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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12 thoughts on “Up Close With Rimuru Tempest”
The only reason why I didn’t like the anime version is because of manga, you know, when you know what will happen in future then it gets pretty boring and that’s what happened with me after reading manga and then watching anime, but I really thought that if they cross or made more episode then the manga chapter then that would be great but…
Still, it will be one of my great Slice of Life Isekai anime…
It is only recently that I’ve had the experience of watching something after reading the source material, as I never used to read manga or light novels. I find it definitely changes how I am viewing the story and my expectations for it.
But, I haven’t read the source for this one at this point.
you should try it….
As far as Rimuru’s personality goes, I’m fine with him. He’s not even without flaws. For example, I don’t think he’s dense about how he’s worshipped. I feel he’s aware of it, but is also incredibly set in his ways. He’s enjoying the attention, and when people prostrate themselves before him he gets flashbacks of how he did the same when alive. His main aim seems to be a comfortable life (and I imagine he might have seen one or two bosses of take the fall), so enjoys what he can. The way he transforms the city into something closer to what he’s used to is telling. Mostly you could see this as improvement of life-situations, but there’s this telling scene when he thinks the female goblins are underdressed and decides they need new clothes. He’s unthinkingly pushing his values onto his subordinates, and this seems to be a world where “power levels” equal political strength. Take all this together, and you get a complacent colonialist. There are several roads the story could go with this, as this set-up has conflict potential.
The problem is that the show ignores this potential, either because it’s supposed to be a safe escapist fantasy, or because it’s the author’s blind-spot, or for any other reason I can’t think of. It’s telling, for example, that – in the final arc – he won all the kids over with a single strategy. He needn’t bother getting to know them at all; they just take to him, because…? The problem isn’t the character of Rimuru himself; it’s that his character seems to be a governing principle of the show itself. Sort of the gravity center of the story.
With Shizu, this was different, because she’s a character that can carry a story of her own, and does it better than Rimuru. She’s had experiences in this world she didn’t like; her background is tragic, etc. The narrative is better (but also more conventional) when you get into her backstory. Nearly everything that’s story-wise interesting is connected with Shizu (and if not with her then with Veldora, but that’s background radiation so far).
If you think of the main character in terms of screentime, marketing, likability etc. that’s Rimuru. But if you think of a story as a chemical reaction he’s primarily neither an agent nor a re-agent. Sometimes, he’s more a catalyst (when he draws attention of the powerful, like the demon lords or the dwarf king, for example), and sometimes he’s more of a moderator, when he calms down conflicts (like in the aftermath of the Orc Disaster arc). The main participants of the brewing conflict seem to be (so far): Shizu, Veldora, the hero that defeated Veldora, and the demonlord Cromwell, if I parse the show correctly.
What the show pulls is an old trick, the off-centre point-of-view character. But it messes up the trick to an extent, by overplaying his charm points and underplaying his weaknesses. Catalyst: he attracts a near invincible Orc Army; Moderator: he disarms the fallout by… being charming? Rinse and repeat.
The set-up is fine, but execution is lacklustre. As a result, the story is nothing to write home about, and the silly day-to-day antics take over. It’s really best watched as a slice-of-life. Rimuru’s character itself is fine, but the show doesn’t challenge him.
That’s how I see it.
Shizue is interesting. I watched the extra episode this morning that focused on her and I was just so much more into the story than I’ve found myself during a lot of the second arc of Slime.
I think you make a good point about what the story might have been going for but you are right in that the slice of life and sill antics really do take centre stage more often than not. They are fine enough but not exactly memorable.
He DOES win them over, it’s just that the anime had a really bad way of showing the transition of time. From the moment he first met them to the moment he left, it was roughly 3 months of time. He also bonds with them by telling them he’s not only a “Traveler” like Shizu, but also from the same country except much further in the future and uses that to bond with them. The anime skipped a LOT of great internal monologue stuff and world building that I HOPE gets addressed in the Second Season.
So if the anime skipped it, for anime only watchers, it isn’t part of the story. For them it doesn’t seem like he does anything to win them over outside of fighting them. Arguing that something is explained in the source doesn’t help make the anime watching experience a better one, though it does explain why readers of the source see the character differently.
At least truck kun didn’t visit Rimuru…
Rimuru is, i don’t know, Mudane? There isn’t anything special about him that makes him stand out as a character, besides that he is kinda cute in his actions.
Yep, other than his character design he’s pretty forgettable despite being reincarnated as a slime.
I think you put it very well. He’s not really riveting, but interesting in his way, and he makes sense when you think about it. He’s also adorable as a slime, and I had not realized one could make a slime adorable. 🙂 And the way he’s so cluelesss about how others idolize him (as opposed to, say, Gabiru, who was heavily influenced by how others praised him), it makes him all the easier to like, though I can’t help shaking my head at how oblivious he is to it.
He is incredibly dense when it comes to just how much idol worship he’s getting – otherwise he’s just chosen to completely ignore it, though when his main group of followers name the city after him that’s kind of a dead giveaway.
The anime left out a lot of internal monologues and world building. Rimuru is REALLY aware of how OP he is and pretty aware of how he’s sort of worshiped and simply opts to roll with it.