Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation ?
If I understand correctly, the opening scene actually ended the second novel, whose adaptation otherwise ended with episode 8 but was skipped over at the beginning of episode 9. If that is the case, then it feels more fitting here, as the time Roxy would have needed to travel back to Rudeus's home probably about matches with the time covered between episodes 9 and the first part of 11 on the Demon Continent. The scene also finally reveals the devastation back in Rudeus's homeland, including the revelation that his family has also been scattered and the introduction of the elf-looking swordswoman and dwarf-looking fellow (Elinalise and Talhand, respectively, according to advertising about their voice actors) from Paul and Zenith's former adventuring party. Sadly, it does not reveal what may have happened to Ghislaine or Eris's family, but the ending scene of Roxy traveling with the dwarf and elf across a sea (perhaps on a convergent path to Rudeus's team?) is something to anticipate for next cour.
The main part of the episode, however, centers on the Demon Continent. I assume that the montage being played as Paul is reading his posting summarizes some of the lesser events of the Rudeus/Eris/Ruijerd trio doing various jobs and exploring the city from last episode onwards, and presumably the travel scenes towards the end are doing the same. Novel readers will have to comment on whether these scenes are glossing over anything important, but it feels like a lot of content is being condensed to allow the focus to fall on a couple of key matters. One is just how much Rudeus is taking upon himself to both assure that Dead End has an income for travel funds and to simultaneously repair Ruijerd's reputation. This was always an ambitious plan – too ambitious, as it turns out, since trying to stage everything right in the rescue attempt in the forest leads to a fatal mistiming. The other adventuring party may assume the blame for getting in over their heads, but Rudeus clearly knows that his attempt at stage-setting at least contributed to the young adventurer's death, and he is not trying to play off that hard truth. (His body language here is particularly telling, and kudos to the adaptation team for animating that.) He also knows that his plans got them in the predicament with the horse-headed guy trying to extort them, to the point that he is even willing to violate his previously-stated principles about not needlessly killing to keep everything from toppling over. Thankfully, Ruijerd notices in time and takes matters into his own hands.
These are some hard lessons for Rudeus about trying to do too much, but they are lessons he had to learn eventually. His conversation with Ruijerd afterwards, paired with Ruijerd's conversation with the young adventurer in the woods, firm up what it means to be a warrior in this setting (at least to Ruijerd, anyway) and demonstrate just how much of a true father figure Ruijerd is becoming for Rudeus. The scene showing them talking against the background of stars is, in fact, the first time I felt a real emotional tug from the series. The later scene with Ruijerd cutting off the hair which identifies him as a Superd also carries symbolic meaning, as it shows Ruijerd taking a step forward as well. The only minor disappointment here is that Eris seems static through all of this, so hopefully the second half will show some development with her.
On the visual front, the series once again dazzles in its action scenes. Both fights in the forest are dynamic, well-animated affairs against suitably-intimidating opponents, delivering on everything we have come to expect so far from the action side of the series. Later, the episode also complements those scenes with more fantastic setting imagery, including the different types of giant lizards the trio ride on while traveling during the closing credits. Rudeus wouldn't be Rudeus if he didn't try to peep on Eris while she was bathing, but this has also been a stock scene in fantasy series for decades, so it is hardly original to this series. (I have to wonder what Ruijerd thinks of this, given how he calmly removed Rudeus.) That aside, this was a great episode which felt like it covered a lot of ground.
Despite Rudeus' unseemly behavior at times, I have found this to be an involving and surprisingly intricate fantasy series so far and look forward to the series' return in the summer.
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