Author Archives: aelvana

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (Manga)

Title: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Format: Manga
Volumes 1-7

I’m not going to bother recapping the story review since I just posted the first three novel reviews, and the manga so far only touches those three volumes.

In terms of story, it’s impressively similar. There are certainly bits dropped, but it’s mostly Rimuru’s technical explanations of various matters (which I enjoy, but I realize not everyone might), and there’s some slight reordering of events to make the trimmed version cohesive. So if this is the only version you care about, you’re still getting pretty much everything. And the visual gags can add some additional humor.

The art is fantastic. This story was going to be a challenge to draw purely due to the number of monster characters, but the visuals are for the most part very good. I think the lizardmen are the weakest, but even they have recognizable differences in design so characters are visually distinctive. Of course Benimaru and Souei were my favorites (the panel showcasing Souei’s smiles made me laugh so hard . . . He really does look super irritated when he’s grinning).

Rimuru’s human form is also spectacular. I like how androgynous he is—he still thinks in somewhat male ways due to his past life, but the body he mimics was originally female, and in any case is genderless when he mimics it since slimes have no gender. So the scenes where he’s being dressed up by the girls, or where he’s pulling on a suit and tie for treaty talks both look natural.

Kodansha’s not skimping on the release, either. Not all of the volumes have color pages up front, but the ones that do are presented in color, which I appreciate because not all publishers will.

My absolute favorite thing about the manga, though, and the one item that absolutely makes them worth buying if you already have and like the light novels, is Veldora’s diary entry at the end of each volume. Did you ever wonder what happened to Veldora after Rimuru swallowed him with the promise of both of them working on the seal? The novels leave you to assume Veldora is diligently throwing his all into breaking free . . . and his diary quickly dispels that notion. The incredibly bored dragon has found a number of new sources of entertainment—Rimuru’s memories (especially his human ones), whatever Rimuru is up to at the moment, and, eventually, Ifrit. (Poor Ifrit.) Add in a bit of meddling from the Great Sage (or Veldora trying to use the Great Sage for his own ends) and it was impossible for me to get through more than a few sentences without laughing. And oh, is Rimuru in for a surprise whenever he finally gets Veldora out . . .

Overall, I would consider this a solid investment, whether you’re only intending to follow the manga or whether you want it as a companion to the anime or light novel. I rate this series Highly Recommended.

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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #3 (Light Novel)

Title: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #3

Author: Fuse

Format: Light Novel

With the orc lord defeated and his army disbanded, Rimuru is turning his attention back to building a town. Or rather, it’s starting to look more like a nation. With their first treaty signed, he’s moving onto a bigger stage. But the demon lords have also taken note, and have sent their own investigative team . . .

I like a lot in this book, but since I’m not really fond of Milim, that takes it down a notch for me. (And that cover. Ugh. Talk about books I am glad I got digitally because it would be too hard to explain in public.)

I enjoy reading about the little details of building a town. In this case, the various sanitary improvements Rimuru is trying to implement in his monster town. Toilets. Showers/baths. All very difficult when you neither have a good way to pressurize plumbing (if you can even lay all the piping) and no obvious way to heat the water. Rimuru himself may not need to use some of this, but his formerly-human sensibilities demand a much higher level of cleanliness than anything this world can provide. To be honest, I wish the books had gone into this level of detail on some of the other things too. I love the nitty gritty of working out these engineering issues with magic and a very primitive technology.

I also find it hilarious how Rimuru mentions his town is getting really GOOD at the whole “drop everything and evacuate” routine because of all the ridiculous monsters that have been showing up spoiling for a fight.

There’s also a good look at some of the various major powers in the world, from the demon lords to the dwarf king, and how they’re reacting to the gathering power in Rimuru’s town. For the demon lords, who are themselves extremely powerful, this is just something to keep an eye on to make sure it doesn’t get out of control. But for the dwarven/human kingdoms, Rimuru’s pace of development is frankly insane, and worrisome. And both groups would be happy to trap Rimuru in various schemes if they can, so he’d better learn to be a politician quickly.

The big bad in this one feels less like an immediate threat and more like a chess piece. We have a mysterious organization that may or may not be working on behalf of a demon lord, the demon lords themselves, and Tempest caught in the middle. Given Milim’s presence, though, it’s hard to put as much tension here as there was in the battle against the Orc Disaster.

Overall this is a solid continuation of the story. I rate this book Recommended.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #2 (Light Novel)

Title: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #2

Author: Fuse

Format: Light Novel

Rimuru and his allies are busy laying the groundwork for the city that will become their new home. But something is stirring in the Forest of Jura. An army is on the move, displacing monsters and devouring anything that they can catch. It’s Rimuru’s first real taste of war . . . and can his small group of followers conquer such a vast number of enemies?

It’s just one thing after another for Rimuru ever since he left the caves where he was reborn. This time around, a massive army of orcs is advancing into the forest, which is upsetting the local monsters. And these are no ordinary orcs. They’re being held together by an all-consuming power that has turned them into a single-minded swarm bent on only one thing: devouring everything in an attempt to fill their insatiable hunger.

