Leave it to an evil magic-user to interrupt the fight we"ve all been waiting to see. Gelmud grabs the spotlight at the beginning of this episode to rant about how his plan would have succeeded if it hadn"t been for those meddling kids, but Geld eventually decides to eat him instead of following his orders. Gelmud"s power allows Geld to evolve from Orc Lord to certified Orc Disaster, which means that even the Kijin are powerless against him. Rimuru turns control of his body over to Great Sage, essentially allowing him to fight Geld on autopilot while he comes up with a winning strategy. In the end, Rimuru decides to stick with the old signature move and consumes Geld using his Predator skill. It"s enough to win the battle, though taking in Geld"s memories forces Rimuru to see a different side of the Orc Lord"s story.

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To be honest, I expected more out of Gelmud as an antagonist. His early appearances portrayed the majin as a clever, sinister figure with the potential to command an army of named monsters on a similar scale to Rimuru. Over the last couple of episodes, though, most of that initial promise has faded away. After already suffering one swift defeat at Treyni"s hands, he"s reduced to an almost comical figure in this episode. His magic isn"t even powerful enough to kill off Gabiru"s unnamed buddies, and his dialogue sounds more like the rantings of a sore loser than the ominous declarations of a high-ranking villain. While I came into this episode thinking that Gelmud might end up being Geld"s next meal, I didn"t expect to feel a sense of relief when it happened. Good riddance to a disappointing character.

Once Geld takes a bite out of his former boss, the episode takes a pretty significant turn for the better. After over a month"s worth of buildup, it"s pretty easy to get fired up once Rimuru and Geld finally get to fight one another. Ranga and the Kijin get a brief chance to serve as the opening act, though their only real purpose is to show how powerful Geld is by failing to kill him. Sure, it would have been nice to see Benimaru"s group to play a more significant role given the amount of emotional baggage between them and the Orcs, but they got enough of a chance to cut loose in the previous episode that this quick appearance is sufficient. In any case, the fight scene itself looks pretty good apart from the persistently dreary color palette, and we"re treated to some impressive bits of animation as the smaller characters jump and dodge their way around Geld.

One thing I wasn"t quite expecting (though perhaps I should have been) was the way this fight ends. I"m not talking about the physical end of the fight, mind you; Starved and Predator are so similar that it was inevitably going to come down to a direct clash between those skills. What caught me off guard was the emotional end of the fight, specifically the flashback scene depicting Geld before he got his name. This isn"t the first time That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has gone out of its way to redeem a defeated villain, but this storytelling technique remains effective despite its repeated usage. Geld has been exclusively depicted as an unstoppable eating machine for a while now, so it"s nice to see the series turn around and show us another side of him. As we"ve seen before, there"s almost always more to this world"s monster races than meets the eye.

Considering how long we"ve had to wait for it, this ending might not be the Earth-shaking clash that viewers were hoping for. When all is said and done, Rimuru is able to defeat Geld fairly easily, and at no significant cost to the winning side. Even so, I"ll give the series credit for staying more or less on the rails throughout this story arc, and this resolution fits neatly into the overarching theme of finding humanity in monsters. The question now is where That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime goes from here. While there"s a fair amount of work to be done in terms of dealing with the remnants of the Orc army, we"re left without any major new leads in Rimuru"s quest to fulfil Shizu"s last wishes. Unless the surviving Orcs know something we don"t, the series may well find itself starting from square one next week.

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Rating: B+

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is currently streaming onCrunchyroll.

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