There’s a lesson I picked up watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer many years ago and it is one that Rudeus from Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation should probably try to learn. It came from Xander and pretty much went: “Generally speaking, when scary things get scared, not good.”
So when Ruijerd and Eris freeze at the mere approach of a pair of travellers on a snowy mountain perhaps striking up a conversation with one of them isn’t the best approach. Particularly when they are already leaving.
Then again, the Doctor took a similar approach once in Doctor Who, calling back aliens who were leaving, only he managed to actually intimidate them and didn’t end up in a bleeding puddle in the snow.
Anyway, lets be honest, Rudeus really made a mess of this and for once it seemed to bite him hard.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation finds new ways to beat its protagonist down.
I guess that is one reason why Jobless Reincarnation can’t have a nice guy protagonist. Admittedly, about half the time Rudeus is the stereotypical nice guy, however the rest of the time you are reminded of his character flaws and he does some genuinely unlikeable things at times. Such as early in this episode where Eris asks him to pinch her to make sure she wasn’t dreaming and he takes the opportunity to pinch her chest.
It’s really hard to have sympathy when she sends him flying across the campsite.
Likewise, Rudeus is a character I don’t mind seeing losing a fight and being put in a helpless situation. With so many other protagonists it would hurt to see them that way and you’d want them to have some hope. With Rudeus it all kind of seems, as he puts it, a part of life and while you kind of want his group to not die you expect they are going to get knocked around a bit first.
It makes for a different kind of tone to the usual isekai fantasy that is so bursting with optimism and sweetness it could almost give you a cavity just watching it.
Whether you enjoy the pain Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation heaps upon the characters in its world sprinkles with small moments of triumph is entirely subjective. I can definitely tell that this isn’t an anime I’m going to binge watch for a pick me up.
That said, this anime isn’t trying to be grim-dark or really just wallow in misery either. I loved Eris’ response to seeing dragons and how excited she was when Rujierd declared that she was now strong enough to be considered a warrior. I loved watching her haul Rudeus along the mountain path when he was scared and trying to be cautious and she was standing out on the edge.
Its the contrasts between these small moments of happiness and the successes, such as the one Rudeus had just last episode, and the misery and failure that kind of make Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation one that is worth watching as Rudeus rises and falls and life knocks him down but he gets back up (sometimes with a lot of help from those around him and sometimes more on his own).
It would be nice if before the end of this season if we learned more about the man-god. His interference and ‘advice’ has been a fairly consistent part of this season’s events and the conflict on the mountain directly tied to him in the end. While I know there’s only two episodes more so we’re unlikely to get a huge reveal it would be nice to finish the season of Jobless Reincarnation feeling like Rudeus had gained some ground.
You can read the full review of the season here.
Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.