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Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 8 Review – Best In Show

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Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 8 Review – Quick Summary

In Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 8, “Turning Point 1,” two years had passed since the previous episode. Eris’ sword craft continued to blossom under Ghislaine’s capable teaching. Rudeus continued to lag behind in terms of physical prowess, but he had taught himself new languages — including the Beast God language, with Ghislaine’s help. All was going well when he overheard Eris and the maids planning something special for Rudy. Was that the kind of special they thought Rudy would like? Or the kind of special Eris would like to deliver? And what has happened with the ringed orb hanging above the city?

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

Favorite Quote from Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 8

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 8: Philip was serious. Deadly serious.

This is not the look of a man who was joking. Capture from the Hulu stream.

We’re eight episodes in, and some of this worlds politics are coming into focus. And they are brutal. We learned in this episode that Rudy belongs to the Notos branch of the Greyrat family. The head of that family is Paul’s brother, Philemon, who Rudy described as being even “scummier” than Paul. He must be seriously scummy.

There’s a reason Philip was dismayed that Rudy drew attention to himself in the previous episode. Philemon is so hated among among the Greyrat family that there’s a covert move to replace him. Philip belongs to the Boreas branch. If it were to become known that the Boreas branch harbored a young man of the Notos branch, others would see it as the Notos grooming a replacement for Philemon. An advertised coup can be a problem.

First, I love politics on this level. This is solid world building. It’s made even better when the characters sell it. After Rudy’s party, Rudy found himself alone with Philip, who had had quite a lot of wine. They engaged in small talk. Philip and Rudy have always gotten along. Philip jokingly asked if Rudy would like to marry Eris and take over the Boreas family. Rudy, in the joking spirit, asked what Philip expected from a ten year old.

Philip looked Rudy straight in the eye and said, “All you need to do is sit still. I’ll handle the coup” (10:17).

Between his expression and the quiet menace in his voice, the hair on the back of my neck went up. This world’s politics are brutal, just as medieval time’s politics were brutal. It’s wonderful to see that dramatized so well!

Best in Show Moment for Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 8

This guy scared a dragon away.

Who is this man that made a dragon figure, “Yeah, no?” with just a look? Capture from the Hulu stream.

Setup: Craftsmanship Matters

I’ve recently had to defend my choice to review this series. That’s not surprising, because going into the series, I was aware that Rudy would be a controversial character. More precisely, he would be controversial to some people. From my perspective, he was simply realistic.

Have you ever read Dangerous Visions? Harlan Ellison, a Science Fiction Grand Master, challenged science fiction writers of that time to go out there, to write stories that explored topics that haven’t been previously explored. It’s decidedly not for kids. It’s decidedly not for some adults. But for those of us who can’t shake a deep hunger to understand the world, it was a revelation.

To be honest, I don’t think it went far enough. But watching the reaction to Jobless Reincarnation, I have to reconsider. Are we as a race ready for mature topics? Are we ready to grapple with with fundamental questions like how far we’re willing to go to attempt to heal a broken soul — a broken soul who expresses their brokenness as sexual dysfunction? Or will we just pick up stones and start hurling them — again?

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 8: Ghislaine apparently works out.

I’m pretty sure that knocking on Ghislaine’s butt is a Morally Questionable Act (MQA). Should we tar and feather Rudy? Maybe stone him? Would that be the moral thing to do? Capture from the Hulu stream.

That’s a very, very basic question. It’s a dull, discouraging question. It’s not getting close to the really interesting questions. To even get to the point where you can even talk those questions, as a writer, you need to have a certain level of skill. Presenting difficult questions means presenting complex, realistic worlds where your exploration can take place.

That’s exactly what I’m seeing in Jobless Reincarnation.

Delivery: Foreshadowing Done Right

Roxy Set the Tone

When Roxy stepped onto the balcony and looked at the storm, she wondered aloud (18:11), “Isn’t the Asura Kingdom in that direction? Could it be… Rudeus?” The look on her face and tone of alarm caught my attention. What did she know? What did she suspect? What’s up with Rudy?

