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Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

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Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 1 Review – Quick Summary

In Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 1, “Jobless Reincarnation,” a thirty-something NEET met his end at the hand of truck-kun. The last thing he remembered was being wheeling into an operating room. Then everything went black. When he opened his eyes, some huge man just picked him up and kissed him. That seemed strange until he noticed that his own hands were tiny. That’s when he realized he’d been reincarnated as a baby. Even better, his intellect and memories were intact! What kind of world will he find after he learns to walk? Will he understand the language? And will they have a replacement for his light novel collection?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 1

The main character wondered what the heck this man was doing — wasn’t the MC severely injured? This is no way for a doctor to behave! Capture from the Funimation stream.

I wasn’t going to watch this show, much less review it. I mean, how many isekai shows can I watch in a given season? But I read RABUJOI’s review and thought the show sounded interesting. Glad I did! At first, I thought it reminded me of Tanya the Evil minus the evil. Then I thought it was like The Misfit of Demon King Academy with the demon king being less a demon. By the end of the episode, I’d decided. It was its own thing, and if this first episode is any indication, it’s going to be a fun ride.

My favorite quote is a good indication of this series’ humor. The episode started just after truck-kun had slammed into the main character. The main character, who described himself as overweight after having been a shut-in, was fading fast. He was aware that the doctors were trying to treat him in an operating room. He also knew he was dying.

So when he next opened his eyes, he saw a man reach out and pick him up.

“What the hell is he doing?” our main character asked (02:20). “I’m seriously injured.”

This was just the first of many surprises in store for our main character.

Best in Show Moment for Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 1

Crafting a sense of wonder? In an isekai? That’s a pleasant surprise! Capture from the Funimation stream.

Setup: Rudeus as the POV…

The first thing to draw me into this series was how authentic the main character’s experience felt. So often in isekai series, the truck hits the MC, and the MC is in the other world building a harem or exercising great and unearned power. Here, we got to experience first the near-death experience, the death experience, and the reincarnation experience. Rarely have I felt so immersed in a scene.

The show kept that up. I thought it was hilarious how the MC learned he was a baby when he reached for Zenith Greyrat’s bosom, only to realize that his hands were pudgy and so, so tiny.

The MC’s lust taught him a valuable life lesson! Capture from the Funimation stream.

We still had no real idea of where he was. He was an immobile baby, so he could only see what was visible from his mother or father’s arms. That meant that we in the audience learned about the world along with him. We knew that the little dude was as good at crawling, and we found out he was lusting after the family’s maid, Lilia. In fact, his little lust was so obvious that it almost made the maid express her concern to Zenith. But the scene did more than make me laugh. It showed me that the maid was cooking over wood embers on an open hearth. Not exactly cutting-edge technology!

The magical moment as Rudeus Greyrat, our main character’s name in this world, decided to expand his awareness of the world.

Delivery:… Delivers an Instant of Magic

Just Where Was Rudeus?

Zenith had blonde hair, so Rudeus thought that maybe he was in Europe. When he was old enough, he climbed up onto the window sill and looked out. The glass wasn’t completely clear, so he had to carefully adjust his body to see out. He was shocked to see his father, Paul Greyrat, practicing with a sword. At first I thought Rudeus was confused because as someone who had lived in Japan, he didn’t expect Paul to be using a long sword. But no, it was that his father was training with the sword at all. Just what year was it?

Rudeus was shocked to see his father practice with a long sword. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Rudeus had over extended his little body. He lost his balance and thudded to the floor. There he lay, looking up at the ceiling and feeling like an idiot for doing something so embarrassing. Immediately, both Zenith and Lilia were at his side.

Lilia was worried because he wasn’t crying. In other words, the little dude wasn’t acting little at all. His mom picked him him and checked his skull for cracks, as any mother would. Rudeus reacted humorously, just as he had for the entire show to this point. “You’re not supposed to move people who’ve hit their heads, lady,” he thought (05:11). Just another funny moment.

Oh. It’s Not Europe.

It was even funny when his mother said she’d use magic to make sure he hadn’t been injured. Rudeus wondered if this was this world’s equivalent to kissing a boo-boo.

And then his mom actually cast magic to heal him.

