Volume 5 of That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime goes past where season 1 of the anime ended. Some changes to the anime actually ignored the cliffhanger from the end of Volume 4, but that is understandable. They probably did not know if they were getting renewed and wanted a real ending if the show ended there. Season 2 is going to be a thing but is not out yet at the time of this writing. So, instead of any book vs. show analysis, let’s start with how Volume 5 compares to the previous entries.
For starters, there is no time-skip between this volume and the last. Up to this point, the various story arcs have been connected but relatively self-contained. This time we actually go back in time, seeing what was going on in Tempest while Rimuru was off in other countries. This covers a substantial part of the book until it catches up to where Volume 4 ended, and the story continues in earnest. All of this is involved with one of my favorite aspects of any fantasy story: world-building.
Up to this point, Tempest has really only dealt with their direct neighbors on a political level. But now that their influence is growing, countries that don’t share a border with them are starting to take notice. And not necessarily in a good way. This world still functions on a number of ye olde medieval principals, like conquering other nations militarily for their resources. Tempest is a new nation, so its military must be small and weak, right? Right? Riiiiiiiiiiiight…
One thing that does continue to be annoying is how unbelievably powerful the characters are. We’re not talking planet-busters on the level of Dragon Ball here, but the series is rapidly approaching the point where each character is a walking, talking nuke. To whatever degree of “being powerful” the story requires of the characters at any given time. Basically, a power structure more similar to the main universe of DC Comics.
If the power was earned, that would be one thing. A slow build-up, a training montage, whatever. But most of the time it’s Rimuru doing one thing and going, “Oh, I’m now 10x stronger than I was before. Cool.” And then all his minions also get powered up because of how power-sharing works in this narrative. I don’t know; it’s one of those things that makes That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime seems more on par with middle school fiction than anything else in Western literature.
The series is still entertaining though, having decent world-building and character development on top of the big flashy fights if that’s more your speed. And honestly, this is probably the best entry in the series so far. Here’s to hoping the next book holds up to the standard this one set.