「無職転生」 (Mushoku Tensei)
“Jobless Reincarnation”

Dreams really do come true. And what’s more, this adaptation of Mushoku Tensei was every bit as awesome as I remember it being when I first read the novel all those years ago. If you haven’t watched this episode, what are you waiting for?

Episode Impressions

The background origin details will come next episode – as I’ve seen from the Nico Douga pre-air. But our protagonist dies in an accident and reincarnates as a baby: Rudeus Greyrat. Already, you can tell that his personality is unsavoury. Perving over his new biological mother’s boobs, seeking out knickers in the laundry basket and trying to hit on his magic teacher using lines he remembered from a dating sim. There’s no doubt about it. He’s absolute trash of the highest order.

After accidentally destroying a window after months of messing around with water magic basics, we receive confirmation that Rudeus is special enough for his mum to demand a magic tutor. Despite their previous arrangement that their son would be trained as a swordsman, while a daughter would be taught the ways of magic. But the maid’s logic and his magic talents override this original arrangement – and Rudeus is set to train his swordsplay during the morning, while practicing magic in the afternoons.

Through abundant curiosity as well as trial and error, Rudeus figures out that some established theories are wrong. Namely that mana limits can be increased by repeatedly exhausting it as a kid and that spells can be casted without requiring incantations – a fact which deeply shocks Roxy, who assumes he was just some coddled boy whose parents overestimated his ability. We don’t know if this is some kind of cheat skill or a new discovery Rudeus made that no one else has realised. Or something hereditary. His mother seems like a skilled magic user, suggesting he might have inherited powers from her.

However, one thing’s for certain. Huge regrets and emotional scars cloud his heart and he’s working hard because he desperately wants to live a second life that’s actually worth living. For all of his faults and flaws, I can respect someone who earnestly wants to change themselves for the better.

Initial Thoughts

What are my thoughts on how Studio Bind did? Perfection. The facial expressions are exceedingly well animated. It includes the tiniest of details and flickers of movement expressing various hints of emotions or thoughts. Parental love from Paul and Zenith to Rudeus. Rudeus squirming about uncomfortably when sitting in the garden next to Roxy, hugging his face into Paul’s chest because he genuinely carries trauma from his past life and is scared to face strangers as well as the outside world. Roxy’s initial indifference to becoming a full-on adorkable klutz when she accidentally breaks the trees and realises how much talent Rudeus actually has.

I’m really really pleased so far. Completely satisfied. It’s crystal clear that Studio Bind’s staff really care. The pacing does not feel rushed at all. Despite the fact a certain someone from late on appears in the trailer, I’d be very surprised if they rushed to that point within 24 episodes. Because the pacing between the first two episodes went was very slow, very methodical, very deliberate. Not to say it went at a boring, snail pace. Rather, they’re really taking the time to painstakingly expand and flesh out the premise like artisans seeking to craft out an immaculate masterpiece.

And yeah, I’ll say it again, the animation was utterly superb. Did you see that sequence where Rudeus conjured the spiraling ball of water? The water was squirming and bobbling exactly how you’d expect real water physics would behave. Unlike the perfect water sphere you’d see in other shows. They’re animating the water and it’s close to life-like. Don’t even get me started on when Roxy repaired the tree. That wasn’t just some magic glow and fusion like I’ve seen in every other show. THE TREE WAS ALIVE. THE WOOD SINEWS FORMED TENDRILS AND TWISTED AROUND INTERCONNECTING AS IT REGREW. It was a relatively mundane scene in the novels, but even this was made to be absolutely magical, I tell you. In creating Studio Bind, White Fox/Egg Firm clearly sent out some of their best to work on this project. And not only are they top talents in the industry, it’s blindingly obvious that they love and care about Mushoku Tensei as a source material too.

Concluding Thoughts

Never in my wildest dreams did I think adapting a 25 LN behemoth like Mushoku Tensei would be possible. Let alone an adaptation that would do the novels justice – given the copious number of gutter adaptations which desecrate source materials that had no issues. But here we are. This is what fans have long wished for, in the flesh. It’s early days, but I’m seriously close to crying tears of joy. Let’s just hope it wasn’t like that time I teared up seeing the iconic Starwars text scrawl when Episode 7 came out, only for the sequels to completely shit the bed on my heartfelt nostalgia.

Okay, maybe you hate isekai. I understand there are people like that out there. But please, give Mushoku Tensei a chance. If you’re a fan of great stories and great character development, there’s no reason not to. If this adaptation truly delivers, you might actually just be witnessing history in the making.

Anyway, for now I’m trusting Studio Bind. And that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. Thanks for reading this post and stay tuned for more in the future!

29 Comments

  1. Having Sugita voice over the entire time, especially for highlighting said unsavory thoughts, pretty much made me think “was this character made for him to voice over or something?”

