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.

I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Vol. 11

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 read this volume immediately after a volume of The Saga of Tanya the Evil, and I highly recommend it, because it probably made the book feel better than it actually is. That said, there are other reasons this is a very solid book in the series. First of all, the stories are slightly longer, which allows for a bit more depth to a series for which depth is eternally absent. Secondly, the side stories at the end move to focus on Laika, and I am far happier to read about Laika at Lillian Girls’ Academy (or whatever its name is here, MariMite is clearly what it’s supposed to be, though) than I ever was with Halkara. Seeing Laika wound up so tightly is both nostalgic and also a bit bittersweet – at least we know she has a peaceful future ahead of her. As for Azusa, well, she’s discovering that just because she’s resolved to take it easy and relax in her next life doesn’t mean she has to do that all the time.

Stories in this volume: our main cast has a moonlight picnic, which unfortunately leads to an existential crisis for the newest cast member Canimeow caused by our other newest cast member, Wynona; Azusa learns that, in fact, this world does have actual physical laws that she cannot break, so a trip to the moon is not happening soon; The cast take a day off by visiting the demon world’s main town, and help Fighsly raise a slime child… pet… whatever; after Azusa is paying too much attention to an injured Sandra, Falfa and Shalsha decide to run away from home; Halkara wondering what it would be like to eat a slime leads to a jellyfish that feeds off negative emotions; the aftermath of that, as Halkara, freed from her base desires, is super annoying; and the entire cast run a relay race.

The most interesting story was probably the relay race. Pecora has been reading yuri romances again, and declares that Azusa and Beelzebub have been “taking their friendship for granted” and not bonding the way that true friends do. Which Azusa is not going to be bonding with anyone anytime soon, she does come to a realization that she can occasionally try her hardest. Her past life doesn’t get a mention in this book specifically, but it’s clearly what has been driving her to sort of half-ass everything in this new life. She literally worked herself to death before. So of course she’s not going to want to do anything that goes near that. But at the end of the race, when she has to run faster and harder than she ever has before, she discovers that sometimes it’s OK. Sometimes you can try your hardest. Hopefully this is something that she can continue to teach her extended family in future volumes.

All this plus Laika at school, where we see her desperately trying to get out from under her sister’s shadow, and only partially succeeding. Despite the excitement of the race at the end, this is still a book for those who enjoy relaxed fare.