Review for The Slime Diaries Collection

6 / 10


This is another of those situations where I’m subject to inertia. I find an anime that I like, learn that it’s more than just an ongoing series, it’s a veritable franchise, and I start buying subsequent releases on the strength of that original encounter, hoping the rest of the franchise lives up to that. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime hit hard as an isekai series that did things a little differently, differently enough to become somewhat iconic in that oversubscribed genre. It’s had three seasons, one movie, and this spin-off series so far, and has a fourth season on the way. I loved the first season, and on the strength of that, went and bought both halves of the second season, and this The Slime Diaries spin-off series too. Only then did I start watching the second season, and found it to be somewhat disappointing in comparison to the first, losing much of what made the first season special, the slice-of-life minutiae that appealed to me, and instead heading to the god-tier story developments that typifies the genre in shows like Overlord. By the end of the second season, I’d become a little disillusioned with the Slime-verse.

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So I’m now approaching this Slime Diaries spin-off with no little trepidation. The blurb does give me some hope though. These episodes tell the stories of the slice-of-life downtime between the god-tier adventures that take place in the main series. This is the stuff that I liked about that first season to begin with. I only hope that it works in the same way, distilled to pure, unadulterated slice-of-life.

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He was a non-descript salaryman, but one traffic accident later, and he was reincarnated as a slime in an RPG influenced world. But Rimuru is a slime like none other, able to absorb abilities and level up at a rapid pace. Given that his first assimilation was the dragon Veldora Tempest, he started off in this world from such a high level that he seriously impressed the various goblins, ogres, and lizardmen that he encountered, and set off on a path to forging and developing an empire, defending it from the various forces that oppose him. And in between all these adventures, he spends his free time in his kingdom, introducing his friends and subjects to all manner of Japanese pastimes and festivals. The Slime Diaries recount these days off.

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12 episodes of The Slime Diaries are presented across two Blu-ray discs from Crunchyroll.

Disc 1
1. The Residents of the City of Monsters
2. The Air in Spring and...
3. Summer in Jura
4. A Day in a Swimsuit
5. Return of the Summer Festival
6. Changes
7. Here Comes the Demon Lord!

Disc 2
8. A Fruitful Autumn
9. The Arrival of Winter
10. Snow Blankets the City of Monsters
11. Where is Santa Claus?
12. Enjoying New Year’s to the Fullest

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The show gets a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer, and it’s a good one. The image is clear and sharp, colours are strong and consistent, detail levels are accurately represented, and the only issue is some minor banding during the few darker scenes. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is a light-hearted comedy adventure show, and naturally Slime Diaries lives with the same character and world designs, so the colours are bright and vivid, the artwork is simple but effective, and the character designs tend to the cute and amiable. The animation is smooth, while effects are used well to establish the expected fantasy tropes.

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You have the option of Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround English with a signs only track, and Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo Japanese with translated subtitles, all locked during playback. However Crunchyroll/Funimation have finally figured out the obvious, and you can also enable the subtitles with the English audio track; essential if you’re hard of hearing. The audio is fine, the dialogue is clear, the music suits the story well, coupled with a pair of catchy theme songs, and the action comes across well, even in the Japanese stereo version that I watched. The subtitles are accurately timed and free of typos.

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You get two discs in a BD Amaray style case, with one on each inner face. The inside of the sleeve has more artwork. The discs boot to static menus.

The extras are on disc 2...

Promo Videos (4:09)
Special Trailers (0:39)
Eyecatch Gallery (3:14)
Textless OP x2
Textless ED x9

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I’ve learned two things about my favourite genre, slice-of-life watching Slime Diaries. One thing is that, like any story, you really have to care about the characters to get the best out of a show. The second thing is that you can’t just phone it in when it comes to slice-of-life. Slime Diaries fails in both of these respects, leaving at best, a disposable, average show, and at worst, a show that may as well be background noise. At least I can say that at no point was I compelled to just turn it off, but given the inflated price that Crunchyroll retail the UK version at, I do feel as if my wallet was ram-raided. If the show was half as good as Crunchyroll think it’s worth, it would twice as good as it is now.

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The first problem is one of my own, and stems from my disillusionment with the series this show spins off from, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. I really enjoyed its first season, but as the second unfolded, it fell into the usual isekai trap of an overpowered main character, while introducing so many story elements and factions, that it became a victim of character overload. I quickly lost track of who is who, even from the earlier episodes when I was still invested in the show. That carries on into this spin-off, with so many characters to keep track of in its 12-episode run, that it’s easier to think of it as a one-slime-show with a bunch of NPCs whose sole purpose is to react to him. Even if it weren’t a spin-off, given the pace, and how crowded the show is, character development is never going to happen.

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The second thing comes down to the stories. Slice-of-life is about the mundane, the inconsequential, it’s about people living their best lives and taking pleasure in being around each other. You have a setting, and you have your characters, and you build the episodes around that. Something like Hidamari Sketch will focus on art, K-On! on music, Bakuon on motorbikes... These series will have the occasional go-to staple, for maybe when the writers need to take a break, and they’ll thrown in a festival, or a holiday, a Christmas episode, or a swimsuit episode, an episode watching the cherry blossoms... The point being that these are the exceptions to the overall story.

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In Slime Diaries, it’s all exception. It takes place over a year in this fantasy world, and we follow the seasons as they change. The stories are set in between the major events that take place in the main series, moments of downtime for the characters. Only Rimuru has got this idea of introducing the various Japanese festivals and holidays to the RPG world. The first two spring episodes are a little more subtle, but all manner of subtlety is forgotten by summer, when Rimuru starts teaching the goblins, ogres and so on about splitting watermelons, bug hunting, and water-fights. Thereafter there are episodes on summer festivals, visits to the beach, the autumn harvest, sitting under a kotatsu, the hot springs in winter, Christmas and New Year. All of this is low hanging fruit when it comes to slice-of-life, and it’s been done so often, that the clichés leave this show feeling tired.

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Once in a while it can grab the attention and provoke an explosion of laughter, especially when one of the other characters put their own, unique RPG spin on a familiar tradition, shocking Rimuru out of his complacent view of how holidays should be. The Slime Diaries did manage to entertain me during its runtime, but nothing really stuck with me after the end credits rolled. It’s an ephemeral, disposable show, and the worst indictment is that so many other slice-of-life shows do it much better. If you’re a fan of the franchise, I suppose it’s indispensable, but that doesn’t make it good.

Slime Diaries is available from Anime on Line, from Anime Limited, and from United Publications, as well as mainstream retailers.

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