Mushoku Tensei: How to Get Started With the Light Novels, Manga & Anime

Isekai titles have a lot of interesting reincarnations for their heroes, many of which are much more exciting and interesting than their previous lives. This is definitely the case with Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, a series whose anime has become incredibly popular through streaming.

Featuring a formerly homeless NEET who's reincarnated into a fantasy world, Mushoku Tensei is in many ways the quintessential isekai. This is reflected not only in its fairly conventional storytelling, but also in all the different forms that said story has taken. It's also attracted a fair bit of controversy, sending the jobless reincarnation working overtime. Here's what the series is about and where those interested can read and watch it.

The Plot of Mushoku Tensei

Mushoku Tensei Anime Reudeus Studying Magic

The protagonist of Mushoku Tensei is a man who has lost his home after the death of his parents. Despondent and deeming himself a failure, the lad still has some heroism about him, sacrificing himself in an act of absolution that saves a few teenagers from an oncoming truck. Upon dying, he's reincarnated in a fantasy world as a baby named Rudeus Greyrat, but he has all of the memories and knowledge of his previous life.

His new sword-and-sorcery world is one ruled and fueled by magic, which he develops an early hand at. Determined to make the most of his drastically changed situations and make this life much more successful than his previous one, Rudeus embarks to learn all that he can about magic from his non-human teachers.

Where to Read the Mushoku Tensei Light Novels

As mentioned, Mushoku Tensei is a lot like most isekai in how it got its start and subsequent media transitions. It began back in 2012 as a web novel by Rifujin na Magonote, amassing 25 volumes in this form and running until 2015. In early 2014, it also received a light novel version that's still running, though Magonote does have an ending and a sequel already in mind.

Localized in the West by Seven Seas Entertainment as Jobless Reincarnation, 13 of the 25 volumes have been officially translated into English, although only 14 are so far scheduled to be released in a digital format. They can be purchased through Comixology, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book retailers, with more coming in 2022. This localization downplays some of the more explicitly sexual themes in the original material, sparking a question of whether or not to continue localizing the series.

Where to Read the Mushoku Tensei Manga

Seven Seas Entertainment also handles the localization for the manga version of Mushoku Tensei, which began in 2014. Yuka Fujikawa is the author and artist of the adaptation, with SiroTaka handling the character designs. It continues to this day, adapting more and more of the original novels. 13 volumes have been brought to the West, with localizations generally coming out about a year after the volumes' original Japanese release.

Many of the aforementioned retailers stock the manga version of the series, as do Walmart and Right Stuf Anime, making it just as easy to get into as the original novel series.

Where to Watch the Mushoku Tensei Anime

The biggest point of entry for the franchise has been the anime adaptation, which as mentioned is currently getting quite a few hits via streaming services. The anime was announced in late 2019 and premiered in 2021, with the second part recently airing starting in October. Funimation handles the series' English dub, and their streaming service is one way to watch the show. It's also available to stream on Hulu, with individual episodes up for purchase via Youtube and Amazon Prime.

Unfortunately, the show is not without its critics, with one country in particular coming out against it. Mushoku Tensei was suspended from airing in China due to the supposed immoral nature of its content, with a popular online streamer even claiming that it was a series for "bottom feeders." This is on top of the criticism the show has received in general for its lascivious nature, particularly when it's aimed toward children. Nevertheless, these scandals haven't stopped Mushoku Tensei from becoming quite a hit, especially among isekai fans.

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