Directly following on from the end of episode 13 of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation where Rudeus is taken prisoner after returning to the smugglers den to save the sacred beast and getting caught by the beast-men who were also there to save it and the children that had already been rescued, episode 14 spends a lot of time with Rudeus in his new accommodation: A hanging prison in a beast-man village.
Jobless Reincarnation has a good mix of humour, tension, and then action in this episode.
Rudeus describing his prison as the opening to this episode was actually pretty entertaining. While I often find his internal thoughts intrusive to the story or at times creepy, here the humour really worked, and watching him over the next four days as he stared out of the prison or flopped onto the floor continued the joke nicely. However, they didn’t let it got stale. Just when the situation could have started getting tedious, Jobless Reincarnation mixed things up by giving Rudeus a cell mate and then things took a turn for the far more serious.
Before we get on to the events later in the episode, I just have to wonder what it is about villages in forests that makes everyone depict them the exact same way. They always have these elaborate walkways connecting trees and all these ropes and pulleys lifting things up and down. And the entire village is always completely susceptible to fire which is the usual fate for any such village in any story and Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is no exception.
Something about all that timber makes writers want to set it alight.
Anyway, Rudeus and his new cell mate are starting to plot a potential escape when the village does catch fire. That’s a small problem for Rudeus as his wooden prison is suspended in a tree which kind of makes it both flammable and is likely to see him die from the smoke. That’s kind of the last straw for him and he uses magic to break out of the prison (which he could have done at literally any time but didn’t because he sensibly knew that running blindly around the forest wasn’t such a great plan).
The fire has been started by yet more slavers who are indiscriminately killing the older beast-men and capturing the children. While Rudeus could just run off using this attack as a diversion, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation wants to remind us once again that while Rudeus has some thoughts and ideas that at times make some of the audience a bit uncomfortable, he isn’t really scum. He ends up staying to fight.
This is where episode 14 went from being entertaining to being pretty awesome. While Jobless Reincarnation has given us fights before, Rudeus here delivers a truly interesting clash against the leader of the slavers and he’s supported by the cell mate and the sacred beast (which I guess is kind of like having Eris and Ruijerd around). Anyway, the fight is fantastic and this is Rudeus at his very best rounding out what was a nicely paced episode.
There is a scene right toward the end where we cut back to Eris’ grandfather and it left me a little confused. I kind of feel like we don’t know enough about what’s been happening back home to really get why that happened and it just seemed to come out of nowhere. I mean, it adds something more to the journey the kids are on given they have no clue what they are heading back to either. Maybe they’d be better off settling down where they are?
Anyway, great episode and it left me looking forward to seeing what the story does next.
Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021
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