The That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime movie is likely going to be an enjoyable experience for fans of the show, but not for anyone else.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is certainly an imaginative concept, one you wouldn’t expect to become such a big franchise. And yet it has, with a new movie, Scarlet Bond, releasing soon in cinemas across the globe.
The official plot of the fantasy adventure film is as thus: “A long-running conspiracy is swirling over a mysterious power wielded by the Queen in Raja, a small country west of Tempest. When a slime who evolved into a Demon Lord named Rimuru Tempest crosses paths with Hiiro, a survivor of the Ogre race, an incredible adventure packed with new characters begins. The power of bonds will be put to the test! “
Based on the light novels by Mitz Vah, the series has been rather successful on Crunchyroll, but does that translate into cinema? Now, we will be avoiding specific spoilers in this review, but we will still be talking about big plot events, so this is your spoiler warning.
It’s dedicated to fans, but it’s also pretty dire
We should start off saying that if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll probably like this movie. The characters all get to shine, there’s funny and emotional interactions between them, and there’s just enough new elements thrown in to keep things interesting for you.
That being said, when looking at the film from a more distant angle, the film leaves a lot to be desired.
There are some good elements, which we’ll talk about first. The movie opens with an epic action scene, which fully helps pull you in – perhaps falsely so – with its imaginative use of choreography and shot composition. The battles are arguably the film’s greatest strength, as the animation is good, and the variation is great. We get comedic fights, monster fights, and even inter-dimensional space fights that play on a character dynamic that was actually intriguing.
And as said before, the film is an imaginative concept, one we imagine is only invigorated by the prior two seasons of the show. For those who don’t know, the anime follows Mikami Satoru, an average 37-year-old who dies and is reincarnated as – you guess it – a slime. He’s blind, deaf, and weak, but by combining his two only abilities, “Predator” and “Great Sage,” the newly named, Rimuru Tempest attempts to make his way in a new world.
It’s a fun, if derivative world that has been created, and the idea of a slime evolving into a demon lord could have definitely been depicted worse than it is here.
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Emotions feel like jokes, and jokes feel like yawns
However, the film fails to land any real emotion or story stakes, leading to a rather boring, ridiculous, and, dare we say, cringy viewing experience. Unlike the plot of the recent One Piece Film: Red, this feels like a generic fantasy story that could have been thought up in five minutes.
The emotions of the plot feel both forced and forgotten. When a character mourns the loss of his village in the rain, it’s too saccharine to be sad. When a character who was presumed dead appears, hardly any other character seems shocked. Hell, the film has two characters dramatically die and then immediately come back to life in the same scene, all set to a boppy pop song. The anime is bloody enough that this kid-friendly-no-consequences moment makes you wonder if this is meant to be a comedic take.
But you could hardly call this film a successful comedy, when so many conversation scenes are dull to watch, which isn’t helped by the sometimes stilted voice acting. And when characters do talk big or comedically, it’s a coin toss between them being entertaining or being obnoxious. The film – and arguably the show – is attempting to evoke the large ensemble casts of better animes, but it just doesn’t have the care to invest in proper characterisation.
The hero of the story, Rimuru Tempest, is incredibly overpowered, which is obviously the point, but you feel no stakes watching him. Therefore, the film relies on a new face for it’s drama. Not that this is new, it’s often common for anime films to invest their time in new characters. But this new hero feels very bland, and is also frightfully stupid the way that he falls for the villain’s plot.
The villain is also forgettable – and suspiciously antisemitic if you start to think about how he is presented – but his evil plan being foiled due to a contract legality is pretty funny.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Movie: Scarlet Bond review score – 2/5
The film’s ending leaves you feeling rather little, which can pretty much sum up the whole movie. However, it seems like plans are being made within the plot that could factor into what happens in the show’s third season.
Ultimately, if you like the anime series, you’ll like the film, and you’ll hate this review. But if you’re someone who’s never seen the show, this movie will do little to interest you to start watching.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Movie: Scarlet Bond opens in the UK and Ireland on Wednesday, January 18, 2023. Season 2 of the show is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.