That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime, Vol. 1

By Fuse and Mitz Vah. Released in Japan as “Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken” by Micromagazine Publishing. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Kevin Gifford.

I may simply be tired of the genre. God knows a lot of fans say they are – isekai and reincarnation titles have drawn more groans than cheers lately when new licenses are announced, though sales of the popular ones still seem to be good. It could also be that this comes only a month after publication of “So I’m a Spider, So What?”, a series with which it shares a ridiculous amount of details. That said, the spider book entertained me throughout, whereas this had me constantly checking to see how many pages there were until the end. It features most of the things that are overdone in these sorts of stories – endless discussion of RPG-style attacks and level ups, goblins, elves and dwarves all present and correct, and of course an incredibly overpowered hero whose bland narration does not help the situation. It does have an interesting side story about a young girl possessed by an Ifrit, which I wish the book had been about.

Our hero is a somewhat jerk-like middle manager who is killed by a random goon one day in Japan, and ends up being (try to contained your surprise) reincarnated as a slime monster living in a cave. That said, he’s immediately given two amazing skills to start with, and those allow him to quickly become very strong even as his viewpoint tries to assure us he has no idea about his power. When you’re befriending the equivalent of Smaug within the first few pages, you may be a bit ridiculous. Leaving the cave, he runs into a race of goblins and starts powering them up as well – names have power, something he belatedly realizes after naming everyone he sees willy-nilly. He decides to civilize them, which involves getting some materials from a dwarf city, and showing off more of his awesome slimeness (he’s not like other slimes, you see).

Far more interesting are the occasional looks at humans in this world that we get. The Ifrit girl is also from Japan, transported after a WWII bombing raid that killed her mother and severely burned her. The demon who called her seems to have been looking for something else, but her sheer desire to not die is so strong that he binds an Ifrit to her anyway – which is a curse and a blessing, as she’s not dead but the Ifrit controls her – whether she likes it or not, as one of her first friends finds out. Her long struggle against this takes a lifetime until she is (hold onto your hats) saved somewhat by the titular slime. I also liked the idiot trio of adventurers who the slime meets, who provide amusing comedy whenever they’re on the page – more amusing than the “idiot goblin” assistant, who also gets a short story that seems to be about his simple yet likeable ways. I found it more the former.

There’s some interesting world building here once you get past all the attack names and level descriptions, and I’ll probably give it another volume to see if it improves. But let’s face it, when your book is titled That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Smile, and the Slime is the least interesting thing in the book, there’s a real issue here.

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