「緊急家族会議」 (Kinkyuu Kazoku Kaigi)
“Emergency Family Meeting”
All hell breaks loose when Lilia announces she is pregnant – with Paul admitting that it’s his child. And on that bomb shell, an idyllic life comes to an end as reality shatters what looked like a picture perfect family. Where does the Greyrat family go from here?
Paul is Unfaithful, Rudeus Saves the Situation
I really enjoy how Mushoku Tensei features realistic conflict within the bounds of a family dynamic. As opposed to the absent parents, or one dimensionally great/awful parents. It’s interesting to explore a truth that lies somewhere in the middle. As the famous football coach Gattuso said: “Maybe sometime good maybe sometime shit”.
To add additional context which was omitted from this anime adaptation, Paul hadn’t been having sex for a while because Zenith was pregnant. Usually, I become displeased when content is removed. But I think this was the right call if Studio Bind’s didn’t want to take any spotlight off just how shitty Paul’s actions were. That nothing can justify or excuse them. Having tempting thoughts might be natural but a decent person would turn away from that situation regardless. However, Paul gives in to his temptations – cheating on his wife despite how much he knows his fidelity means to her.
Did Paul deserve to be thrown under the bus by Rudeus? Absolutely. And while Rudeus lied about the situation, he achieves an outcome that brought about a greater good – preventing Lilia and his unborn younger sibling from being forced to travel away for one month facing against Winter’s wrath, an ordeal that neither were likely to survive. From seeing how conflicted Zenith was, and knowing her kind-hearted nature, I want to believe she would have eventually come around to this conclusion anyway. But Rudeus deserves full credit for facilitating the process and making it play out in a way that resulted in the least amount of damage, by shirking responsibility onto Paul.
Does Paul deserve to be forgiven?
I’m going to go into more context, because I do not think the anime will return to cover this, seeing how they omitted Zenith’s perspective in this episode. Zenith is a believer of the Milis faith. This religion is pretty much this setting’s version of Christianity – with an emphasis on piety and monogamy. During their adventuring days, she knew Paul was a womanizer, but believed she was the one who reached out to his heart and changed him for the better. And although she was in love with Paul, Zenith refused to have sex with him unless he would be faithful to her – and it’s easy to see why she’s so devastated when he ended up breaking this promise.
Worse still, it’s given away in a passing line, but we also discover that Paul and Lilia knew each other when they were younger, and Paul even raped away her virginity before running away to become an adventurer. In a world where there’s the power dynamic is extremely pronounced and even between the strong and the weak, Paul is truly scum.
But while it could be said he’s beyond redemption, I want to bring attention to the fact he takes personal responsibility and puts in sincere efforts to correct his wrongs as much as possible. Point in case, where Paul had raped Lilia in the past, he makes it his priority to teach Rudeus that he should never force a girl to do anything. Hypocritical? Yes. But it shows remorse for what he did in the past, and how he’s trying to make sure Rudeus won’t repeat his past mistakes.
Also, he takes accountability for his mistakes instead of trying to shift away responsibility or blame others. He immediately confesses that the child is his and it seems clear that he wants to keep the family together and cares for the unborn Aisha – even if it may cause strain and difficulties. I do not believe he should be forgiven. But I think it’s clear he does care. And his efforts to learn from his mistakes and raise his son to be better are worth acknowledging.
I’m not sure what to make of Paul’s sudden as well as forceful move to break Rudeus away from Sylphie. I do agree that Rudeus and Sylphie were developing an unhealthy codependency with each other. Even more revoltingly, Rudeus had plans to groom her into being a perfect wife in the future. So I think this will be beneficial for the development trajectories of both Rudeus and Sylphie. Even if Paul’s methodology of avoiding any kind of logical argument by beating Rudeus unconscious is questionable.
But at this point, you should know that his intentions probably come from the right place – even if they might end up being misguided. Taken away from the comforts of his home under unknown circumstances, but safely kept under the watchful eyes of his parent’s friend from the old days, let’s see how things pan out as the next chapter in the life of Rudeus begins.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week for more Mushoku Tensei!