What’s it about? Witnessing her death from overwork, a kindly goddess takes pity on Azusa and reincarnates her as an immortal witch in a peaceful, pastoral environment. Azusa is determined to live the slowest, chilliest life possible, gathering herbs, gardening, enjoying the countryside, and slaying the occasional slime for resources. After three-hundred years of killing low-level monsters, however, she becomes the most powerful witch the land has ever known—and once word gets out, every hero worth their salt wants to challenge her.
Slimes feels like a love letter to those of us who play fantasy RPGs on Chill Mode: avoiding the main quest to collect every single flower in the compendium, raising cows instead of slaying dragons, and finding escapism in just living a day-to-day pastoral life in another world. After literally working herself to death in an office, Azusa takes her new slow existence in stride, and is understandably distraught when challengers start appearing at her door threatening to turn her life into an action-adventure game when she’s content playing a farming simulator.
This emphasis on the escapism of simply brewing potions and forming friendships is also present in this season’s The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent, leaving you spoiled for choice if this is a story idea you’re interested in. For my money, Slimes carries itself with more charm and poise. The three-hundred-year time skip certainly raises some concerns about pacing, but strangely it kind of works.
Maybe it’s because Slimes is more overtly light-hearted and goofy, or maybe it’s because we get a clearer sense of Azusa’s narrative voice, who she is, and what she wants from the get-go. In any case, I’m not here to pit two adult female isekai witches against each other—women protagonists are rare enough in this genre that it’s exciting to have them side-by-side in a single season!
Of course, I say adult woman, but conveniently part of the reincarnation deal is that twenty-seven-year-old Azusa now looks seventeen. By the end of the episode she’s also teamed up with a three-hundred-year-old dragon who, conveniently, has a human form that looks like an adorable teen girl. It’s not necessarily skeezy on its own, and the characters haven’t been objectified so far (there’s some light fan service in the form of a guild assistant’s jiggling bust, but not much else). But “she looks underage, but she’s really an immortal adult, it’s fine!” remains a trope that I Just Don’t Trust.
For the most part, though, Slimes is just cute. The world is pretty, the designs are fun (even if I have some questions about the physics of Azusa’s enormous witch hat. Is that thing heavy?), and the comedy is light and fluffy as meringue. It’s not slice-of-life shenanigans without substance, though. In fact this episode ended on a note that was unexpectedly poignant.
When Azusa defeats the dragon that comes to challenge her, she tasks said dragon with rebuilding the house that got smashed in their conflict. The dragon obliges, and promises to work through the night if that’s what it takes. The tone shifts, subtly, and Azusa sternly reminds her that that kind of dedication is unhealthy. She should take breaks, let herself rest, and make sure to find a balance between what needs to be done and living her life.
The episode ends on a sweet and moving message about not working yourself too hard and not glorifying long hours and exhaustion. While it’s not the deepest thing ever, it was nice to see that Azusa’s death wasn’t just forgotten by the narrative, and that the show actually has something to say about a culture of overwork.
I’m often caught feeling like I Must Always Be Productive, and it’s a mindset I’m trying to pull myself out of. Azusa’s monologue hit unexpectedly close to home, as I imagine it will for many viewers. I can see Slimes being a fun world to return to every week, whether that’s watching Azusa in or outside of her comfort zone. She resents being challenged, but hey, she also got a cute dragon-girl roommate after her battle this time, so who knows what other friendships and adventures await? Maybe there’s a balance to be found somewhere between the main questline and the slow life.