The Slime Killer’s Dragon Maid

Thursday , 12, July 2018 9 Comments

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, isekai and light novel fans. A salaryman burnout works themselves to death at their desk. As they enter the afterlife, a kind deity takes pity on them, and offers a chance to have a second life in an MMO-inspired world–

This time, it’s different, I swear. This time the burnout’s a woman. And, believe it or not, that makes all the difference. For, in I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Azusa, our immortal main character, doesn’t set out to change the world or right wrongs. Instead, she embraces the leisurely life of a mountain witch, only working when needed or if the mood takes her, an immense departure from her workaholic to please everyone life in Japan. Problem is, 300 years of killing slimes for spell components and medicines builds quite the experience pool. Without realizing it, Azusa’s become as strong as an end-game raid boss. And, as word gets out, adventurers rush to her, eager to test themselves against her. Meanwhile, all Azusa wants to do is enjoy her idyllic life and care for her village…

I’ll be honest, I bought this on accident and only kept it to see what a feminine take on the familiar and well-worn modern isekai tale (such as KonoSuba). After all, the typical tale focuses on adventuring, getting stronger, and munchkining through battles, typically from a male’s perspective as he grows from a new player into John Carter of Mars. No one takes the time to dwell on the experiences of a homebody witch. Instead, I’ve Been Killing Slimes follows a different track, widening the one made by Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and similar stories.

It’s no accident that Azusa’s a witch in this new world. Witches in Japanese media are removed from their more sinister European connotations, and are instead cute magical girls. These cute witches dress up in fancy costumes while they explore adult roles and responsibilities. And, as a 27-year-old burnout, Azusa sacrificed much of life and what it means to be an adult to work. As the adventurers and adventures come to Azusa, she learns to be a guardian, a mentor, a friend, and a mother. Everything that the cares of work choked out of her life.

Well, except being a wife. And, just like Miss Kobayashi, it’s lilies, not roses, for Azusa.

And, yes, Azusa gets a dragon maid, too.

I’m a little confused as to the target audience of this anti-workaholic idyllic fantasy. The hints of yuri romance suggest a male audience, but the artwork lacks the preening fanservice common to male-oriented works. But there’s no real romance for the ladies, and the artwork lacks the fashions and fashionability of teen girl comics. But it reads quickly enough and is convincing in its characterization. I’ve known more than a handful of gamer girls who, like Azusa, embraced crafting and harvesting instead of raiding the Lich King, for instance. And Yen Press continues their excellent translation work.

Storywise, I’ve Been Killing Slimes follows the kishotenketsu structurecreating an episodic story. A new threat intrudes upon Azusa’s tiny village which complicates her relationships, Azusa confronts the intruder, who usually isn’t as she first appears. Azusa then helps her new guest through some trial, and the web of relationships around the witch grow richer and more complex. It’s cute and peaceful, even as it follows the well-worn formulas of blue slime fantasy.

Ultimately, I’ve Been Killing Slimes is a pleasant diversion, but little else. This one is for slice-of-life fans and jaded tropemasters to enjoy. Those looking for excellent female-oriented isekai should instead watch Magic Knight RayearthFushigi Yugi, or Vision of Escaflowne.

9 Comments
  • Jay DiNitto says:

    I second the Escaflowne recommendation, both the movie and series. Both have a different appeal.

    Really wondering where the girl’s arms are on that cover.

  • Anthony says:

    The Vision of Escaflowne series is amazing, and also has one of my all time favorite dubs.

  • A. Nonymous says:

    Well, except being a wife. And, just like Miss Kobayashi, it’s lilies, not roses, for Azusa.

    Stopped reading right there.

    • JD Cowan says:

      Japan really does have a fetish for locking girls and boys to their own series away from each other. Anything to avoid the two sexes interacting on a deeper level.

      There’s a reason fujoshi and moe series turn me off hardcore.

  • JD Cowan says:

    Pre-.hack isekai is almost a whole different genre from post-.hack. It’s gone from being about finding a great and wondrous new world to “lol wouldn’t living in a video game be cool?” and little else.

    • Nathan says:

      A lot of what I’m starting to call blue slime fantasy takes certain worldbuilding and gaming assumptions from .hack. Some, I think stem from Dragon Quest, but the completely odd PKs and PKKs (player-killers and player-killer-killers) I’m not sure where .hack got them from. It’s an alien view of PvP to this one-time WoW/Rift/GW2 player, but it’s one that fills litRPGs to this day.

    • Alex says:

      And honestly, the .hack stuff was less interesting for the isekai/vidya aspect and more for the exploration of certain transhumanist elements that digital interactions and anonymity introduced and the bearing they had on real-world relationships and emotions.

      On one end, you have the wheelchair-bound disabled person who is able to interact with people in a way in which she is not defined by her disability.

      On the other end, you have a character who thinks they have a meaningful (friendship) relationship with a woman in the game, only for her to disappear for prolonged period of time… because she was a mother with a family and her baby in the real world was more important than people she played video games with.

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