What’s it about? Yuji appears to be a simple beast tamer, wandering the landscape on fetch-quests with his battalion of slimes. But when a hoard of monsters suddenly attack the town he’s stopped in, the mysterious traveller unveils incredible power to protect the locals.
I promise I go into every one of these reviews with an open heart and an open mind. I’m never going to write a show off sight unseen because it’s “just another [insert genre here]”. Every season I extend my hands and say, to the universe, “please, bequeath me with an isekai I find genuinely fun and interesting.” It’s happened before! I know it can be done! I don’t like being cynical! Just because a subgenre is currently flooding the market, it doesn’t mean there are no gems hidden in the deluge!
Watching the first twenty-four minutes of My Isekai Life does not feel like unearthing a gem. It’s competent, sure, and there are some elements of it I do think are pretty solid. But, like it’s contemporaries, it unfortunately has a lot of work to do to make itself stand out; to ward off that “oh, it’s just another isekai” impulse.
I mean, in fairness, it has the slimes. Let’s start with the slimes. They’re really good. Look at them!
To give My Isekai Life credit where it’s due, it does also make the smart decision to begin in media res and take us on an adventure rather than burying the audience in world-building narration. There’s actually no narration, showing rather than telling basically all the way through and trusting the viewer to figure out the norms of the universe from context clues. There’s genuine intrigue surrounding Yuji—at least, if we suspend our disbelief, pretend we haven’t read the series’ title, and pretend we don’t know he’s an isekai protagonist.
What’s his deal? Why is he so powerful? How did he get this squadron of slimes to help him out? It dangles honest-to-goodness questions in front of you and trusts you to stick with the story to see them answered, as opposed to slamming info-dump explanations into your face for fear you’ll lose interest.
Aside from some competent writing, though… well, that’s just it, isn’t it? It’s competent. It’s fine. It’s nothing to write home about, unless you want to report on the familiar patterns emerging. Yes, Yuji is a stoic, cool, ridiculously OP protagonist who used to be a harried office worker. Yes, the character designs are generic European-ish Middle Ages-ish fantasy costumes. Yes, the men all have defined facial features and look like grown, grizzled adults, while the women are all drawn to be the exact same kind of youthful and cute.
Yes, the characters talk about “HP” and “power levels” and the world runs on video game logic… although, in a rare case, I’ll let that one slide here. It seems to just be Yuji who does this, and the climactic scene implies he’s somehow hacking the system—or at least, using his knowledge of its inner workings to his advantage—in order to access the unstoppable badass magic that impresses the locals. That could be kind of interesting, I admit… I just wish I cared enough about Yuji himself to pursue this mild curiosity.
Yuji, bless his generic little heart, is Just Some Guy. Maybe he unfurls into a truly fantastic, layered character across the series, but right now, fundamentally, he looks and feels like countless other male heroes who have stood in the same position before. I mean, he’s not a sleazebag, which is certainly a point in his favor. But in the absence of character flaws, or even much character information aside from “mysterious” and “good at magic”, there’s not much to chew on here.
As I mentioned above, the slime ensemble are by far the best characters. Mascot appeal? Certainly. Enough to get me to watch the show? Sorry, little blobs, but no. Slime fans might want to give this a try, but aside from that, there’s very little I can hold up as unique or engaging about this premiere.