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Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation II
Episode 22

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 22 of
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation II (TV 4) ?
Community score: 4.8

When you think about it, Rudeus has truly lost a few things in his second life. Oh sure. He's been separated from those he loved—and been deeply affected by that—but there has always been the chance to reunite (and reconcile should that be needed). But now, Rudeus faces the truest version of loss—i.e., death—and he is not taking it well.

To Rudeus, Paul was both a loving father and a teacher. He learned the ways of the sword after countless hours of training with him. It's easy to see why Rudeus is devastated—especially once it becomes clear his mother is suffering from some form of mental trauma or brain damage. But while I feel for Rudeus, I don't feel much sadness about Paul's death in general.

From a viewer standpoint, we don't have nearly the same connection to Paul as Rudeus. In this series so far, Rudeus has spent far more time without Paul than with him. Paul's only present in the first four episodes, the two episodes where they reunite (and fight), and these last three episodes—basically, nine episodes out of 44. Yes, we are familiar with him, but our attachment to him is dwarfed by our attachment to characters like Eris, Ruijerd, and Sylphy—just to name a few.

It also doesn't help that Paul has been portrayed in a negative light as often as a positive one. He cheated on his wife, took out all his rage and despair on his son, and generally let his emotions rule his actions—often hurting both his cause and those around him. All this can make it hard to sympathize with the character—especially as we don't have those off-screen years of loving support that Rudeus does to balance things out.

That said, despite his failings, there is one undeniably positive thing to say about Paul: he cared about his family more than anything. Because of this, he undoubtedly died a happy man. Hell, he states in this episode that he would gladly die, even if it was only to retrieve Zenith's body. Her being alive—even in her current state—would have left Paul overjoyed.

The real tragedy of the whole situation is that Paul has been so focused on saving Zenith for so long that Rudeus forgot something basic: that he was just as precious to Paul. If it had been Rudeus in that crystal in the labyrinth, Paul would have been as single-minded in rescuing him as he had been for Zenith. But Rudeus has been on his own for so long that it never even occurred to him that Paul would give his life to save him. It's not until he sees Paul's bisected body that he realizes what happened and why.

So now, Rudeus is left with the inescapable knowledge of how much his father loved him and has no way to express his feelings. Add to this all the normal feelings of loss—alongside the mental damage to his mother—and it seems obvious that this is too much for Rudeus to bear. Luckily, he has family and friends around him—people who will not abandon him even if he lashes out in pain and anguish (which is exactly what I expect to see in the next episode).


Random Thoughts:

• There's bringing your animation A-game, and then there's this episode. Damn.

• All I could think of in this episode was "Poor Norn."

• I love the twist that ancient Greek mythology was the solution rather than modern-day knowledge being the key to victory over the hydra.

• I have to admit, my memory is a bit fuzzy on the rules of healing magic in this series. Can Rudeus' arm be healed later if they find a sufficiently powerful healing magic user, or is there some kind of time limit for healing between when the injury happens and when the magic needs to be cast?

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation II is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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