That escalated quickly.
Those who read my review of season one of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime know that while I enjoyed it, I did find it a little bit pointless and that even the second half of season one already seemed to be suffering from diminishing returns. The lack of high stakes, or at times any kind of sense of urgency, meant that while I didn’t mind what I was watching, I also had limited investment in the story and probably could have walked away and not lost sleep wondering what happened to Rimuru and friends.
As I binge watched season 2, I found myself contemplating a couple of points in throughout the 12 episodes, most notably a particular decision Rimuru makes as well as the lack of any kind of concrete ending given a 2nd season part 2 will probably come out in July, but largely entire sections of this anime passed without much need for comment or even consideration.
One of my least favourite arcs in season one was when Rimuru ventured away from his growing city to teach a group of kids, more or less at the behest of the dead Shizue. That the first couple of episodes here continue to deal with Rimuru tying up his duties as a teacher and there’s even less reason to care now that he’s essentially served his purpose and is just trying to hand over to someone else, isn’t a great return for the fantasy series.
While there are a few bread crumbs sprinkled throughout these early episodes about political tensions and Rimuru’s lack of understanding about the implications of his actions in creating new trade alliances, it isn’t enough to really make things feel like we’re moving along. It also separates Rimuru from his core group for large parts of these episodes and the kids just aren’t charming enough, or at least I don’t think so, to make up for it.
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The story definitely takes a turn for the more interesting after the return to the dwarf kingdom and an episode of drunken revelry with the girls in the bar. Finally all the threads of other demon lords stirring mischief, the human kingdom that had been built up to be ‘too greedy’ (apparently its only defining character trait other than stupidity and short-sightedness) and the church that generally has issues with monsters, begin to move and it is from that point on that this season actually seems to be churning through content too fast.
From early episodes that felt like we were on more or less permanent pause to episodes that have declarations of war and decisions of mass extermination made in a single instant, the pacing in this second season of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is jarring to say the least.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some great ideas and moments along the way and Slime remembers what it is best at, and that is being a bit of fun to watch. Even mass-slaughter is fairly laid back and almost effortless for our protagonist once he sets his mind to it and as long as you don’t think too hard about those left dead in his wake you almost get a happy ending at the end of it.
We also get some more characters who had been transported from Earth (not reborn like Rimuru but just kind of dragged over) and they are an obnoxious group of over-powered fools who barely have one personality between them. They are built up very briefly and act as a catalyst for the events that follow but ultimately amount to nothing being quickly disposed of and forgotten by the narrative and the characters in it. I kind of wonder what the point was and whether they were supposed to provide some kind of contrast with the more contemplative Shizue or whether they were generally just poorly written characters.
I also felt that the love triangle that developed with some of Rimuru’s followers was actually a pretty lame addition that really didn’t contribute much other than a few irritating character moments where friends briefly turned their attacks on one another. If given more time to be fleshed out maybe this sequence could have felt more genuine or more emotional, but largely it felt like another plot point stuffed into an attack on a city that was already overflowing with other character moments.
For all that the pacing kind of feels like it is rushed, from the decision to go to war, through the various character battles around the city, to Rimuru’s actions in the enemy camp, the final few episodes have a lot going on (almost too much) but they are kind of mesmerising. As the dust settles and this season came to an inconclusive ending that seemed to be introducing yet another conflict and then just abandoning it for a break until July, I realised that while I might be continuing to pick fault with this series but I am very much invested in Rimuru’s city building efforts and I kind of want to see how all of this will play out and how other cities will react to the newer and more aggressive policy of the city of monsters.
While I still don’t see particularly high stakes for our protagonist, and given their unwillingness to part with core cast members in these 12 episodes I don’t really think there’s anything too much to worry about, but I am curious as to how it will all come together.
Visually, season 2 remains the bright and colourful affair of season one. While action isn’t this anime’s strong point, it does do enough for decent fight sequences and the magical attacks, barriers and other bits and pieces remain suitably impressive. The character designs are where this anime really is working hard because despite the excessively large cast, they still manage to make most of the characters pretty distinct.
Equally, I really did enjoy Rimuru’s self-reflection on his new state of being. Previously he was essentially a human who occasionally bounced around as a slime. After the events here he finally realises that he is one of the monsters in this world and thinking of himself as a human isn’t a luxury he can afford if he wants to make the right decisions. It would be great if his character continued to become more aware of themself and the world they are now in.
Overall, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime isn’t my favourite isekai story, but it is one that has some enjoyable moments along the way and doesn’t seem to be going out of its way to step on too many toes. And yes, I will watch Season 2 Part 2 when it is done.
Images used for review from: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2. Dir. Y Kikuchi. 8bit. 2021.
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