Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Review – Rudeus’ Odyssey

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Review

It would be hard to describe Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 as anything but an odyssey at this point. We began with Rudeus, Eris and Ruijerd still on the demon continent and crossed oceans having adventures and facing perils along the way. All three of the characters faced personal challenges and grew as a result and all of them still have room to progress as their weaknesses can still bring them down.

However, because Rudeus’ journey has become this epic odyssey, there’s really no defined beginning or ending (at least in this leg of it). Instead we pick up mid-journey and continue on a ways coming to an emotionally satisfying point (for the protagonist at least) but not one that provides any kind of clear resolution on the journey itself.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 14

It also makes it kind of hard to review because as with any journey, the one undertaken by the characters here in Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation has high points and low points (both in terms of the journey and the writing).

What makes Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation work?

For all the flaws that might be pointed out about this isekai anime, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation actually remains pretty compelling viewing. We have flawed characters who are at times difficult to like and choices that are hard to accept. Also, there’s a range of other issues that might put viewers off.

And yet this story isn’t trying to be a dark affair where everyone remains miserable forever.

Instead, Mushoku Tensei tenuously balances the emotional (and physical) punches our characters suffer with lighter moments where small successes or connections bring them joy. A single episode may tip between the two tones in an instant and back again or may choose to wallow or embrace a single thought to really dump the audience into the emotional notes the character is experiencing, but it never surrenders to becoming fatalistic or just unpleasant for the sake of it.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

A fine line and one that less nuanced stories have failed to grasp. You can’t just have your character be miserable and the punching bag of the world minute after minute, episode after episode, and still elicit sympathy for them. After awhile the audience becomes more or less immune to it and you either have to increase the pain inflicted or accept that nobody is emotionally invested anymore.

As much as I don’t like Rudeus, his character moves through bouts of depression and self-doubt and loathing, to soaring confidence after achieving some success and routinely his own cockiness is what leads to the next punch that brings him low. He feels believable as a character because he isn’t just perpetually optimistic, nor is he constantly in a low state of mind and there’s usually a clear catalyst that compels him to move from one state to the other.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

This also means that it sometimes feels very satisfying watching Rudeus get knocked down.

Mushoku Tensei manages to make him obnoxiously cocky (just in small spurts) and while there is some charm and appeal to Rudeus when he’s on top of the world, it makes the next blow feel kind of necessary.

It also means you have more sympathy for him when he’s brought down low because you know how hard he worked to pull himself out of that state before.

of course, there’s also his confusing relationship with the man god that continues this season and it is so hard to tell whether this guy is actually trying to help or not. Hopefully some of his mystery is revealed should there be a follow up season.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 15

Eris is a far easier character to appreciate despite her beginnings in season one as the self-entitled brat. Mushoku Tensei has really put some effort into her character arc and as a result she’s someone who can now turn an entire scene around just by entering it. Her effort and hard work are seldom rewarded though and that feels a little cheap given how much time she has put into becoming a warrior.

Alas, Eris suffers from not being the reincarnated protagonist of this isekai story and so instead of getting to win the fight and save the day, for the most part she’s either absent from the fight or side-lined too quickly.

Still, despite that, she’s been given a wonderful emotional growth period throughout this part of Mushoku Tensei and her character is a true delight. I just wish she occasionally got more than a side villain to defeat.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

Of course, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation has quite a large cast and while that helps the feeling that this world is real and rich and full and populated, the downside could be felt all too clearly in the final episode of Part 2. instead of being able to wrap up any one character’s story arc, all of these characters, spread across continents, are still moving on their journey’s. It meant the season final, while trying to give us an emotional arc for Rudeus, kept splitting its focus against a myriad of supporting characters and the end result was that none of them really left an impression.

Which could really be a complaint for the whole series. Outside of the main trio, the only characters who really leave an impression are ones like Paul, Rudeus’ father, and largely he makes an impression for the wrong reasons. Though bad anime fathers are a dime a dozen and at least Paul mostly tries, he just has the emotional maturity of a child.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

One thing we do get a lot of in this part of the story are encounters. Our characters are traversing unknown lands and passing through cities so there is no shortage of bandits and monsters and bad-guys for our characters to cross swords/spears/magic with.

I don’t really remember the fight sequences from part 1 of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, but I can say confidently the fights here are highly entertaining with some good fluid movement and enough variability to keep them interesting. Whether it is Rudeus using magic, training to use his demon eye, or simply Eris or Ruijerd relying on raw skill, power and speed, the fights are all quite fun to watch.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 14

Another thing I really enjoyed about Mushoku Tensei that seemed to feel a bit different from other anime was that rather than an OP we instead had the characters continuing their journey during the opening credits with a montage of images each week while he music played. It meant we got to see more or the daily lives and events the characters when through than we might have if 2 minutes was taken up each week with the same OP visuals.

