Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, Vol. 3

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 Paul Cuneo. Adapted by JY Yang.

A lot of people had talked about the influence of Mushoku Tensei on other reincarnation isekais, and I must admit after the first two volumes I wasn’t seeing it. If anything, this series is more interesting for what it doesn’t do, as we see Rudy training up as a child, and at the end of this book he’s still only eleven years old or so. The subplot with Eris in the second volume also seemed fairly unique. But then there was that cliffhanger, with everyone and everything being scattered to the four winds. Unfortunately, we don’t find out anyone else’s fate (though there is a bit at the end that hints about why it happened), but the good news is Rudeus and Eris are fine. The bad news is that they’ve ended up in the middle of the Demon Empire, and their only companion is a Superd, whose mere presence is enough to reduce people to shaking terror. And the better (or worse) news is that this volume has them become… adventurers.

Yes, THIS is what everyone was talking about when they mentioned influence. The guild, the levels, its rules. Unfortunately, Rudeus is in a bit of a bind, as he’s got a plan to a) get back home, and b) restore Ruijerd’s reputation so that everyone does not scream and try to kill him on sight. (He has a tragic backstory.) This requires being a cool adventurer, but that takes lots of time and grinding. Fortunately (?), he has some advice from a god who speaks to him through his dreams (more things we’ve seen in other reincarnation books), and so is able to cheat the system a bit and Make.Levels.Fast. Unfortunately, Rudeus is still the combination of a precocious child and a shiny shut-in, so sometimes he has grand plans and they end up going very badly. It’s not till the end of the book that he works out how to handle their group of three, and by then they’re off to another city.

Rudeus is the highlight of the book, and the book is at its best when he’s seeing the consequence of a bad decision he’s made, usually involving someone dying. He’s having to grow up fast, and relying on his past life really isn’t helping here. After a couple volumes showing him as a child prodigy, he struggles with exhaustion, his magic isn’t always useful or effective, and he resembles what he is: promising but that’s about it. Eris does not fare quite as well here, for the most part remaining the hothead tsundere girl, though her swordsmanship is miles ahead of Rudy by now and she’s on her way towards being a legend. The debut here is Ruijerd, who is a good strong, silent type, and again at his best when he’s upset, such as when Rudy makes bad decisions and people die. I like him.

It’s clear that this book is the start of an ‘arc’, and I’m not sure when Rudy and Eris will be returning to what’s left of their home. Till then, though, enjoy a volume that’s a bit more like what you’ve read before but still worth reading.

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