「師匠」 (Shishou)
“Master”

First off, I’ll acknowledge that Roxy masturbating and Rudeus stealing Roxy’s pants happened. Errrrr, can’t think of a defence. Oh wait. Look over there! Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi is way worse! Your efforts in making the world a better place would be much better spent on a degenerate series like that.

Now that I’ve hopefully provided a distraction for people who would otherwise whine and hate on Mushoku Tensei, I will continue with this review.

Oh boy does Mushoku Tensei continue delivering on the goods, and Episode 2 left me in a rhapsody of euphoric elation. The visuals and soundtrack remain thoroughly captivating, while the tone and pacing continued being perfect. Studio Bind are on an absolute roll here. Sure, the Cumulonimbus scene was impressive. But most importantly, I wanted to highlight the narrative approach contained within this episode. The scene could only be so amazing because it was the culmination of the steps Rudeus took over the past two episodes. And this is the crux of why I love Mushoku Tensei. The characters. The way they’re developed. Their interactions with each other. How the motivations driving them are clearly expressed. They just feel so damn real to me. Like actual people talking to other actual people with actual problems, not just some fictional construct I’ve mentally signed an unspoken agreement with to suspend my disbelief. Without further ado, allow me to examine our main character: Rudeus Greyrat.

Rudeus Greyrat: A Glimpse of his Past Life

Rudeus might have disgusting, pervy feelings for Roxy despite being in the body of a five year old. And I’m not saying that being bullied justifies this aforementioned behaviour, nor does it justify Rudeus becoming a shut-in who doesn’t attend his parent’s funeral because he’s too busy wanking at home. That’s irredeemably trashy.

But I think it’s important to understand that Rifujin (the author) isn’t trying to make us feel sorry for Rudeus. We’re shown an awful person who should absolutely be disdained, unlike the more sympathetic characters we would usually see as isekai protagonists. But it gives us an insight as to why Rudeus turned out the way he did. Different people react differently to stress stimulus. While some can shrug it off completely unperturbed, in some cases, a person can completely capitulate to trauma. Rudeus completely shut down as a person and becomes scared of the outside world, due to the bullying he experienced in his previous life.

Sugita really sells it as the voice actor. You can feel every bit of pain in Rudeus’s voice and how his past continues to torment him. When he’s not busy being a cheeky perv, his introspections imply he’s consumed by this disgust and self-loathing, even in a new world where he’s had the chance to start from scratch. In this world, Rudeus is surrounded by people who love and care about him. Nevertheless, because he carries his previous memories, the scars remain deeply etched into his heart. And I hope people remember that before judging him too harshly.

From Master to Student. And Back Again.

Despite only featuring for two episodes so far, Roxy leaves a massive mark on the story. Rudeus views her as his saviour in a way, since she helped him overcome his trauma. And that’s why the master/teacher relationship between Rudeus and Roxy is so important. She’s amazed at the boy’s talent. Yet she similarly begins to feel inadequate, due to the ease by which he picks up on magical concepts. Like Rudeus, she also expresses her lack of self-esteem, questioning whether she’s even worthy of being his master. Her pride as an excellent magician was crushed – and it was heartbreaking to see her sadness that flickered across her face when her attempt to cast magic without chanting failed. Or when his first attempt to cast Sacred level magic at such a young age surpassed hers. But because she’s an amazing person, she doesn’t feel jealous or begrudge Rudeus. She truly cherishes the boy and seeks to earnestly guide and nurture his personality and magical talents in good faith.

Through the example Roxy sets, Rudeus realises people with oddly coloured hair are discriminated against, due to the actions of a demonic race in the past. Seeing Roxy overcome this prejudice to win over the good will of townsfolk made him realise, if she can do it, so can he. In return, he literally demonstrated to her that the impossible can be made into reality, smashing her preconceived notions of fundamental magic, compelling Roxy to further immerse herself in the studies of magical arts. I will definitely miss Roxy and can’t wait for her eventual return.

Concluding Thoughts

That right there is the beauty of master/student interactions. It’s a give and take relationship where even the students can give back to their teachers in ways they couldn’t have conceived. And the memories they share will be a beautiful treasure they can keep for the rest of their lives, driving them forwards to live life to the fullest and become the best versions of themselves. We can’t say Rudeus is redeemed. Or that he’s any better right now. But I think we can all admit he’s making a genuine attempt to live a meaningful life and puts up conscious effort to improve. To me, a character who can demonstrate growth past their flawed selves is certainly one that is worth following – one such example in recent times being Shouya Ishida from Koe no Katachi. I’m not saying you have to like them. But I certainly hope that you would be kind enough to give them a chance.

Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss for this week. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!