It was worth appreciating.

Basically, if you enjoyed Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation season one, part 2 continues the journey seamlessly and gives you more from all of the characters. For those who were on the fence in season one, a lot of the same problems still exist in terms of content at times. That said, despite the fact that Mushoku Tensei fairly regularly steps on the lines I’ve drawn it doesn’t seem to cross them to the point where I don’t want to keep watching.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21

Instead, for all the moments where it leaves me feeling uncomfortable it gives me three or four moments where I’m impressed by how a character has been written or a situation has been resolved. The one or two missteps where a plot feels like it just kind of got wrapped up and shoved aside without enough effort, are few and far between.

So my verdict for Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 is that it is very watchable and quite interesting. Not perfect but it does seem to distinguish itself from the sea of isekai out there.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021

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Karandi James

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 23 – People Don’t Change: At Least Not Quickly

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23 Review

It is hard to end a season of anime. Particularly when so many stories aren’t finished in one season and are either hoping you’ll explore the source or hold out hope for another season. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation doesn’t deliver us any answers about the gods or Rudeus’ purpose but instead focuses on whether Rudeus has changed as a person from one life to the next as well as on checking in with so many of the other characters and what they are currently up to.

The end result is a bit of a hodge-podge of scenes all kind of held together as we cut between the events in Rudeus’ life before being reborn that lead to him being a shut in and the now where he can’t muster up the energy to get out of bed. And Rudeus’ story was definitely the only thing that was really compelling viewing here and hit all the right notes.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23

Or maybe I just really empathised with Rudeus (a rarity for me while viewing given I kind of don’t like him) because I know myself that when things get too overwhelming shutting down and shutting out the world seems pretty appealing. Only problem is, the longer you do it the harder it is to get back out there.

So as much as I wanted Rudeus to do something this episode, I kind of got where his character was emotionally this week.

As for everyone else, I was kind of indifferent.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation kind of sputters to a halt.

The rest of episode 23 for Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation was kind of drifting around as we checked in on Ruijerd who is still out killing monsters and slowly connecting with others, Eris who has resolved to get stronger and not lean on Rudeus (really think she could have explained herself to him first), Roxy, Rudeus family and a whole slew of other characters (some of whom I couldn’t even remember).

While it does leave us knowing where everyone is at season’s end it isn’t exactly a satisfying place to leave this story as they still haven’t accounted for people after the mana explosion and all the characters are still mid-stride in their stories.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23

Of course it was never going to be possible for Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation to wrap things up but there was one thing I was genuinely disappointed about.

The Man-God guy who has appeared periodically during this season does not make an appearance this episode. No advice or mocking for Rudeus. Nothing at all. The silence was deafening.

I kind of feel that was what I needed to really feel this season had come to some kind of close.

Then again, I can’t deny that the episode of Jobless Reincarnation at least ends in the perfect spot. As I mentioned before, the most compelling part of this episode was seeing Rudeus wrestle with his feelings, understanding the parallel to how he feels now to how he felt in his last life. And watching the end of the episode where he finally stands and leaves the tent ready, perhaps, to take the next step on his journey, was a richly rewarding experience.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23

Unfortunately it means sitting through a whole bunch of other scenes that feel largely inconsequential to get to that moment.

So a bitter-sweet farewell to Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 and you can read the full review of the season here. I really kind of hope we get another season for as much as this anime continues to give me mixed feelings there are some strangely compelling moments along the way.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021

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Karandi James

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 22 – I Want To Have Your Kittens, Meow.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22 Review

“I want to have your kittens, Meow.” Bold of Eris in this episode of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation to utter such a line. I’m not sure whether to cringe or laugh, though clearly she knew her audience well because Rudeus most definitely responded.

I’m kind of fixating on that line largely because I’m not sure what to make of the rest of the episode. After such a long journey together in the space of one episode Rudeus loses both traveling companions and we end this episode (or close enough), the second last of the season, with him standing alone in a tent. I’ve called Rudeus pathetic before but he looks so small here and honestly I’m just not sure where the story is going now or what the next step of the journey is.

Jobless Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22

If there is one thing Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation has repeatedly reinforced, it is that life moves on.

On the one hand, it makes sense given how Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation has played out up until this point. Rudeus’ second life has been full of phases and then changes. Whether it was learning magic from Roxy, tutoring Eris or the initial journey from the demon continent, nothing lasts forever and that definitely gives us a sense that this is a real character who continues to grow and respond to the events around him.

