“Humans are wired, after all, to believe only what they want to believe.”
Art: Mitz Vah
Translation/Adaptation: Kevin Gifford
What They Say
A gutsy glob in crisis!
News of the demon lord Clayman’s defeat by Rimuru shakes the Holy Empire of Lubelius to its core-especially since the chief knight of the nation’s Imperial Guard and captain of the Crusader forces, Hinata Sakaguchi, launched a bold attack on Rimuru not long ago. Things look only more dire when a priest sent by Rimuru to attend an urgent meeting of Lubelius bigwigs ends up murdered. The stakes couldn’t be higher for either side as Hinata heads to Tempest to settle things-one wrong move could spell total warfare!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Once again we return to a world where a slime is king. Actually, Rimuru is a newly minted Demon Lord, having earned himself a seat at the table. He returns to his kingdom with a million projects on his plate. The first order of business is to finish replacing the government of Farmus to the north-west. The second is to finish the highway system he’s building. The third is to deal with the Empire of Lubelius and the paladins who protect the monster-hating country.
Our introduction to Hinata when she came after Rimuru in the previous volumes didn’t exactly paint her in the best light. We knew some of her backstory and she came across as something of a broken lunatic. Despite her mother becoming a religious fanatic she herself ends up devoting herself to a religious institution. One that is ruled at the top not by a god, but an immortal vampire. No, that’s not a spoiler, we learned that in the last volume.
The first half of this tome of a light novel details the inner workings of the Holy Empire in detail. Lubelius is a rigid communist oligarchy, like the USSR but actually working. No one is wandering around calling each other comrade, but Hinata is aware that the system shouldn’t work as well as it does. The fact that the country is incredibly safe and peaceful, with everyone being treated as equal, is enough to have won Hinata over. She chose peace over freedom and had long ago discovered her god was a vampire. So Hinata chose to work with the vampires as a savior of mankind.
If that wasn’t enough of an exposition dump we get more base building… er, economic development from Rimuru. His part of the set-up includes detailing all of the political and economic discourse of him ruling a country. It’s not nearly as interesting as seeing where Hinata is coming from. Hinata’s perspective turns her from a boogieman who almost killed Rimuru to a woman who is extremely shrewd and actually very concerned about her people.
Hinata’s worst enemy isn’t Rimuru and his nation, as she quickly surmises, but one of her own people. Yet another shadowy group conspires from the shadows to pit Hinata against Rimuru. The novel constantly reminds us that things are not going to go as planned. Well, at least not for Hinata.
This volume alone introduces an absurd number of new characters, some of whom don’t even get proper names or descriptions because they only appear for a scene or two. The idea that there are large groups out there conspiring to take over the world isn’t that surprising. It is a big world, after all. It’s just the fact that we already had two groups ready to take on Rimuru and this volume adds a third (and maybe fourth.) As for the flow of this volume itself, well, I’m getting just a little tired of the same structure for every volume. The fights, while mechanically interesting, leave little room for tension. The conspiring though, that is entertaining. As much fun as it is watching a plan come together, watching them fall apart is equally so.
Once again, Rimuru shows how he is easily the most powerful person in the room. It takes the other sides of the conflict the entire volume realizing the fact that the little slime they keep writing off is ridiculously more powerful than them. When they finally have to face that truth it’s almost too late. Only Rimuru’s steadfast stance of peace and prosperity for all who are willing to work for it saves everyone from him going scorched earth. That and the fact that there are still several beings out there who are more powerful than him. They just aren’t involved in this fight.
The translation of this volume remains strong and this is still one of the most readable light novels on the English market. The only problem I have with it is the translator forgot what Soka’s gender was… again. Considering how many characters are introduced in every volume, and how pronouns work in Japanese, I can sort of understand how a single side character might get lost in the shuffle. (Although one of my co-writers here would take misgendering Soka as the highest insult.)
The Holy Empire versus the Kingdom of Rimuru is just a proxy war started by bad faith actors hiding in the wings. Maybe Hinata is such a bad person after all. The downside (or perhaps upside) to this volume of Slime is that it is more of the same. Every volume seems to follow the same pattern of very long, very talky build up punctuated with a staccato burst of action. The ‘good guys’ manage to work out their problems with the same combination of overpowered ‘might makes right’ and ‘let’s all be friends.’ The focus on Hinata’s side of the conflict and where she is coming from is what makes all the difference from previous volumes. It’s just more fun to watch someone who isn’t all-powerful for once. While the conclusion to this volume wraps everything up almost too neatly there are hints dropped at where the battle will be fought in future volumes. There are still many forces out there conspiring to take over the world, and Rimuru just wants to continue to live happily inside of it.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13 +
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 24th, 2019
MSRP: $14.00 US / $18.50 CAN