I’ll deal with the actual content of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation episode 17 in a moment. First I want to talk about why I am now a huge fan of the bit character, Geese.
Now a couple of episodes ago, I could not have told you this characters name. He was just kind of this random who showed up in the same cell as Rudeus in the forest and then kind of helped out in the village before going his own way with a cryptic message about checking the board at the adventurer’s guild. It is kind of clear now why he said that but why not just tell Rudeus his father was in town (or actually take him straight to Paul).
Anyway, after the events of episode 16 of Jobless Reincarnation, my thoughts about Paul were more or less rock bottom and to be honest, nothing much in this episode convinced me otherwise. But at the very least the audience had Geese there to tell Paul what most of us wanted to tell him in the last episode.
It’s amazing how cathartic it was watching Geese just lay out some actual truth to Paul. About the only thing that would have made it better was if Eris had actually gotten to at least punch him once later in the episode.
Jobless Reincarnation has a second attempt at reuniting father and son.
I personally find it kind of entertaining that an anime based around a character who is kind of trying to make the most at his second chance at life decided to play a single scenario where both people involved just really needed a do-over. Neither Paul nor Rudeus came out of their last exchange looking particularly good, though at least Rudeus gets the ‘child’ excuse though even that holds less weight when we know he’s lived a life before (even if he was socially stunted through trauma).
And so Jobless Reincarnation winds us back to the day of the tragedy and we witness Paul’s first steps and the long journey after.
If this was trying to make me feel any more sympathy for Paul it didn’t succeed because what I noted was that Paul immediately comforted Norn and put on a brave face. Yet he couldn’t manage either when he finally encountered Rudues. Sure, Rudeus is a bit older, but he’s still Paul’s son. The discrepancy actually highlighted how low Paul has sunk in his time on the road because perhaps if he had found Rudeus earlier he might have still had enough strength of mind and character to muster up a welcome back.
We then see the current Paul, drinking and more or less looking even more miserable, which is where Geese comes in and delivers some solid truths to our Paul Greyrat. By calling out this character and making him face his own shortcomings, Jobless Reincarnation makes this whole situation far more palatable to the audience and also makes it finally feel tragic as two people, father and son, have failed to connect after such a long time apart.
As always, Jobless Reincarnation gives us some solid writing to really have the scene hit home and despite not liking either Paul or Rudy I did kind of tear up when Paul sought out Rudeus and we had the second attempt at a reuinion.
Of course, after two episodes on this incident, I’m not sure how I feel with the episode progressing to Rudeus more or less planning the next step of his journey and Eris just jumping on-board. It feels like they could have spent at least a couple of days actually reconnecting.
Also, Rudeus gets to mope and be depressed and a whole spectrum of emotions but Eris’ response to the news about her home-land is pretty pithy as she explains she was already prepared for that kind of news. While it is great Eris isn’t throwing a royal tantrum or falling apart, it really doesn’t feel like her character was given a chance to react to the situation. Her own internal struggle is more or less side-lined by Rudeus’ emotional moment.
Perhaps Jobless Reincarnation will give Eris her due emotional exploration later.
For now, this was another solid episode of Musoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation and another illustration for me that enjoyment of characters and their journey doesn’t require me to actually like them.
You can read the full review of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation part 2 here.
Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021
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