On the other hand, with the constant flux of locations and characters and objectives, other than seeing Rudeus live a slightly better life this time around, there’s no real sense that we’re heading toward a final goal. And episodes like this one leave you feeling like Rudeus’ journey, whether he lives well or not, whether he is strong or not, is ultimately futile.

That’s a little depressing.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22 Review

The situation for Eris is just as bad if not worse. She’s not even the protagonist so a lot of her struggles have been side-lined and yet her character has arguably grown the most.

Still hurts a lot though to see her react after being told her parents died after being teleported and her grandfather was executed. Though if that isn’t enough pain for one encounter by all means subordinate throw in the fact that some lord wants to take Eris as his concubine. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation sure knows how to kick characters when they are down.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22

And all of this comes after the farewell to Ruijerd who has protected, trained, and supported the pair since they arrived on the demon continent. I get the original plan was to get them home but surely after travelling so long together plans might change. It seemed really arbitrary for him just to suddenly decide to head off on his own.

Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll see of him given he does say see you later, but now with Eris heading off with Ghislaine you have to wonder if the trio we’ve travelled with for so long at this point will get back together.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22

It’s been a long journey from where we started in Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, and there’s definitely a sense that times are moving on and characters have to move with them, which makes this feel quite different to so many stories that seem determined to keep the status quo even when it makes no sense. But it does leave you feeling a sense of sadness that a core group of characters that have really bonded have now been split apart.

I do wonder what the final episode of this series will bring and where they will leave Rudeus on this journey. And yes, somehow I suspect another season will be needed unless Jobless Reincarnation plans to try to wrap everything up in twenty minutes but that seems really unlikely.

Read the full review for Part 2 of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation here.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021

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Karandi James

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 21 – Rudeus The Fool

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21 Review

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.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21

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.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21

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.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21

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.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless ReincarnationJobless Reincarnation Episode 21

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

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Karandi James

Is It Okay To Enjoy An Anime When The Characters Act Questionably?

Questionable Feature

Are characters under some obligation to behave in an ‘appropriate’ manner in order for their stories to be enjoyed?

At first I thought the answer to this question was obvious. Of course characters in a story couldn’t all act in a way that necessarily matched the morality of the society that produced them (or individual groups within that society). To start with, we’d never have any villains ever again, unless you think someone chewing gum too loudly is villainous in which case perhaps we could have a plot about young teens ridding the city of petty annoyances.

However, when I stop trivialising the question I realise what people are actually asking is whether or not the protagonists, or the characters the audience is asked to sympathise with and somehow connect with, should behave in what someone believes is an appropriate manner?

More than that: Is it wrong to enjoy the story when they don’t?

Spoilers for Tensura 2, Horimiya and Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation.

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As an anime fan who writes on the internet, I’m well aware that some commentators, reviewers, and groups can be quite vocal and vicious with their criticism. Not just of an anime they personally didn’t approve of, but of people who watch and/or enjoyed that anime.

Whether they accuse people watching the showing of being perverted, degenerates, idiotic or a whole range of other unflattering words, they cast judgement on anyone who would dare to find enjoyment in something they found offensive.

And you know, while I fully support their right to be offended and to choose not to watch what they don’t want to watch, I don’t support name calling or shaming people for what they enjoyed or liked to watch given someone else enjoying an anime doesn’t hurt anybody in the slightest.


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What I find even stranger finding a character decision to be a little questionable, or even outright morally wrong, doesn’t actually make the story worse by default. Certainly, it might rub you the wrong way and maybe it will throw you out of comfortable viewing mode and you don’t want to stick around.

That’s fine. I had a friend who felt that way about Terror in Resonance. She didn’t want to watch a story where the ‘terrorists’ and their actions were being given some justification. Didn’t want to stick around to find out why they were acting as they were or even to find out if the anime ultimately did condemn them or not. Her choice. But you know, she didn’t call me sick or a degenerate because I was fascinated by the story and the characters and wanted to know what lay behind their actions. I wasn’t pro-terrorist, but I did want to see what the overall story wanted to say.

I’m pretty sure they only caused this much damage once.

Three of the anime I’ve watched this year have had moments where the main characters have had me seriously blinking and wondering about their decisions and all three cases I mostly enjoyed the series they were in. I fully understand that one of them seems to have passed without comment by the community at large, another had a brief flare up of words and then slipped away, and the third seemed to really bring out some strong opposition and almost as vocal a defence.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 – Not So Controversial

Part of me wonders why there hasn’t been more discussion around Rimuru’s actions in Tensura season 2. I mean, I guess part of it is the fantasy world is very removed, it is a second season so people are more or less acclimated to the series, it clearly isn’t intended to be taken actually seriously, etc, etc…

Yet, when faced with the death and injury of some of the people in his city of monsters Rimuru very quickly makes a call to transform into a demon lord in the hope of bringing them back to life and will gain the power to do this by literally slaughtering the entire opposing army.

slime s2 9
Nope – you are going to die.

