Monday, September 27, 2021

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 - aninewspoint

This season—both parts one and two—has been about Rimuru learning a simple lesson: He can't just live for himself. He is the leader of a nation and that denotes serious responsibility. His blasé kingship—his assumption that if his country didn't intentionally antagonize another, everything would magically work out—has led to a traumatic attack on his city and ultimately the deaths of 20,000 by his hand (and the enslavement of thousands upon thousands more).

In this episode, we see that Rimuru has taken this hard lesson to heart. He is responsible for protecting those he rules and he cannot—will not—become complacent again. He will be ready for possible threats at the first sign of trouble. It doesn't matter if he himself is likely safe from harm; it is those he cares about that he must be wary for. He is no longer living the selfish life he began upon his reincarnation, but a selfless one for his people. It's a good, solid arc for the character (if an obvious one) but what's interesting is that this episode hints that he is not the only one on this metaphorical path: Milim is on it too (though not exactly by choice).

This week sees the end of three Demon Lords: Clayman, Carrion, and Frey. For Clayman, the end means death but for Carrion and Frey, it's a new life as Milim's subordinates. When it comes to Carrion, he's simply following the law of the jungle—that the strongest rules. Milim beat him and thus she is the new pack leader.

For Frey, however, the choice is a much more cerebral one. She has realized that she is a kid sitting at the adult's table. Her power is dwarfed by that of the remaining eight Demon Lords. She only rules because they let her, and any one of them could eliminate her, her people, and all she has spent her life working for on a whim. The only way she can truly be safe is by irrevocably tying herself to someone that no one—not even the other Demon Lords—would dare to mess with: Milim Nava.

Fortunately for Frey, she is one of the few people Milim regards as a friend, and due to the events of the season, she has proven herself trustworthy in the eyes of the dragon princess. In fact, the main reason Milim seems reluctant to accept Frey as a subordinate is because Milim wants a friend—an equal, instead of a bootlicker. Luckily, Frey has no plans on treating Milim any differently than before—putting her in the position of being one of the few people in the world who can speak truth to power without reservation when it comes to Milim. And let's be clear here, that role is incredibly important.

As the episode is focused mostly on the death of Clayman and the formation of the Octagram, the change that carries the largest implication goes largely unaddressed: Milim just became an empress. With City of the Forgotten Dragon, the Beast Kingdom Eurazania, and the Harpy Kingdom Fulbrosia under her control, she is the absolute ruler of the largest (and likely most populous) nation in the world—and that's before figuring out who gets Clayman's Puppet Nation Jistav after his death (which, given its location, should go to either Milim or Rimuru).

What's great is that Milim knows the weight of what has happened—it's the reason she throws a tantrum. For thousands of years, Milim has lived a life free of responsibility. With the power to do whatever she wanted, she has done just that. However, now she has found something she cares about more than her limitless freedom—her friendship with Frey and the reluctant responsibility she feels for what she did to the Beast Kingdom during her mind-control ploy.

With this, Milim is now where Rimuru was at the beginning of his character arc—a person trying to live freely but with leadership suddenly thrust upon them. However, with people like Fray, Carrion, and Rimuru beside her, Milim may find happiness in her newfound responsibility just as Rimuru has. But we'll just have to wait for the upcoming feature film to see how the role of empress suits her in practice.

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