I really like this arc for a number of reasons. The orcs, lizardmen, and ogres show a broader view of the Forest of Jura—and in the case of the lizardmen, a bit of civil unrest as the war creates divisive opinions on how to fight.

It also shows how names, something Rimuru takes for granted because of his memories as a human, can totally change the course of a monster’s life. Perhaps in keeping with the game-like mechanics behind skills, a named monster is more powerful than its unnamed kind. And something Rimuru totally fails to notice is that a named monster is ALSO loyal to the one who named it. So in handing out names because he can’t otherwise figure out how to talk to specific monsters, he’s single-handedly evolving pretty much every monster he meets . . . and creating an ever-growing group of allies willing to help him with his dreams of civilization. Titles also work to boost skill—the monsters Rimuru calls “king” and “lord” grow right into that.

There’s a lot of work that’s going into the town Rimuru is creating, but I like that for now much of it is still so preliminary that they haven’t constructed much. He’s determined to do things right from the ground up.

I’m also hugely amused that Rimuru, who naturally has no sense of taste in slime form (nor, if the magic concentration is high enough, even a need to eat at all) is a real foodie. Now that he has human form, he wants to enjoy all the dishes he liked before he was killed. Figuring out how to recreate them here is problematic from a number of angles, and I like seeing how he starts to work through them.

Then there are the orcs. This large-scale war and its accompanying complications provide for a lot of great fights, not only by Rimuru but also by his allies. I’m particularly fond of the first battle in the book as well as the final battle. Rimuru’s solutions shows he’s growing and adapting–and also that at his heart he’s just someone who wants real peace.

Overall this is a fun read, and a good continuation of the story. I rate this book Highly Recommended.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #1 (Light Novel)

Title: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #1

Author: Fuse

Format: Light Novel

Satoru Mikami had just gone out to meet a coworker for lunch, but a thug wielding a knife put an end to his ordinary life. As he’s dying, he hears a strange voice responding to his thoughts . . . and when he wakes up, he realizes life is going to be very different from now on. He’s no longer human, and the various abilities the voice had mentioned are now his to command. This begins his adventures as a slime . . .

I saw the first few episodes of the anime and got intrigued about this, and too impatient to wait for the rest of the episodes to come out to learn what happens next.

This is a game-flavored story for sure, but it doesn’t lean too heavily on those mechanics. The skill system seems to be run by some gigantic computer-like entity, but other than that more of the story proceeds like a fantasy than like a game.

I really enjoy watching Rimuru (Satoru’s new name, eventually) learn about himself and his environment. He’s still got all his human memories, but now he’s got a body where none of that applies anymore. He doesn’t breathe, doesn’t really eat, doesn’t excrete, and obviously has no limbs to speak of. So he enters this new life blind and confused, and his explorations often have comical results. As a migrant soul, he’s definitely got some overpowered skills, but he’s still figuring out the best ways to use them. (And unlike similar types of series like Overlord, most people who arrive or reincarnate from another world get overpowered skills, so he’s not the only one with an ace up his metaphorical sleeve.)

And Rimuru can use a mimic skill on things he’s eaten, so he gets a number of fun transformations as he confronts various monsters. His reaction to some of their skills as a giant NOPE was funny too.

Rimuru is also a pretty cheerful main character, eager to explore, and easily talked into helping out the various monsters he encounters who are in trouble. One thing I also appreciate about this book is that the majority of the focus stays on the monster characters, whether it’s the dragon Veldora, the goblins, etc. Ranga was my favorite, because giant storm wolves for the win. Humans exist, but they’ve got a more minor role so far.

But this isn’t a novel about everyone fighting. It’s actually got quite a bit of construction as Rimuru and his new monster allies work on building themselves a place to live. I liked reading the details of how they intend to set up a town, and the various people they recruit to try to make it work. He certainly isn’t planning on something small, but given his propensity to recruit powerful allies, everything’s more or less working out.

Overall this is a fun story that opens what looks to be a promising series. If you want a bit of a different twist on a story about traveling to another world, this would be a good book to check out. I rate this book Recommended.

Wizards and Heroes

Title: Wizards and Heroes

Author: Clark Graham

Jason has been summoned to be the Hero of another world—but the wizard who did the summoning messed up, and Jason only crosses over to this world in his dreams. He’s got a mission ahead of him: capture the golden orb from the enemy King, or his dreams will continue to drag him to a world that’s trying to kill him. Problem is, his real life is falling apart because no one believes him when he explains how he keeps getting injured.

This had some good ideas, but the execution fell flat in a number of areas.

The first, and most immediately obvious, is the writing style. Between the wording choices, the occasional grammatical errors, and the tone, this feels like a first novel from a high schooler. The prose is very basic, and the storytelling tends to skip over important bits like battle scenes, or summarize them in a way that’s not all that believable. Like having Jason behead a bear-sized creature in one blow, when he hasn’t been gifted any kind of super strength.

