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    Review for That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Season One Part One

    8 / 10


    I am not a fan of the Isekai genre, that trope where some unsuspecting Joe gets trapped in another, fantasy world, bringing our life experiences and mindsets to worlds populated with elves and dragons and orcs and the like. But I have been looking forward to this particular show. That’s because I’ve sighed my way through three seasons of Overlord, another of these genre shows, which sees the main character living a life as a god in a fantasy world. This isn’t a concept rich in drama, or emotional investment; more a viewer wish fulfilment exercise.

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    So from the strongest character in an RPG universe, to the weakest... Slimes are the starting monsters in most RPG games and anime based on such, the transparent blobs that cluster on protagonists, sapping their energy, cute leeches really, easy to despatch and with no personality or individuality worth mentioning. Like most light novel adaptations, the clue is in the overlong title to this show. This is a premise where the protagonist becomes a slime, the weakest character in all likelihood. This could just be the anti-Overlord, which is just what I need having recently sat through Overlord Season 3.

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    Satoru Mikami is a 37 year old salaryman, whose life is going great, except for the lack of any kind of relationship. It irks a bit when his co-worker calls him to introduce his new girlfriend, but that doesn’t stop him when a knife-wielding mugger attacks. Satoru intervenes, and gets stabbed. He manages to get his dying wish across, but as his consciousness fades, he hears a strange voice.

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    Then he wakes up... in a cave... as a slime. The only companion he has is that voice, the voice of the Great Sage still echoing in his mind. But his body is strange, his senses are curtailed, and it seems that all he can do is absorb that which he envelops. But the voice helps him understand his new life, as he explores the cave. It’s when he encounters a dragon trapped in the cave that his horizons begin to expand. No other slime has consciousness, and he’s also not the only out-worlder to come to this world, although reincarnation is unheard of. The dragon, Veldora Tempest becomes his first friend, and he gives the slime a name, Rimuru. Rimuru promises to free the dragon from his magical imprisonment, and that’s the start of an amazing adventure.

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    12 episodes of That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime are presented across two Blu-rays from Manga Entertainment in this Part 1 release.

    Disc 1
    1. The Storm Dragon, Veldora
    2. Meeting the Goblins
    3. Battle at the Goblin Village
    4. In the Kingdom of the Dwarves
    5. Hero King, Gazel Dwargo
    6. Shizu
    7. Conqueror of Flames
    8. Inherited Will
    9. Attack of the Ogres

    Disc 2
    10. The Orc Lord
    11. Gabiru is Here!
    12. The Gears Spin Out of Control

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    The show gets a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer, and it’s a good one. The image is clear and sharp, colours are strong and consistent, detail levels are accurately represented, and the only issue is some minor banding during the few darker scenes. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is a light-hearted comedy adventure show, so the colours are bright and vivid, the artwork is simple but effective, and the character designs tend to the cute and amiable. The animation is smooth, while effects are used well to establish the expected fantasy tropes.

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    You have the option of Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround English with a signs only track, and Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo Japanese with translated subtitles, all locked during playback. The audio is fine, the dialogue is clear, the music suits the story well, coupled with a pair of catchy theme songs, and the action comes across well, even in the Japanese stereo version that I watched. The subtitles are accurately timed and free of typos.

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    The discs boot to animated menus.

    Disc 1 autoplays a trailer for Funimation NOW.

    There is an audio commentary on episode 8 with assistant ADR Director Brittany Lauda, Brittney Karbowski (Rimuru), Mallorie Rodak (Great Sage), and Dawn M. Bennett (Shizu).

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    Disc 2 begins with a video commentary for episode 7 with ADR Director Clifford Chapin, Brittney Karbowski, and adaptive scriptwriter Kristen McGuire.

    Episode 11 has an audio commentary with Clifford Chapin, Austin Tindle (Gabiru), Michelle Rojas (Shion), and Ryan “not that Ryan Reynolds” Reynolds (Gobta).

    You get 4:28 of Promo Videos, 1:55 of Commercials, and the Textless Credits, one of each.

