Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation 2nd Part
Episode 20

by Kim Morrissy,

How would you rate episode 20 of
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.4

"Anticlimax" is the theme of this episode. Although the previous episode set up various complications—namely Rudeus falling for Pax's dim-witted trap as a kind of proxy conflict against the Man God—this episode deliberately handwaves all of that away in a manner that defies viewer expectations. I don't think anyone seeing this story for the first time would have expected to see Pax's otaku brother suddenly barge in threatening to rip off the guy's head. That's honestly pretty satisfying in its own way, even if it does mean that we're deferring the Man God plot for another day.

At the same time, it can't be denied that the events here felt rather rushed, with only Zanoba's scenes making a firm impression. The passionate discussion about Rudeus's hand-crafted Roxy figure was a delight (I particularly enjoyed how it's got the creativity and rough-around-the-edges appeal of a well-crafted garage kit), and the scene where Pax's head almost gets ripped off was genuinely tense thanks to the attention to animation detail and Jun Fukushima's incredibly on-point vocal performance. But this was nonetheless an episode where things just sort of happen spontaneously. I can't say that I was fully satisfied with how Ginger's contrivances were explained in a throwaway line after the fact—Zanoba's involvement still came across as a rather convenient plot device at the end of the day.

It's also worth noting just how much of a passive participant Rudeus was in this episode. It's not his first time getting captured, which he called attention to by repeating his lines about "free rent" from his experience in the beast-tribe forest. Yet beyond his witticisms, Rudeus did very little to react to his dilemma, nor did he self-reflect in the slightest about how his complacency got him into that situation in the first place. Although the actual resolution was admittedly pretty funny, the fact that Rudeus showed no introspection is what ultimately makes this adventure come across as a throwaway. As much as I appreciate how Mushoku Tensei doesn't take itself too seriously, these past two episodes are jarring as the immediate follow-up to the Paul subplot, which stood out because of their emotional richness.

I will give this episode props for one thing, though: It found a way to make Rudeus's attachment to Roxy's panties seem almost wholesome! Now that's the kind of writing I can admire! Also, with the next episode title being "Turning Point II," there's a strong indication that something major will happen next week. Considering that in the last Turning Point, all the characters had their lives completely upturned, you could see the Shirone subplot as the calm before the storm. With that context in mind, it served its purpose well because it pulled the punches the previous episode was foreshadowing. It's hard to even guess from here what the next episode will have in store.

Rating:

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation 2nd Part is currently streaming on Funimation.


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