There are errors like that in many of the events. Like the ease in which various characters are getting medical information bothered me. Simply pushing over a TREE because the ground was wet (and then hacking it from its roots with swords, not axes) was another. Most of these could have been fixed with some minor changes.

Many of the characters are flat and unbelievable. I think the school councilor had some of the best characterization, but other adults like the mayor (who doesn’t even get a name, just Mayor), or the evil king, are more like caricatures. I especially disliked the romantic elements. I’m not sure why she’s STARTING off with a kiss on the cheek, or why she thinks this is an appropriate reward (and I won’t even go into the whole sunbathing scene).

And it was really annoying how much of the final battle was just skipped over. Possibly because it would be hard to explain how a bunch of average adults and kids could win just by virtue of being taller against people who presumably have actually trained with their weapons.

Overall, this feels like something that was probably a lot of fun for the author to write, but really could have used another draft or editing pass to strengthen the story. I rate this book Not Recommended.

My Hero Academia S3 part 2 (Anime)

Title: My Hero Academia

Episodes: 52-63 (Season 3 part 2)

It’s now time for Class 1-A to begin preparation for the job of becoming a hero. Special moves, a provisional license exam, and a glimpse of the new horizons ahead of them are a heady incentive to improve. But not everything is as it appears . . .

To be honest, the license exam is one of my least favorite arcs in the manga. Add to that this arc manages to put a filler episode in the middle of it, and that’s how I ended up getting distracted away from following it week-to-week and only marathoning it out at the end.

That said, even MHA at its worst is still pretty good. Special moves and a huge exam are both good times to show off some of the rest of the class. Other schools finally get a decent amount of focus. And MHA also uses the natural conflicts to examine some of the bigger implications of All Might’s retirement for both heroes and villains.

Both of my favorite episodes come near the end. Deku vs. Kacchan part 2 is an amazing fight on so many levels. The visuals are stunning. Bakugou’s explosive energy sometimes masks his real genius for fighting, but here his moves are on full display. And because all the best fights also have a lot of emotional depth to them, this is Bakugou’s chance to finally break down over everything that’s happened. (He’s not exactly the kind of guy who can talk things out. At least not without punching them too.) I think this episode does a lot to soften some of Bakugou’s rougher edges, showing that he’s not just some angry bully, but underneath it all he’s a kid who is trying to figure out how to grow into his dream. And he’s clever enough to be a real obstacle to Deku if he wanted.

Then the last episode for this season technically starts the next big arc by introducing three of the upperclassmen who will have a big role in the near future. Mirio’s little demonstration fight is a riot, as he’s just as concerned with staying dressed as he is throwing punches (the problems inherent in a quirk that lets him phase through things). His efforts not to traumatize the girls don’t seem to have been entirely successful . . . but it’s all played for laughs, and he’s just as quick to turn to a more serious and inspirational side.

All in all, this ranges from decent to excellent, and with season 4 confirmed in the credits of the last episode, it’s just a matter of time to see where it goes from here. I rate this show Recommended.

Overlord III (anime)

Title: Overlord III
Episodes: 1-13

Enri has had a crazy life ever since her village was invaded by soldiers and she was saved by Ainz. Now the goblins who call her master are informing her of problems in the forest. When the forest’s most dangerous denizens begin to move, can Enri and a handful of goblin warriors stand up to them?

Meanwhile, Ainz is still struggling to figure out how to rule Nazarick. From the hired workers who invade his tomb to forming his own nation, he’s got a lot to do to keep up with his subordinates.

This season covers novels 7-9, although it shuffles the order of a lot of the events to happen more in chronological order.

We start with Enri in Carne village, where life has changed a lot and yet not at all. She’s still living a relatively simple country life, but the news of monsters in the forest is worrying. I really like this arc, because Enri has one of the best character arcs in the series, and this season touches on a lot of that. From the banter with the goblins under her command who are trying to get Nphira to buck up and confess to the new goblins she takes in under her wing, there’s plenty of non-humans now looking to her for leadership. (And that comes home to roost at the end of the season in a major way).

After that we get a few episodes following freelance adventurer groups called Workers who get commissioned to investigate this strange new tomb (Nazarick). This was my least favorite book, because it ends about as badly as you’d expect for everyone involved. The one nice thing here for me was that it also introduces more about the Empire, particular Jirciv the Emperor and Flueder the mage.

The final arc involves Ainz finally mobilizing to make Nazarick its own kingdom, and not just a hidden fortress. Since this naturally involves taking land away from other people who already claim it, he’s siding with the Empire to come against the Kingdom. This arc also had a number of interesting moments—unfortunately the anime’s heavy reliance on bad CG brought some of the best scenes down.

Overall this probably won’t be the arc to sell you on Overlord if you don’t already like it. The weaker bits in the middle and towards the end do drag it down, and some of the callous cruelty of Nazarick can be divisive. For myself, though, I liked it (especially all the bits with Enri). I just hope if there is a season 4, it takes more time to bring up the quality. I rate this show Recommended.