The great monster anime season of Winter 2021 continues, and our cup runneth over with more quality series than we could ever hope to watch. Just as we have multiple idol anime shows to choose from this season, fans of the isekai genre have more than enough choices. There’s Urasekai Picnic, about doorways into a dangerous “otherworld,” So I’m a Spider, What Of It?, about a guy who gets reincarnated as a lowly spider, to say nothing of the excellent ongoing offerings Re:Zero and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. But the isekai anime that I’m enjoying most is Mushoku Tensei, aka Jobless Reincarnation: I Will Seriously Try If I Go To Another World. Keep reading to learn why I think it’s the best anime of the season!
Five Reasons You Should Watch Mushoku Tensei!
The isekai anime genre has progressed to the point where you can pretty much guess the story without me explaining it to you, but I will anyway. When an unemployed 34-year-old NEET gets kicked out of his house after his parents die and he’s unwilling to leave his room even to attend their funeral, the man does something noble, throwing himself in front of a truck to save a group of teenagers. He’s rewarded by being reincarnated as a baby in a world that resembles Medieval Europe… but this world is better because magic exists. His new name is Rudy, and in his new life, he’s going to work hard and apply himself to something!
The first impression of the show is positively gorgeous, with outstanding animation. As Rudy shows an affinity for casting magic spells, he’s given a teacher, Roxy Migurdia, who becomes his first crush. Roxy teaches him powerful forms of magic, which are beautifully animated. As with Laid-Back Camp, the visuals are so good that I go out of my way to watch every episode on the big OLED TV in the living room rather than on my iPad. It would be a huge waste to experience a show like Mushoku Tensei on a small screen like a phone.
Next, we learn that the story is all about flawed characters. Right off the bat is Rudy’s former self, a disgusting NEET who’s unable to leave his room even to attend his parents’ funeral, instead staying in his room filled with anime, manga and trash. We learn later that he’s got a good reason for his being a shut-in: he was teased horribly in school, and became unable to face the outside world, seeing all others as potential tormentors. As part of his learning how to cast magical spells, he’s finally able to heal his emotional wounds and become a better human being. This isn’t to say that everything is perfect, since Rudy maintains some questionable character traits, like the time he steals Roxy’s underwear and gets caught.
His father Paul, a sword-wielding hero, also has some morally questionable moments that cause consternation for Rudy’s happy family. His character flaws are potentially the biggest turn off for some fans, although I think they make him a far more interesting character.
This is in stark contrast to what I consider the best-executed isekai anime ever, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, where the characters and stories are somewhat… less complex. In that show, Rimiru Tempest is so strong, his moral compass is also straight, everything pretty much turns out okay. He creates the perfect society in which all magical creatures can live side-by-side without friction, and is even able to “eat” the sins of others and cleanse them inside his body. I’m honestly enjoying the moral complexity and flawed characters of Mushoku Tenshi more.
The fanservice is enjoyable. Rudy’s new parents Paul and Zenith are such a frisky married couple, it causes complications for the other females in the house, hearing all the sexy noises they make in bed.
With each new anime season comes new seasonal waifus and the girls in Mushoku Tensei are all fun and enjoyable to watch on-screen that we go debate which one is “best girl” on social media. I’m rooting for the elf girl Sylphiette to win, but we’ll see!
Finally, the animators at Studio Bind have put a ton of effort into making this project successful and enjoyable for fans. They hired one of the most famous voice actors — Tomokazu Sugita, the voice of Kyon from Haruhi — to provide Rudy’s snarky inner voice. They’ve even given us the first Mushoku Tensei anime figure at the beginning of the show’s run, rather than months after it ends, which I take as a sign that the creators are extremely dedicated to the series rather than hedging against the show not taking root with fans. This kind of conviction deserves our loyalty, in my opinion.
Thanks for reading this overview of the outstanding Mushoku Tensei isekai anime. Will you be watching? Tell us below, or let us know on Twitter!