By Rifuin Na Magonote and Shirotaka. Released in Japan as “Mushoku Tensei – Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu” by Media Factory. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Alyssa Orton-Niioka. Adapted by JY Yang.
Ugh. After three volumes where I was mostly pleased and interested in the story, despite the occasional bits of sleazery from Rudy, I now come to a 4th volume where it’s getting really hard to ignore the sleazery. Rudeus is a reincarnation of an otaku lech, and thus spends much of this book either perving on everyone, or else being mistaken for perving on everyone because his “I like petting a dog” face is the same as his “I like groping a boob” face. He’s still not actually trying anything with Eris, but it’s not for want of temptation. But frankly, they’re still both too young for this to be anything other than icky, reincarnation memories or no. Rudeus is an interesting character with him trying to think of elaborate schemes and failing, we really don’t need him to also be thinking of banging everyone and everything. Even bits that aren’t sexual feel wrong – he’s naked in a cell for about a week at one point, and seems to revel in it.
The girl on the cover we don’t recognize is Kishirika, self-proclaimed Emperor of the Demon World, who (stop me if you’re surprised) looks like a little kid but is really [x] hundred years old. Her main purpose here, besides what I just said, is to give Rudy another power-up, as he gains a demon eye that can see into the future for a second or two, provided that the user has lots of mana (which he does). Needless to say, he’s instantly put into situations where that’s highly useful, though it can’t always save him. He’s trying to get back home, but traveling with a Suijerd makes that hideously expensive, so they’re looking at alternatives. These alternatives involve ripping off some slavers, only to end up double-crossed themselves. It’s complicated.
Other issues: Eris continues to be used very sparingly, as if the author can’t figure out what to do with her. She’s getting better at the sword, but still has a ways to go in terms of growing up. (So does Rudy, but it’s more complicated with him because of the past life.) I wish she was more relevant. I also wish Roxy had managed to find Rudy (they just missed each other), as that means we’re left with her side-story, which mostly revolves around one of her companions killing time while they’re searching for people by having a five-way. Mushoku Tensei is one of those books that you would never recommend to anyone but adults, despite the seemingly cute child cast on the cover.
So will I keep going? I’ll probably give it till the end of this arc. We meet another adventurer/gambler by the name of Geese, who describes an adventuring party that sounds very familiar to me. I suspect, if Rudy ever reunites with his family, sparks are going to fly. I also want to see if Eris does anything, or what’s going on with the princess and her (also suspiciously familiar) new bodyguard. That said, based on what I’ve read, I worry once Rudy comes of age the books will just involve him banging half the cast. He’s much more interesting when he’s trying to think about dangerous situations and sometimes failing.