Ai KakumaKengo KawanishiMegumi ToyoguchiRie Tanaka
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
Also known as: Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2021
Writer/director: Manabu Okamoto
Original creator: Rifujin na Magonote
Actor: Ai Kakuma, Ai Kayano, Daisuke Namikawa, Hisako Kanemoto, Houchu Ohtsuka, Kengo Kawanishi, Kenjiro Tsuda, Konomi Kohara, Kujira, Lynn, Megumi Toyoguchi, Rie Tanaka, Rikiya Koyama, Tomokazu Sugita, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yuka Iguchi, Yumi Uchiyama
Keywords: anime, fantasy, didn't bother finishing it
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 23 episodes in Season 1 + an OVA + a second season
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=22589
Website category: Anime 2021
Review date: 30 November 2022
Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation
I got eight episodes into this show before I ditched it. In some ways, it's very good. Wikipedia says that it "received overwhelmingly positive responses from both critics and audiences and is considered one of the best anime of 2021", although there are strong opinions the other way too. Personally, I couldn't stomach it.
It's based on an online novel series that was a big hit and helped create the Reincarnate In Another World isekai genre. Rudeus is a baby in a sword-and-sorcery world, but he remembers a previous life when he was a fat, lazy, masturbating piece of shit. He's planning to do better this time around. What's unusual about this series is that it's doing the reincarnation thing properly, whereas most of its successors fast-forwarded to their protagonist's fantasy-fulfilment adulthood. This series, though, starts when Rudeus is new-born and follows his growth. It's not rigid about it, but it tends to do a year per episode. When I quit in ep.8, it was Rudeus's tenth birthday.
The good news is that Rudeus is intelligent, serious and super-polite. He talks to everyone as if they're his best customers. He makes good decisions, handles himself well and is basically admirable... except in one respect.
He's a pervert. He steals girls' knickers and leers at his own mother's boobs. He has sleazy conversations with his father. Time after time, a good episode would stop me dead with a scene I didn't want to watch. What the hell are you doing, Rudeus? No, no, no, stop it. Drop dead. Would a four-year-old child even have the hormones and physiology to be capable of a sexual interest in anything?
Furthermore, it's it's not just him. This is a semi-medieval world where it's assumed that a child is sexually mature. When Rudeus eyes up some beastwoman maids, their master cheerfully says anything's okay if he doesn't get them pregnant. (Puberty starts at 9 for some boys, yes, but ewwww.) Fathers cheat on their wives. Masters shag their maids (and we don't know whether or not refusal had been an option). The show's regularly loathsome. You might choose to respect that, since there's clearly a lot of uncomfortable truth in the show's portrayal of sexuality in that kind of society. Personally, though, I bailed at the scene where a 12-year-old girl in a 10-year-old boy's bedroom tells him that a bit of sex would be okay.
I like the worldbuilding, the seriousness and the realism. Rudeus himself is admirable when his mind isn't in the gutter. I'm sure the show improves when Rudeus gets older and starts facing monsters and a fantasy adventurer life. But no. It's not for me.