Warning: Spoilers up to the end of Episode 4 follow.
Wow. Just wow. In the previous episode
, I said that I appreciated getting to know more about Rudeus
’ father, Paul
. Back then, Paul seemed like a pretty great father figure. After episode 4, my opinion of him has changed greatly. I think he’s a scumbag.
A year passes in an instant and Rudy grows up to age 7. The ep starts with the wonderful news that Paul and Zenith are having another baby. But then a bombshell drops - the maid, Lilia, is having a baby as well. And the father is also Paul. That’s right, Paul cheated on Zenith!
My first impression of Mushoku Tensei was that it’s a fairly peaceful, slice-of-life anime set in a fantasy realm. The Greyrat family seemed wholesome. But the series writer, Rifujin na Magonote, seems set on subverting the typical tropes of lighthearted anime. Obviously, anyone who read the manga or light novel already saw this coming, but I’m not one of those people. So I was taken by surprise to find NTR elements in the anime, which end up getting dismissed as a joke. Paul apologizes for his adultery as if all he did was spill milk or forgot to take out the trash. And we don’t see him face any consequences for it! Poor faithful Zenith talks to him, but that’s not even shown to us.
What’s worse? We learn that when Paul was young, he “assaulted Lilia when she was sleeping and deflowered her.” If that translation is correct, it means Paul raped Lilia. And somehow still ended up being the maid of the family. Rudeus narrates this all matter-of-factly. He thinks his father Paul is “scum,” but he still admires him for being strong. All of this sounds gross and feels pretty unrealistic. It’s a work of fiction set in a fantasy world, so you could argue what’s morally acceptable in that fiction is up to the writer. But I’d argue the writer needs to make the protagonist characters at least somewhat relatable if he doesn't want to turn off the audience from continuing to enjoy his work. This anime had already suffered from some recent controversy, and learning this stuff about Paul doesn’t help.
Interestingly, we get some narration from Lilia. We learn that she indeed has always been suspicious of Rudeus, thinking he was some kind of devil child. And now she owes him her life after the pregnancy confession. How ‘bout them apples?
Rudy considers going to the magic school Ranoa that Roxy mentioned, and Sylphie cries and asks him not to leave. So Rudeus asks Paul to help him get a job so he can pay Sylphie’s tuition and have her join him at Ranoa.
At the very end of the ep, Paul knocks out Rudeus in a sword fight, for a reason that hasn’t been explained. And Rudeus wakes up riding in a wagon with the new character, Ghislaine Dedoldia, a super sexy beast woman.