That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime is one of the top hit series of Fall 2018 and Winter 2019. In terms of enjoyment, it easily deserves a 9 out of 10. I try to be a balanced critic, though, as hard as it can be. Looking at the show from a rational and detached point of view shows me that it definitely has its fair share of faults. Let’s jump right into the review. (Note: In this post, I’ll be referring to Rimuru as “they,” since they are sexless. They never state what gender they identify as, so I consider them nonbinary.)
Story and Structure: 6/10
Pure, fantastical fun is the best way to describe Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken. It’s not epic in scale or stakes, and not suspenseful, but not all shows need to be. Isekai genre anime can be just fine without death and darkness. It also doesn’t need an abundance of Ecchi moments or common comedy tropes to succeed. Though nobody really ever dies (besides Shizu), the action and fighting scenes are still so much fun. The spirit of curiosity, joy, and adventure is refreshing like spring-water you find on a hike.
The story is rather directionless, simply following Rimuru around as they name monsters and advance peaceful civilization, making the whole world a better place, and building their own nation too. If there is an over-arching plot, it would be carrying out the will of Shizu, and uncovering the identity and intentions of Gelmyd and Demon Lord Leon. (There is good resolution for Shizu’s mission, but not for finding out about the villains.) The structure of the episodes and “arcs” did not follow that of any other anime I have seen. It felt rough and poorly planned.
In TenSlime, there isn’t a lot of time spent on world-building, but I felt that was understandable in a series meant to be just for fun. Plus, the elements of lore that were shown and described were fascinating to me. There’s the concept that naming monsters causes the monsters to evolve greater intelligence and abilities. Rimuru’s predator and analysis skills were great. The information about summoning and the possiblity of going to other worlds interested me a good deal. So did the backstory of the Orcs, and the Direwolves’ more or less accurate depiction of wolf social behavior.
The themes in the story of Tensei-slime include racial equality, helping others, leading others, individual growth, positive civilization growth, choosing one’s battles, and being compassionate yet rational. Those are all incredibly feel-good themes. I ususally prefer dark anime, but having a fun and moralistic one was a nice break. Still, I feel obligated to note that TenSlime has very little emotional depth. Rimuru makes countless allies and friends, but they aren’t shown becoming truly close with anyone. There was no event, relationship, or character who really made me feel emotional in any way.
You may not agree, but to me, the story of Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken was “fair,” rather than “good.” It felt like it was missing something important. The structuring (and order of events) was a mess. The passage of time (2 years) was not shown well. Episode 24 provided necessary information and showed interesting character history, but as a season finale, it was out-of-place and weak. Episode 23 tried way too hard to present a joyful resolution for everyone. We already knew it would have a happy ending. There was no need to put 3 extra coats of icing on the cake and force it down our throats.
Art and Animation: 8/10
I thought the art and animation for TenSlime was excellent. It was charming and vibrantly colorful, with cute, cool, and attractive character designs for everyone. Things were as visually appealing and detailed as you’d expect from a 2019 anime. Sometimes, nature backgrounds were simple, but I liked the style, since they resembled water-color. There were fun fantasy fights. Everything looks so crisp and clear! This kind of “eye candy” is better than fanservice.
For the instrumental OST, nothing stuck out at me enough to remember individual themes or tracks. Still, I remember it was pleasant, sometimes dramatic, and overall just appropriate for each situation in the anime. It’s mostly orchestral in nature. The first OP is catchy and has good animation. I wasn’t much of a fan of the first ED, but the second one was interesting both in terms of music and animation. The second OP for TenSlime was ok, too.
All the (Japanese) voice-acting was pretty good, but that’s what I’ve come to expect from modern anime. Miho Okasaki, voice of Rimuru, is a fairly new talent in the anime seiyuu world, and I thought she did a great job. She somehow managed to sound cute and chibi yet mature and experienced at the same time. She didn’t sound too feminine or too masculine either way. It’s the perfect voice for Rimuru.
That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime is not a character-driven story, and characters are not its best feature (except the main character, Rimuru). The cast all fit into simple types. There were too many of them to develop beyond just their archetype. It seemed like there were overly abundant similarities between some of the supporting cast members. For example, Milim, Alice, and the Spirit/Fairy Queen were all basically the same personality.
If not for Rimuru, I would have said the characterization in TenSlime was “average” or 5/10. However, Rimuru saved the show with their originality, charisma, charm, warmth, intelligence, maturity, and confidence. I felt they were designed to be likeable in every way. I loved everything about Rimuru: abilities, personality, sense of humor, self-awareness, resourcefulness, optimism, etc. Most over-powered main characters have personalities that annoy me, but not Rimuru!
I would have to give Tensei Slime a much lower overall rating if I didn’t count my personal enjoyment into the equation. It’s repetitive, but I must say again that this show is just so much fun! I had a terrific time watching it. Here just a few things I enjoyed. 1) Rimuru being sexless and gender-fluid. 2) How Rimuru treats all the fantasy races with equal respect and makes a nation based on alliances between them. 3) The significance of names in the TenSlime world. 4) The Direwolves. 5) The way that there are highly attractive supporting characters both male and female (instead of female-only).
There’s a lot to enjoy in this show! Give it a try if you like fantasy, action, adventure, powerful main characters, and feel-good shows full of comic moments and good morals. I rate anime on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being utterly appalling and 10 being a perfect masterpiece. Adding up the numbers for each section and dividing them by 5, I come up with 7.4/10 for That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime.