DISCLAIMER: This post contains content that we at The Anime View do not think is suitable for everyone. The genre of the work being reviewed is Hentai. Possible triggers or subjects could include sexual assault and pedophilia. There are no images of such, but these topics are discussed. By clicking “Keep Reading,” you understand that you may encounter such content. Viewer/reader discretion is advised.
By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting
We’re a little more than halfway through the second season of Jobless Reincarnation and I really need to talk about it. This hentai should be at the top of the controversial titles to like this (or any other) season, but a large number of people have been defending the series for reasons that are beyond me.
In fact, I had a very real conversation recently with someone trying to tell me that this is not a hentai–it’s just a bit more vocal about the perversion than other isekai series. They are very wrong, by the way–this is NOT a series approved for all audiences. It is hentai, and blatantly leaning on the border of pedophilia.
Some of the defenses I’ve heard when people talk about this series are “it’s the grandfather of isekai” (a title renounced by the author), “the animation is spectacular” (well, it’s ‘good’ but also pretty standard for the current season), and “the magic and world-building are amazing” (I actually heard someone say “unheard of” but that’s also very wrong).
I’ve even heard one VERY well-known member, like Mother’s Basement, of the anime analysis/critic community state that it’s less creepy than By the Grace of the gods–which, if you’ve ever watched By the Grace of the gods, you’ll know is very wrong as it is probably one of the most wholesome series that’s been released in a while. (Mother’s Basement: “The BEST Anime of Winter 2021 – Ones to Watch,” at about 18 minutes and 17 seconds | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOe5ANX6yhk&t=1570s&ab_channel=Mother%27sBasement).
I mean, what is it that makes the series likable? I really do not understand. The animation, while fine and even good/great with some things, is also not so great that it can’t compare to other series currently releasing. Nor does it outweigh the sheer creep-factor of the content depicted.
In fact, I would maybe say that the reason it’s getting such high praise has more to do with frame rate than actual technical implementations. Pairing that with the discussion of great magic or world-building–I turn you to series like The Faraway Paladin, which is also releasing this season, or one of my older favorites, Log Horizon. Additionally, we don’t really get to see the magic that is being sported as “great” by so many. It’s not like we’re really learning spells, like Harry Potter. Nor are we really learning how it improves/advances like we do with By the Grace of the gods when we see Ryouma experiment with casting. An example from season (Fall 2021) would include The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat, where Lugh is shown developing the Spell Weaver skill.
I mean, yes–the magic of Jobless Reincarnation looks pretty:
But so does Fate/Stay
And, thus far, the world-building pales heavily in comparison to series, like The Rising of the Shield Hero or, well, pretty much any isekai taking itself even slightly seriously. Moreover, it’s hard to even consider world-building when the story centers so much in the beginning on just the main character being a perverse and disgusting person and enacting on those perversions in an infant body/child’s body.
That last part is what I really can’t get over. I mean, the story is just disgusting with a VERY much 40-something year old man using his VERY MUCH A CHILD body to sexually assault female children, steal women’s underwear that he sniffs and prays too, along with making the family’s maid incredibly uncomfortable/disturbed. (It certainly creeped me out.)
Even Konosuba, a series arguably made for some more mature audiences, is funnier. Konosuba clearly is making fun of the perverse rather than diving into it. Meanwhile, Jobless Reincarnation seems to take the actions seriously. We’re not, to my understanding and based on the context, meant to find the main character’s actions funny or even view them as a joke. He’s legitimately implying that this is okay or allowable because he’s in a child’s body and even, potentially, deserving of it since he suffered bullying in his past life (I literally feel like vomiting thinking about it).
The idea that people are laughing at this like it’s funny or a comedy rather than recognizing the horror that is this anime’s intent to be a legitimate, sexually explicit content (it is a hentai, remember) is very concerning.
Even if the main character, Rudeus Greyrat, is supposed to be an anti-hero (a character we aren’t supposed to like but still sympathize with), I really can’t sympathize.