That’s one good way to build anticipation!

That was interesting enough. What came next was a masterclass in foreshadowing and building tension. Huge dragons circled above the spine of a mountain pass. A lone man, robed, his hair blowing in the breeze, walked in the twilight. A mammoth dragon swooped close to him and unleashed a torrent of flame right into the man.

The Man Who Intimidates Dragons

When it was done, the man simply looked annoyed. Curious, the dragon lowered itself and landed to look at the man. It reminded me very much of the Flame Dragon from Gate, which, IMHO, is the reference implementation. The dragon gazed at the man. Seeing the intricate glowing patten glowing white beside the man’s eyes, seeing that the man’s eyes looked eerily similar dragon eyes, the dragon decided being somewhere else was a good idea. It flew away.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 8: The dragon was huge.

This guy just stared down a freaking flame dragon. Who is this guy? Capture from the Hulu stream.

So I’m thinking, “Good Lord, who is this guy?” Staring after the dragon, he said (19:16), “Mana is gathering? What’s gone wrong, and where? Oh, well. I’ll find out when I get there.”

This, combined with Roxy’s scene, created a sense of tension and foreboding that I haven’t felt since Made in Abyss or, to a slightly lesser extent, in Izetta: The Last Witch. This is why I watched this show: To immerse myself in a world created by a master of his craft. I’m either about to see some really, really good stuff, or I’m about to see a train wreck. I don’t see this show heading for any middle ground. And I’m okay with that.

What did you think of Sauros’ and Hilda’s reactions at Rudy’s party? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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19 thoughts on “Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 8 Review – Best In Show

  1. The prologue ended with this episode. We’ll get to the meat of the story starting from the next episode.👌

    1. The ending really capture my attention, I’ll say that! I’m really looking forward to seeing what happened to Rudy, Ghislaine, and Eris!

  2. Based on the comments that I have seen on many, many sites including Anime Feminist and Anime News Network, I get the impression that there are a LOT of people who have either have sexual assault trauma or a close friend or relative with the same trauma. I have not, so events that seem to me to be “just an uncomfortable event in an otherwise good if not great anime/manga/light novel series” are major repeats of their personal traumas. I can have empathy with their hatred of this series getting such lavish animation but not feel the same feelings.

    However, I feel that they are ultimately making a mistake. Rudeus is the protagonist of the story, but he is NOT the hero of the story. This story is not a “pedophilia and sexual assault are great story” but one where someone who starts out with those values IS SERIOUSLY MESSED UP.

    1. “Rudeus is the protagonist of the story, but he is NOT the hero of the story. This story is not a “pedophilia and sexual assault are great story” but one where someone who starts out with those values IS SERIOUSLY MESSED UP.”

      That’s probably the best description I’ve read. I like that. I might borrow it — with proper attribution, of course!

      1. Tcrow, just clean it up and its yours. I have been trying to say something like this for weeks and this is my best version so far but it still feels incomplete, like it needs an editor.

        1. Thank you Tcrow. Your acceptance of my partial comment led me to the starting point of my second partial comment that relates to the concepts of redemption and cheap grace. Many of the critics of this work believe that Rudeus’s lack of understanding of consent and his pedophilia makes him completely irredeemable and that anyone is trying to redeem him is just giving him cheap, unearned grace.
          I find the concept of irredeemable sins very troubling, but then again I have never been sexually assaulted. And certainly many of us have seen people forgiven of terrible sins who are unrepentant but the forgiver wanted to get on with their life. So I understand the critics concern about cheap Grace for Rudeus.
          It took Rudeus getting kicked to start realizing that he actually had done something wrong but he did realize his sin. Will he act on this knowledge and seek to improve himself to the point of being deserving of some grace? I do not know.