It’s an abrupt decision given barely any digestion time, eagerly accepted by Rimuru’s followers, and acting upon with frighteningly swift and efficient brutality. This wasn’t a war. It was barely even a fight. It was open slaughter.

While some argument might be made that it was in retaliation for an act of heinous violence by the human army first, there is definitely a discussion about how proportional the response was particularly given no effort was made at a peaceful solution or simply defence. Rimuru went from harm-no-human to kill-every-member-of-the-army in less than a single episode and the audience seemed to largely be expected to support or endorse his actions.

Now would Rimuru have had any success at finding a peaceful solution?

Given the extreme hatred the church had of monsters and the callous attitudes of the nobles leading the army it seems unlikely.

Did every single soldier need to die? Were they all fanatics with a monster hating mentality or were some just soldiers who signed up to protect their country and feed their family who were ordered to march out? We’re not supposed to ask.

Is Rimuru right to pursue a resurrection of his people at the cost of all these souls? Again, we’re not supposed to ask. We’re supposed to be hoping a miracle occurs and not actually looking at the cost of it.

Does enjoying this mean you are a horrible person who would support genocide in real life? – That’s a firm no.

I actually did enjoy this sequence though I felt Slime missed out on the opportunity to really explore the moral quandary here. Then again, people don’t tune in to watch Tensura for moral quandaries that might lie therein. They watch to see Rimuru bounce about, enjoy being held by various women, and occasionally devour monsters while getting another power-up.


Horimiya – A Brief Splash

When I’d only watched the first 3 episodes of Horimiya for my watch or drop post, I started to see a few arguments and comments online regarding a particular line by Horimiya that some people found homophobic. Basically, Hori tells Miyamura that if he leaves her it wasn’t allowed to be for a guy.

Horimiya 7
Not a character reaction to the line – just representative of some of the online comments.

Now, whether people in the thick of this one who were watching week to week found it was a little more intense, from my point of view there seemed to be a whole bunch of people voicing their opinion one way or the other as to whether the character was homophobic or not and then it just kind of disappeared off my radar. While there might still have been comments in my twitter feed connected to it, I didn’t really notice.

I actually didn’t have too much of a conflict with Hori’s statement. It was ridiculous and illogical but I think she was genuinely flustered and it wasn’t something she repeated or reinforced – more something that was blurted out in the heat of a moment and then the story moved on.

Now, while her ‘no guys’ statement could definitely be seen as reinforcing standard relationship views and excluding other communities (and it would probably be more offensive to people who had life experience here) it didn’t feel to me like the anime was pushing an agenda and more that a teenage character in the anime had said something that wasn’t great in one of her less than amazing moments.

Actually, Horimiya caused me more concerns with Hori herself encouraging her boyfriend to verbally and at one point physically abuse her. Largely because if removed from the sweet premise of the anime with two characters who genuinely care for each other, Hori could get herself into an actually abusive relationship if her partner took advantage.

Again, the anime wasn’t taking this darker view of the issue or trying to encourage people to act in a particular way, but you could certainly view the series and that aspect of Hori in a concerning light. Again, while I definitely thought about the issue, considered the implications outside of the anime for people in the real world, and I did wonder if perhaps the anime could have just left that part out, I also continued to enjoy watching Horimiya.


Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation – Ouch

Gear up your pitchforks and placards or get your best defence slogans ready because this one caused a stir. I’d raised my own concerns about some of the creepiness of Rudy in my watch or drop post and placed this one at a maybe for completing.

I wasn’t concerned whether anyone else enjoyed it or not but for me Rudy as a character wasn’t someone I was finding it easy to get behind so while there were a lot of aspects to the story I kind of enjoyed, I was a little conflicted. That said, I’ve now finished Jobless Reincarnation so have read a number of other reviews of the series. They are diverse to say the least.

Jobless A 3
I don’t think the internet waits for later, Zenith.

This one has had the main character called a pervert and a paedophile and a whole bunch of other less than pleasant things. Viewers of the show have been called degenerate in some tweets and reviews, particularly if they dare to claim anything less than utter disgust with the title. And all of this because a reincarnated middle-aged man looks at girls?

Well, not really. He goes a bit further and there’s a few scenes that do hit me personally as being quite uncomfortable viewing even though the anime doesn’t want you to think about it. It really wants to play it off for laughs and usually has a slap-stick moment of Rudy getting kicked or punched afterward, though occasionally he just kind of walks away with a creepy grin on his face.

