Another day, another canon vs non-canon debate. The canon timeline argument is one that has been commonly brought up with popular anime having multiple different adaptations. And with something like That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, this debate comes up a lot. Especially when it concerns its protagonist Rimuru Tempest and how he is depicted in the light novel and web novel.
Welcome to Lore Analysis, where we dig in and break down the nitty-gritty of some of the most popular stories under the Otaku umbrella. As weebs ourselves, it is our moral duty to help newbies coming into the fandom and dispel any queries or questions they might have regarding whatever anime they’re into right now.
That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, or Slime Isekai for short, is one of the most popular Isekai anime right now. What started out as a web novel on the site ‘Shōsetsuka ni Narō’ went on to spawn a highly popular light novel publication, whose canonical timeline was made into a manga serialization, an anime adaptation, and even a video game. This year it’s even getting a movie. And its main lead, the adorably chaotic Rimuru Tempest, is a crowd favorite.
But fans are left pretty confused by Rimuru Tempest when examined across the various media Slime Isekai has, with his depiction in the light novel being the most disputed one. It seems like between the web novel and the light novel, enthusiasts can’t decide which is canon and which isn’t. So, let us dive in and settle this debate once and for all!
Tensei Shitara: The Story So Far
So, the base plot across adaptations of Slime Isekai is the same. You have your average salary man, Satoru Mikami, who is pretty content with the bland life he lives. Sure, he’d appreciate a girlfriend or two, but the guy can’t complain much. However, one day, he gets stabbed out of the blue, and in the last flickers of his existence, he hears a voice call out to him.
Turns out, those instructions clearly meant something because a) he is not dead and b) he is a slime, for some reason. But a powerful slime at that, with the ‘Predator’ ability i.e., man (slime??) can just consume anything and anyone and utilize the powers and abilities they held. Which he puts to immediate use the moment he comes across Veldora, a ‘Storm Dragon’, who has been sealed away for the past 300 years.
And Satoru is a compassionate guy/slime! He feels for the strange but powerful creature and vows to help him break his seal. Thus starts an unlikely friendship, where Veldora gives him the name ‘Rimura’ and Satoru names the dragon ‘Tempest’. And then Satoru, now Rimura, eats him, prison, and all. Um.
This leaves a hole in the hierarchy and now Rimura is the newfound ruler of the Great Forest of Jura. The people in it become his subjects and the entire community got renamed the nation of Tempest, which quickly grows under Rimura’s wisdom and strength. Of course, this brings him to the attention of neighboring monarchies and kingdoms, and not all of that attention is friendly.
Canon Wars: The Web Novel Or The Light Novel Rimuru Tempest?
Truthfully speaking, the actual start of the super popular manga lies in its humble web novel origins that ran from 2013 to 2016. It was written by Fuse and had illustrative work done by Mitz Vah. By all means, this is the original manuscript. The web novel was the first iteration of Rimura Tempest’s story.
But, as we’ve discussed before in previous articles, a web novel is usually a rougher blueprint for a more finessed light novel release. This is why when the Slime Isekai iteration was released in both physical and digital formats around 2014, it was significantly different from the initial web novel.
This makes sense, as a light novel is more professionally formatted, which likely meant a ton of changes were made to the source material by the publishing company in tandem with the writer. A lot of those differences have to do with how they balanced the power dynamics with Rimura and Yuuki, alongside changing some plot points from volume 3 of the light novel and onwards.
A lot of fans agree that the light novel is, overall, better than the web novel since it’s more coherent and well written. But most importantly, it fleshes out the characters in a way that actually works, which is why both the manga and the anime follow it over the web novel. Most fans consider the web novel as a rough draft compared to the light novel, which is the actual finished product.
So, yes, it is the light novel that is considered canon for That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime. Skip the web novel, new fans!