I’ve heard from some that you’re supposed to be disgusted by this initial behavior, but then you get to see how he changes while growing into a better person.
Except, Rudeus doesn’t change throughout the series. He’s a raging pedophile pretty much all of Season 1! You’ve can’t even argue for leeway because he’s a “child” in a child’s body, because the anime makes it clear that he’s exactly the person he was before coming to this new world with the mindset of a nearly (if not actual) middle-aged man lusting after underage girls and adults left and right. Heck–he even admits to masterbating to the memory of his underage-childhood friend for years during his past life as a fully-grown adult (if that doesn’t scream derangement of some sort, I don’t know what would).
His new-parents don’t seem concerned by this, in fact–some adults, particularly the men–encourage it. Worse still, when discussing this series with other viewers and expressing my outrage, I was shocked to find so many claiming that it’s just the beginning of the Rudeus’ character arc to becoming a better person. Almost everyone I know that is watching the series encouraged me to finish the first season despite my visceral reaction to the first episode.
So, I did. It was a struggle, but I watched all of Season 1.
I felt dirty and gross having consumed it. I even watched part of Season 2 and compared it with copies of the manga, and that has led me to this post. Author Rifujin na Magonote’s comments aside–what matters is the work itself and this anime shows no improvement of Rudeus’ tendencies for the perverse thus far. Moreover, I think a season and a half is more than enough time to see some change in the character or the so called “growth” fans seem to claim for his character. The fact is, there isn’t any. The one night he doesn’t assault his cousin, by the way, over a ring doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of his continued behavior. It gets only slightly better when the necessity for food outweighs his wish to assault every girl or woman he sees–but only in the most myopic of senses.
Why do people like this? What makes this okay to fans? Because to me, it’s not. On MAL, Season 1 has an 8.36/10 rating provided by over 350,000 responses (350 thousand!). Season 2, so far, is marked higher with NO improvement seen in the main character. I really do not understand and am thoroughly disturbed by the avid supporters of this series.
Season 2, Episode 17
And I say all of this after watching Episode 17, which I would argue actually is a well-written and well-directed addition to the story thus far. In fact, if the animation and story centered more on these emotional elements and actual plot of the story than the perverse elements like it did in Episode 17, I would be taking this show a lot more seriously and agree with its advocates… but it doesn’t.
Episode 17 was all of those things that people advocate it for, it had great animation, solid story, it was emotional and made sense. I loved when Paul friend (Rudeus’ father) tells him how he’s set Rudeus to an impossible standard and hasn’t considered that the boy is 11. It is a great story addition and helps pay off how bad of a father Paul has been in earlier episodes while showing the capacity to change. However, de-aging mentally has been established earlier as not being a thing for Rudeus, so I also feel a pull from the story as I think about how it’s really two adults in a fight. As well as how Paul’s standard for “why didn’t you think about your family more?” actually being a real issue with Rudeus’ character.
Sure, everything that Geese said is true–even more so if we were actually looking from the perspective that Rudeus is an exceptional 11 year old with an 11 year olds capacity for such forethought. But, again… he’s not. So while this was a great addition to the story, it wasn’t actually fitting given the context.
Which sucks, because it was a very good episode. Again, if it was all like that episode–no perverse looks at underage girls or scantily clad women, more focus on the story and figuring things out, it would be an amazing show.
But, again… it doesn’t. So, it is not a great or amazing show.
In conclusion, I hate the show. I am disgusted by it. I am very concerned by how many people approve of it, and I hope this series is banned from streaming platforms or–at least–given better restrictions, because gross.
I firmly believe that it is shows like this, and the way some people in the community talk about it, and raise it up into the “main stream” of anime, that anime fans and fandom often get associated with such negative connotations here in the West.
With that, I will now excuse myself to try to find a way to forget this series entirely and clean myself from the gross feeling I got reviewing it for this post