However, while there are those howling about this anime and its poor taste, there are also those singing its praises as being a different kind of isekai, for its world exploration, for the way magic is handled. And all of these aspects of the story are actually pretty praise worthy. So we have an anime that with the exception of several main characters and their treatment of women is actually pretty good but the way some of those men treat or talk about women is pretty… well let’s just go with triggering for some.

Basically, enjoyment of this one will depend where you land. I enjoyed the series but not as much as other isekai anime that I’ve previously watched and loved because I couldn’t form much of a connection with Rudy. I don’t like him and I don’t like some of his choices. Plus, that grin of his really does creep me out.

At the same time, I actually understand why people would drop this one and decide it wasn’t for them. Equally, I get those who accept that Rudy isn’t a perfectly nice human being who is always nice and respectful to others and just watch the anime for what it is and enjoy it. While I get these two groups probably won’t really see eye to eye, I also think that they can keep their criticism to the anime itself and not to the other viewers.

So, Is It Okay To Enjoy An Anime When The Characters Act Questionably?

I’d say absolutely. Sometimes characters who act questionably are needed to really make the audience consider their choices. Sometimes it drives the narrative. Sometimes it is just a throw away action that while it might open a significant discussion around how particularly ideas and groups are represented in stories, it isn’t actually the central point of the anime so shouldn’t necessarily be enough to condemn the entire rest of the story.

Of course, it is also okay not to enjoy the anime because of the questionable character actions. That really depends on your own tolerances, trigger points and experiences, and you’ll make the decision for yourself about what you did and didn’t enjoy and why.

But what shouldn’t be okay is taking an issue with someone else for enjoying something just because you didn’t. By all means, discuss your view, put forward your reasons, write your own article or make your own video explaining why something is a problem, but leave the name calling out of it.

Be sure to share your experiences with an anime where you haven’t necessarily agreed with the choices made by a character or a time when you got called out for enjoying something someone else found offensive. Let’s have an open and respectful discussion.

Images in this article from:

  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2. Dir. Y Kikuchi. 8bit. 2021.
  • Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021.
  • Horimiya. M Ishihama. Cloverworks. 2021.
  • Terror in Resonance. S Watanabe. MAPPA. 2014.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 20 – Does a Good Ending Make Incomplete Advice Better?

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Recinarnation Episode 20

So a few things to discuss with the latest episode of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation.

We begin the episode with another flashback to the initial disaster but this time from Lilia’s point of view and as the light rushed toward her she instinctively grabbed Aisha to shield her. The two of them then found themselves underwater and had to struggle in dark waters to reach the shore. And then they just kind of walk up to the city and the prince, who just happened to be near the gate and overheard them asking about Roxy, took them captive.

Mushoku Tesnei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

It’s a little bit of a rushed version of how did we get here but it then means Jobless Reincarnation can spend more time on the important things. Such as Rudeus’ jokes about his accommodation and the other prince’s obsession with the figurine Rudeus had made of Roxy when he was younger.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation keeps its eye on the important things.

I guess we’ll just have this as a running gag every time Rudeus gets taken prisoner that he’ll describe his new accommodation in terms of being an apartment. It was kind of amusing when Jobless Reincarnation did it in the village though here it feels a little more tired and like a little less effort was put into it. Possibly that is because this prison is significantly less scenic than his last one but while I get the joke I didn’t find this round as amusing.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

Also, unlike his previous prison, it is quite clear Rudeus can’t get out of this one alone whereas in the previous cage it was fairly clear he could have left at any time if he’d chosen to do so.

Instead, here Jobless Reincarnation brings along Pax’s brother who comes off as a really over-the-top collector who is obsessed with Rudeus’ figurines. He had the Roxy figure that Rudeus had made when he was younger and recognised the same work in the Ruijerd figures that Rudeus is now distributing.

Though, that Roxy figurine with the detachable clothing seems like it had a lot more thought put into it and is also quite creepy when you consider the age Rudeus was when he made it (and yes I get he’s a reincarnated middle-aged man but I’m not sure if that makes it less or more creepy). Again Jobless Reincarnation walks that fine line for me in terms of viewing that I’m comfortable with.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

So pretty much Rudeus tells the obsessed prince that he could teach him or something if he gets him out of the prison and after futilely trying to break it, the prince decides that he just has to do something about his brother, Pax, and it will be sorted.

Then we get a very rushed explanation that the obsessed prince is actually super strong and once ripped the head off one of his other brothers.

That kind of came out of nowhere.

