(*Note: The review of episode 13 is copy-pasted from when I reviewed it for The Summer 2021 Preview Guide. The episode 14 and 15 portion of the review is completely new.)
When last we left our slime hero, he'd just killed 20,000 men, committed a dark ritual to become a demon lord, resurrected his lost friends, and set free a world-ending threat from its eternal prison. This first episode of the second half of the season is all about the fallout of his actions—both the intended and unintended.
After all the stress and drama of the past half season, it makes sense that the first thing the people of Tempest do is throw a party—one that begins with the introduction of Valdora to the population. Luckily, Rimuru's friendship with Milim allows the people to take this in stride. From there it's a return to some classic jokes—namely Shion's cooking skills (as well as an explanation to why her cooking is so bad).
With the light-heartedness of the first half of the episode, you might forget that Rimuru is no longer the innocent he was. For while the invading army is no more, those responsible for it remain. It's almost chilling how easily Rimuru orders the “interrogation” of his prisoners and makes plans to conquer a kingdom/set up a puppet government—you know, along with keeping the church off balance, rescuing Carrion from Milim, and getting revenge on Clayman.
All this is to show that the attack on Tempest has forever changed Rimuru. He no longer believes that peace between monsters and humans can be achieved by simply showing that monsters are not a threat. Now he knows that his enemies are real and out there—wanting to destroy him, his nation, and those he cares about for nothing more than personal gain. Instead of waiting for unknown threats to come to him, he will take the fight to the world. And if, in the end, there is to be peace between monsters and humans, it will be on his terms.
The rest of the episode is almost a counterpoint to Rimuru's new path. While idealistic and perhaps a bit naive, Rimuru's work so far at building a peaceful nation of monsters has borne fruit. Not only do the dwarfs send their formidable pegasus knights to join Tempest in the war but the tiny human nation of Blumund sends troops as well (both not knowing the major battle is already over). More than that, a nation of elves sends an envoy to establish relations with Tempest on the eve of war as well. Hopefully, knowing that all his attempts at peaceful coexistence had a positive effect will serve to temper Rimuru's newfound aggression somewhat. There other options besides strict pacifism or world conquest, after all.
All in all, this episode is a solid start to the back half of the season that gives our heroes some much needed rest while looking at both what has come before and what is yet to come.
Episodes 14 & 15
When it comes down to it, the majority of episodes fourteen and fifteen are one extended conversation where our heroes—and the various gathered leaders of the allied countries—all get on the same page as to what happened in the first half of the season and tries to figure out what to do going forward.
The big thing is deciding how to spin the little fact that Rimuru mass murdered 20,000 soldiers in a blood sacrifice to become a Demon Lord. Telling the truth of what happened would all but assure humanity uniting against Tempest, dashing any hope of co-existence between the humanoid races and monsters. Luckily, Rimuru has a scapegoat—one so uniformly hated and feared that, if he were to be blamed for the deaths of 20,000 people, no one would bat an eye.
While Veldora is fine with taking the hit to his reputation (or perhaps it's a boost in his eyes), it doesn't change the fact that, from the monsters of Tempest to the kings of foreign nations, there are a lot of people who know the truth about what happened. And as good old Ben Franklin once said, “Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.” Even if those who know the truth have no plan on revealing it, who's to say that any of the monsters couldn't have it tortured out of them? And while Dwargo is a noble leader and stalwart friend, I have no doubt he'd sell out Tempest in a heartbeat if he felt it was both morally justified and in the best interest for his people.
Of course, the biggest issue is that Rimuru's insistence that there are no living eyewitnesses to what he did is a lie; the King of Falmuth, Courtmage Razen, and Archbishop Reyhiem are captured but still alive. Moreover, Rimuru's plan seems to be to ransom them back to Falmuth, and when they obviously won't pay the demanded reparations, use the conflict to instigate a civil war and set up Youm as a puppet ruler. But what's to stop these three—the ones most responsible for the Tempest massacre next to Clayman himself—from telling the truth about what happened? All I'm saying is that this lie Rimuru and friends have agreed upon, while convincing, has a billion ways of coming back to bite them in the ass.
Beyond the PR talk, a lot of this incredibly lengthy conversation is about the other rulers sizing up Rimuru and each other. This is important because the fates of several nations are at stake. Rimuru is no longer the simple slime he began as; he is now a full-fledged Demon Lord with a hefty body count. Allying with him—or standing against him—may mean the salvation or destruction of their peoples. They have to be certain of two things: 1) that he can win against his foes and 2) that they want him to win. It's entertaining to watch as each ruler struggles with getting the information they need in order to make their decision.
...But now it's time to talk about the elephant in the room.
I'm not going to lie. When I first started watching episode 14, I wondered if I had skipped something. I didn't expect the series to break into a chorus of “It Was Yuuki All Along” in the cold opening but here we are.
For those of you who need a refresher, Yuuki is the Japanese guy that Rimuru met in the Kingdom of Ingrassia. He's the head of the Free Guild and the school that Shizue's kids attend. Apparently, he's also the one controlling the Moderate Harlequin Alliance, manipulating Clayman into picking a fight with Tempest, and has had a Demon Lord inside of him until recently. Oh, and he is directly responsible for Hinata trying to murder Rimuru.
What makes this reveal so surprising is that there was zero foreshadowing leading up to it. Admittedly, the only people who both knew Rimuru's location on the day of the ambush and that Rimuru had “killed” Shizue were Rimuru's inner circle (as they were preparing for his return) and Yuuki (who knew when Rimuru was leaving the school and was even there to see him off), which makes him the “logical” prime suspect. However, I admit that it didn't even cross my mind that he was involved. I had assumed that, in this world of ninjas and magic, there could be any number of ways to spy on Rimuru and learn his secrets—especially when he's away from Tempest.
Moreover, while they briefly started out on the wrong foot, Yuuki had acted in good faith with Rimuru ever since—helping him with Shizune's students in return for getting all the manga he could read. But the real issue is that we never get any real hint of Yuuki's true motivations. Even after the big reveal, we don't know what he could possibly gain from the death of Rimuru and the destruction of Tempest, nor do we have any idea what his overall goal is. Heck, we don't even know if he planned for things to work out the way they have or if Rimuru's survival has thrown a wrench into the works.
In the end, we've been given a massive reveal but with none of the context needed to understand it. Hopefully, we'll get the information we need as the season continues on.
Episode 14 Rating:
Episode 15 Rating:
• So, was anyone else out there pausing every ten seconds to look up all the names and places mentioned in these episodes to make sure you knew what was going on?
• The story that the human champion teamed up with the friendly monster-king-turned-Demon Lord to face down the ultimate evil dragon—and were able to negotiate peace—is the kind of lie the commoners will want to believe.
• ...So, is anyone gonna bother asking the Queen of the Fairies what she came to warn Rimuru about?
• Veldora has zero interest in what is going on. He just wants to be included. It's surprisingly cute.
• I have so many logistical questions about Veldora and his new body. Can he transform into his dragon form? Is his body technically still a slime clone? If it is, how far away from Rimuru can he go? Do he and Rimuru still share their power? If they do, does that mean Veldora can use the Demon Lord energy that Rimuru gained? If one is using their power, does the other become weaker?
• I liked how Clayman is still unaware of Myulan's survival. However, I wonder how long such information can be hidden—you know, given that she's soon to become the new queen of Falmuth. I can't imagine he'll be pleased with her betrayal.
• The problem with Clayman's plan to get his own 10,000 man kill-streak is that he assumes no one will try to stop him—which is insane since he should know that Rimuru is out for blood.