Paul made solid points, but the situation and timing were all wrong.
My favorite thing about Jobless Reincarnation is its ability to story-tell multiple lessons in a short time span. It knows how to leave you on an emotion high, then drag you into a miserable situation. While Rudeus and crew no doubt feel good about their impact on the Doldia village, Rudeus goes from hero to zero in less than an episode. The story-telling is compelling, sparing no one from misfortune and misery.
A miracle happens in Episode 16, we reunite Rudeus with his isekai father Paul.
But that moment is ruined by both Paul and Rudeus. They meet in dubious circumstances and misunderstanding ensues. It’s clear from the conversation that Paul had high expectations of Rudeus, and expected his son to figure out others had disappeared in the mana disaster and to do something about it.
Of course in Rudeus’s mind and to his defense he didn’t actually know. But Rudeus didn’t consider the scope of the situation. After meeting his soul-brother Ruijerd, Rudeus focuses on trying to help Ruijerd and also returning home with Eris. We only had vague hints as an audience that the mana disaster was a devastating event, with the beheading of grandfather Greyrat. Realistically how much is Rudeus supposed to intuit?
While an obvious prodigy in terms of skill and supposed intellect, Rudeus had the greatest life hack of all; he could retain his memories of the real world. But retaining memories only gets you so far. In reality Rudeus isn’t super intelligent, he just possesses lots of knowledge. There is a difference. Knowledge is possessed information, intelligence is knowing what to do with that information.
I can see the point that Paul is trying to make with Rudeus. Instead of trying to think of the bigger picture, Rudeus can only see what is in front of him. And to be fair, that is how most people are. Rudeus is an average intellect with well above average abilities.
It was hard to watch the fight between the father and son. What should have been a happy moment where he was reunited with his father, it quickly turned into a disaster of ego and misplaced expectations. What neither took the time to consider was how the other might be feeling and how the other might think about the situation.
Paul is upset by Rudeus’s story, from Paul’s perspective Rudeus has been screwing around and having fun, while there was a real emergency going on. But rather than giving his son a break or the benefit of the doubt Paul attacks his son. It’s hard to watch Paul lose his composure. It’s hard to watch his ego collide with Rudeus. It’s shameful and disgraceful to how he should have approached the situation. Rather than accepting that his son didn’t know and then recruiting his help, Paul would rather accuse Rudeus of doing nothing but pleasure adventuring.
What is equally hard watching is seeing Rudeus also acting childish (remember Rudeus is an adult in a child’s body) and stupidly as well. Rather than taking a moment to see how things might look from another’s perspective he immediately preys on his dad’s past failures. He accuses his father of cheating. Then worst he attacks his father.
This battle of ego where Paul and Rudeus both needed to feel right about the situation, quickly turns what should have been a happy reunion on its head. Where things go from here in their relationship depends on them. Can Paul and Rudeus restore their relationship? Or will they continue to damage it?
Will either of them actually learn to act like grown-ups?
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