ED Sequence

ED: 「オンリー」 (Only) by Yuiko Oohara

41 Comments

  1. First off, I’ll acknowledge that Roxy masturbating and Rudeus stealing
    Roxy’s pants happened.

    Isn’t being human part of what makes a human? Have we gotten that prudish
    in our society? People should read some of the {Americam} Civil War letters
    written by soldiers to their girlfriends / wifes. This doesn’t compare; amazing…

    Anyway, not having read any other source material, I really thought Roxy would
    stay and they would become a team. But I see now that this story is much bigger
    and seems to have much more character depth than I expected. Excellent!

    I love how his growth as a character, overcoming his fear of the outside, parallels
    normal development for a child of his age in that world. Yeah, there are some who
    are more extroverted but in general kids that age are really timid about leaving the
    safety of their nest. Which is why nobody really freaked out at his behaviour.
    The author did a great job of hiding his fear and his overcoming that fear by weaving
    those two growths in the same person’s story (I think I made sense with that).

    This was a really well done episode.

    Well, now this arc is over, can’t wait to see what new characters he encounters
    and how those dynamics will have him continue to grow as a pervertperson.

    mac65
  2. i’m still a bit shocked about a very late story element (going by novel) i won’t spoil here, but it makes me hesistate to watch the series. so i’ll likely wait for the whole series to finish before watching them if possible.

    i can only hope they’ll flesh out all episodes well enough, since the story is pretty long and at times takes slower approaches for more in-depth rudeus character development moments.

    Larcek
  3. Apparently the studio has said that the BDs will include extra scenes and also some reframed shots, the latter of which might explain why a few scenes looked a bit soft (in more ways than one).

    Angelus
  4. “We’re shown an awful person who should absolutely be hated”

    Implying flawed people should absolutely be hated.

    I liked the write-up except that part and the beginning. People who criticize the series only on grounds of its lewd elements lewd should simply be ignored and if anything else ridiculed, not being portrayed as if they had any semblance of a justified argument in their ramblings.

    vand
    1. You’re right on the money. Changed hated to disdained because of what you pointed out.

      I also agree the criticisms really miss the big picture. This is just a great show all around, and I think it’s ridiculous people want to find anything to complain about to justify why Mushoku Tensei is bad without giving it any kind of fair chance.

      *cough* Anime News Network *cough*

        1. Of the many people at Anime News Network that reviewed Mushoku Tensei’s first episode, one of them liked it, so it’s likely that that person will be the one to review it, so I don’t think it’s about to get trashed by the reviewer.

          Vance
  5. First off, I’ll acknowledge that Roxy masturbating and Rudeus stealing Roxy’s pants happened. Errrrr, can’t think of a defence.

    Ironically, I think the way it was addressed elevated the episode for me. Masturbation is a taboo subject in many regards, except as comedy. But this was quite more serious than the usual dirty jokes.

    It is not often that anime acknowledges that female characters have sexual desires and masturbate, especially without playing it for laughs. Already the first chapter showed that his parents have an active sexual life and nobody minds even if the walls are thin (heck, in the Middle Ages, it was not unusual for houses to have only one room; “intimacy” is a modern luxury). In the absence of modern life’s access to porn, that Roxy was looking for sexual relief on her own by listening to them is the kind of ugly detail that makes the setting feel more grounded and realistic.

    What about Rudeus? Oh, yeah, his mind runs on cliched otaku perviness, which he gets away with because he’s a kid. What a karma houdini… or is he? As a kid, it’s comedy. But as the episode also shows, it can lead to disgusting self-gratification, where masturbation is another sign of a self-destructive obsession to avoid reality.

    Mistic
  6. Episode 2 was better than last week’s episode, but I am still very annoyed at the show glorifying 18+ dating sim lines as being effective when in reality they aren’t. The lines used in them are awkward and don’t reflect how a conversation would actually go. It just shows that I am not this show’s target audience.

    Vance
    1. ???

      he specifically states that those lines would be “corny” and “embarrassing” in the real world away from the fantasy world he is in.

      there is no glorification whatsoever. it almost feels like you have some personal issue(s) associated with those type of games.

      jltrm
      1. Eroge lines wouldn’t work even in a fantasy world because it’s not that women hear the lines all the time that they don’t work. It’s that eroge lines are clunky and awkward compared to real speech from actual people.

        Vance
  7. I also forgot to mention that Rudeus clearly is aroused by his mother given he wanted to walk in on his parents doing it even though in episode 1 he said he doesn’t get aroused by his mother.

    Vance
      1. Yeah, I realize that, but Rudeus made the same face he made after having dirty thoughts about Roxy, so I take that as a sign that he wants to see his mother naked and would even enjoy doing so. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t do this prank in the first place.