And just like that Jobless Reincarnation brings all the characters together with the guards having asked Ruijerd to save their families so they could betray Pax, and Eris and Aisha just kind of coming along because staying put where they were asked was too much effort.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

If I’m honest, it feels like episode 20 of Jobless Reincarnation took a lot of narrative short-cuts. Like they knew this situation was too complex to really be resolved this episode but just rushed through things and cut corners to get to the resolution. Whatever the case, it feels like the pace is off. Whether it was the gag with the prison description, the backstory on the Prince’s or Ruijerd and Eris’ role everything just felt kind of dropped in and then moved on from without a lot of thought or finesse.

We do however get a happy ending with Aisha and Lilia rescued so, yay? We don’t get to hear any of Rudeus’ thoughts on the god who gave him the advice this time and he never seems to consider that if the god had given him more information or different information things may have resolved easier without the whole imprisonment thing.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

While Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation continues to overall be entertaining enough viewing, this episode didn’t quite hit the mark. The plot does everything it needs to and we get a sweet family moment at the end but it just felt too hasty in trying to get there.

I’m hoping this is because they are trying to get to an actual resolution before the end of this season and that it won’t just stop mid-story again, though maybe that’s being overly optimistic.

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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Karandi James

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 19 – Trust Before The Fall

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19 Review

Poor Rudeus. This week in Jobless Reincarnation he is once again given advice by the ‘god’ thing and this time he follows it to the letter only the results aren’t exactly awesome (at least not yet). As if Rudeus didn’t have enough reasons to have trust issues.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

After episode 18’s minor diversion to follow Roxy on her journey, this week Jobless Reincarnation firmly returns us to Rudeus and friends as they finally arrive on the central continent. After a dream conversation with god, Rudeus has learned that two of the people he is looking for are in the city Roxy went to work after leaving him, and he’s given some fairly non-specific directions of what to do once he arrives.

I don’t know about everyone else in the audience, but I was pretty sure Rudy was being messed with once again. Sure, last time he followed god’s directions he ended up with a demon eye but I’m still not convinced that was a great idea (and certainly sounded kind of painful to receive). This time, Rudeus ends up walking into a trap set by and idiot and I just can’t help but think that if Rudeus hadn’t been trying to follow the instructions he’d been given he never would have landed in that predicament.

Though he may never have located the two missing people either so maybe things will work out yet.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

Jobless Reincarnation really likes to make you second guess the characters and their choices.

With the focus on Rudeus and his search for Aisha and Lilia, once again Eris and Rujierd are getting decidedly sidelined. I somehow suspect they will be important next week because if they don’t go looking for Rudeus I’m not sure how Jobless Reincarnation intends to get him out of his current predicament, but this week at least we get Eris feeling relieved that they are no longer on a boat and Rujierd has about one actual dialogue exchange with Rudeus.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

I did begin to wonder during this episode if terrible reunions were just going to be the ongoing theme here. Largely because Rudeus and Paul had an awful first encounter after so long apart and now Rudeus finds and saves Aisha except that she doesn’t recognise him and the description she gives of her older brother being a pervert (while pretty accurate) is a little scathing.

Naturally Rudeus doesn’t actually introduce himself to her because you couldn’t continue the gag if you just cleared up the misunderstanding. Plus god told him not to…

Yeah, god really is just messing with Rudeus in Jobless Reincarnation.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

Anyway, all of this culminates with Rudeus stashing Aisha with Eris and Ruijerd before a visitor from the castle (where he sent a letter to Roxy – though the audience already knows she isn’t there) arrives and leads him to a shady part of the building before asking him to leave his staff and equipment. Red flags are going off everywhere and yet Rudeus decides to just go through with it because he decided to follow the god’s instructions.

You know, I kind of hope something good happens at the end of all of this, otherwise Jobless Reincarnation is really just giving Rudy a kick in the guts because it can.

And then the penny drops, or rather the trap is sprung, and we more or less end the episode with Rudeus now completely trapped.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

Admittedly, it is hard to really make any kind of decision about whether the events here are meaningful without knowing how this situation resolves and what Rudeus takes away from it. I enjoyed the episode but kind of hope there’s some deeper meaning in all of this than just god being amused at watching Rudeus fall.

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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Karandi James

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 18 – This One Is For Roxy Fans

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 18

Jobless Reincarnation really does live or die by its character work and this week the episode is squarely focused on Roxy and her facing a past she’d rather not giving her a chance for an emotional reunion. For fans of Roxy’s character this is a solid gold episode only hindered by a general lack of screen time for this character. For me, not really caring much about Roxy’s character, it was more a diversion from the story I’m really interested in and a breather from the heavier emotions experienced while watching the last two episodes.

While we do get a brief glimpse of Rudeus and team onboard their next ship, with both Eris and Rudeus down with sea-sickness in the rough conditions, Jobless Reincarnation devotes the rest of the episode to Roxy.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 18

We knew she was on the demon continent and that like two ships passing in the night she had missed Rudeus by a hair’s breath. This week we have Roxy more or less walking back along Rudeus’ trail and ultimately we see Roxy return ‘home’.

