Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Volume 5: The Father is a Part-Timer!

Our look at the light novels of Jobless Reincarnation continue! When we last left off, Rudeus and co had navigated some rough waters and ended up in a land of beast people! After some close encounters and some friend drama from Eris, the gang has continued their journey and is making their way to the human lands? What will happen next? Well after the cut, let’s take a dive into the fifth volume of the series and find out!

With the fifth instalment of the series, we are approaching the endpoint of where the anime is in terms of its adaptation. And while the fireworks and character work between Eris and Rudy have yet to go off, this penultimate volume does have moments that are vitally important to Rudy’s character growth. Most notably his relationship to his father and the fallout of that.

What was probably the most moving moment of the anime series was thankfully adapted quite well from its source material. While there is a bit more time spent in the lead up to the big fight, the showdown between Paul and Rudy is presented exactly how it was in the anime series. There is the relief, followed by the misunderstanding, and then the anger. Paul’s inability to see Rudy as just a kid, and Rudy’s temper at his father’s words play out beautifully in the prose, and the eventual reconciliation is as heartwarming and honest as it was in the anime.

Paul and Rudy’s reunion is just as impactful as it was in the anime, but with some added prose.

Even better however is the time the light novel has for Paul. Absent in the anime due to the difference in artforms, the novel takes a few pages to try and explain Paul and how he got to his point. We see the initial reactions to the teleportation, the struggles to survive, and the attempts he makes to help reunite all the people displaced. Furthermore we see his inner thoughts after the fight and the guilt he has for lashing out at his son. While it was vital for the anime to work, these extra moments add far more depth to Paul, showing him as father trying to do a good job, and the mistake he makes in not remembering that Rudy is just a kid.

Norn’s reaction to Rudy is a plotline that will continue for a long while.

All of this is great to see, but if there is one place the light novel falls short it is with the Roxy chapter. While all the same story beats are present, it is vastly shorter than what the anime portrayed and suffers for it. We don’t get much of Roxy’s pain at being an outcast in her own village and the scenes of mind-reading that anime showed are absent. It is not a black mark against the series, far from it, but I will admit feeling disappointed that a crucial part to her character was absent from the source material. On the other hand however, Eris and Ruijerd’s mission to slay goblins is present and serves a great little filler chapter, introducing a future key character and letting both Eris and Ruijerd spread their wings and be the main character for a second. It’s good stuff.

Roxy’s chapter feels a little hollow compared to everything else, and I wish it had done more.

Volume 5 of Jobless Reincarnation is another stellar entry and a further example of how well the anime has been adapted so far. Everything that is present there is shown wonderfully in the prose, and while some absences are noticeable, they don’t damage the series in any serious way. It’s been a hot minute since I came back to this series, but I always find it so hard to put them down when I get into it. With the next volume we will be wrapping up the first anime season and I have no doubt it will deliver the goods. I hope you’ll take a look when it comes out!

I haven’t watched the bonus episode with Eris, but chapter was damn good. I’ll have to change that.

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