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‘Mushoku Tensei’ Review: A Pillar of Isekai

2021 witnessed the emergence of ‘Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation,’ a series that stirred both excitement and controversy. Unlike its counterpart, ‘Redo of Healer,’ which garnered mixed reactions, ‘Mushoku Tensei’ found favour among audiences, earning its place as one of the best-rated series of the season.

This review aims to dissect the nuances of the anime’s reception, exploring the dissonance between critical reviews and viewer perspectives.

The anime, often dubbed the “grandfather of isekai” and a “pioneer of narou-kei web novels,” raises questions about its place in the anime pantheon. The narou-kei genre, focusing on self-fulfilment and wish-granting, has its roots in the mid-2000s, with ‘Mushoku Tensei’ not being the first of its kind.

Image Courtesy: Mushoku Tensei WIki

Contemporary examples such as ‘No Game No Life,’ ‘Konosuba’ and ‘Isekai Cheat Magician’ preceded it. The series’ nomenclature may stem from the complexities of popular culture, where the evolution of fanfiction and the resurgence of isekai in the 2010s played a pivotal role in shaping its identity.

As we delve into the narrative, the series faces challenges in sustaining the logic of its world. The teleportation incident, lingering for five years, raises questions about its purpose, potentially serving as a desperate attempt to inject conflict into an otherwise tranquil plot. Despite commendable animation and character designs, the plot’s coherence becomes questionable, exacerbated by frequent time skips that border on becoming a tired trope.

Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times

One notable absence is the character Roxy, whose potential to restore direction to the story is underutilized. The series struggles to justify the existence of the protagonist, Rudeus, in the new world, leaving viewers questioning the overarching purpose. Despite these shortcomings, ‘Mushoku Tensei’ retains a unique identity, attempting to relive isekai tropes while presenting a protagonist with a complex backstory.

Rudeus’s character arc, though controversial, delves into personal growth and societal dynamics. The series challenges perceptions by illustrating how even a societal “garbage” can thrive with the right support. While character development beyond Rudeus is lacking, the narrative’s exploration of personal growth remains a compelling aspect.

Image Courtesy: Netflix

‘Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation’ navigates the precarious terrain of isekai anime, balancing the fine line between homage and innovation. Its controversial elements, from plot inconsistencies to character choices, contribute to a polarizing viewing experience.

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