Warning: Spoilers for Episode 1 follow.
Every once in a while, an anime comes along that takes tried-and-true tropes and does something a bit more special with it than the rest. It takes a subject matter and treats it with a reverence that reminds you why the concept is so intriguing in the first place. That’s how it is with Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu).
Of all the isekai TV series I’ve ever watched, Mushoku Tensei may be the most cinematic. It has a theatrical air to it, like it could be a major motion picture instead of a thirty minute watch on television. At least that’s how I felt after watching the first episode.
The cast of characters isn’t particularly outstanding, but its introduction felt like putting on a shoe that fits just right and is already broken in. There’s Rudeus (Rudy) Greyrat, the protagonist who has isekai’d into the new world at birth. He reincarnated from modern Japan after jumping in front of a car to save some school kids. In his previous life, he was an adult NEET who never left his room. As such, Rudy has the mature (and sometimes pervy) mind of that adult. Providing exposition from Rudy’s point of view is Tomokazu Sugita, and he does an excellent job! Through his narration, we learn a lot about the nature of this new and exciting world of swords and sorcery.
Then there’s Rudy’s parents - Paul and Zenith Greyrat. They’re sweet, but so far have not played big parts in the direction of the series. I can’t tell if they’ll be present throughout the entire series or are just here during Rudy’s early developmental phase, which is moving along quite rapidly. He’s already aged from 0 days old to about 3 or 4 years in one ep! For now, it’s fun to watch Rudy, the mind of a full grown man, deal with doting parents kissing and hugging him like an innocent little toddler. The only one who seems to suspect that Rudy isn’t the little boy that he seems is their maid, Lilia. She’s a hottie with glasses, but she doesn’t have many lines in this first episode either.
Last but not least is Roxy Migurdia, Rudy’s new magic tutor. She’s a cute girl who looks to be teenaged. She’s my favorite supporting character so far!
The pace of the first episode is slow. I mean, literally, Rudy slowly crawls around as a baby at first. I expect there will be some harrowing magic action down the line, but I’m totally enjoying this slow burn. The story, as I said, is cinematic. The visuals look almost completely hand-drawn, a testament to Studio Bind’s amazing work. Examples of the high quality can be seen in the way the scenery is drawn and in the 360 degree camera movement around Rudy when he first uses intermediate magic.
All in all, this is going to be a must-watch anime for this season!