First off, apologies for the delays. Life has been stupidly busy. I have decided to split the coverage of the five episodes into two separate arcs: A Beast Village Arc and the Millis Continent Arc. Hopefully this will allow me breathing room to catch up and provide coverage in a digestible format – as opposed to going ham in one go.
「只より高いものはない」 (Tada yori Takai Mono wa Nai)
“No Such Thing As a Free Lunch”
I’m glad to see that Eris seems to have bounced back quickly from her defeat at the hands of Rudeus, who definitely used a cheap method.
I guess this is what martial classes feel in 5E when they get power-crept by casters later on. May as well sudoku and build a new character at that level when partaking in a long-term campaign. I will say Studio Bind seem decently focused on making sure that Eris is sufficiently fleshed out, so that her later decisions don’t seem to come out of nowhere.
Anyhow, with Eris and Rujierd taking a back seat for about two episodes here, the important points to talk about are Rudeus’ progression, specifically pertaining to his discovery of agency.
That isn’t to say that Rudeus condones slavery. This doesn’t seem to be what the story is trying to make out here. Rather, now that he’s been flung to a faraway continent where he and Eris are children on an arduous Odyssey through the Dark Continent. Despite their latent talents, they are relatively powerless children who could very well encounter bigger fish way beyond their individual capabilities.
From the start, he refuses to take agency over their situation with the slave traders. He hopes that quietly abiding by their whims will be sufficient to proceed.
My thoughts go that in addition to desiring avoidance of troubles, Rudeus must have felt ingratiated to the slave traders for helping deliver safe passage – a favour no one else was willing to do.
However, Rudeus and his refusal to exercise agency – for fear of incurring trouble – results in the preventable death of an enslaved beast girl. Who is beaten to death for crying too much while being subjected to forced captivity.
It must be noted how much this death changes Rudeus and his outlook on these types of situations. When the same incident unfolds again, this time without Rujierd to help out, Rudeus chooses to make a stand of his own volition.
I want to highlight how he had already made this choice way before the Holy Beast came to assist him. So in essence, Rudeus made the choice to step out of his bounds, under the belief it would be him on his lonesome against a North Style God.
Despite carrying feelings o failure over into his next life, Rudeus learns that he is not completely helpless,. His scenario at the Dorudia Village teaches himself that he can take control of the situation and exercise agency in a way that will improve himself or the situation of others, as opposed to being shackled by the preconceived beliefs of an immutable status quo.
「ドルディア村のスローライフ」 (Dorudia Mura no Surou Raifu)
“Slow Life in the Doldia Village”
If you ask me, the least they could have done with Geese would have been to pardon him, especially with the way he helped defend the village alongside Rudeus. So it kind of sucked to see him getting incarcerated yet again.
Anyhow, with so much focus going into Rudeus over two episodes, I say it’s only fair that Eris had a chance to shine.
Eris has really come into her own character over the course of this Demonic Continent arc. We’ve been able to see way more of what she’s like beyond a fiery temper. Namely her tsundere side, her devoted side to people she cares about – namely her grandfather, Ghislaine and Rudeus, and her vulnerable side – insecurities over whether she can match up to Rudeus.
This episode gave us a thorough insight in terms of how she approaches mentorship. Turns out Eris is a great mentor, at least when it comes to Beast Folk. She does a fantastic job teaching the two girls common language, mathematics and swordplay.
In situations where we expect her to dish out an absolute beating, she tames her temper and acts as the ‘bigger person’, refusing to go all out. This sure shows she’s come the distance since those days of easily getting mad and being the epitome of unreasonable.
However, given the slow life of the village, it was only inevitable that Dead End would have to depart the Doldia village. While they’ve made great friends in the village, Rudeus and Eris have an important goal that goes way beyond settling down. Returning home and making sure their families know that they are okay.
Although one of the beast girls is loathe to see them go, throwing a tantrum too, she eventually comes around to accepting that Rudeus and Eris need to leave. I think that’s an important part of growing up – learning when to let go and wait for your important or beloved people to return. To be honest, I don’t really care about this beast girl and view her as a plot device to help Eris grow as a character. But that put a nice closure to her involvement with this segment of Mushoku Tensei.
The next route in their journey – the Millis Continent. For those who remember, this is the place where Rudeus’ mother originates from. And arguably, Rudeus and Eris have overcome the most dangerous part of their journey – returning to human civilisation. However, Millis is also a place built upon an uneasy alliance between religion and politics. Just like some segments of their Demonic Continent adventures, perhaps their upcoming trials might not be solvable through sheer might alone.
Finally, if the end scene is anything to go by, Sauros has been held responsible for a disaster which was completely beyond his control and is made to pay the price for it with his life. As he is executed, witnessed by a gallery of people – some who will be political opponents quietly celebrating his death or allies who quietly lament his passing – one thing is clear: Eris will never ever see her beloved grandfather ever again.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading these posts. Again, my apologies for the huge delays. People must have thought Mushoku Tensei was cancelled on Random Curiosity (this is one of the few shows I wouldn’t), and I’m aware I did not do my due diligence in ensuring that coverage standards were met. Hopefully I’ll have the next one banged out in the next 2-3 days, once I finish banging out Aquatope and MCM London Comicon coverage.