Jobless Reincarnation asks what is home as Roxy returns to her parents’ house.

It was interesting enough finding out more about Roxy this week. Her past was a little mysterious and honestly this episode does fill in some of the missing pieces for her character.

Jobless Reincarnation doesn’t rush this one. Instead we see Roxy talking with another adventurer who more or less lectures her about her decision not to return home and while it is clear Roxy isn’t keen on the idea, next seen we see her small, lonely figure walking a dusty road into a village.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 18

It quickly becomes apparent why Roxy left the village.

With the rest of the town communicating telepathically and being unable to understand them the feeling of being an outsider would be ever-present for Roxy here. Much like arriving in a country where you don’t speak the language it would be exhausting as every interaction becomes a struggle. However, unlike in that analogy, Roxy can’t learn telepathy even if she wanted to so can never find a way to integrate or at least minimise the barrier.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 18

The first exchange with her parents is awkward to say the least with both parties trying so hard to be stoic and polite that ultimately the things that need to be said aren’t and the emotions that need to be conveyed are bottled up. Fortunately, Jobless Reincarnation doesn’t make us wait until next episode for the resolution to this situation.

Roxy’s mother opens the floodgate, breaking down first as she realises Roxy intends to leave and not come back. While I wouldn’t say everything is all healed and forgiven here, there’s every chance now Roxy will return and the very photogenic moment where both of Roxy’s parents embrace her, all three with tears in their eyes, more or less sums up the episode.

jobless Reincarnation Episode 18

Though despite learning that Rudeus passed through the village and is in fact in the party Dead End, Roxy decides to keep travelling the demon continent looking for other survivors rather than try to meet up with Rudeus. Which is probably why this episode really felt detached. Sure there’s parties all over the place looking for people but if we start trying to follow all of them this story will end up quite fragmented and from the beginning Jobless Reincarnation has been Rudeus’ story.

So while I did enjoy this well enough and I’m glad Roxy fans got more Roxy, I’m kind of hoping next week we’re back to Rudeus and Eris and finding out what their next steps are for their journey.

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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Karandi James

The Mushoku Tensei Characters May All Be Flawed Individuals But They Are Well Written

The Mushoku Tensei Characters May All Be Flawed Individuals But They Are Well Written

As a viewer who quit Re:Zero Starting Life in Another World fairly quickly because of a deep dislike of main character Subaru, not clicking with characters is definitely grounds for me dropping an anime. But that doesn’t mean I need all my characters to be nice or good people and quite frequently I’ll enjoy an anime where characters act in a way that I find morally questionable. The Mushoku Tensei characters definitely land squarely in the list of characters that quite frequently rub me the wrong way and yet they never make me want to stop watching.

Mushoku Tensei characters

Most people know that characters should have some flaws. One of the most frequent criticisms of isekai protagonists is that they are a Gary Stu or just hopelessly boring characters. While I don’t always agree that some of the characters labelled such actually fit the trope, I do agree that this nice guy persona wrapped up in a one-man-army packaging has kind of dominated the genre so it is kind of refreshing when an anime does something different.

That said, there’s doing something different and then there is rejecting the trope and doing the reverse just because you can. And even then, sometimes the story doesn’t maintain any of the differences they initially start the protagonist with. If we look at Arifureta, Hajime actually starts out as a pretty wimpy character and transforms into an edgy I hate the world type who is only looking out for himself… except that he keeps saving everyone else even though he usually then puts on a show of demanding some kind of payment for it.

Arifureta - not like the Mushoku Tensei characters

While his overall character transformation is handled significantly better in the light novels than the anime, the end result is that as the story continues, Hajime more or less ends up like every other isekai protagonist with a gaggle of girls around him that he’s rescued and using his powers to more or less steam-roll through every situation that comes his way.

A non-isekai example of a character who was flawed, selfish, quite childish, and generally painful, would be the recent Deep Dive. here we have a horrible human being playing a horrible game with other horrible people none of which make me care about them or want any of them to succeed. It isn’t a case of writing flawed characters so much as just writing awful characters and having them learn nothing from their experiences.

While it certainly is different from the nice-guy protagonist, it isn’t entertaining to watch and mostly at the end of the series I was just kind of relieved it was finished.

What about the Mushoku Tensei characters?

Mushoku Tensei Characters

Where the Mushoku Tensei characters succeed is that while each of them have flaws and are at times quite painful to watch make choices that you just wish they wouldn’t, there’s a genuine sense that these characters reflect on their actions, learn from past actions, and while they don’t always make the right choice other characters respond to their actions in ways that make the story feel far more real.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation centres around the reincarnated Rudeus and he’s most definitely what you would call a flawed character.