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    I wanted this show to be the anti-Overlord, and with the presentation of the main character as a slime, the lowest rung of NPC characters in role playing games, I could be forgiven for expecting a wacky and daft comedy, a pastiche on the isekai genre. I didn’t get that. In fact, this show is very much playing in the Overlord vein, with another over-powered character for whom life in a fantasy world is a comparative breeze after living a life in our, tame, challenging, and tedious real world. There are aspects to That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime that are better than Overlord however, enough so that I developed quite a soft spot for the show over these twelve episodes.

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    Satoru Mikami is killed in the real world, only to wake up as a slime in a fantasy world, a world with enough in the way of RPG clichés for him to feel comfortable. As he was dying, he heard the voice of the Great Sage preparing him for his new life as a slime, setting up his abilities, and that voice stays with him thereafter, a sort of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fantasy World, that he can consult to explain an aspect of his new life. He’s an atypical slime to begin with, able to think and communicate, and also possessing the Predator ability, to absorb things and understand their essence, copy their abilities. It isn’t long before he’s absorbed so much of strength and power that by episode 2, his magical aura is so strong that he causes brown trouser moments to those he encounters, and he has to mask his strength thereafter.

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    By the time Rimuru has achieved the ability to shape-shift into a human, the limitations of the gelatinous blob have been lost (except for comic effect), and the show is thereafter following the usual isekai conventions. It follows the Overlord path in that its main character becomes so strong, and so laden with abilities, that he’s a top level character in this fantasy world. He encounters a Goblin village which is under threat from a pack of Direwolves, and in some way because of his earlier actions. He manages to broker a peace between the two groups, and even an alliance, with him as ruler. As the story unfolds, it follows Rimuru as he tries to improve the lot of his dependents, establishing laws and enacting policy, also encountering dwarves that can improve the skills and quality of life of his goblin subjects, a band of human adventurers that offer a link to the outside world, and a group of ogres that add another dimension to the settlement.

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    It isn’t all plain sailing for Rimuru. His new life begins with an encounter with the dragon Veldora, and that is a storyline that remains on the back burner through this collection, and you expect it will be returned to at some point. It turns out that he’s not the only visitor to this world from Earth, although he’s the only one reincarnated. Other people arrive through more conventional magical means, like summoning spells, and he encounters one such person during this collection. It also brings up the question of who does the summoning, what kind of characters they are, and these Demon Lords are ambiguous at best. Their existence overshadows what happens in this world, although we don’t encounter any in this half of the series. However there is a big threat to Rimuru’s village towards the end of this collection, with news of an Orc Army on the march, devouring all in its path. It prompts the need for an alliance with neighbouring villages, and as we pause the series at the end of the collection, it seems this alliance is falling apart before it’s even formed.

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    There is an Overlord feel to this show, in that it often feels like Rimuru is playing this world, this reincarnated life as a videogame. But it differs in a couple of very important ways that makes this show preferable to Overlord in my opinion. First it’s not a scattershot story. We stick with Rimuru for the duration; he narrates the story of his life in this world, so it feels a lot more cohesive and engaging as a series. The second thing is that Rimuru is a far more sympathetic character compared to someone like Ains Ooal Gown. He is very much aware of the life he left behind, and sees his time in this world as a reflection, or reaction to his previous existence as an office worker. There is also no magical limiter on his emotions. He reacts to what happens as a normal human being would, and his desire to help the goblins and build this community is in no way Machiavellian or manipulative. He doesn’t want to rule the world. In fact his initial encounter with the goblins is motivated by a sense of guilt in causing their dire situation to begin with. He’s a likeable, fun character that is easy to watch, and that reflects on just how enjoyable the series is.

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    I’ve had a sinking feeling every time a new instalment of Overlord has turned up for review. I feel quite the reverse when it comes to That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime. It’s an interesting story with likeable characters, a nice sense of humour and a lively pace. Despite its adherence to the usual tropes of its genre, I’m actually feeling a little miffed that we’ll have to wait until at least next February for the second half of the series. I want to see it now!

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