“In which Milim gets a costume upgrade.”
So here we are at the mid-season finale. After an excellent arc filled with drama and tension, we are suddenly back to where we started: tying up a random collection of loose ends. And honestly, that's more than a bit of a letdown.
Last episode, the arc hit its climax as Rimuru went full mass-murderer, became a demon lord, and resurrected all of his people who died during Falmuth's surprise attack. Obviously, these events should have brought about a ton of narrative and emotional fallout.
On the political front, Rimuru has just wiped out a coalition army and taken its leaders hostage. You'd figure there would be some kind of reaction in the three days Rimuru has been napping—especially given that teleportation magic exists. But the most we get on the whole Falmuth/Holy Church situation is that A) the king, bishop, and wizard are all being held captive and that B) bringing Veldora back will be enough of a deterrent to keep even the most fanatical of the church's believers at bay for the time being.
On the more personal level, Shion and a few dozen others were literally dead for more than a day. There should be some kind of emotional processing of that, such as a heart-to-heart conversation or two. However, all we really get is a joke about Shion's bad cooking in the opening minutes before she and all the other resurrected people disappear from the episode, not to be mentioned again.
And, of course, there are the moral implications of what happened. Even now, with the dirty deed done and his friends returned to life, Rimuru doesn't take any time to reflect on his own actions. It's one thing for him to do something terrible in a moment of desperation and it's another to look back in retrospect. But for Rimuru, it seems that out of sight is out of mind in this instance—for the moment at least.
So instead of focusing on the numerous political, emotional, and moral implications of previous events, the series gets distracted by other things—such as Milim's attack on the Beast Kingdom. The fight scene between the two Demon Lords is a good reminder that there can be a massive difference in power between holders of the title. Thus, even with his newfound power, Rimuru may not be able to simply roll over the other Demon Lords—especially Milim herself.
It's also a tease at what is to come in the back half of the season. It's obvious that Clayman has instigated Milim's attack in some way—be that mind control or simple manipulation—but in the worst case, Rimuru could be up against three Demon Lords. Like with Hinata, this is a solid threat and one that should be able to keep the tension going for a while at least.
But the cliffhanger of the season is not what Milim is up to but rather what Rimuru himself is doing. Thanks to Raphael, Rimuru finally has the power to release Veldora. Now, this is important because, as far as we have heard, Veldora is the most powerful creature on the planet—even Milim falls short when compared to his power. Moreover, Veldora is basically a walking natural disaster as far as the world is concerned. Freeing him could be viewed as reckless at best, evil at worst. Yet, to his credit, Rimuru doesn't even hesitate. The moment he is able to free Veldora, he does so, keeping up his end of the bargain from back in episode 1 without a second thought. It's too bad we have to wait three months to find out how the mighty dragon feels about his new slimy body.
All in all, while the first few episodes and this final episode were a bit weak, this half-season has been a fun watch overall. With real stakes, credible threats, and actual moral quandaries, this proved to be far more than the “everything always works out for Rimuru” show that defined the first season. Moreover, with the alliance between the three Demon Lords, Hinata still lurking out there, and the wild card that is Veldora, it looks like there is plenty of excitement to come in the second half of the season this summer.
• Good thing Rimuru had food, housing, and infrastructure ready for the (what I assume are) tens of thousands of Beast Kingdom refugees.
• Rimuru wants to have a banquet... in the middle of a refugee crisis?
• My guess as to why Milim attacked the Beast Kingdom? Clayman told her that Rimuru had a new best friend in Carrion and she wants to prove who the “bestest” best friend really is.
• Ok, I need to know the rules of this clone thing. As I understand it, Veldora is just controlling the clone body—his soul and dragon body are still in Rimuru. That said, are clone bodies permanent? Do they take magic to maintain? Does distance from the original matter? In battle, would Rimuru and Veldora share a mana pool?
• Thanks to everyone who spoke up in the comments about the moral implications of Rimuru's choices. While my opinions on the matter should be quite clear, it was cool to see the literal hundreds of comments debating the topic. If nothing else, I'd say this anime did a great job of engaging its audience by not giving out simple answers to moral dilemmas.
• Be warned: If you all make me review this spring season's The Slime Diaries: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, I will mention at least once per episode—no matter how carefree and happy what we are seeing is—that Rimuru is singlehandedly responsible for killing 20,000 people.