How often do we see magic used in isekai series? All the time, right? But this show made it feel magical. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Rudeus could only watch, his mouth hanging open, as the magic flowed around him and through him. Though his eyes, I could see magic as an amazing, unexpected thing. I could see it as something, well, magical. And just like that, I was hooked. I decided I’d review this series.

What did you think of how Rudeus comforted Roxy Migurdia towards the end of the episode? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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12 thoughts on “Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

  1. I’m much with Vance on Rudeus, here. My problem is more with genre expectations than with character. I’d agree with a lot you say in your replies if it were about real people, but Rudeus is a character written for a particular audience. There’s a nudge-wink thing going on here I don’t particularly care to be part of, and seeing it like that prevents me from fully seeing him as a person; he’s always just a character, he illusion never fully closes the gap between character and person. So it’s mostly a matter of “I’m not the target audience for this behaviour,” and “I find this distracting and annoying.”

    That said, I overall enjoyed the show. I liked pretty much every other character so far, and the magic moment really was a magic moment, as you say. I overall liked the premiere.

    1. “I’d agree with a lot you say in your replies if it were about real people, but Rudeus is a character written for a particular audience. ”

      Even within that context, there’s room for both growth and pushing the tropes. The ending, where Rudeus realized, with what felt like authentic emotion, that there might be a place for him… Well, I’ve been wrong before. I’ll be wrong again. But this might turn out to be pretty cool.

      “There’s a nudge-wink thing going on here I don’t particularly care to be part of, and seeing it like that prevents me from fully seeing him as a person; ”

      Do you remember the Monty Python sketch about winking and nudging? The punchline was that the guy doing the “wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean, know what I mean?” didn’t. I mean didn’t know. He asked the married guy what it was.

      I get that vibe from Rudeus.

      Like I said, I could easily be wrong, but I’m to the point in my life where I’ve grown rather tired of not taking more chances. I’m going to risk liking this show.

      We’ll see how it works out!

  2. Rudeus also mentioned that Roxy being a loli makes her desirable, and I find that to be revolting. This is before he talks about Roxy’s bush not being grown in yet. Of course, any improvement in Rudeus’s character will be praised by fans of the show, but that’s not exactly hard or groundbreaking considering how unbecoming his current behaviour is.

    1. Does Rudeus even know what he’s saying? Remember, he’s had zero contact with humans. His social education includes only computer games, light novels, and, I’d guess, anime and manga. So when he says he’s attracted to Roxy, does that mean he is really attracted to her — or is he channeling a meme?

      Nope. I’m not excusing him. But like I said, I really like redemption stories, and this sure looks like it’s going that direction.

      “but that’s not exactly hard or groundbreaking considering how unbecoming his current behaviour is.”

      I’ll have to see how it’s implemented. In all the years I’ve watched anime, I have yet to see anything I could classify groundbreaking. Well, maybe parts of Re:ZERO pushed the narrative boundaries in a good way. And other shows have staked out new territory here and there. But it’s hard because humanity’s produced a _ton_ of fiction since Epic of Gilgamesh, and let’s face it: There are only so many combinations of plot and character!

      What I’ve seen so far inclines me to give the show a chance.

      And honestly? The scene where Zenith cast the healing spell? That was beautiful.

      1. “Remember, he’s had zero contact with humans. His social education includes only computer games, light novels, and, I’d guess, anime and manga. So when he says he’s attracted to Roxy, does that mean he is really attracted to her — or is he channeling a meme?”

        Considering Rudeus says, “Loli, scornful gaze, unsociable: three traits that equal perfection. I want to marry her”, I wouldn’t be saying he is memeing here. Hikkimori NEET or not, your interpretation seems to be a little on the lenient side. He was a man in his 30s after all, and considering the games, light novels, anime, and manga he has consumed, I’d say it’s definitely possible he has formed an opinion on what he considers attractive or knows what kinds of fetishes he is into. IMO, what he indicated there is that he specifically likes lolis and is perhaps into unsociable women who would be unlikely to flirt or cheat on him with another person due to their lack of social skills or because fewer men would be into them. Maybe I am overanalyzing this, but I guess we’ll see how things go in the rest of the cour. I intend to watch even the second cour of this series given the amount of noise surrounding it, and I guess we will find out eventually whether he really is attracted to her.