    Anyway, yes high quality woohoo. Underappreciated keypoint, instead of leaving the whole “cast without saying the lines” secret, it was forced into the open. In other words, wasting no time on making that a reveal to cover later on.

    JHNSeph
  2. I am skeptical of the quality of this show given that Rudeus used an eroge pick-up line in an attempt to cheer Roxy up coupled with an awkward grin and that it actually worked. This is not my idea of quality writing because such a thing would be cringeworthy in real life.

    I do give the show props for having top notch animation, and it’s clear that the people that left White Fox and Egg Firm to create this project truly care about this project although I wonder if it’s because the staff relates to Rudeus’s perversion.

    Vance
    1. it’s cringeworthy irl because you’re used to it. it’s cliche or overdone or w/e. so it’s less of an issue that the line worked

      as for the smile, the maid has already shown discomfort and heavy alarm as his smile and this will be an issue directly pointed out so don’t worry on that front

      GoXDS
    2. The line he used was straight out of the LN/WN, while it isn’t shown in the anime, in the LN/WN he actually makes a comment about how silly it is to use eroge protagonist lines to cheer people up, but as he didn’t really interact with people he didn’t know what else to say.

      Tegual
      1. If you’re right about that, there are any number of scenes (Maybe the one showing him wear panties on his head or showing Roxy pleasuring herself to his parents’ carnal desires) that could have been shortened or omitted to allow for Rudeus’s thought about it being silly to use eroge lines to cheer people up, but Studio Bind chose not to, and in doing so, left the impression that the show considers using eroge lines to cheer up people as being a decision with merit instead of being silly. I would say that that particular scene was poorly adapted if that is the case..

        Vance
        1. I’d say wait and see. One of the things I enjoyed about this series as it went on was that it digs into the fact that the main guy being a shut-in who’s only knowledge of how to deal with people is via games, and often specifically eroge, is not a good thing. It doesn’t do so immediately. Off the bat he definitely gives the impression of the standard perfect isekai protagonist, but as the story goes on at least as far as I read it actually starts to do a pretty good job subverting that and showing that he was shallow and that in order to ACTUALLY be a hero, he needs to grow past things like using eroge pick-up lines.

          KaleRylan
  3. He’s perverted but having read the story already so long I can say from what I remember that if they do decent adaption it will be amazing.

    The world and the characters in the story are very fleshed out and it’s not like shitty isekai stories where the other characters are just there to make the mc look good or cheer him on.

    yodad
  4. he genuinely carries trauma from his past life and is scared to face strangers
    as well as the outside world

    I didn’t get that at all. All children are instinctively shy at that age so when he hid
    his head in his father’s chest, I just saw it as a natural reaction for his age. One of
    the things I liked about this episode was how normal things are portrayed.

    Also, the Anime is peeking into the private lives of his parents, so all of the sex-play
    and intimacy between his parents in their home that are shown are 110% normal.
    I think it adds to and portrays the healthy environment that he’s growing in.
    Yeah, he is a little bit of a pervert because of his past life’s memories, but you
    can see he’s not letting it rule his behaviour; he’s not preoccupied with it.

    I haven’t read any source material, an imma keepin’ it thata way. I saw no flaws
    in this first episode and I hope all of us viewers of this series are witnessing the
    birth of a classic 2-cour isekai.

    So far, this Anime season has some strong starts:
    So I’m a Spider, So What?
    BEASTARS
    Go-Toubun no Hanayome∬
    Ore dake Haireru Kakushi Dungeon
    and tied for 1st place {for me} is –>
    Tatoeba Last Dungeon Mae no Mura no Shounen ga Joban no Machi de Kurasu Youna Monogatar

    mac65
    1. The only thing missing from the adaptation is the WHY he was a hikikomori and then the eventual reason he was out in the rain that night, and while it isn’t actually necessary and still plays for a good story, it does change your perspective of him as a character a little early on.

      Tegual
  5. What a great intro. I don’t mind the eroge content as it was tasteful in my opinion. It wasn’t “in your face” fanservice.

    The animation and the narration really drove this to a next level. Hope it keeps up.

    I wonder if Rudeus will progressively forget his former life and/or have his personality evolve to his new identity (a bit like the MC from Kami-Tachi)

    tsirrus
  6. Not a bad first episode, I found it quite enjoyable. I didn’t even care about the perverted stuff that much as I was enjoying the voice over much more. Tomokazu Sugita is an awesome voice actor and I love his internal monologues.

    Looking forward to what comes next.

    Binod
  7. At last, a decent review of Mushoku Tensei. Not like a certain other anime site where the reviewers are too woke for a lot of anime and yet at the same time not woke enough to realise that their attitude is basically cultural imperialism.

    Anyway, superb animation throughout. Either they have a big budget or they’re working their staff half to death, hopefully the former. The only thing that breaks the immersion for me (and in many other series) is the modern female underwear. Do some research, guys – underwear for women is a relatively modern idea!

