Shizu may not have stuck around for long, but she's very important to That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime!
To anyone going in blind watching That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, a couple of things are apparent: the main character is a slime, there’s a lot of monsters and cool fights, and the girl with the black hair is probably important. It takes a while for Shizu to appear, and her introduction is prefaced with that she is the person that ‘Rimuru is destined to be with.’ Thing is, Shizu only appears for a handful of episodes before her untimely death. She is without a doubt, an interesting and tragic character, but she still sticks around—in the opening, the ending, and is referenced fairly often. In most series, a character that dies is remembered, but usually in flashbacks to give the main character a necessary boost in motivation. They are rarely put in the opening and ending sequences for multiple seasons, and even more rarely feel like they never left. Why is she so important, anyway?
When Shizu and Rimuru finally meet, it’s on good terms instead of as enemies. Rimuru goes into their meeting expecting to meet the love of his life, but finds something completely different. As it turns out, Shizu is also a foreigner in this fantasy world, having been yanked from the real world during the bombing of Tokyo in WWII. Although she has grown up in this new place as an adventurer, it isn’t exactly her home, and she still feels somewhat out of place. Above all things, she is still a visitor, and can’t shake the sentimentality for her own home. This rings true with Rimuru, who is also part of a world that he doesn’t entirely understand. They’re both Japanese, they both came from Earth, and so Rimuru feels a kinship towards her. They also share similar values, in wishing for the world they're in to find happiness and peace. It isn’t necessarily romance and it isn’t necessarily friendship, but rather a deep sympathy and respect.
As a leader of a village now nation, Rimuru has taken upon a great responsibility. He isn’t just a strong political figurehead, but a leader where the majority of the decision-making power rests. Being a ruler comes with diplomacy, bartering with other nations, and possible war, all for the sake of his country. Granted, this massive responsibility isn’t one that is unwelcome, for he very clearly cares for all his citizens and put all his efforts into making their lives better. Rimuru doesn’t treat any of his people like tools, but is concerned for their safety when the situation becomes dangerous, and is willing to take risks to ensure that his kingdom flourishes. At the same time, while this has become a motive that Rimuru is heavily dedicated to, it’s not one that he chose; rather, it was pushed upon him during a miscommunication. He wants to do his best during it, but that is Rimuru the leader, Rimuru the figurehead of Jura Tempest—not entirely Rimuru himself. Rimuru didn’t make the choice to become the leader of a nation, but rather stumbled into the role. Unlike Shizu, Rimuru doesn’t have many personal aspirations, but instead had dedicated himself to fulfilling his position.
However, unlike Rimuru who is taking things as they come, Shizu quickly found her own drive in this new world. Her transition was filled with hardship, but she has since embarked on her own journey. Ifrit draining her life and going on a rampage cut her dreams short, leaving her to die without fulfilling her main goal: to once again find the Demon Lord that brought her to this world. Her death was a shock to Rimuru, as he had quickly lost someone that was able to understand and sympathize with him, and vice-versa. Rimuru taking on Shizu’s form after her death isn’t just so he can gain a humanoid body, but as a way of showing respect to her.
Due to Shizu’s unfinished business, Rimuru now has more personal goals, dreams that he wants to fulfill beyond his leadership obligations. Helping Shizu’s former students and going after the Demon Lord that put Ifrit inside her isn’t necessarily Rimuru’s problem; likely, he could have avoided involving himself in them altogether. Neither of the two would mean much to Rimuru, unless either threaten the stability of Jura Tempest. It is, however, the least he could do for someone who left that strong of an impact on him. Meeting with Shizu has turned Rimuru from a pure leader to someone with concrete, personal goals, even if those goals weren’t originally his own.
In many series, the death of loved ones or mentors are a crucial impetus for the main character. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is no different, for Shizu’s death proves to be crucial to Rimuru in more ways than one. Shizu was only around for a short period of time, but she and Rimuru formed a deep connection, one shared by two people both lost in a distant world. She wasn't the love interest, and she wasn't the traditional heroine; her dreams became Rimuru's dreams, her drive his drive. Most importantly, death doesn’t make a character less important; they may not be alive to travel with the rest of the cast, but what they stood for would still persist. Sometimes, that character continues to live on, not physically, but in what they bring to the cast.
What do you like the most about Shizu? Let us know in the comments!
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