          1. “It took Rudeus getting kicked to start realizing that he actually had done something wrong but he did realize his sin. Will he act on this knowledge and seek to improve himself to the point of being deserving of some grace? I do not know.”

            The discussion of grace and redemption is fascinating to me, given my degree in theology.

            In the context of this conversation, there are two things that Rudy did that make me think he’s edging slowly in the right direction. First, his remorse for embarrassing Sylphie was genuine. Second, when he realized that Eris was asleep beside him, he saw the ring, which caused him to reflect. He decided not to touch her.

            Speaking from a theological perspective, there are two concepts I’d like to mention.

            First, I’ve seen a lot of people talking about whether a particular human deserves grace or not. Speaking specifically from my understanding of Catholic theology, humans cannot by definition deserve grace. We are all sinners to some extent or other. Divinity offers grace freely, and whether someone accepts it or not has nothing to do with their deservedness.

            Because no human deserves it.

            Second, building on your comment that you find the “concept of irredeemable sins very troubling”, I whole-heartedly agree. Western Christian Scripture is very clear. Only one sin is unforgivable, and that’s blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. That didn’t make sense to me until one of the Dominican Sisters described it to me. If someone is so shattered and twisted that they call the Holy Spirit evil, then the damage is too great. They have no mechanism to receive grace.

            Or something like that. The Sister happened to be a genius in theology, and much of the explanation went over my head. She also tried to explain Thomistic pneumatic spirations, and talk about a lost cause…

            Bottom line: From the perspective of most traditional Christian faiths, there is only one irredeemable sin, and it isn’t one Rudy’s guilty of.

            I hadn’t really intended to push into theological territory, but your comment made me realize I was frustrating myself by not stating the real basis for some of my positions, so there it is!

  3. *****I’ve recently had to defend my choice to review this series.*****

    Aren’t you maybe being a little too defensive here? I mean, in your comments at least, I haven’t seen anyone think any worse of you for covering it. For myself, I certainly don’t. I don’t find your view of the show persuasive; I just can’t see it like that. But that’s all there is to it. It’s messy. I think the little things that make the show better for you, are the things that make the show worse for me: it’s a delicate balance that seems to succeed for you and fail for me.

    I’ve often wondered what show’s I’d be covering if I did weekly coverage (purely hypothetical; I can – in a pinch – see myself making a blog; I can’t see myself doing weekly coverage). And the biggest problem is that you have to decide ahead of the time. Also, the best shows aren’t always the ones that profit the most from coverage. I mean I enjoyed KonoSuba a lot, but there really isn’t much to say. At this point in the season, for example, I’d say the show that I would profit most from covering weekly is Gekidol; it’s a thoroughly confusing experience – I’m not even sure I like the show, but it did manage to surprise me with a lot (without thinking wtf-that makes no sense), which not many other shows can pull off. But there’s absolutely no way I could have known that in advance, and even after the premiere episode it looked like a fairly standard show with some elements thrown in for a cheap gimmick. I’d have needed a time machine to pick that up for coverage.

    I doesn’t seem like you regret picking up the show, so that’s fine then, no? I mean isn’t talking about your viewing experience what the blog’s about?

    ******From my perspective, he was simply realistic.*****

    Well… Controversy and realism have little to do with each other. A person acquiring scumminess through trauma from being bullied can happen, sure. But scummy person acquiring a trauma from being bullied can also happen. I honestly don’t think the show’s giving us enough information to even guess, here, so if that’s how you see the show I’m not going to tell you that I think you’re wrong. My arguments (which I’m not going to repeat) have always been on the meta level: genre expectations and framing.

