OP: 「Nameless Story」by Takuma Terashima
“The Storm Dragon, Verudora”
Breaking the Mould
What impressed me about Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken (Tensura) the most was how it was willing to go beyond norms inherent to the isekai premise, coming up with original ideas that are extremely refreshing in a genre where the fail-safe tropes have been done to death.
Right off the bat, there’s something different about our main character compared with other isekai protagonists. At least from my perspective. While he didn’t lead the most extraordinary of existences, the main character seems well-adjusted in his social interaction with others, and seemed to have a largely enjoyable life. To put it simply, he wasn’t desperately looking for a second chance at life, like many other isekai protagonists typically would. Though I do suppose he was quite disgruntled about being a virgin – who wouldn’t be at his age? But I think the most revolutionary difference had to be the way his death played out. For once, an isekai protagonist doesn’t get done in by a wayward truck. Instead, he gets assailed by a random murder-hobo, who helps put an end to 7 years of wizardry. Wizardry being synonymous with virginity at any age past 30. Still, it was a remarkable way of going out, and my spidey senses told me that God decided to give our protagonist a second chance for being so selfless. At least that’s how it works in most isekai series.
Before our protagonist’s soul ventured into the ‘beyond’, he already saw flickers of a peculiar UI in his mind, telling him the kind of skills he was acquiring as he lay there dying. It clearly indicates that this is the moment where our magical journey begins, while he’s still alive in our world. Usually these things come after death, before the gates of heaven, and not beforehand. So you get the feeling he’s going to become something special. Only the title spoils it all… he’s reincarnated as a slime! But he definitely isn’t alone there is one thing that stands out in comparison with other isekai works. I have to draw attention to Tensura’s implementation of the RPG-esque user interface. The aesthetics are nothing short of exquisite. The animation was so pristine, fluid and crisp, conveying a sense of life, as if said system possesses sentience. Which it does! It actually turns out to be the unassuming source of our protagonist’s power in the new world, documenting his growth while acting as a portable encyclopaedia that can explain anything about the world which the protagonist asks. He uses newfound knowledge to his advantage, stocking up on healing elixirs and magicite ores. No doubt, those will come in handy at a later date.
Extending upon the idea that dragons are intimidating and prideful, Tensura completely japanifies its dragon into a kawaii tsundere. God damn it Japan. So bad yet so good and it still had me in stitches of laughter. My only qualm was that the slime had to explain the joke – it was unquestionably better without one! As can be seen, these things are how Tensura seeks to stamp its foot down in a firm declaration that it shall deviate from isekai norms and utterly defy our expectations.
Tensura brings many new ideas to the table, ones full of spontaneous creativity and fun, without being grounded in any of the typical wish-fulfilment you see from isekai works. What comes next could be anyone’s guess. That said, I feel incredibly optimistic about how this adaptation is going to turn out, and at worst it will turn out to be a consistent piece of weekly entertainment. That much I know, since I’ve already read some of the novel 1-2 years ago, meaning I dived in knowing full well what to expect. Or at least I thought I did. Perhaps I encountered shoddy translation work, given how prevalent machine translation is within the business, or maybe I’d given the allegedly inferior web novel a gander. But the anime exceeded my experience of the written medium, which was a pleasant surprise to say the least!
Anyway, it’s too early to say whether Tensura will punch above its weight class – my expectations are above average and I won’t be setting the bar very high. However, I would like to do a sales pitch to people reading this post who are undecided about whether or not they want to give this series a shot. If you’re a fan of the isekai genre, RPG-esque world-building AND comedic narration, then Tensura is a no-brainer. Based off the OP theme, there should be ample amounts of action too, and what we’ve been teased with looks very slick. So there’s oodles of potential in that particular aspect. And here’s the biggest thing. Even if you dislike the isekai genre, I’d highly advise giving Tensura a shot – it strays away from many stale conventions to the point where you might find that it coheres with your tastes! To conclude, I hope that you give Tensura a shot because it’s a fun and innovative work within the isekai genre that deserves some fresh consideration!