Since That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime began in the Autumn 2018 season, Rimuru Tempest has been super popular. Just looking at the sheer number of items that have come out from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime makes it clear that there’s some appeal. And yet, while I enjoy watching Rimuru’s antics, I can’t say that I find him overly memorable as a protagonist. Which is why his winning the Crunchyroll award for best protagonist last year kind of had me a little stumped. So, since the ‘story’ of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime came to a close last week I decided to take the opportunity to have a bit of a closer look at our reincarnated slime.
Keep in mind, I’m only responding to what I’ve seen in the anime as I have not read any of the source material in any form.
Originally a 37 year old office worker from Japan, Satoru died when a random guy came running down the street with a knife and he protected his co-worker and the co-worker’s girlfriend. I’m still not sure why just pulling them out of the way wouldn’t have worked or why the guy was running with the knife, but clearly there wasn’t a lot of thought put into the way they’d off this character and at least they didn’t hit him with a truck which has become beyond cliche. Whichever way, we establish that even as a human, while Satoru isn’t overly ambitious he is a nice guy, and alas that kind of defines all of Rimuru’s relationships from that point forward.
Now, there is nothing wrong with being nice. Bell Cranel is certainly a ‘nice guy’ protagonist, however in his case it is off-set by his drive and ambition to become a hero like the ones in his grandfather’s stories. Rimuru doesn’t have anything to off-set just being nice other than the fact that he is reincarnated as a blue slime monster, which is novel for about an episode and then you wonder if there’s anything more to the gimmick.
Probably my biggest complaint about Rimuru Tempest and his character is that it isn’t really defined by anything. He bops along in the cave collecting stuff because why not and then runs into Veldora, who also gives him his name and a few handy hints. After Veldora we meet the goblins, then the wolves, then the dwarves, then the ogres, and then… You see, once a relationship is formed, the characters in question end up more or less in the background and Rimuru just kind of moves on to the next thing.
About the only relationship that looked to go a bit deeper was Shizue, but even then she was only in the story for a couple of episodes and Rimuru’s only real connection with her was that she was also born in Japan.
However, I’m not just taking a look at Rimuru to dump on him (well, technically he is gender-less as a slime but he started out as a male human so we’re sticking with that). Rimuru is a fun character to spend time with because of his lack of drive and ambition. While he’s building his city, a lot of it he just kind of stumbled across and most of his actions are the result of him trying to make things easier on himself. He’s almost infectiously relaxing which is kind of great if you are looking for some laid back entertainment.
He also gets two great character designs. As the slime, he’s awesome and I really was eyeing off the pillow version of Rimuru as a slime because it just looked too cute. While as a character that gimmick wore thin pretty quick, as a design for a character it is amazing how cute they managed to make a blue blob. As a human, he’s easily recognised, cute, and not over-designed. There’s a simplicity about him and yet he’s still distinct.
All and all, from a design point of view they kind of hit the jackpot with Rimuru.
While I’d personally like him more if he had some kind of drive, rather than a vague picking up of Shizue’s legacy and just kind of dealing with stuff as it happens, there’s not a huge amount to actually say is wrong with Rimuru. Though plenty that might have been stronger.
He doesn’t leave a strong impression in terms of his character journey and on thinking about that it seems clear that he isn’t changing very much despite the circumstances he finds himself in. At first that makes no sense and then you remember he was 37 years old when he died. Late thirties, he was going to be pretty set in his personality and attitudes and even applying his thoughts to new situations it is unlikely his character would rapidly change. Certainly over time he might develop slowly in response to the new situation but it isn’t going to happen quickly. This isn’t an impressionable or emotional teenager we’re dealing with.
Also, his lack of ambition is also explained by the same. At 37 he had settled for what life had to offer and then he died in an instant. What would be the point in striving to work toward something when Rimuru knows first hand how quickly it could all just disappear. It makes his go with the flow feeling far more acceptable when you consider that he’s already lived one life where he didn’t really accomplish much and then died without warning.
While Rimuru isn’t going to rocket up my list of favourite anime characters any time soon, I certainly did have some fun bouncing a long with him on his journey.
What do you think about Rimuru?
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