    Also, I would have loved to read Dangerous Visions, and I’m familiar with most of the authors who are published in the anthology. I’ve never seen it a book shop, though. (I did hold Mirrorshades in my hands, but due to lack of funds and carrying space I bought higher-priority stuff. I’m still regretting this.) I’ve read a lot of SF, and among the classics, the New Wave is what I’m most familiar with. (Definitely more than the Golden Age, for example). I actually haven’t read a single story from this anthology, but these are some I’ve heard about: Larry Nieven, “The Jigsaw Man”; “Land of the Great Horses”, R.A. Lafferty (I might have read that one in translation actually, but I’m unsure); “Judas”, John Brunner; and the most famous of the lot, I think: “Aye, and Gomorrha”, Samual Delany. It’s actually pretty funny how I got into the New Wave. One of Moorcock’s Elric books is called The Weird of the White Wolf. I was a nine year old kid when I bought that book. Why? I liked fantasy, and I liked animals, and I thought it was a book about a wolf. Well, I read the book and I was fascinated from page one to page final even though I had no idea what was going on (the book is episodic, disjointed, and book three in a series). Around the same time, I got Ballard’s Hello America (with a sunken Mickey Mouse as Lady Liberty on the cover) as a birthday present; I tried to read it, but found it dull. The former remained at the back of my mind, the latter didn’t leave much of an impression. Anyway, I didn’t think about either book much until someone who tended to read all my books anyway needed something to read. I gave her the Moorcock book, which sparked my interest as well, since I could barely remember any details. I must have been around 13 or 14 by then? That was also around the time I started reading books in the English original, and about one or two year’s later I’d be taking the train for around 3 hours to get to where I could buy used records and English language books, beyond the meagre English shelves in some regular book shops. Guess what I bought a lot?

    1. “Aren’t you maybe being a little too defensive here?”

      Well, that’s a bit of a Catch-22, isn’t it? If I deny it, I’m acting like I’m being defensive. If I agree to it, I’m lying, because I don’t think I’m being defensive. My statement was in part to the accusation that “Clearly situations like this are so common in the anime you consume that it’s not offensive.”

      Perhaps I misread statements like that, but at least at first glance, they seem like a bit of a challenge. Certainly, they would not qualify as a ringing endorsement.

      “I doesn’t seem like you regret picking up the show, so that’s fine then, no? I mean isn’t talking about your viewing experience what the blog’s about?”

      It’s a tough question, for exactly the reasons you described. I don’t know what I’m getting into! The kinds of discussions this show is producing are among the most energetic that have been on this site. I very much appreciate everyone taking the time to articulate their thoughts, and I consider each perspective carefully — or as carefully as i can.

      With this show, though, I’m forced to deal with concepts that I didn’t really want to get into here. I hadn’t wanted to cross the stream of my thought processes around Dangerous Visions with celebrating anime. They’re not incompatible in my mind, but I’m well aware that to a lot of people, they’re utterly incompatible. Then I have to have conversations like these!

      It’s much easier to explain why I liked Risa’s introduction in Gate.

      “One of Moorcock’s Elric books is called The Weird of the White Wolf. ”

      For years, I’ve meant to check those out.

      “purely hypothetical; I can – in a pinch – see myself making a blog; I can’t see myself doing weekly coverage”

      I still think this would be a good idea!

      1. ************My statement was in part to the accusation that “Clearly situations like this are so common in the anime you consume that it’s not offensive.”

        Perhaps I misread statements like that, but at least at first glance, they seem like a bit of a challenge.***********

        Sounds like a challange of your position on the show rather than of your choice to review the anime. Maybe that’s not an important difference in your mind? Or maybe you don’t see it like that? I was wondering if that was something I said, but I usually don’t use words like “clearly”. I certainly said stuff like that.

        These sort of conversations aren’t very conducive to celebrating anime, though. So maybe causing controversy implies some sort of “you shouldn’t celebrate this anime” by fiat: when I keep criticising the aspect I’m not being very co-operative with the site’s mission – something I’m aware of so I’m actually holding back. I do want to give the show credit where it’s due.

        As for the Elric books, I love them but I haven’t read them in decades and I’m not sure how well they’d age with me or what I’d think of them if I read them now. They’re very uneven in quality (sometimes very uneven by the chapter). And they’re definitely more Conan the Barbarian than Lord of the Rings.

