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The Summer 2023 Anime Preview Guide
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation II

How would you rate episode 0 of
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation II (TV 3) ?
Community score: 4.2

What is this?


After traveling across the world in a desperate journey to return home, homeless-NEET-turned-reincarnated-in-a-fanatsy-world-mage Rudeus Greyrat finds himself at a crossroads. With both his family and companions scattered across the face of the globe and his heart broken beyond repair, he decides to better himself by attending the prestigious Ronoa Magic University.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation II is based on Rifujin na Magonote's light novel series, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation. It streams on Crunchyroll on Sundays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

To be frank, this episode feels like an odd way to start the new season. On one hand, catching up with Sylphy is welcome. She was very much a main character in the early episodes of the series and, once the teleporting incident threw Rudeus and Eris across the planet, she disappeared from the story completely. Answering the mystery of what happened to her is important and is the key to showing us how she has grown and changed over the years she and Rudeus were apart.

However, on the other hand, I can't help but question starting the season with an episode solely focused on this bit of backstory. Oh sure, the episode is called “Episode 0” but that doesn't change the fact that this is the first new episode in over a year (with the last episode being a backstory OVA set midway through the first season). Regardless of any arbitrary number given to it, this is the season premiere and as such is supposed to get people back into the series—to make them remember why they loved the series in the first place. I don't think this episode does this.

The first season ended after a devastating emotional climax—with Rudeus left depressed and more alone than he had ever been since reincarnating. Emotionally damaged but determined, he set off to continue his journey to find his remaining family. The big question—the cliffhanger to get us coming back for season two—was the classic “What's next?” for our hero. Will he be able to find his family? Will he be able to heal from his one-night stand with Eris? Will he be able to make a place for himself in this world? Sidestepping all these questions for a side story is not the best way to draw fans back in—especially as this episode is completely stand-alone and could have technically aired at any point in the second season and lost nothing.

And then there's the elephant in the room. The first season of Mushoku Tensei looked amazing—I'd argue it was the series' main selling point. It was frankly shocking to see such a high level of visual quality outside of a big-budget feature film. While this episode doesn't look “bad” per se—and has its moments that live up to season one—there are also scenes where the quality is a huge step-down. Perhaps I'm just remembering the first season with rose-colored glasses but, at its worst, I never remember the series dropping to some of the levels seen in this episode.

In the end, this episode is a story I wanted to see but not how or when I wanted to see it. I'm hoping that as an “episode zero” this episode was a side project of sorts and everything will get back to form with episode one. We'll just have to watch and see.

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