Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, Vol. 5

By Rifuin Na Magonote and Shirotaka. Released in Japan as “Mushoku Tensei – Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu” by MF Books. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Paul Cuneo. Adapted by JY Yang.

I was pleased to see that almost all of the things I brought up as negatives in the last review were improved here. Yes, OK, there are several scenes of Rudeus getting distracted while fighting as he literally cannot stop staring at large breasts, but compared to prior volumes, this is on the light side of him perving out. Eris gets a great deal more to do, and the scenes with her and Cliff on her goblin hunt were probably the funniest in the book. It’s also made clearer, in case it wasn’t already, that she is over the moon in love with Rudy. She also plays a part in the main plot point of this book – indeed, the entire book seems a letdown compared to these scenes – where Rudeus is finally reunited with his father and younger sister. Sadly, due to misconceptions on both sides, it’s not exactly a happy meeting. In fact, things go south far more rapidly than anyone could have guessed.

The biggest point of interest in the series is, of course, the dissonance between Rudeus’s adult reincarnated otaku brain and his physical (and, let’s face it, emotional) child self. Here, after getting caught beating up kidnappers who turn out to be his father’s group rescuing slaves, we get the biggest contrast yet, as he tries to impress his father with everything that he’s been through to reassure him that he’s fine, but is confronted with a very real question: why does he not know what’s going on with the entire kingdom being teleported and displaced? I mean, Eris knows – she’s been keeping silent as she assumes Rudy is keeping silent for her sake. And everyone else in the world knows. But Rudy, by various plot coincidences, has never seen ANY of the messages his father left at various guilds. The result of all this? A huge father-son fight.

Paul is handled well here – he’s at his wit’s end trying to save people, getting drunk and depressed as most of his family is gone, and suddenly here’s his son back, being smug, and accusing him of sleeping with women when he hasn’t actually done it. You can see why he snapped. At the same time, Geese is absolutely correct in reminding him that Rudy is a child (has he turned 12 by now?) and the mere fact that he survived at all is stunning. Rudy’s genius makes people expect things of him that he is not functionally equipped to handle at times. As we see in the best scene in the book, when Rudy, post-fight, simply lies dazed in his room at the inn Eris tries to comfort him in a really awkward yet sweet way. Fortunately, things are mostly resolved, with father and son making up. That said, the younger sister will take longer – her seeing Rudy punch her dad’s lights out means she is not forgiving him ever ever ever. Eris hates Paul too. Fun times!

So yes, a stronger volume in the series. I also liked seeing another of Rudy’s relatives here, and hope we see more of her. The side story about the princess and her retainers (including the mysterious Finn) was also excellent. I could hope for less horndog antics, but I know that’s vain. Just sit back and enjoy it.

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