  4. —- a broken soul who expresses their brokenness as sexual dysfunction —-

    I’ve seen you say this more than once, TCrow, and I believe there has yet to be evidence that Rudeus’s sexual dysfunction is a product of his brokenness. Rudeus even remarked this episode about how it sucks to be a virgin, and if anything, his sexual dysfunction could be a sign of him acting out because he never developed sexual relationships with women in his previous life, leading to him overcompensating due to his pent up frustration. I am not convinced that it’s sexual frustration though as Rudeus is pretty much hyper obsessed with sex in almost all circumstances, even going as far as to think about having sex with Sylphiette before 5 years have passed since he believes he can make progress with her sooner instead of staying abstinent for 5 years to accommodate the timeline Eris provided him. As Dawnstorm indicated, it’s even possible that Rudeus was bullied in his past life because his fetishes and sexual preferences were made known to others because he made no effort to conceal them.

    1. “I’ve seen you say this more than once, TCrow, and I believe there has yet to be evidence that Rudeus’s sexual dysfunction is a product of his brokenness. ”

      I wouldn’t say no evidence. The patterns match my observations of several incidents and case studies. To me, a pattern match is a form of evidence.

      I completely understand how my perspective appears unusual. I’ve never been able to communicate my perspective, which is one of the secondary objectives of this site. To me, the concept of giving someone the benefit of the doubt is really straight forward and is the obvious default. However, even something like that just doesn’t seem to resonate.

      I could just say it disappoints me how easily folks judge Rudy. Judgement is itself a problem, because I have yet to meet a single human who could comprehend the state and condition of another. But even then, even with the weight of several thousand years of Christian and Judaic tradition, I can’t get that point across, either.

      “As Dawnstorm indicated, it’s even possible that Rudeus was bullied in his past life because his fetishes and sexual preferences were made known to others because he made no effort to conceal them.”

      Since I have seen no indication of this, I’m going to give Rudy the benefit of the doubt. Of course, I’m likely wrong, but that probably won’t convince me to attempt to understand the facts as presented. I like facts; I find they are often the foundation of good decisions. Which is yet another idea I struggle to communicate!

      1. —- I wouldn’t say no evidence. The patterns match my observations of several incidents and case studies. To me, a pattern match is a form of evidence. —-

        Well, from my perspective, using such things as evidence without having knowledge about what the author actually knows about the topic or these types of incidents appears to be a result of you hoping that Mushoku Tensei’s story is what you want it to be. When I decide to watch a series, I don’t hope that it will be the type of show I want it to be. On the very rare occasion that something does end up being exactly what I would like to see in the medium, such as in Re:zero’s case when Subaru is punished for his sense of entitlement and lack of good character by Emilia and Priscilla respectively in episodes 13 and 16, which made Re:zero stand out in its depiction of what would happen when an otaku was summoned to another world, I celebrate, but I also note to myself that the show can still depict something in a way that doesn’t look great for the show. An example would be in Episode 40 when Subaru remarked to Emilia, “I’m suffering for you here, why can’t you be as cute as I hoped you would be?” in frustration that she wasn’t taking his confession as well as he hoped she would and then pink lighting was used during the kiss between Subaru and Emilia, I was not happy with White Fox for depicting it that way. That’s why I posted that I didn’t find the scene romantic because of Subaru’s entitled remarks. If that was supposed to be an example of how a romance starts, I disagree very strongly with that portrayal. That’s why my main takeaway from that scene was that Subaru was giving Emilia a reason to believe (see what I did there?) that there was still someone who had confidence in her and was on her side after Puck had left her, and she was regaining her memories, being unsure about whether after she recovered her memories that she’d even be the same person. I’m not sure if that pink lighting was anime-only, but I’ve had some novel readers tell me that something I thought was foreshadowing was just an anime-original visual effect meant for dramatic effect rather than being a hint about something regarding the plot.

