Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, Vol. 2

By Rifuin Na Magonote and Shirotaka. Released in Japan as “Mushoku Tensei – Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu” by Media Factory. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Alyssa Orton-Niioka. Adapted by JY Yang.

The second book in this series covers about three years time, going from when Rudeus is 7 to just after his 10th birthday. It’s striking that we still haven’t really hit the teenage/adult years that most “in another world” titles skip to, although the ending to this volume may indicate a change is on the horizon. It does allow us to see Rudeus both mature as a child growing up, and also attempt to fix his mindset from his previous life that got him into trouble there as well. We also get a new female lead, since Rudeus was forcibly separated from his childhood elf friend (who gets one mention briefly here in an “oh, right, her” sort of way… which is typical for children who move, to be honest). Instead we have Eris, who is a giant ball of violence disguised as a child, and has driven away countless tutors both by being unteachable and also by beating the crap out of them. Naturally, Rudy is made of sterner stuff.

First of all, Rudy’s plan to pretend to get kidnapped so that he can show Eris the value of reading, magic and ‘rithmatic is astonishingly dumb, and it will come as no surprise that it immediately turns into a real kidnapping. The fact that it achieves its aims (Eris is willing to settle down a bit and learn) does not make it less dumb. Most of the rest of the book is devoted to The Taming of the Shrew, essentially, as Rudy slowly but surely gets Eris to learn how to read, write, do sums, practice magic and also dance in his spare time. Naturally, she falls for him hard. I’d say nothing happens as they’re 10 and 12 respectively, but something almost happens. It’s portrayed as overtly wrong and that’s fine, but I’m still thinking “wtf?” a bit. That said, Eris clearly states the fact that they’re too young is the only thing stopping her. Despite being a bit of a cliched angry tsundere, I like Eris. Well, I like Eris when she’s not adding “mew” to her sentences, another reminder that the author’s idea of fanservice is “just add it wherever and don’t worry if it makes sense character-wise”.

Then there’s that ending, which comes as a surprise. I’m not entirely sure yet what it means for Rudy and Eris (who I’m guessing are still together), but its devastation to the country that we’ve been in since the start of the series is pointed. The style had been very much relaxed and fun before this, but the final scene is done seriously and tragically, and works very well. It also shows us that Roxy will be getting back into the series soon, which pleases me, especially since it turns out that her tutoring royalty was a disaster as he was a royal brat. Given the sheer nature of what happened, I’m not sure this is easily fixed at all. That said, it’s certainly a great way to tell readers to get the next book, as I very much want to find out what happens and verify who is dead and who isn’t. As for the book itself, aside from the author sometimes being weirdly otaku, it’s still a very good reincarnation isekai. I can see why it has its reputation.

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