How is Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation different from other isekai anime?
I have been wondering what makes Mushoku Tensei different from other isekai anime. In a world where isekai anime has become commonplace, there are several types or categories of isekai that I like to break them into. Of course some isekai do blend and merge some of the categories to one extent or another.
I like to break isekai into three broad categories which are comedy isekai (think Konosuba), world conquering isekai (think Overlord), or flawed hero (think Re:Zero). Generally the premise is that a young man (or sometimes young woman) is somehow transported to another world and is tasked with saving the world. That task can be either explicitly or implicitly implied to the would-be hero. Sometimes it’s a god or goddess having them do all the work to save the world, or the person in the other world simply assumes that task for one reason or another (whether that is true or not).
Given the framework for isekai, Mushoku Tensei falls into the flawed hero category. The problem with Rudeus as our perceived hero, or at the very least the story protagonist, is that his flaws are very obvious. Normally a flawed hero has hidden flaws that become revealed as they explore themselves through conflict in a story. Rudeus was a failure in his world, both perverted and unable to integrate into society. Putting that person into a new body in another world with memories intact wouldn’t actually change them.
Rudeus’s flaws and inability to cope with challenges in front of him (from his old world) make him perhaps the most realistic portrayal of an isekai protagonist to date. If anyone needed a chance to grow and to overcome challenges it’s perhaps Rudeus. It’s no coincidence that he is portrayed as a child. While Rudeus had become an adult in his former world, he was still an emotional child. It’s been interesting to watch Rudeus deal with the challenges in this other world. I wonder if he will be able to grow in the process.
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