        —- To me, the concept of giving someone the benefit of the doubt is really straight forward and is the obvious default. However, even something like that just doesn’t seem to resonate. —-

        Yeah, that really doesn’t resonate with me. I like to see that there are actually real consequences to actions, so when I see what I believe is a character getting a free pass on a lot of things, it doesn’t sit well with me. I see certain fans of Mushoku Tensei screaming about cancel culture (I am not suggesting that you are one of them) whenever there is criticism about Rudeus’s behaviour, and it is quite irritating to me as I’m not trying to cancel Rudeus but moreso criticize the writing of the series with what I believe to be the excessive convenience that falls in Rudeus’s way.

        When I see Rudeus casually sexually assaulting Eris in episode 6 being played for laughs, or at least that’s what people have been telling me was what happened, that it was a common instance of Japanese humour in which a character does another character wrong only to be punished afterwards, I take it as a sign of that this show is trivializing sexual assault since nothing was made of the interaction, and it was never mentioned again. Furthermore, Studio Bind didn’t even depict Rudeus as having thoughts about what he did being wrong, only thinking that Eris got him good, besting him in battle in the process, which lends credence to people’s interpretation that it was sexual assault played for laughs. When I see Lillia in Episode 1 wanting to tell Zenith about an infant Rudeus’s perversion but deciding not to, I view it as being the author giving Rudeus a pass for being a pervert given he could have made things harder for Rudeus. When Eris is trembling in this episode at Rudeus’s mere touch before he decides to go to town on her, and she decides to forgive him, asking him to wait for five years, I see that as Rudeus being handed on a silver platter a girl/future wife who could only be his partner and no one else’s because of her disposition. And that isn’t even as convenient as Rudeus being born into a family of womanizers, which I believe is the author’s way of normalizing Rudeus’s perversion because that’s just how Greyrat men are. Roxy even says she missed Rudy’s antics, such as him stealing her panties, in Episode 7, and all of this suggests to me, although I could be wrong, that Mushoku Tensei is the author’s wish-fulfillment fantasy first with as much convenience as possible being delivered to Rudeus, and a unique take on isekai stories, second.

        Fans of Mushoku Tensei think very highly of the show, and as a result of that, I may watch it in its entirely, which could end up being around 200 episodes of material. I guess it could be premature of me to dismiss Mushoku Tensei as just being a wish-fulfillment fantasy as my opinion of it could change after seeing more of it, but right now, I have no reason to believe that Mushoku Tensei will surprise me given the way it has presented things so far.

        1. Of course I’m going to approach this or any other show with a sense of hope.

          I know what the alternative does to me. I started this site in part to put a stop to that.

    2. ***it’s even possible that Rudeus was bullied in his past life because his fetishes and sexual preferences were made known to others because he made no effort to conceal them.***

      No. The manga and anime cut the details on the bullying but the novel made it crystal clear that he was bullied for trying to help a classmate. He saw someone being bullied and told the bullies to stop, but that only made them changed their target to him. And, the level of bullying that he got was far harsher. That caused him to lose faith in humanity, shut himself in, and gradually became the trash that we all know.

      Also, there are no justifiable reason for bullying. No one deserves to be bullied no matter who he is or how different he is. The way you phrase it make it sounds like it’s OK to bully gays and lesbians just because their sexual preference are different from the majority of people and they don’t even try to hide it.

      1. “Also, there are no justifiable reason for bullying.”

        That is a fact.

        I’d call it morally reprehensible, if I wanted to channel my theological education!

      2. Don’t try to malign me by saying I am denigrating gays and lesbians. It should be clear when I used “sexual preferences” that I meant Rudeus being into prepubescent girls as I would have used “sexual orientation” to refer to someone being gay or a lesbians since sexual orientation is not a preference. I’m not surprised that you’d try to argue in bad faith by saying that I condone bullying or that I hate lesbians and gays just because I criticized a show you consider to be a gem.

Please let me know what you think!

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