Despite the title, “A Friend,” we would submit that Paul and Rudy’s relationship being developed is on par with Rudy making one of his first friends.


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Despite the title, “A Friend,” we would submit that Paul and Rudy’s relationship being developed is on par with Rudy making one of his first friends.


Director(s) Chiaki Ōji
Writer(s) Hiroki Hirano
Aired (Hulu) 1/24/2021
Introduced This Episode
Sylph Ai Kayano

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text may contain affiliate links, which, if a purchase is made, we’ll earn money or products from the company.

Recap

Let Me Tell You About My Best Friend – Sylph, Rudy

With Roxy curing Rudy’s social anxiety, he heads out into the world! Mind you, not looking for much, if anything, beyond a place to read and maybe see some of the things he’s read about. That is until he encounters Sylph being bullied and defends them from local kids who ganged up on them.

Sylph (Ai Kayano) smiling
Sylph (Ai Kayano)

Now, as for why they bullied Sylph? Seemingly just for being different. For with elf ears and green hair, clearly, they aren’t like anyone else. If anything, they’re seen as a demon. Which, at this point of the show, while we know demons have their own continent, as shown by Roxy, they don’t all live there. So when it comes to how integrated they are in human society and how Rudy’s village feels about them overall, that’s hard to say.

What we can say, though, is Rudy quickly befriends Sylph, and part of their bond focuses on Rudy teaching Sylph magic. Not just with a wand and incantations either, but also the way Rudy has done so. And even beyond using magic, the two seem to only have each other, which makes them grow close.

Just Trying To Have A Place & Purpose In Your Life – Rudy, Paul

However, while they grow close, Paul and Rudy still are dealing with a chasm in their relationship. Rudy is no better at using a sword, and with him so mature for his age, Paul feels left out. What can he give a kid that seems to know right from wrong, is talented in magic, and isn’t necessarily a momma’s boy, yet clearly, that’s his favorite parent?

Well, for Paul, originally, it was trying to humble or belittle his son when presented the idea he was violent and hurt someone’s kid. Mind you, this was in defending Sylph, which Paul didn’t know, but being able to be self-righteous and finally getting to play dad gave him such a high. However, once he finally lets Rudy explain himself, he admits he was wrong.

Granted, Paul doesn’t reveal to Rudy why he came so hard on him, but in an effort to heal that relationship and find a place in his son’s life, he keeps in mind his own relationship with his father. Which, from the little we’re told, it seems Paul left home at a young age just to get away from his parents or because he was kicked out.

Any Advice, Dad? I’m Struggling Here – Sylph, Rudy, Paul

One of the reasons things between Sylph and Rudy went well for so long is because Rudy thought Sylph was a boy. He never caught Sylph’s full name is Sylphiette, despite hanging out for over 6 months. Leading you to wonder, if like Rudy, does Sylph’s parents never say their full name, or did Rudy just never play with Sylph near her home?

Either way, both get caught in a rainstorm, and with that, Rudy invites her home and pressures her to get into the bath. Mind you, when he does this, he is buck naked and questioning why Sylph is shy? So, at first, he makes it seem it is okay to be shy, then he pants Sylph – thus leading to Rudy’s first time seeing a real-life vagina.

Sylph giving Rudy the side eye

But, in pantsing her, and then his apology including he thought she was a boy, so comes Paul being able to find his place. After all, Paul says his family comes from a long line of womanizers, so it’s in the genes when it comes to talking game.

Thus, he tries his best to help Rudy navigate winning Sylph back, and it isn’t easy. Mainly due to Rudy having no idea what to say, when to shut up, or any of that. But, luckily for him, Sylph values their relationship and also doesn’t have any other friends. So she forgives him and asks if things can be like they were before.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Anyone else roll their eyes when they realize Rudy’s holy relic from Roxy wasn’t the gift she gave but the panties he stole?
  2. Considering how the boy’s mother acted when Rudy pushed back, I can’t be the only one wondering whether Sylph’s father learned of what happened and whether he did anything right? Unless he was too afraid to?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

It’s hard to teach something you do by feeling.
— Rudy

Review

Highlights

Rudy Made A Friend

Let’s take note that Rudy, in their previous life, made it seem they haven’t had a conversation, never mind friend, in decades. Yet, after some minor exposure therapy, they now made one they joke with, do spells with, and could become something down the line. And while, granted, there is this vibe that Rudy may not know Sylph’s family well, and maybe vice versa, considering how triggering it used to be to see kids near his family’s property, this is growth – this is progress.

Rudy’s Relationship With His Father

Unfortunately, Rudy glazes over the relationship he had with his dad in his past life, but it seems clear that it wasn’t loving in the way Paul pursues. If anything, they dealt with each other out of family obligation. Which is how you can see Rudy was handling Paul when he was confronted. He was ready for that back and forth, especially after being hit, to either guilt Paul or put Paul in his place and shift their relationship.

Yet, you can see from both, despite everything that happened when Paul was ready to chastise Rudy, there is a desire for a relationship there. As noted, neither Paul nor Rudy seemed to have the best relationship with their dads, and this new life both seem to want to change that.

Paul noting his son his dumb, but loves him anyway

So the joy of being able to help Rudy with girls, it warms your heart a bit. Also, Rudy trusting his dad and looking back at him when he felt he was making things worse with Sylph, that really does show Rudy is making the best of this new life he was given. Yes, while still being a creep at times, but overall, Rudy has learned from his past and continues to learn so he can have the future that his and other people’s decisions stole from him.

On The Fence

Wanting A Bit More World Building, Due To Sylph Being Part Elf

While this episode had what we’ve become accustomed to, Rudy being a perv, some magic, and character development, it didn’t really do the best job world-building. Now, was that necessarily important considering everything else we got? No. Rudy’s growth as a character, the relationship he built with Sylph, and strengthened with Paul more than compensated for not diving more into the world he is in.

However, it didn’t make wishing Rudy went over Sylph’s house, so we could see how she lived any less desirable. It also didn’t lessen the desire to know more about elves, whether they usually live amongst humans, never mind with Sylph’s dad being a half-elf; how does that work?

A lot of what we question and wonder about are honestly small-time issues, but considering a lot of the questions you would pose usually got answered in the same episode, having to wait feels new and unwelcomed.

[amazon box=”B07LC9HGB9, B01E0D0P6G”]

[ninja_tables id=”54695″]

Summary

Rudy Made A Friend - 85%
Rudy's Relationship With His Father - 86%
Wanting A Bit More World Building, Due To Sylph Being Part Elf - 77%

83%

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation continues to stir the pot, which is your feelings, and almost makes you feel like you're being set up for something devastating to happen.

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