That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime is a pretty self-explanatory title. It tells you exactly what the story is about. And who would have thought this Light Novel (Young Adult) series would end up becoming a semi-major franchise that spawned a number of manga series and an anime? Why people in Japan, that's who. Yen Press currently publishes the novels and manga, and their official synopsis sums up the series best: "Lonely thirty-seven-year-old Satoru Mikami is stuck in a dead-end job, unhappy with his mundane life, but after dying at the hands of a robber, he awakens to a fresh start in a fantasy realm…as a slime monster! As he acclimates to his goopy new existence, his exploits with the other monsters set off a chain of events that will change his new world forever! "
A Quick History of Isekai
Role-Playing Games fans are very particular. So particular that there's genre in pop fiction that caters to them now. Of course, it came from Japan. It's called Isekai. The main character is a gamer who wakes up in the medieval fantasy world of an RPG. They use their knowledge of the rules and how to cheat to put themselves in God Mode and become near-omnipotent in that world. Slime was the original poop emoji, only blue. Then there's a subgenre called Slime Isekai. This is where the main character is a slime.
A Brief History of Slime
Slime started out as starter level enemies in Japanese RPG games like Dragon Quest. Western RPGs often started by sending the player into a basement to kill rats as a combat tutorial and also to level up for the first time. When Japan first adapted Western fantasy RPGs, they introduced Slime instead of rats. The player usually encountered Slime randomly on the road and fought them for Hit Points (HP). Slime would keep popping up as random combat encounters give players some extra HP.
And of course, someone in Japan would decide one day that a slime should be the hero of a fantasy tale. That someone is the author of That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, FUSE (a pen name, of course). This is not a sexual fetish thing. It's a series for readers teen and up. There are probably sex fetish slime stories out there, but they belong to the adult, or hentai, category and not for a general audience.
It's a God-like Slime's World
A decent Isekai story wouldn't work without proper world-building. FUSE creates a fairly complex world for Rimiru to work his way through it, quietly conquering his way through it. There are warring species, human kingdoms, a church that pushes xenophobic beliefs and gods and demons. Rimiru also has the ability to level up the creatures and characters in the world, which is another of his God Mode abilities. The most subversive comedy in the series is that Rimiru is not a hotshot teen wannabe action hero but a thirtysomething office manager, so he treats every crisis and hazard as an office politics problem to solve. He negotiates peace and makes as many factions his friends as possible.
One of the funniest scenes that sums up the whole series involves his friendship with a powerful and dangerous demon with the body and personality of a bratty 12-year-old girl. She tells him he should gain as much power as possible so he can become a god. His response is "Why would I put myself through all that hassle?" She looks at him like he's crazy and says, "But you'll be a god!" His response? "Nah, I'm good." Rimiru is a middle-aged guy at heart. He's tired and doesn't want the hassle.
But as Rimiru's power base grows, he gets the attention of outside factions, from other demon lords, kingdoms and even the Church. In Japanese fantasy stories, the Church is inspired by the Catholic church and often portrayed as the bad guys, bigoted and brutal. The Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime has a hugely popular anime series. The first season is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and an English dubbed version is on Funimation. A second season is coming out in October this year even as FUSE is writing the final volume of the Light Novel series.
RPG Gamers will get more out of this series than anyone else, and as the popularity of the series proves, there's a lot of crossover between gamers and anime fans. That makes sense. This is a good time to check out the first season of the anime, the original Light novels, and the manga version.