening Meguru Mono.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing for the ending themes as they were forgettable. They weren’t bad ending themes by any means but they didn’t resonate with me compared to opening themes.
The English dub done by Funimation is one of the best dubs I heard in a long while. It’s very well acted, the audio quality was clean and all the English actors did a great job with the roles that they were given
The best performance in the dub is hands down Brittney Karbowski. She did a magnificent job voicing the quirky and laid back Rimuru Tempest.
Despite its issues with the second half as well as the lack of stakes, I had a great time with Slime.
It may not be winning any writing awards anytime soon but it won the best isekai series award due to its amazing world-building, charming characters. Strong English dub, beautiful production values and a great soundtrack.
With that said I hope future authors will follow on Slime’s footsteps because I want to see a good isekai anime that will be on par or even surpass Slime. I don’t want to see another isekai anime that prioritizes waifus over storytelling nor a half-fast isekai anime that has no passion or soul.
Take some time and put some effort, that’s all I task.
Follow the Slime, avoid the Smartphone.