That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 2

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.

Here I am, back with a book that I found deeply frustrating with occasional bursts of promise in its first volume. I have now read the second volume, and the promise is starting to bear fruit – I was more interested in the worldbuilding this time around when it wasn’t trapped in statland, and the occasional moments in the book that are dramatic action scenes or dialogue are decently well told. The problem is that the deeply frustrating parts of the book are still there and still deeply frustrating – in fact I found them even more frustrating because the rest of the book had improved around them. Our slime hero is still a very boring, matter of fact hero whose chief interesting bit is that he really seems to underestimate how amazingly overpowered he is. And he still goes on about stats. On and on and on. I am not a gamer, and I honestly don’t care if your Flame Throw stat has evolved into Flame Hurl when you level up. Spider So What did this too, but that heroine has personality to carry me through it.

We begin with our slime helping his goblin followers build their village, which has now become about the size of a town. They run into some ogres, who are attacking the goblins on the basis of mistaken identity, something that Rimuru tries to correct but to no avail. Fortunately he’s able to defeat them all fairly handily, to the point where they too want to follow him. After naming them (which knocks him out – you’d think he’d learn) they become Ogre Mages, and are various degrees of fantasy types – the noble leader, the smooth ninja spy guy, the cute princess, and (oddly enough) the sexy secretary, who even gets a business suit but unfortunately may not have the temperament for it. And it’s probably a good thing he gained new allies, as he discovers than an army of 200,000 orcs is coming down and destroying everything in its path. Can Rimuru and his allies, along with some lizardmen and a dryad or two, stop the creation of a new demon lord?

Again, the bits of the book that are not discussing RPG stats are better this time around. Even Rimuru is more interesting, though I wish he had a personality that would evolve beyond “well, huh. That’s a thing.” The ogres are a more interesting secondary cast than the goblins from the first book, particularly Shion (who is a bomb waiting to go off, I suspect) and Soei, the cool ninja. The lizardmen also are complex, and two of the major villains of this arc get to have nuance and be more than just the typical Japanese “Mwah ha ha!” isekai villain. But… I’m sorry, there are large chunks of this book that are boring as hell. It’s a very lengthy book, probably close to 300 pages in print, and if you cut out Rimuru wanking on about his powers and levelups it would be 1/3 of that size and a much, much better book.

Still, it’s improved enough that I will be giving it a third volume, though I will likely skim the stats as I did here. If you like isekais and don’t mind RPG nerdery, Reincarnated as a Slime should appeal to you.

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.