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‘That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie: Scarlet Bond’

by Courtney Lanning | January 20, 2023 at 1:31 a.m.

January is more than half over, and America is getting its first big Japanese animation (anime) film of 2023. "That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie: Scarlet Bond" is the first movie from an already popular anime franchise.

"That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime" started as a book series written by a writer named Fuse. It was adapted into both manga (Japanese comics) and an anime television series. Two seasons of the television series have already aired, with a third in production. "Scarlet Bond" fits somewhere in the middle of the series.

It's not uncommon for popular anime series to receive movie adaptations, typically with self-contained stories, that are just supposed to fit somewhere generally in the overall narrative without disrupting the established plot. Other series like "One Piece" and "My Hero Academia" do this as well.

"That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime" follows a Japanese worker named Satoru Mikami (Miho Okasaki) who is stabbed one day by an assailant. As he is dying from his injuries, the worker hears a mysterious voice he can't make sense of giving commands of some kind. And after waking up again, he finds himself reincarnated into a ball of slime in an unfamiliar world.

Given the new name Rimuru, the ball of slime discovers he has unique skills, with the primary ability of eating things and mimicking their appearance and skills. Gradually, Rimuru gains more power and friends. Then, he becomes the leader of a new kingdom called Tempest, hoping to make a place where people of all races and species are welcome.

The new film, "Scarlet Bond" follows the story of a troubled kingdom near Tempest, called Raja. There, its queen, Towa (Riko Fukumoto), finds herself deathly ill after repeatedly using a cursed magic tiara to purify the kingdom's poisoned water so her people can survive.

Towa also uses some of her power to save the life of a dying ogre she names Hiiro (Yuma Uchida). In return, he serves her faithfully. As she lies sick, it's actually his idea to reach out to the kingdom of Tempest for assistance.

Rimuru takes his companions to Raja and works to purify the water and fix Towa's health due to the cursed tiara. While he's initially successful, dark forces bent on Towa's demise soon reveal themselves. Hiiro, Rimuru and the other characters work to stop them and protect the weakened kingdom.

"Scarlet Bond" seems to be a film of little consequence. It's not immediately clear if the movie will have any impact on the anime television series' narrative. But the film's story was written by Fuse, the original author.

At this point in the overall story, Rimuru already seems to be quite powerful and isn't challenged much by the problems of this film. In truth, he barely breaks a sweat trying to take down the movie's antagonist. By comparison, Gohan in "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" had to work a bit harder to overcome the challenges in his movie. And it's the same for Deku in all of the "My Hero Academia" films.

This sets the stakes pretty low for "Scarlet Bond," especially when the audience realizes Hiiro's involvement in the story ultimately accomplishes little. Fortunately, the fantasy world and characters that fill it are interesting. The magic they all utilize is fun to observe, and Rimuru isn't played off as a cocky know-it-all. He genuinely seems like a caring and kind ruler just trying to do the right thing in this film.

Established fans of the light novel and anime series will find plenty to like here, especially if they're already enamored of Fuse's writing, world and characters. Newcomers will probably also find things to enjoy, even though they're unlikely to understand more than half of the story without scouring plot summaries on Wikipedia.

Studio Eight Bit handles the animation for "Scarlet Bond," and while it's clearly no studio Bones or Mappa, its artists do a decent job with this film. There's an impressive CGI chase sequence toward the end and once in a while the film offers some pretty backgrounds reminiscent of Japanese water painting.

Despite low stakes and an expansive roster of characters whom newcomers will have a hard time learning, "That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie: Scarlet Bond" ends up being a pleasurable movie thanks mostly to its vibrant fantasy world and the magic therein.

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