Our look at the light novels of Jobless Reincarnation continues! Last time we left off Rudeus was reincarnated into a young boy with a penchant for magic. He met a cute elf girl, was trained by a cute blue haired witch and then shanghaied by a busty muscular cat woman to do a job! What happens next? Well if you didn’t watch the anime, or ya did, let’s see what happens in the next volume after the cut!
What will probably end up being the secret sauce of Jobless Reincarnation is that the story actually feels like a story. While I have enjoyed my other light novels throughout the year, many of them do end up feeling very much like an anime light novel. That isn’t meant to be dismissive of those stories, far from it. But there are many of them that do feel like those disposable pop novels that have always been around. Again that isn’t meant to say those stories are bad, just that there is a feeling of them being a ‘pick up, pick down’ sort of story.
Jobless, owing it is always forward moving nature of the plot does not feel like it. Don’t get me wrong, it is still an isekai, a genre that has been picked apart to the marrow by now, but the plot, story and structure feels very much like a true novel. There is a rising sense of purpose as Rudeus begins his training with Eris, there is development as their relationship evolves to from antagonism to a true friendship. Each moment in the book feels like it is there for a reason, not a throwaway scene or something to pad out the page length. Reading this story I couldn’t help but feel everything I was looking at meant something, whether it was to the characters or the overall plot.
That story itself remains an excellent one, and credit needs to be thrown to Jobless and its author for never resting on its laurels or sticking to a status quo. Moving Rudeus from his comfortable home to the larger word of the Greyrat estate is a brilliant move, adding more world building and scale to the story, while still keeping things ‘low key’ to give the characters room to breathe. The Boreas family serve their purpose well, explaining the politics and world while their (by design) one note personalities thankfully don’t overwhelm the story. Ghislaine remains an excellent teacher and student for Rudeus and has a genuine rapport with him and then of course there is Eris. One of the central characters of the story, there are few characters I have seen who manage to make the ‘Tsun’ part of the archetype work without coming off as grating or bitchy. Eris is a spoiled brat, but one who has a good head on her shoulders and is able to swallow her humble pie when forced to.
And it is her tutelage under Rudeus that remains the volume’s highlight. Having him butt heads with the headstrong capital ‘T’ tsundere leads to some excellent chemistry as their time together helps both of them grow into better people. Rudeus is no longer the sole genius in the room, and unlike the demure Sylphy, Eris will take none of his bullshit, leading to moments of development and reflection for both of them. The most infamous (and controversial) scene of the series thus far, where Rudy misinterprets Eris’ willingness to ‘get close’ as a full on green-light for intimacy is handled with respect and dignity in the prose. The additional time given to Rudy’s inner thoughts afterwards helps shows more of his remorse that the anime didn’t fully cover. It does a lot to help further the idea that Rudy is maturing slowly, and that Eris and other women aren’t the eroge characters he might have thought. I also especially like the ‘report cards’ placed at the end of chapters that show Eris’s product both academically and emotionally. It gives a real sense to her development.
In terms of adaptational material, there again is thankfully little cut from the anime. The only big change being the dance practice and scene seemingly extended and merged together. While in the anime opted to have Eris’ first success with the dance be during the party itself, the light novel spread out that over several pages, showing that Rudy managed to teach Eris how to do properly beforehand and they are able to impress the nobles far more easily. It is not a serious change and I can understand why the anime they wanted the dance to be more of a dramatic payoff. Aside from that, everything seen the anime is present and more or less presented as is. I know there are many people who are sticklers for ‘cut content’ when it comes to light novels and so far Jobless is doing its best to remain a stellar adaptation.
The second volume of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation was one I literally couldn’t put down. A true fantasy story with a beginning, middle and end, Rifujin na Magonote continues to prove that he has crafted a genuine fantasy epic with all the trappings and grandeur one expects. I often pick up and put down light novels, feeling that I need to be in the mood to read them, Jobless‘ second outing proved to be the opposite and once I started I just couldn’t stop. Great characters, great plot and a ending that begs you to see what happens next, if you were a fan of the anime then the light novels continue to be the next place to go. Give it a look for yourself and see what you think!