This is a review more of the series in general. The character designs are all very enjoyable and it's nice to see this modern trend of extremely competent and powerful MCs continue in Rimuru. Although we get the satisfaction of bombastic and spectacular fight scenes with over-the-top magical attacks, the thrust of the conflicts are all geopolitical and interpersonal with far-reaching consequences. Despite the massive amounts of power Rimure gains, their wit is their biggest asset and always plays the most pivitol role in securing victory (or at least the narrowest of escapes). The story builds the world and we learn of it alongside Rimuru. Their reverence from their comrades and respect from other rulers are earned. The show rarely gets dark and there aren't too many gut-busting laughs, but shows its heart through a more gentle emotional rollercoster.
The characters all follow certain tropes, but also don't fit cliche's precisely. For example, you may hate the a misguide, braggart, but he'll (try to) redeem himself by holding his ground and learn from his arrogant missteps. There are still obvious villains, but it's nice to see a few of them we can empathize with. The show teaches us that labels are only a lazy generalization and that getting to know someone teaches you that everyone deserves their very own individual names. The world and the people who live in it are more complicated than most of us give credit for and communication is the foundation to collaboration and reconciling differences.
The animation is nothing to write home about, but considering the budget, it's quite fluid with lots of natural-looking movement and interesting key frames. Despite the huge ensemble cast, you'll be able to tell everyone apart and distinguish difference locales from one another. The colors are vibrant but nothing interesting is done in terms of lighting or effects like you'd see in other anime, opting instead for a more grounded portrayal of the environments with standard, safe framing of scenes, characters and events. You get good-not-great animation, but it's very consistent and that goes a long way.
This second season is much darker with the stakes being extremely high. Threats are more real than ever and perhaps not everyone will get a happy ending. The animation seems to have improved, though the framing is usually still relatively blasé. Most of the players we know seem to have stagnated in development and a few new ones might surprise you with how little their characters have to them. Still, there are a few niggling questions and curiosity in how things will resolve that will keep you interested and coming back!
Above Average Low-budget Isekai
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