Original Run: October 4, 2021 - December 20, 2021 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai Based on the Series Created By: Rifujin na Magonote
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Reader discretion is advised.***
Following the events of a mysterious calamity, Rudeus Greyrat (voiced by Yumi Uchiyama) has found himself far away from his home. Since his reincarnation as a young boy and mage, Rudeus has used his immense magical prowess and calculating mind to tackle every obstacle that has stood before him. But he has never been in a situation like this.
Determined to return to the land of his birth, Rudeus and his friends set out on their adventure. However, along the way, the group witnesses the world’s cruelty. Little did they realize the true extent of the suffering brought about by the calamity.
I know I am in the minority. Heck, looking at how well-received and popular this series has been, the amount of pushback – the you-clearly-missed-the-point comments – I have received is not surprising. Nevertheless, I stand by my review of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 1 (Mushoku Tensei 1). I’ll even double down on my previous thoughts:
Mushoku Tensei 1 is a fundamentally flawed show. It centers around a blatantly troublesome main character who is openly perverted and sleazy. He might now exist in the body of an eleven-year-old boy, but his mind is still that of a thirty-something shut-in who has proven to be unapologetic with his pedophilic preferences. Although our protagonist’s past is one filled with horrific and debilitating trauma that was a contributing factor to his current behavior, sexual assault is still sexual assault. I am not going to apologize for not wanting to root for or condone a lead character that has yet to learn that lesson.
Although Mushoku Tensei 1 had plenty of technically good aspects about it – solid animation, a beautiful soundtrack, and an engaging story – it was not a series that I could recommend. It is a problematic show, and I don’t know why so many people have been so willing to overlook its many, MANY flaws.
And since I did not recommend watching season one, we come to a dilemma with season two.
I will say that Mushoku Tensei 2 was more palatable than its predecessor. There were still plenty of in-poor-taste things about this installment, and I remained convinced that this series’s high marks are laughably undeserved. Plus, since you absolutely must watch season one to have any hope of following season two, that would mean sitting through one of the most uncomfortable (not in a deliberate storytelling fashion) anime from 2021.
But if you have already done that, you will find this continuation to be far better.
To start, aside from Mushoku Tensei 2’s visuals and music – which, again, were excellent – the most significant selling point this show has is its character growth.
Now, when I say “character growth,” there is one crucial exception that we will get to later. And so we are not beating around the bush; I am referring to Rudeus Greyrat. However, everyone around Rudeus and many of the people he interacted with in this series saw great strides in their maturity, one of the most notable being Roxy Migurdia (voiced by Konomi Kohara).
Before I go a little deeper with this, I first want to ask, “Should we consider Roxy to be a main character?”
- If yes, then why was she barely in this show?
- If no, then why did this series give her such an extensive background?
Regardless, unlike any other character besides Rudeus, Roxy got an entire episode – and plenty of smaller segments – dedicated to her.
Assuming there will be a Mushoku Tensei 3 – which, given the inconclusive nature of this installment, is more likely than not – Roxy will be in a position to play a much larger role in this story. Hers and Rudeus’s paths are rapidly reaching a crossroads, and I just don’t see how the two won’t come together at some future point.
Whenever that day comes, thanks to the development in Mushoku Tensei 2, we will have a much better idea of who Roxy is. We now know what motivates her as a character. In fact, I would go so far as to say she could – and probably should – be the star of her own narrative. And since she is a much more likable character than Rudeus, I can envision a series that could be worth the praise and admiration this one has gotten.
Aside from Roxy, we saw the growth of other key characters, such as Eris Greyrat. Just remembering her personality from season one, she is nearly unrecognizable now. Granted, by the end of this season, she had turned fifteen years old (thus, still just a child), and yet, she has learned to carry herself well and forgo her more bratty tendencies.
Lastly, for this section of the review, it would be wrong of me not to admit how often Mushoku Tensei struck home. Even with all its issues, this series knew how to deliver heart when it needed to.
This series is a darker fantasy tale. There is death, loss, and suffering; there were moments in this season that were both difficult to watch AND important atmospheric establishments. I’ll even concede that Rudeus, on more than one occasion, could carry an emotional scene.
The problem is, when such a thing occurred, it was as if there were two separate characters that happened to have the same name. On the one hand, there was a Rudeus who was a cog in this world and had actual ties to the people living there. On the other hand, which was much more common, there was a creepy middle-aged man masquerading as a child who used his unassuming looks to behave like a total creep.
I don’t want this section to turn into an exclusive rant about Redeus; I already did that in the season one review. Be that as it may, Redeus was, once again, mostly dead weight, and that is a quality no protagonist should ever have.
Admittedly, Redeus was much more tolerable in this installment. At least in this season, he didn’t try to steal the panties off a sleeping girl.
Then again, there was this one segment where Redeus had to venture into a kidnappers’ den. While inside, there were a bunch of young, female beastfolk children. More disturbingly, one of the guards in said den was actively torturing (possibly raping) one of those children.
Redeus, to his credit, found that scene sickening and set to freeing all the prisoners at once. But, being Redeus, he could help himself from being a leech when even the slightest opportunity arose.
After taking out the guards, Redues walks into one of the cells to free release the prisoners. Prisoners who were terrified, didn’t speak the common language, had little food for god knows how long, and were in the presence of their friend’s corpse who died no less than five minutes before the rescue. And yet, Redeus saw nothing wrong about looking down a prisoner’s shirt and thinking he might get lucky since he was the conquering hero.
Seeing that exchange, it finally occurred to me what my biggest issue with this series is.
Mushoku Tensei has no sense of balance.
I am a firm believer that the bleakest of dramas can find room for humor. Likewise, the silliest of comedies can introduce sad and painful ideas. These two extremes can exist within the same story. However, to do this effectively, it takes work since, as we all know, there are times when jokes are in terrible taste, and nobody likes an unnecessary downer.
Mushoku Tensei has never understood this.
It was commendable when this series was dramatic, dark, and somber. Mushoku Tensei did an excellent job of illustrating how devastating and far-reaching the magical calamity was. There were genuine moments in this show.
So then why did Mushoku Tensei constantly feel it was necessary to throw in such free and open perversion? Not sex, but rather the kind of hedonism that makes everyone uncomfortable. Think about it; wouldn’t you find it a little off-putting if you were at a funeral and you heard someone compliment how stacked the deceased’s granddaughter was?
While that is an example I made up, I wouldn’t put it past this series to do such a thing. And that is why Mushoku Tensei fails.
Pretty visuals and a nice soundtrack are not enough for me to think a show is good. That is especially true when it has so many other aspects that spit in the face of what could have been something worthwhile.
I know I will get a lot of hate for me speaking poorly about this show, but it is not the quality series its popularity would lead you to believe.
With an unbalanced story, conflicting atmospheres, and one of the weakest protagonists I have come in a long time, I am not sure what there is to defend.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 is better than before, but I still say skip it all the same.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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