Every once in a while, a series takes expectations related to its genre and turns it on its head. Today we’ll be looking into how Slime Taoshite 300-nen, Shiranai Uchi ni Level Max ni Nattemashita (I've Been Killing Slimes For 300 Years And Maxed Out My Level) subverts these expectations in the isekai genre to provide a more realistic approach to overcoming adversity.
5 episodes in, and we can see that Azusa’s devotion to a slow life is not just for comedic relief as she deals with increasingly more difficult scenarios. The simple formula of forcing someone to work who doesn't want to is funny enough to merit a watch. However, I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years offers the important message – to not push past your limits to the point of self destruction, reversing a pretty common unhealthy trope that’s often used as a plot device, or that other anime writers feel is necessary to bring characters together. Too long has the idea that you shouldn’t push people too hard waited to present itself until after someone has fallen sick or lost an opportunity.
Overworked Fainting Trope Examples in Anime
We’ve seen it time and time again. We all know it takes hard work to make meaningful, important changes. Testing your limits and not backing down is an important lesson that anime offers us. While it’s great to have hope and self-confidence when things seem hopeless, it also serves to justify burnout and self-destruction. Typically, a character’s ‘good points’ are often in their work ethic and refusal to acknowledge their body's needs. In capitalist cultures especially, this can have dire consequences resulting in exhausted workers falling asleep on the street, sickness, and accidents on the job.
The worst part is that no one puts their foot down to stop the destruction nor recognizes how hard someone’s working until after they’ve collapsed. And worst still, this almost always endears the character to others. In Love Live, Honoka knows full well she’s pushing herself while sick. While there’s something to be said for giving your all at competitions, there was no reason for her to go to school when she could have at least been saving her strength before performing. Misaki in Kaichou wa Maid Sama continually piles on stress, trying to be perfect in everything she does. Working hard at school and your job is important but it’s foolish to make yourself sick routinely over it. And even when told that overwork can lead to death, some characters like Bakuman’s Mashiro continue pushing themselves even in a hospital.
Slow and Steady Takes You to the Level Cap!
I’ve Been Killing Slimes is not subtle about its message. Azusa gets isekai-ed not by a truck, but by literally working herself to death for her company. When she gets a new shot at life in another world, she wants to be young, immortal, and without much responsibility. Azusa’s beloved ‘slow life’ isn’t a lazy one as she grows her own crops and diligently fights nearby slimes every single day. She doesn’t grow bored or feel unfulfilled because she still has a routine and obligations but they don’t burden or wear her down. And 300 years later, that makes her the most powerful being in her world! All that experience Azusa racked up without noticing over time has caused her to max her level without losing hope, resources, or her love of life.
The Message is Clear: DON’T OVERWORK
While it was unintentional to become so strong, Azusa is adamant that diligent, responsible work is the key to achieving your goals instead of always doing your best until you can’t anymore. Laika is the first companion Azusa makes by besting her in combat. Laika wishes to train under Azusa to learn her special techniques and is amazed to find Azusa just kills 25 slimes a day. Laika can’t doubt her, however, whenever she sees Azusa master new magic in seconds and unleash explosive power on her opponents.
It’s difficult for Laika to not overdo things as she considers hard work both a measure of respect and something to be praised for. Azusa demands Laika to stop working once the sun sets and chastises Laika for wanting to work until she sweats blood. Azusa makes it clear to Laika and the audience that working hard just to be noticed is not admirable, it’s destructive and an attempt at an ego boost. The bubbly, busty Halkara similarly wishes to work long hours but Azusa strictly forbids it. Azusa tells Halkara that she should listen to the world and her body telling Halkara that it is time to rest.
I’ve Been Killing Slimes has so far had a great balance of comedy from a character being forced into situations they don’t want to deal with while staying true to the message that you can and SHOULD work diligently without putting unnecessary strain that could lead to accidents or death. Even a general discomfort just for the ideal of ‘working hard’ is frowned upon. Our time on this earth is limited and that can’t be changed. However, we can truly make the most of our time by gradually chipping away at our obstacles, be they dishes, contracts, or slimes. How can you strive to give yourself grace while still aiming for your goals? Let us know in the comments!