  3. On Mushoku Tensei, 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, creepy grin that you use when trying to pick up a woman, and Roxy actually got cheered up by this. This is not my idea of quality writing because such a thing would be cringeworthy in real life, especially when you add that kind of grin to it.

    At Random Curiosity, a source reader informed me that in the novels, Rudeus also mentioned before acting on the matter that it was silly to try to cheer somebody up with eroge lines, but since he doesn’t really interact with people, he has no idea what else to say. The anime made it seem like Rudeus gave himself a pep talk and said, “Hey, kid, you do what to say in this situation! Just go for it!” So basically, Studio Bind for its anime adaptation presented that scene as if using eroge lines to cheer someone up is unironically effective and even a common sense way of approaching the matter instead of being something nobody would ever seriously attempt. The studio essentially made the scene worse than what the novels had intended even though there were plenty of other scenes that the studio could have slimmed down the runtime of to make room for Rudeus’s acknowledgement that it was a silly thing to do.

    Considering I was less than enthused about the reception of this show before, I’m even more skeptical about whether the animators will adapt the source material properly after learning about that particular change from the light novels to the anime. It appears to me to be an anime that will be heavy on wish fulfillment and possibly gloss over how certain less-than-desired behaviour is problematic or inappropriate.

    1. I get where you’re coming from, but I think I’m seeing this differently than you are. For example:

      “This is not my idea of quality writing because such a thing would be cringeworthy in real life, especially when you add that kind of grin to it.”

      In real life, it would be difficult to stuff a 30 year old NEET into a 2 year old body. If a 30 year old NEET waltzed up to a middle schooler and use an eroge pick up line, absolutely that’s creepy. Likely would be classified as morally reprehensible.

      But what happens when he’s in a 2 year old body? I don’t know — is it hebephilia or ephebophilia for Rudeus in a 2 year old body? I’m not convinced he’s really attracted to her, though there’s clear evidence (that you correctly pointed out) that the little dude is wildly inappropriate.

      Which isn’t out of question for someone with his background, though I’d argue that his preference for older, mature women is pretty well established!

      I go back, though, to what he said prior to trying that line. The dude had no idea what to say. He rarely talked to anyone, so that particular skill was beyond him. So he did the best he could — and the grin he threw in was likely copied from the game, too.

      It cheered her up because she hadn’t played the game. So she accepted it in the spirit he offered it — as an attempt to cheer her up, which she appreciated.

      “At Random Curiosity, a source reader informed me that in the novels, Rudeus also mentioned before acting on the matter that it was silly to try to cheer somebody up with eroge lines,”

      This brings up an important point: I’m anime only, so I’m only going to react to what’s in front of me, on the screen.

      “Considering I was less than enthused about the reception of this show before, I’m even more skeptical about whether the animators will adapt the source material properly after learning about that particular change from the light novels to the anime. ”

      I’m not sure. Even though you brought up the extended background of the novel, I maintain that what I saw on the screen convinced me of Rudeus’ honest intent to cheer her up.

      I’ll admit that reviewing this show is a risk. But based on what I’ve seen here, I really want to see where it goes. And yes, I do like a good redemption story — and the last moments of this episode raised my hopes that’s just what we’ll get!

      1. “I’m not sure. Even though you brought up the extended background of the novel, I maintain that what I saw on the screen convinced me of Rudeus’ honest intent to cheer her up.”

        I don’t doubt that Rudeus honestly intended to cheer Roxy up, but I think with the lines from the novel omitted, the animators made it seem as if using an eroge pick-up line to cheer up a girl is both an effective and common sense way of approaching it given Rudeus thought about channeling his inner main character from his favourite 18+ dating sim without saying what a silly thing that would be to do that in this situation. I think if Mushoku Tensei was a satire, that particular scene would have worked, but since it was supposed to be a serious moment, I think the lack of Rudeus’s acknowledgement that using an eroge line to cheer somebody up is silly somewhat undermines the intent of what the author of the work may have intended to portray. Given the way the scene played out, I thought it gave the sense that what Rudeus did was the common sense thing to do even though it wasn’t, which kind of indirectly or accidentally glorifies eroge lines instead of shining a light on why it shouldn’t be someone’s go-to when trying to cheer someone up.

Please let me know what you think!

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