“Can I call you father-in-law?”
“You may not,”
Has to literally be my favorite professionally done subtitles in recent memory. And you know what Rudeus you perverted son of a bitch, you can. Cause you deserve both the holy relic and Roxy. She deserves to be worshiped.
What the fuck am I saying?
So most of you may know, I dislike isekias. Ya know, guy dies, usually not having a quality time anyways. Somehow gets blessed among blessing to either stupidly overpowered abilities, odd or perverse ambition’s or just being the most boring bloke ever thought of.
But it wasn’t always this way. At one point, being isekaied sucked, like, BAD. Think back to Digimon, Inuyasha, or Devil Is a Part-Timer. One very foundation of those series is none of them wanted to be there in the first place. So what changed? What event changed this narrative into the modern mess it is today. And honestly, the answer to that, happened to be a winter 2021 series I deeply, deeply fell in love with. So let’s take a looks at the first season of the grandfather of the modern isekia. Jobless Reincarnation.
The modern isekia in a lot of ways has turned into a trope-filled mess of basic stand-in characters, stupid back story, and a rather lazy plotline. Series that play around this general idea of some guy whose life was pretty much a waste anyways, stuck in a world where he can use overpowered abilities to do overpowered things that generally turn out to be the main plot point. Ya know, generally I was reincarnated as an OP piece of shit sorta thing. Being the so-called grandfather of such a trope my expectations of Jobless Reincarnation was not high, actually, I was expecting to hate it with the same conviction I hate, I don’t know, Sword Art. But I didn’t, and this is why.
Jobless Reincarnation follows social and moral leper turned truck-kuns og victim Greyrat, Rudeus. A 40-year-old man reborn in a different world as a child, but his recollection of his past life still very much intact. I want to make a quick note of this since it is in bulk one of the reasons Jobless has set the narrative that Isekais follow but does it differently. In most series the past life of the MC is generally irrelevant, an example of another isekai I actually love, Re: Zero shows that fairly well. Subaru’s life on earth is, mostly, irrelevant to actions that follow him. Rudeus however, is not only aware of his past life but is deeply traumatized from it. This was a nice change in a lot of ways, Rudeus time and time again has to overcome faults that his past self-suffered. In addition to this, he is also a self-proclaimed scum bag, something that I at the start assumed I would hate but quickly becomes a rather funny comedy point as his in head narrative explains how he sees these outlandish things as a 40-year-old but he speaks as if he is indeed 10.
Born the first son of the Greyrat family, Rudeus discovers very early on that he is no longer on earth, but instead some fantasy land where magic and beast exist. Promising himself he won’t waste this second shot at a life he starts to study into the arcane at a very early age, and shortly thereafter under the guidance of my personal favorite character, Migurdia, Roxy. It is with Roxy Rudeus Is taught more about the world in which not only humans exist, but demons, elves, and different types of hybrid species. Under her training he grasps the art of magic becoming one of the youngest mages to ever obtain the rank of Saint placing him right at the helm of his new life, one that will not end up like his last.
One of the best things Jobless Reincarnation does that many, many, isekias fall short is it takes two extremely important writing elements, and uses them to its advantage. The world of Jobless is vibrant, interesting, full of lore, dark, and quite frankly beautiful. While the people within the world are complex, each having their own quirk, struggles, personality, and position within a society that acts nothing like the earth young Rudeus used to live. He quickly discovers life is not as precious here, and the risks of this new world are plentiful and VERY real as he almost loses his own. Being hit with this mixture of culture shock and adapting from the shut-in he once was, Rudeus becomes this complex figure reflecting on his past life to improve his own. Being aware of everything around him and soon the risks thereof. Which honestly, was a breath of fresh air and was a blast to see.
Expect the mental acknowledgment of grooming, could have really done without that. It is something we all know but simply overlook but having it become rationalized by the characters, not a nice touch.
In the end, Jobless Reincarnation is funny, charming, endearing, horny, full of adventure, heartache, and conflict. It is full of interesting personalities that bind together to address struggles both within and outside the characters themselves. The story is well told at a pace that uses every minute of screen time allowing the world and those within it time to breathe. In short, it’s great. As the grandfather of the modern Isekai it looks in the face of all the tropes, implements them but not at the risk of storytelling. Everything seems to have a purpose and it has discovered within me a better appreciation for what isekais can truly be, works of literary art.
I still like Oreimo better though.
I would comfortably give this series a 7 but for the sake of Rudeus and the power his ‘holy relic’ boosts it up to a 8. I mean for what it’s worth, he has good taste.
As always thanks for the read!