I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Vol. 14

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

I had been wondering what we’d see at the end of this new volume. For most of this series, the main storyline has taken up the first 2/3 of the book or so, and the last 1/3 was taken up by a side story about another character. First it was Beelzebub, and that ended up getting its own genuine spinoff. Then it was Halkara, which did not get a spinoff but at least allowed her to be something other than “the drunk with big boobs”. And then there was Laika, probably the best of the three spinoffs, and that also got a manga adaptation. That said, we are starting to run out of characters that can carry a side series. As such, it’s probably a good idea, given that the CD dramas themselves are long out of print in Japan, to add the original CD drama scripts. The unfortunate problem with this, of course, is that CD dramas, by their nature, cannot affect anything. Unlike the side stories, there’s no character development here.

As always, this is basically a short story volume, as there isn’t an ongoing plot. We start off by Azusa and company heading to an underground city as the demons have discovered that an elder god might be released if a seal comes undone… which of course it promptly does. They then attend a demon-run exhibition about apples, showing off varieties and different scientifically grown apple-related things. They go to a cat cafe run by the ghost city, and a ghost cat ends up possessing Azusa. And then it’s time for them to run their cafe again, but since the word about the cafe has gotten out so much, they worry that it’s gotten completely out of hand and will be too big. Fortunately, the pine spirit is able to step in and help them out, and we then see the cafe (now moved to a different location) doing well with its star waitress (Laika) there. And we then get the two CD drama stories, where Azusa discovers that this world has curry, and Azusa discovers this world has ramen.

There’s not really anything to really dig into here, and I don’t think readers really want there to be. A serious, life-threatening plotline would feel grotesquely out of place at this point in the series. It’s all fluff all the time, and this volume certainly provides it. It does perhaps pretend that there’s a major crisis with the first story, but the elder god turns out to be about as threatening as all the other gods we meet in this series, and by later in the book is wandering around the town like a tourist. As for the CD dramas, it’s nice to see the scripts, but god, they’re slight. There was a bit of yuri tease that the author has been pulling away from ever since they first wrote this and realized a yuri fandom they really did not want had glommed onto it. Other than that? It’s cute, it’s sweet, it’s funny.

The previous volume of this came out in 2022, and it’s been a long time ill we got this one. The next one should be much sooner. If you wanted more of it, this certainly is that.

I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Vol. 13

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

Perhaps the author has been listening to me a little bit more, as this volume thankfully features no fake yuri tease followed by Azusa saying that she’s straight. Instead it leans entirely on the found family side of the equation, while doing what it does best: adding new characters and telling fun stories. There’s no plot to this story, no ongoing goal or character development, so as always there’s very little to grab on to for a review, but in terms of “cute girls doing cute things”, it serves well enough. The closest we get to depth in this one is when we’re introduced to the Grim Reaper by the two goddesses, and Azusa realizes that, having lived 300 years, she is definitely the baby in the room compared with the others, who casually discuss trying something as a hobby for fifty thousand years to see how it goes. Which of course makes it all the more impressive that she’s one of the biggest powerhouses in the world.

In this volume: everyone gathers at the city of the undead to celebrate Rosalie’s 200th Deathiversary; The group hikes up a mountain to see a historical citadel that fascinates Shalsha; Pecora forces Azusa and Beelzebub to join her in re-enacting a favorite book… by running across the countryside on giant robot Godzillas; Godly Goddess and Nintan invite Azusa to meet the world’s grim Reaper, who turns out to be a frustrates author (and is also entirely covered in hair, it’s implied because of introversion); Godly Goddess gets Azusa to try out her new “training program”, which ends up essentially being a Super Mario game, complete with Pecora as the final boss AND Pecora as the Princess in the castle; a phanton thief vows to steal one of the exhibits in Halkara’s museum, and Halkara is quick to capitalize on this; and in the side story, Laika fights her old master and her sister.

A lot of these feel more like they’re there to entertain the author rather than the reader. The citadel one in particular is very “let me show off all the research I couldn’t put into my Oda Nobunaga series”. Those who enjoy nerd references in their titles will be amused by the robot kaiju, as well as the long parody of platformer games. There’s also some actual fanservice, as Azusa gets stripped to her underwear by the game, but I think it’s meant to amuse rather than titillate. The author also apologizes to the artist for having to draw someone who isn’t a cute girl – I assume he means the reaper, who is indeed a ball of hair, but I have no doubt that a future book is going to take care of that. Basically, the series keeps chugging along, and that’s fine. The Laika stories seem to come to an end with this volume, and I wonder who will take their place now that we’ve had Beelzebub, Halkara, and Laika.

So yes, fluff, good fluff, but plotless fluff. The goal with these is always ‘is there enough here for a full review?” Just barely.

I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Vol. 12

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

There has been some discussion over the last few years about “yuri tease” or “yuribait” series, i.e. series which promise yuri content but fail to deliver. (This is entirely separate from LGBT content, by the way.) Frankly, any series that was popular with yuri fans in 2004-2005 would likely be piled on by modern fans for this very reason. Gains in media have made people spoiled, especially when you hear things like “it’s a yuribait series because men exist in it” (heard that one recently about Birdie Wing). But sometimes I do have to admit that I feel like I’m being led on. I’m not even sure I *want* Killing Slimes to be yuri. I think it works much better as found family. But if I could pay the author to drop Azusa reminding us that she’s straight every single volume, I would. Especially when the side story is MariMite with dragons. In any case, this volume is pretty much the same as the previous ones.

(Cover art, you are REALLY not helping the author’s case.)

In this volume: Azusa finally decides to get some rice and make some Japanese dishes, but reckons without Laika and Flatorte’s appetites; a Tiger Festival in a nearby down proves to be an excuse for baseball jokes; the treasure dredged from the lake a book or two ago is appraised by “experts”; Azusa and the ghost characters investigate a haunted hotel; Kuku and Pondeli have invented the compact disc, but that also comes with the marketing for same; Falfa and Shalsha see what might (or might not) be a UFO and have a debate about it; and finally, Azusa, Beelzebub and a few others try to help the smart slime, one of the great sages of the world, meet up with another sage who lives on an inaccessible island. In the Laika side stories, Laika continues to mature and become a better fighter almost despite herself.

Again, there’s almost no depth to any of this. The closest we come is when Azusa, on board a ship with only Smarsly for company, actually tells them that she’s a reincarnation from Japan, and opens up about her regrets. Unfortunately, we only get her summarizing this, and it’s mostly done to make Azusa realize that she’s come to terms with and is happy with her new life, but it’s better than nothing. We’re introduced to a bunch of sages from an isolated island, who turn out to be dryads… who talk like Valley Girls. Fortunately, as we discover towards the end of the main story, they really are brilliant, and are happily discussing philosophy with Smarsly, so that’s good. It honestly astonishes me that these books tend to run 250-300 pages, as they feel light as air. Still, at the same time, aside from the walking back on the yuri tease, there’s nothing really wrong with them.

Another popcorn book down. It should please fans, provided they don’t ship Azusa with anyone.