Our look at the light novels of Jobless Reincarnation begins! I don’t know if these will be novel by novel. There are quite a few, and I have a considerable backlog. I’ll probably do arc by arc in the future unless something important comes up. Either way I finished the first and I couldn’t put it down. So after the cut let’s take a dive into the first volume of Mushoku Tensei and see what’s what!
I’m not going to go over the major plot points of the light novels, mostly because they have been covered before and thankfully, there are very few cuts. Adaptations are always tricky and sometimes cut do need to be made. As long as there isn’t anything major ripped out I am not going to get upset. The same can be said for the stuff they add in. Books can allow for certain characters to get more development time, or a chance to see things through their lens, and this is where Jobless shines.
Covering the first 4 episodes of the anime, we are treated to all the usual scenes. Rudy’s rebirth, his discovery of magic, the training with Roxy, friendship with Sylphie, the double pregnancy and the whisking off to go train Eris. It happens all as it did in the anime, but with small additions that honestly help things more. The most key one is getting to step into the point of view of the adults. Paul, Zenith and Lilia are all given moments in the novel to give their own perspectives, which helps add more context. For Lilia we see why she tried to seduced Paul and her changing feelings to Rudeus. Zenith is given a chance to explain her backstory and expand more on her feelings regarding the affair, while we get to see Paul’s motivations and reasons for sending Rudy off.
Out of the three it is Paul who benefits the most, as the inner monologues really drive home the idea of him being a ‘good dad, but a bad man.’ Paul is a scumbag, a person crafted by the medieval society that is Jobless, but he is not heartless. He learns from his mistakes and doesn’t try to make them again (unless it’s about sex). And he honestly attempts to do good by his son, helping Rudy where he can, and realizing that separating him from Sylphie is the best for them both. It is not 21st century parenting, but it does come from a person who honestly believe he is doing right by his children.
As for Rudeus, well if you are one of those viewers who is repulsed by his behavior, then there isn’t much here that is going to change your mind. He is still who he always was, an emotionally stunted man-child who gave into his worse impulses. All of that stuff that made people go ‘eh’ is still present, but thankfully expanded on in the right ways. Rudeus’s desire to redo his life is present in his many monologues, and his pervy lapses are often instantly followed by him self-correcting and pushing those down. His slip-up with Sylphie is a good example as Rudy realizes he did wrong, and is instantly apologetic. Mostly, Rudy comes off more as a person trying to kick his bad-habits, then a true degenerate. Yes, he is a still a pervert to his bone, but he is also a person making an honest attempt to do better by himself. Again, I don’t expect this to change people’s mind, but for those who understand what Jobless is attempting to do with Rudy’s story, these are great editions to help fill in the corners.
Mushoku Tensei’s first volume is a damn fun read. It’s a fast paced, brisk and I honestly blew through it quite fast. Enough happens so not to make things feel dragged out, and having watched the anime, I can imagine what is happening quite well. The art style is still very much a work in progress at this state (as is with most manga series), but the prose always kept me turning the page. I look forward to getting into more of this series, and I hope you’ll stick around for more!