It was just another day of typing away at your computer when your siblings, having finally lost patience with your inability to be independent, throw you out of the house after your parents’ funeral. Overweight, jobless, penniless and aimless, you come to the conclusion that you wasted your life. In this haze of despondence, you see three high school students about to be run over by a truck. Deciding that saving their lives would give some meaning to your own, you push them out of the way…and the world turns black. When you open your eyes again, it is through the eyes of baby born to a fantasy world of swords and sorcery…
Jobless Reincarnation: I Will Seriously Try If I Go To Another World (無職転生 ～異世界行ったら本気だす～, Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu) is a web novel, manga and anime written by Rifujin na Magonote (理不尽な孫の手).
The hero of this story is Rudeus “Rudy” Greyrat, a reincarnated 34-year old reclusive, perverted NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) who has vowed to not repeat the mistakes of his old life and focus on making the best of his new one. Retaining his memories and self-awareness from rebirth, Rudy secretly practices magic as a baby but his talents are soon discovered by his parents, Paul and Zenith Greyrat.
At three years old, Rudy is introduced to his magic tutor Roxy Migurdia, a seasoned adventurer and mage and a native of the far-away Demon Continent. Under her tutelage, Rudy learns to control and develop his magic while his father Paul teaches him the art of swordsmanship. Two years later, Roxy declares that Rudy has learned all that she can teach him, giving him a wand (the mark of a mage who has completed basic training) and departing.
Rudy then meets Sylphiette, a young girl of his age, when she is being bullied by other children. Over the next two years, the two children develop a close bond of friendship with each other. Deciding that time away from his family would be best for Rudy, Paul and Zenith decide to send their son to live with relatives in the Citadel of Roa. It is there that Rudy meets Eris Boreas Greyrat, daughter of the aristocratic Boreas Greyrat family and a distant older cousin to Rudy himself. After a hostile first impression and a few misadventures, Eris gradually learns to trust and respect Rudy, eventually accepting him as her tutor in magic and general knowledge (i.e. reading, writing, mathematics).
A few days after his 10th birthday, Rudy takes Eris and her bodyguard Ghislaine out of Roa to demonstrate the limits of his magic. As he begins, Rudy sees unusual clouds gather above Roa in the distance and then, with Roa at the epicenter, a flash of bright light growing to encompass the land around it…
Rudeus “Rudy” Greyrat, the son of Paul and Zenith Greyrat, born in Buena Village in the Asura Kingdom of the western Central Continent. Before his reincarnation, he was an unnamed 34-year old who spent much of his life alone in his room after being persecuted at his high school. By the time he was kicked out by his own family, he came to the realization that had he made different choices, his life would have been better. Seeing his reincarnation as a chance to become the best he can be, Rudy embarks on a lifelong quest to improve himself in as many ways as possible, be it learning new skills, developing himself as a person, establishing lasting friendships and, most importantly, securing a girlfriend! He soon becomes a capable warrior, a skilled magician and a polyglot. Rudy will soon find himself challenged in ways that even his old life could never prepare him for.
Roxy Migurdia, a female, blue-haired Migurd mage and adventurer. Despite appearing to be around 12 years old, Roxy is actually an adult (she was 37 years old when she first met Rudy, making both of them technically the same age!). Born in the Migurd Village in the Begonia Region of the northern Demon Continent, Roxy was born without her race’s natural telepathy. While she wasn’t treated badly by her family or her peers, Roxy felt like an outcast within her village since she had no way to understand those who normally didn’t need to speak aloud. Roxy’s life changed when a passing mage/travelogue writer visited her village and taught her the basics of magic. A year after the mage left the village, Roxy, then aged 14, decided to leave the village as well in order to travel the world her teacher described so vividly. Over the years, she developed her magic skills (becoming particularly skilled in water magic), became an experienced adventurer and eventually graduated from the famous Ranoa Magic Academy. During her time as Rudy’s magic tutor, Roxy taught the boy not only magic but also how to overcome the trauma from his past life. She is the main character of the prequel manga story Jobless Reincarnation: Roxy is Serious (無職転生 ~ロキシーだって本気です~, Mushoku Tensei: Roxy Datte Honki Desu).
Sylphiette (a.k.a. “Sylphie”), a young green-haired girl with pointed ears and a talented mage. Sylphie has a diverse ancestry, being the daughter of a half-elf father and a human mother with a beastman lineage. Her family moved to the Buena Village when her father found work there as a hunter. She was soon bullied by the village’s children for her green hair, which is said to be the sign of the Magic Race that once betrayed humanity in an ancient war. After Rudy protects her from the bullies, the two children form a deep friendship with each other, almost to the point of co-dependence. Because of this, Paul and Zenith decide to send Rudy to Roa to further his education and experience. Sylphie missed Rudy but later decided to work on improving herself and the magic he taught her in order to make sure that she would not be dependent on him when they meet again.
Eris Boreas Greyrat, the heiress of the Boreas Greyrat family, one of the noble families of the Asura Kingdom. Her first meeting with her younger distant relative Rudy was far from amiable, consisting of her punching him in the face and declaring that she’ll never learn anything from him. Hot-tempered, impulsive, strong, and spoiled, Eris proved to be quite a handful for Rudy, who was given the job of being Eris’ tutor in exchange for enough money to pay for his and Sylphie’s future education at the Ranoa Magic Academy. Rudy is soon able to win Eris’ grudging respect through a combination of showing her the cruelties of the real world, demonstrating his own skills and understanding her as a student and a person. During this time, Eris discovers a talent for swordsmanship, which meshed well with her temperament. She also develops a crush on Rudy, which would blossom into true love as the years go by.
The story features a fair deal of worldbuilding, with an established geography of three main continents (along with villages, cities and different regional cultures), a currency system, an international guild system for adventurers and mages, a bit of background history for the world and a few unique humanoid races alongside elves (who created the world’s magic) and dwarves. Jobless Reincarnation touches on some of the more common issues of our world such as the need to work day-by-day to earn a living, working with other people despite personal differences and coping with death. It also touches a bit on the sensitive problem of racial discrimination, since many humans discriminate against the Magic Races for the aid their ancestors gave to a legendary demon god centuries ago.
The most compelling thing in Jobless Reincarnation is Rudy’s determination to make the best of his new life after being utterly miserable with his old life in Japan. The bullying Rudy went through during his first life is sadly a not an uncommon occurrence in Japan, where social conformity is quietly encouraged, hence the saying: “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” As a result, Rudy developed serious flaws that dragged him down even further such as his inability to empathize with others, his fear of failure and his inability focus on his dreams, making him quick to give up.
In his new world, Rudy faces choices and problems far harder than he could have faced in Japan, yet he soldiers on through sheer determination and his own desire to be reliable to those he cares for, despite (or perhaps because of) being fully aware of his past life’s failures. This need for self-determination and self-improvement is also a trait demonstrated at various degrees by many of the other heroic characters of Jobless Reincarnation. It sounds simple when you see it or read about it, but having the actual need and willpower to do it is not something that everyone has.
You must keep learning and stay determined if you wish to improve your life.