Our look at the light novels of Jobless Reincarnation continues! When we last left off, Rudeus and Eris celebrated their progress and birthdays by being whisked off by a magical spell. Where are they now? How will they be able to survive? Well let’s see how it fairs in the written word form after the cut!
Right off the bat, credit needs to be given to Jobless for shaking up the status quo. I have banged this drum a few times, but it bears repeating: not being afraid to shake up your story is a net positive. Stories like Fairy Tail and Food Wars suffered because (in my view) they were married to their status quo and were too afraid to change things up. While Naruto, for all of its valid criticisms, wasn’t afraid of changing up its plot to keep the stakes high. With the third volume of the series, we enter the first turning point of the series, and a massive change of what was expected. Gone is the relative slice of life story and instead we have the beginnings of a great journey that will shape our heroes forever. It’s a brilliant way to keep both the story fresh, let the characters have a new perspective and have some excellent worldbuilding.
And the world building present in this volume is excellent. While only touched upon in the anime, the light novel gives the viewer a great glimpse into how the ‘adventurer’s guild’ actually works, with explanations about the ranks, missions and reward systems. It’s been done before, yes, but considering Jobless’ influence on many of the Isekais of this era, it was good to see that one of the first did it the best. Seeing Rudy trying to game the system and having it blow up in his face because of his naivety was a refreshing take, and leads more into the idea that despite his genius, Rudy is still a kid surviving in an unknown land. Furthermore things like the history of the demon continent and the superid race are given more time to breathe which also helps flesh out what is becoming an interesting and detailed world. Everything feels lived in, everything feels like it was meant to be there. This just isn’t a fantasy isekai dropped in an empty field, but a well worn and thought out world that has the love and effort put into it.
In regards to the characters, Rudeus and Eris both fare quite well in this volume. The introduction of the mysterious man-god helps keep the reader anchored to the great picture, and it was interesting to see how Rudy, a veteran of countless games and manga, instantly realizes something is up. His journey here is one of slow growth, realizing that he can’t video game his way out of their situation and has meld his knowledge with pragmatism and reality. This is helped by the addition of Rujierd who serves as another sounding board for Rudy. A warrior of many centuries with a fondness for helping children, Rujierd serves as a protective guard for both Rudy and Eris, but not a source of all knowledge. Rudy learns much about how the Demon Continent works as much as Rujierd learns he can’t spear himself out of every problem. It is a good dynamic and one that benefits this part of the story really well.
Finally, it was pleasant to see that the pervyness of the story cut both ways more often in the light novel. While Rudeus is still Rudeus, there are a few instances where we see Eris clearly showing more of an interest in him. She is still Tsundere to the bone, but she is also attracted to Rudeus and is trying hard to keep herself in check. That was nice to see, as the anime often focused solely on Rudy and his back and forth between his own urges. The bonus chapter that introduced Princess Asura and Luke Notos Greyrat, both of whom are important later, was also quite funny. Seeing them ‘comparing notches’ of the women they’ve bedded, combined with the backstory of their places in the kingdom made me interested in both of them, and where the story might take them next. Much hay has been made of the sexuality in Jobless, and I was glad to see the light novel is trying to be a bit more balanced
The third volume of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation was another excellent one. Throwing the status quo in the air and taking the time it needed to establish the new order, we are now fully prepared for Rudy, Eris and Rujierd to begin their journey back home. It is going to be a hell of an adventure and I am really eager to see the changes and additions the light novel made. This remains a series I can’t put down when I get into it, and really does feel like the Isekai’s genre first true epic. We’ll see if that holds true in the next volume, and I hope you’ll give it a look!