This article is a part of AniTAY’s Spring 2021 Early Impressions series, where our authors offer their initial thoughts on the new, prominent, and exciting anime from this season!
I have been looking forward to the premier of I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level since I first heard the news that the light novel series was being adapted to an anime. I’m a big fan of the series (and currently reading volume 9) and have long thought it could translate well as an anime. The series is extremely chill, and the chapters (and even volumes) are largely episodic, with gradual character development. However, it can actually be a bit too chill at times, to be honest. Despite that, I always come back for the comfy feeling, the humor, and the light social commentary. At the same time, I have worried that the adaptation might be awful. The anime is produced by Revoroot, a studio formed in 2016. This is only the third anime the studio has headlined, and the first two (FLCL Alternative and Babylon) haven’t been particularly well-received. Plus, you never know how an adaptation is going to turn out.
Anyway, let’s get into the anime. Aizawa Azusa (voiced by Aoi Yuuki), a 27-year-old corporate slave, tragically died from overwork. She was reincarnated by a goddess who is especially extravagant when granting women’s wishes. All Azusa asked for is a life of leisure, and…um…maybe ageless immortality. The goddess agreed without hesitation! Then the goddess, following her own tastes, declared Azusa would be perpetually 17 years old. That might give one pause, but it’s never used in a creepy way.
The first part of episode one follows Azusa as she settles into her new life. She has a nice house in the highlands, thanks to that overindulgent goddess, outside of the peaceful village of Flatta. She spends her days tending her garden, reading, and making medicines to sell in Flatta. Along the way, she becomes known as a sort of guardian of the town, even stopping a plague, yet never gets close to the people. Oh, yeah, and she kills an average of 25 slimes per day, for three hundred years. Each slime drops a shiny crystal that Azusa can exchange for gold at the Adventurer’s Guild. The first time she made the exchange, she had to join the guild and have her stats read. It’s also when she learned she was a witch.
I like the way the anime handled this early section. It spent a little time showing us Azusa’s first day in the new world, checking out her new house, and encountering a few slimes, but moved on pretty quickly. Once she joined the Adventurer’s Guild, it just gave us a quick montage of her daily life and fun little animation of days and nights passing. And, really, that’s all it needed to do. The faster we get to her becoming an OP isekai protag, the better.
One day, as Asuza is exchanging crystals for gold, Natalie (the latest in a long line of clerks at the Adventurer’s Guild) really, really wants to know how powerful Asuza has become, and convinces Azusa to have her stats read again. Natalie and Azusa learn that Azusa has maxed out her level at 99 and has some incredible stats and skills. And now we’ve gotten to the core of the story: Azusa has become a totally OP witch in a fantasy world.
Natalie is completely amazed, and loves the idea that Azusa has gotten so incredibly powerful. Meanwhile, Azusa is horrified. All she can think of is that her totally chill life is about to come to an end as word of her strength inevitably gets out. I love the way the anime handles her reactions as it’s a big part of what make the novels fun. The anime uses a combination of Aoi Yuuki’s voice acting, melodramatic scenes bringing to life her internal thoughts, and wonderful reaction shots of Azusa’s face and body language.
Despite Natalie’s promise that she’ll not tell anyone about Azusa’s maxed-out level, word still gets out. Before long, a band of adventurer’s shows up looking for the Witch of the Highlands, as Azusa has become widely known. At this point, Azusa knows her relaxed life is definitely over. She eventually agrees to the adventuring band’s challenge and soundly defeats them. Her win is kind of by accident — despite being a totally overpowered witch, Azusa really doesn’t know much about magic. She just copied a spell that the adventurer’s mage cast, except Azusa’s version was far more powerful. Soon after, a red dragon appears at Azusa’s door, also wanting to challenge the Witch of the Highlands. This battle is pretty fun, but unsurprisingly ends with Azusa victorious.
