I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Vol. 4

By Kisetsu Morita and Benio. Released in Japan as “Slime Taoshite 300 Nen, Shiranai Uchi ni Level MAX ni Nattemashita” by Softbank Creative. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jasmine Bernhardt.

In general, when you have a series that runs on “slow life”, a light novel subgenre where the characters in another world decide that they’re going to take it easy and do things at their own pace (whether this succeeds or not is, of course, a question for the author to decide), the book rises and falls on the narrative voice of its main character. Slow Life protagonists tends to be relaxed and easygoing to begin with, but it’s dangerous to make them too bland, as you risk the reader wandering off. Fortunately, that’s not going to be a problem with Azusa, whose internal tsukkomi is stronger than ever in this volume. As her bond with her extended family grows stronger, she’s becoming more “mom-like”, but that doesn’t mean that she’s above screaming at people Osaka-style, and that happens a lot here. As for the plot itself, well, we spend most of the book outside the house, believe it or not.

As with previous volumes, we get a lot of interconnected short stories here. Azusa eats a mushroom that turns her into a child, and struggles against everyone wanting her to act like one as well. The solution to this involves climbing to the top of a 108-story tree, which ends up being a hilarious parody of tourist traps. Then they meet a death metal bunny-girl musician (not making this up) who is down on her luck, possibly as her death metal is terrible. Azusa and company convince her that changing her genre would not be the end of the world, and it turns out that when she calms down and gets more introspective, she’s actually really fantastic. Azusa then finds a rice field, which inspires her to make manju and mochi for the locals, something that might get her rebranded as a sweets maker rather than a witch. Finally, she and her slime daughters go to a convention and meet… Azusa’s mother?

For the most part this volume hit all the right buttons. There were a few things I didn’t care for (the mom chapter felt a bit odd to me, though it fits in with the “found family” concept of the series in general), but for the most part we get to see a) Azusa snarking at everyone and everything around her, and b) Azusa also helping everyone and everything around her. She’s still the strongest in the land (at one point she has to fight the entire Blue Dragon tribe, who she compares to a group of high school delinquents, and mops the floor with them), so growth has to come from other directions. I was particularly pleased with the translation this time around – it’s a new translator, but the narrative voice seems unchanged, and there was a joke involving a hashtag that made me grin from ear to ear.

Yen Press has recently licensed two other series by this author for the fall, and you can see why – Killing Slimes for 300 Years is a fun, breezy read, and makes trying to do nothing interesting.

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