        Vance
        1. I think you’re reading too much into the faces here. Just went back and watched the scene and it was clear that he wanted to do it to laugh at what sort of excuses they’d try to give him aka a prank. Actually I had kinda thought the same thing I’m not surprised to see it as a plot point. I don’t think it was out of any sort of desire to see his mother naked

          Alicem
    1. Did you watch the same episode? Rudeus showed no sign of being turned on by his parents sex antics. He was busy practicing his magic while they were sexing up the house. He was sure keen to check out Roxy though.

      Scruffy
  8. Admittedly, I was really considering dropping this series in the early parts of this episode, because the main character was just not a good person. I know this is power fantasy, but watching how he acted just made me want bad things to happen to him. Thankfully, as the episode progressed, we were at least given reason for why he turned out how he did. Does this make how he acts OK, Nope, but it does at least give reason, and possibility for change and redemption. I already dropped Ore dake Haireru for bad unredeemable characters, so I’m thankful this didn’t go that route. I’m still not a fan of his tendencies, but hopefully that’s something that can be worked on as he gets older and deals more with his trauma

    hjerry
    1. One last additional note, but, man, am I the only one who thinks that entire class should have been brought up on criminal charges? I mean, bullying and hazing is one thing, but tying him up naked to the school gate? How can that not be a crime? I understand that Japan has issues there, but yeah, that’s pretty terrible

      hjerry
    2. Bullying is quite a serious issue in schools in Japan, probably more so than a lot of countries in the West. The statistics are quite surprising, and that’s just the reported ones. There’s only so much schools can do, especially when it comes to punishments. I think some people are just born assholes and short of schools kicking the kids out who bully or having them arrested they can only really keep pushing the issue with the parents.

      Lyfe
  9. As someone who spent a year of his life becoming a waste of space due to trauma, this episode hit me raw. I know what it’s like to become like that, to see people you love and know love you start treating you as if you’re extra in your own life, to know every moment you spend like that you waste a precious moment of your life but being unable to break out, to begin hearing those who love you talk about how tired they are of taking care of you. Rudeus had the benefit of a caring teacher who without realizing walked him through the gate, so that he could finally face the world again and come out of the abyss.

    The author tried to drive in the point that Rudeus as a NEET wasn’t a bad person, he as you put it simply, shut down in the face of trauma. This is evident by the fact that despite hating and being afraid of everything about outside he still sacrificed his life to save a bunch of people he didn’t even know. That’s because somewhere in there, there was still a human being that wanted to belong, and I know damn well how that feels like.

    I look forward to his adventures now, to see what he’ll do with this second chance.

    Gawrshness
  10. That deep-voiced pervy man giggle Sugita pulled off was amazing. I really think this is his best work as a VA already, and that’s someone who loved his work as Gintoki, JoJo and Kyon.

    Guile
  11. I think that masturbating in the hallway where it was very easy to get caught if anyone walked out the door was likely not a common thing even in the distant past. Even more ludicrous is that Rudeus’s flame clearly lit up the hallway to the point where Roxy was, and Roxy did not notice that Rudeus was watching, which requires an unbelievable amount of suspension of belief to defend how this was animated. The main takeaway I got from this scene was that the author watches a lot of hentai.

    It was also extremely contrived that the bullies humiliated Rudeus in class and then proceeded to drag him outside the school where they crucified him, taking loads of pictures in the process. That was very excessive, and it’s obvious this show used that to justify Rudeus’s behaviour, but there is no justification for being into underage girls in modern times just because he was bullied. The writing in this show is so poor, and it’s clearly meant to pander to a very specific audience.

    Vance
    1. Please stop watching this show then. Let those of us who enjoyed the LNs and are happy to have this animated enjoy it in peace. I’m sure you can find something else out there that you won’t hate. Looks like ANN can recommend something that you’ll like better. Just go enjoy that instead.

      seltzermx
      1. I am free to remark on any series I watch and have no intention of dropping Mushoku Tensei any time soon. Not all people watch shows they strictly enjoy with many people picking up popular shows just because they’re popular.

        Vance
        1. “not all people watch shows they strictly enjoy”… That’s seems absurd to me. I watch something with the purpose of enjoying it. You seem to want to watch it just to go online and hate on it… very sad… please try to enjoy life more. Happiness is out there.

          seltzermx
          1. Although I can watch a show for enjoyment, and I do enjoy some like Re:zero and Horimiya this season (I watch Jaku-chara mainly because the show is educational for those with no social skills), watching anime does not make me happy. The only thing that would make me happy is if I were to get married since it has been my dream to get married ever since I was 5 years old. After the pandemic, I plan on joining a book club or something, where I can meet women and learn social skills. I tried going to a store for gamers 2 years back, and the people there were mostly men who wanted to play and talk about games, which was not helpful to me at all. I’m not going to be suddenly happy by watching more shows I enjoy.