Unfortunately, Azusa’s house was largely destroyed in the battle, and she demands the dragon fix it. The dragon agrees, but first goes home to get some saved-up gold. So Azusa decides to head to Flatta for the time-being. While there, she meets a girl named Laika who wants to become her pupil. It turns out, Laika is the red dragon that Azusa so recently thrashed! And the girl has brought along a bag of gold to buy supplies to fix Azusa’s house. After a bit of thought, Azusa decides that having a servant, er…student would be a good thing for her life, and she agrees to let Laika move into her house in the highlands, once rebuilt, and become her pupil.
This is where the series starts to really work. Laika is an earnest and hard-working girl. As Laika was working hard to rebuild Azusa’s house (and actually substantially expand it), Azusa busied herself making snacks. Laika says she can work all night and have the construction done by morning. I really loved Azusa’s response:
That kind of thing is a hard no! … It’s not good to overuse the phrase “work hard” in a positive light! Look. See how it’s getting dark? That’s the world telling you that you’ve done enough for today. If nothing else, I didn’t get strong by pushing myself too hard. I just put in a moderate amount of effort every day.
The relationship between Azusa and Laika is one of the best things in the novel series, and it looks like it will be adapted wonderfully in the anime. Though Laika is officially Azusa’s student, she teaches Azusa as much as Azusa teaches her. Laika, too, is about 300 years old (though she’s kind of a “teen” in dragon years), so their relationship evolves more into that of sisters with Azusa acting as the elder sister. Their personalities contrast nicely, the relaxed Azusa and the hard-working Laika, and gradually bring out the best in each other. Laika learns to relax when she needs to, and Azusa realizes that there is a time for hard work. It’s all about balance.
The second episode expands upon Asuza and Laika’s relationship. Laika teaches Asuza some magic and Azusa introduces Laika to the people of Flatta (who are thrilled that they not only have a guardian, but a dragon on their side as well). The girls share in the household chores (and we learn that Laika is a fantastic cook, though she has a tendency to make a bit too much). Laika’s presence helps Azusa really start to connect with the people of Flatta, and her life becomes less solitary and much more social.
This episode also introduces two more characters — the sisters Falfa and Shalsha. They, too, provide contrast. Mostly, they contrast with one another, but also provide more examples of balance in life. When introduced, Falfa is a sweet and fun-loving girl, Shalsha obsessed with killing the Witch of the Highlands. Falfa and Shalsha were born from the spirits of the millions of slimes slain by Azusa. Falfa views Azusa has her mother, while Shalsha has spent her life perfecting the spell “Smite Evil: Witch of the Highlands” in order to get revenge for the millions of slaughtered slimes.
It all works out with Shalsha in the end, mostly thanks to Laika (seriously, best girl) and the two sisters move in with Azusa as her daughters. They even teach Azusa that some slimes are good, others evil, and demonstrate how to kill the evil ones. Azusa’s family grows, as does her character. She takes the responsibility of having two daughters quite seriously, though still remembers that they all need to take time to relax and enjoy life.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, and the introduction of many more characters from the novels (they’ll all be cute girls, if you haven’t already guessed). Based on the key images and OP animation, we’ll meet Halkara, a hard-working and brilliant, yet ditzy, entrepreneur; Beelzebub, the Demon Minister of Agriculture; Rosalie, the schoolgirl ghost; Flatorte, the feisty blue dragon; the leviathan sisters Fatla and Vania; and finally Pecora, the Demon King. Contrast and balance is a big part of this series, and all of these characters contrast, particularly in pairs, but also with Azusa in the middle as she learns from them and finds happiness with friends and balance in life.
You should not go into this expecting intricate world-building or truly unique takes on isekai. The fantasy world isn’t highly developed, and serves more as a fun-house mirror to the modern world, allowing Azusa to reflect on life. The main trope of the OP isekai’d character serves mostly to force Azusa into re-evaluating her request to the goddess of living a life filled only with leisure. Most of the obstacles she needs to overcome don’t involve her power. If you’re looking for a chill and comfy series with a little fun and adventure and a touch of life philosophy, this may be the show for you.
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