Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
Episode 9

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation ?

For eight episodes now, I have been hearing people familiar with the source novels insist that this isn't really a slice-of-life fantasy series overall, despite how all of the animated content up until the last few minutes of episode 8 have been presented. By taking the story in a dramatically different direction in a dramatically different setting, episode 9 finally provides the first hard affirmation of those claims.

The transition starts with a weird encounter that the old version of the protagonist has with a well-animated but vaguely-visually-defined being who calls himself “Man-God” and is apparently getting a lot of entertainment out of watching the dichotomy between Rudy's mental and physical selves. (In one of the most bizarre coincidences of anime timing that I have seen in years, this is happening only a couple of days after another isekai protagonist had a similar encounter in her series; see also So I'm a Spider, So What?) I suspect that this is one of those scenes where we will look back and understand its broader significance, but for now the takeaways from this are that a) there is a meddler god in this setting as well, b) the “Dragon-God” might be responsible for Rudy's reincarnation, c) this world is called by the suspicious-sounding name “Six-Sided World,” and d) the protagonist has gotten very attached to his life as Rudeus.

After that, Rudy and Eris find themselves on the Demon Continent in the company of the one type of being that Rudy was told most to fear back in episode 2: a Superd. This initiates a “redefine what you have learned” situation which continues for the rest of the episode, as Rudy quickly discovers that the Superd are not the dreadful monsters which lore makes them out to be – at least normally, anyway. Interestingly, this isn't a simple case of historical misrepresentation; there actually is a lot of validity to why the Superd are so feared, because they really did go on berserk rampages. That's not their natural state, however, and something that Ruijerd has unfathomably deep regrets about. His suspicion that Laplace gave them cursed spears sounds suspect for numerous reasons; what motive would Laplace have had for doing so if he was trying to unite the demons, for instance? Wouldn't that have been counter-productive? Either there's a lot more to this story or the Superd went berserk for some other reason than what Ruijerd thinks – maybe both.

The other big realignment involves running into a village of blue-haired demons which happens to be Roxy's hometown. It is so plain and bucolic that one can easily guess why Roxy left to travel, but the bigger surprise is Roxy's real age: she was around 40 at the time she tutored Rudy. Apparently that kind of youthful appearance is normal until her species is well over 100 years old, too. It's no wonder that the revelation massively throws Rudy for a loop. But why didn't Roxy know about Ruijerd, since he seems to be known to the village?

The ultimate effect of this is setting Rudy and Eris off on a grand survival-adventure quest with Ruijerd, something that Eris seems to be embracing whole-heartedly. (This is not surprising, as her temperament seems better-suited to this than noble life.) In fact, I am finding her to be much more tolerable now than before. Ruijerd is also an almost instantly-likable character, and I can see some genuine chemistry developing between him and Rudy. Other random tidbits – the child Ruijerd saved ten years ago (which would have been around the time Rudy was born – coincidence?) and the other shooting stars scene (others flung by the mana event, maybe?) also provide further potential hooks. The setting detail was as excellent as ever, and the alternate animation of Ruijerd as he protests his race's reputation was an interesting effect. Perhaps best of all, Rudy's perv factor was at its lowest level yet.

This is a promising new direction for the series, and I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

Rating:

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.


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