    Angelus
    1. As far as i am aware, they made or repurposed a studio for the adaptation so it should have a decent budget, and looks like it will be more than one season.

      As for the underwear, it is a different world, why would they have the same type of garment advancements as we would?

      Underwear for women dates back to Roman times, so is it really a modern idea?

      Tegual
      1. Also, it is not an BBC History Channel Anime.

        They have the freedom to invent things they want, because this is their world not our Real Life History. Sure they use Anchors of our History to give this deepness. But as i said. This is not BBC History Channel

        And i go with that. Sure other Studios would perhaps give the Mother more “half-covered Boobies” Fanservice. But first: She is a Mother and 2nd i do not mind. They respect her

        okay, the panstu flashing was not necessary. That’s why i said about the steeping stone. But if they do not overshoot this Ecchi and Hentai stuff, it is a very good anime

        But i hope they do not break down in quality somehow at the middle of the Show, not because of Budget.. No of Time and Workload. They are still Humans that need to draw this stuff right? and there are not many Shortcuts in Deadlines

        Oh, i writing more then i wanted. Sorry

        Worldwidedepp
    2. “At last, a decent review of Mushoku Tensei. Not like a certain other anime site where the reviewers are too woke for a lot of anime and yet at the same time not woke enough to realise that their attitude is basically cultural imperialism.”

      Lemme guess…the one claiming to be “The Internet’s most trusted anime news source”? Honestly, the only logical reason I can think of why they even have that title is because there are no other alternative anime news sites that can compete with it toe to toe (and they have major corporate backing anyway). MAL and that “triangular wretched hive” can’t even come close to what that place does. (Though the aforementioned wretched hive is good at clickbait headlines and image dumps–despite their image loader/hosting service being absolute doo-doo at times. Had a decent image ‘booru too, until they locked more explicit images behind a paywall–on top of their NSFW ads. But I digress.)[1]

      Though yeah, reading those reviews made them look like they have a hate-boner (or a sheer lack of empathy) for Rudeus. Poor guy didn’t amount to anything in his past life, has loads of regrets that weigh heavily on him (perhaps caused a bit of depression and going into darker places, as well as possibly contributed to his current personality), and the most heroic deed he’s done in that life (saving a bunch of high-schoolers from being run over) got him a fatal appointment with Truck-kun (at least until he found himself reborn in another world). I only hope Rudeus’ backstory makes him a more sympathetic character since redemption and second chances are also part of the theme of the series. Just like Shield Hero.

      In any case, the gorgeous sakuga (and Tomokazu Sugita voicing Rudeus’ internal monologue) elevated Mushoku Tensei from “Will try out (three-episode rule)” to “Must-watch.” (Will still defer to those who’ve read the source material, though.) Also had a little chuckle finding out that Roxy is voiced by Konomi Kohara, who previously voiced another mage–Genshin Impact‘s Mona.[2]

      – Note [1]: I’d honestly welcome an alternate anime news site that isn’t ANN, MAL, or that “triangular wretched hive” at this point.
      – Note [2]: Haven’t played the game–and I don’t plan to–but I’ve seen the truckloads of wholesome and lewd fanart of Mona. (And Lisa, and Fischl, and Barbara, and a bit of Amber…)

      Incognito
  8. Really wouldn’t be surprised if they announce a second season(pending sales) for Fall 2021. I don’t think a studio would start work on a 25 novel series if they weren’t in it for the long haul. They would also want to strike while the irons hot if the anime proves to be a hit for them.

    Lyfe
  9. I think this chanting the Magic line are somethink like in Naruto focusing the Ninja-Arts. Sure this Boy here has an Big Raw Power as this Episode showed us. But this chanting is more like an steering wheel or Gas pedal if you like. To control some sort of Valve. Or they Boy would use the entire time Full Power until he runs out of MP

    But with time, i predict he also learn to tame his Raw power better and no need of chanting anymore

    He also demonstrate this in this Episode with the “rapid water fire”

    Well, it is something in between

    Worldwidedepp
  10. I get it, he’ll grow up to be a decent human being trying not to do the same mistake, but is this another wish fulfilling harem isekai where several girls end up in love with the OP guy that gets even more ridiculously strong the older he gets, or can we expect a bit more of nuance?

    boingman
    1. He never gets stupidly strong, and gets his ass handed to him when he doesn’t put the work in. His main advantage is always a lot of effort and modern knowledge, otherwise there are plenty of people who could end him.

      But yes, it is harem.

      Aex
    2. can’t say the plot avoids those tropes (granddaddy of modern isekai and all) but it’s definitely more nuanced despite that. and as Aex said, he’s still no where near the strongest people ever. while he’s definitely always strong, he definitely putting in work and thought into getting stronger. he’s very obviously more capable than most people by a decent degree, the boss level people he face are still *leagues* stronger than him. also, he’s constantly facing challenges that forces him to grow stronger for next time and not simply facing a strong enemy and growing instantly on the spot.

      GoXDS

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