A hopeless shut-in before his death due to being beaten down by life and just surrendering all control, he wakes in his new life and decides to take advantage of the fact that he can learn faster and use magic in this life and so actually makes a go of bettering himself. Kind of.

Another truck forced reincarnation - wonder if this one matters.

You would think that Rudeus was on track to become another cookie-cutter isekai protagonist except that for every bit of growth Rudeus experiences, we see that he has some real human flaws.

I’ll be honest: I do not like Rudeus. He isn’t a character I’m going to buy a poster of or have on my desktop background. If I collect any figures from Mushoku Tensei his character won’t be among them. While some of his internal thoughts are creepy and he usually acts in a way that is entirely driven by self-interest (understandable given his past life had him cut off from other people and positive interactions and his new life has very much given him an every-man-for-himself mentality) it is Rudeus specific perverted actions that really make me dislike him.

Way to give the story some impact, Roxy.

However personally disliking it not the same as declaring Rudues to be a bad character. Rudeus is a very well constructed character. His emotionally responses to situations check out with what we know about his past experiences. As the story progresses we see him learn from past failures and overcome obstacles and honestly most of the time I want him to succeed. Just every now and then he says or does something that makes me seriously want to see him smacked down.

Fortunately, the anime obliges more often than not which makes me kind of smile and then watch to see whether Rudeus will once again rise to the occasion.

Rudeus may be the poster-child for the Mushoku Tensei characters but each cast member, or at least the reoccurring ones, seem to be written with great care and thought. None of these characters are paragons or virtue. They all feel human and their flaws and failings are all too human which makes the emotional notes of this anime strike true.

And nowhere was this more apparent than in episode 16 when Rudeus reunites with his father, Paul, after a year and a half of trying to get home.

Let’s be real, Paul was a pretty scummy father even when Rudeus lived with his parents. It is clear Paul was a womaniser and also someone who only real cared about his own goals. That Rudeus developed an ability for magic didn’t impress him as Paul wanted his son to learn to use a sword (though Rudeus proved again and again to have zero aptitude there). And when Paul made a decision he knew Rudeus wouldn’t agree with, he used brute force to get his way rather than any kind of persuasion.

Mushoku Tensei characters

The Paul we see in part two is a broken shell of a man and the last year and a half have certainly taken their toll. So much so that he can’t even muster up a hug or a ‘glad you’re alive’ for his son.

Worse, Paul launches a verbal attack upon his son basically accusing him of taking it easy and more or less destroys all of the confidence and independence Rudeus has developed over the last eighteen months.

Again, I don’t like Paul. I didn’t like Paul back in season one when we first met him and I like him less now (even after episode 17).

But, because of how he has written I can understand this man and it makes perfect sense, given Paul’s personality, that when push-comes to shove he would in fact push the blame onto someone else and lash out, because accepting that bad things have happened and they may not be anyone’s fault isn’t something he’s capable of doing.

I still kind of wanted Eris to go and beat him into the floor-boards though.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 15

Which leaves us with Eris, who is the character who has quietly but surely grown from spoiled brat to young warrior and true friend of Rudeus in slow but steady steps. It’s impossible to say when she started changing outside of the moment Rudeus entered her life, but little by little she’s calmed, she’s trained, she’s worked hard, she’s learned to trust and rely on others but also to reach out and help them, and honestly Eris is just fantastic to watch.

My only real concern is that all of this is setting her up for the hardest fall when she learns about the fate of her family and I’m not sure that she’ll ever be emotionally ready for that. Would anyone be?

The Mushoku Tensei characters work and tell a compelling story because each of them have positive traits and do good things on occasion, but they also fail to live up to expectations, take the easy option, and have selfish desires. Basically, they feel far more real and human and so the story they are telling feels more compelling.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 12

More than that though, none of these characters are stagnant. Each of them grows and responds to the events that have unfolded and will hopefully continue to do so. There’s no sudden character shifts but instead slow and steady progress occasionally interrupted when they give in to one of their less noble traits.

The Mushoku Tensei characters are all flawed, but it isn’t that they have flaws that they are good. Plenty of characters are flawed. What makes them work is that their flaws make sense, they drive their decisions and actions, and at times the characters are forced to overcome one of their flaws in order to make progress and they don’t always succeed. This makes for compelling characters even if not particularly nice ones.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021

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Karandi James

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 17 – Reset and Retry, Sometimes Life Needs a Do-Over

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17 Review

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).

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

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 Episode 17

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.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

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.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

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.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

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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Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James