When it came time to pick a comic to write about this week, one stuck out like a sore thumb. With a title like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, it was the clear choice. And I can confirm that the title is in no way misleading, you get exactly what is advertised.
Mikami’s middle age hasn’t gone as he planned: He never found a girlfriend, he got stuck in a dead-end job, and he was abruptly stabbed to death in the street at 37. So when he wakes up in a new world straight out of a fantasy RPG, he’s disappointed but not exactly surprised to find that he’s not a knight or a wizard but a blind slime demon. But there are chances for even a slime to become a hero…
As far as fantasy manga goes, this is far removed from your typical swords and sorcery adventures especially as far as the protagonist goes. It’s one thing to make your lead not a strong looking character or someone who can grow into a strong character, but it takes a lot of guts to make your lead completely featureless in any way other than the faintest of line to represent eyes. Beyond his slimey appearance, Mikami is not exactly what you’d expect in the personality department either which is a weird combination of immaturity and cynicism. We do see some of his heroic qualities early on when he sacrifices himself to save his colleague from certain death, but this is mostly overshadowed by his cynical outlook on life both in the time leading up to his death (he is convinced his colleague has invited him out just so he can flaunt his fiancé) and as he is dying (all he is concerned about is that his computer is disposed of after he’s gone).
Given how mundane he has found his life and how little he feels he has achieved, this jaded response to death isn’t too unusual. But he is remarkably accepting of his new surroundings and form which is where his more snarkish side comes out. The cave scenes are particularly great as he figures his new form out and discovers what he can and cannot do. He quickly treats his ability to gain power by absorbing monsters like a video game as he seeks to become more powerful and soon under the new name “Rimuru Tempest” finds a new outlook on life in a fantasy world where he can lead a far more fulfilling life than his previous one. It’s a fun take on the genre as slime creatures are traditionally bottom of the barrel, but Mikami has managed to find fulfilment in this new world despite being the lowliest of lifeforms.
Taiki Kawakami gives himself lots of opportunities to have fun when it comes to the art. Beyond proving a solid hand when it comes to depicting fantasy monsters and settings, Mikami himself once he takes on his slime form is one of the highlights. Kawakami obviously has very little to work with as far as features and expression, which makes it all the more impressive how much action and emotion he manages to get essentially out of a blob with very faint eyes. The aforementioned cave scenes where Mikami first finds himself after his death are particularly creative in this regard. Some great page layouts and use of darkness are very effective in depicting Mikami’s initial struggle to discover how his senses work and just what this form can do.
You won’t find a traditional fantasy story in this manga, but that very much works in its favour. This opening volume is a great start to a unique comical take on this genre. Fantasy manga fans will definitely get a kick out of this one.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is out now from Kodansha
9781632365064 – P/B – £10.99
Post by Leo