            Vance
          2. As someone who got married this past summer I do wish you luck on your endeavors. Now is not the time for it, but I met my wife on bumble, so I would recommend it.

            And not saying it’ll make you 100% happy by watching it, but generally speaking, doing things we enjoy does tend to make us feel better. And I would encourage that if you’re feeling down.

            seltzermx
          3. I’m not feeling down though. My baseline is a mood that is neither happy nor sad. I do know what would make me happy as I said though, and no single activity or group of activities would do that. What I need to find someone I love and marry her.

            Vance
    2. Maybe is impossible in Japan, but in my 3th World shithole country, we made some nasty shit in my middle-class middle school against so many poor souls, that this bullying was not even that bad. And I’m talking about 2000-2003, far before social media, we just had regular internet, and a page of gossips and shit, but we were fucking merciless.

      I fought, literally, with my fists, at least once a week, we burn the school’s door with gasoline at night once, we even set fire (not on purpose) to one room, and we locked down some guy in a wardrobe, and they found him at late afternoon. We stole a lot of backpacks and asked for reward, and of course, we tied a guy to a post with adhesive tape in the lunch break, A LOT of adhesive tape. And we were just mischievous, the real bad guys extorted at gun point, and sold their shit (you know what shit) inside the school, and other serious things.

      So, I don’t know in what kind of first world snowflake country you live to need your suspension of belief, but bullying used to pretty serious, and even more, pretty common, and watching this didn’t make my monocle to fall off, it actually gave me real memories of distant past were this shit actually happened. So cut your crap, or fuck off, weakling.

      Jon
  12. I am intrigued, it looks like healing isekai with main character overcoming emotional scars from previous life, while not sugarcoating his flaws. He is pervert, but one of chivalrous variety. Hell, even his (teenage?) mentor girl is not above a bit of naughty doing.
    But all this pales to the beauty of animation. From the idyllic countryside to summoned thunderstorm, the story seems alive.
    Last but not least who else had chuckle at mention of Laplace war with demonkind?
    (go and check out Laplace’s demon etry in Wiki[pedia if you are not into science)

    ewok40k
  13. “First off, I’ll acknowledge that Roxy masturbating and Rudeus stealing Roxy’s pants happened. Errrrr, can’t think of a defence. Oh wait. Look over there! Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi is way worse! Your efforts in making the world a better place would be much better spent on a degenerate series like that.”

    I can already imagine Pancakes going, “Goddamnit, Zaiden!” (Or something akin to that.)

    With that out of the way, never thought I’d see my share of (fictional) human bastardry in this show. (And Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi is supposed to be more controversial.) But what I didn’t expect was for Rudeus to still carry his past trauma into his new life and for him to relate with Roxy about being discriminated against (Rudeus being bullied in his past life and Roxy having Superd ancestry). Guess that made it easier for Rudeus to somewhat open up to her and take a step outside his home.

    Random thoughts:
    – Wasn’t too bothered with that scene of Rudeus walking on Roxy while she’s rubbing one out. Besides being a staple ecchi/hentai fantasy, it feels refreshing to see some sex-positive frankness. (Though that view might also be due to Ishuzoku Reviewers and watching clips of a certain “Horny Senchou” in the Hololive rabbithole, as well.)
    – OK, I’ll admit that I got a bit judgmental about Rudeus’ past appearance (but then again, nothing justifies not attending your parents’ funeral–save perhaps being too busy with work, which past!Rudeus wasn’t). But the more I saw flashbacks to how he was constantly bullied and humiliated in school, the more I understood why he became socially dysfunctional and why I feel that he’s in a much better place with his new life.
    – That hallucination(?) scene with villagers bringing out flip-phones… I’m guessing Rudeus’ past life (or at least his school life) was back in the 2000s.
    – When Rudeus received his first sword (way bigger than he is), I almost expected him to start training with it to build up his strength…and eventually wield a bigger f**koff greatsword in his teens. (Yeah, yeah, I know he’s not Guts.)
    – Hope Caravaggio wasn’t too traumatized by that lightning strike… Also looking forward to seeing Roxy again. (As well as Roxy x Mona costume-swap fanart.)
    – Damn, still loving the sakuga, including the classic “wind blowing through a wheat/grassy field” effect.

    Welp, off to the second episode of that controversial show…

    Incognito
  14. Pingback: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 2 Review - Best In Show | Crow's World of Anime

  15. I admit that i only saw Episode 03 Screenshots, but that what i saw confirms my resolution to Hook up on this Anime

    The Walk on the Line are done perfectly. Thanks for having me, Mushoku Tensei

    3/3 Passed : Hooked Up!

    Worldwidedepp

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