Home Mushoku Tensei Season 2 Episode 22 - Speechless

Mushoku Tensei Season 2 Episode 22 - Speechless

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Season 2 released episode 22 today, and woah did it deliver on all the build-up we’ve had up to this point. While I titled this ‘speechless,’ it only refers to the first 2 minutes after watching. After that, I had plenty to say and praise, as you might find out below.

The party finally arrived the sixth stratum and found Zenith. Unfortunately it had to feature a giant manatite hydra monster as the final boss and Zenith had to have been crystallized right behind it. This led to an absolutely (my)breath-taking episode in terms of animation and overall production, though that’s not the reason it was unarguably the best episode so far. Spoilers for Mushoku Tensei Season 2 Episode 22 ahead.

As they planned to engage the final stratum, I couldn’t help but feel like it had been too easy. I’ve watched enough anime to know that a show as serious as Mushoku Tensei wouldn’t just let everything go smoothly, so I had some internal fun wondering about what might go wrong. No wonder that Paul trying to say something to Rudy made him the target for my thoughts, especially considering his previous comments about throwing a party for everyone after this all ended. However, Rudy brushes him off, canceling the red flag and throwing us into the boss fight.

Paul has always been the kind of guy who is reasonable. He is also the kind of guy who lets his emotions completely take over that reasoning, and he shows that to us again as he instantly engages the insanely overpowered monster after seeing Zenith. This is also where the first signs of strong production showed, as the rest of the party ran to cover Paul.

The action sequence looked great, while the sound effects and background music also kept the tension up all along. They quickly realize that magic doesn’t work, and only Paul’s badass swordsmanship can sever its heads like it’s nothing. I seriously found myself impressed with this man (despite his scummy traits), and hope we get to see more of his early life eventually. The fight ends with them realizing it’s better to retreat, though Geese and Elinalise had to bring Paul back to his senses via force. Seeing Rudy use healing magic afterwards also reminded me of back when Zenith used it on him in the very first episode of the show.

Going back to the main guy of the episode, this is where I was slightly irritated by Paul. He should already know that Rudy is way more mature than his age, and he shouldn’t be snapping at him for not reacting much. We’ve already gone through this twice. The first time was back when he slapped him before even knowing what had happened when Rudy saved Sylphie from bullies. The second time was when they reunited and he was mad at him for playing around (though here he actually had a point and even Rudy said it had been like a game to him up until that point). I was kind of disappointed seeing it again, though it is understandable simply due to their current situation.

Paul himself is outraged. They just found Zenith, but he doesn’t know whether she’s dead or alive. A million thoughts would be going through his mind (if he were a real person and that were a real situation), so it makes sense that he would expect at least some level of that energy from his son and Zenith’s son.

We also get some of Rudy’s internal thoughts where he further rationalizes his detached attitude towards his mother with arguments that he had only lived with her until he was seven. Being an adult inside, Rudy’s calm attitude is crucial for their situation. If he had actually gotten as flustered as Paul, they might have already been dead by that point.

Remember my feeling about something going wrong and feeling it especially towards Paul? I had kind of forgotten about that until Paul told everyone this would be the last time he asked them to help him. Elinalise and Roxy assured them that Zenith was alive, and Rudy remembered the myth that they can burn the hydra’s neck to stop it from regenerating. So before heading back to try again, Paul had to make a quick and uncharacteristic speech.

At this point I’m thinking “Okay Paul is dead, but what else might go wrong.” He tells Rudy again that he is a lousy dad and that he is aware he can’t be an example to him. This is again similar to what we already saw when they met 2 episodes ago. Then he apologized for bringing Rudy out despite him almost becoming a dad himself. While it’s good to see Paul understanding his faults and limits, it still always hurts seeing him in that hopeless state. The final flag was him telling Rudy to save Zenith even at the cost of his own life.

We go in, the fight looks absolutely incredible. From Paul’s fierce head-slicing to Rudy and Roxy’s magic, it all feels just looks beautiful. Elinalise and Talhand get some good bits of their own, and all seems to be going smoothly. They follow the plan of Paul slicing heads and Rudy burning them, with the rest providing cover. Kay Yu, the animator who did the water in fire sequence, also shared their work on X. This scene was also really cool:

Some more animators who shared their work:

I have to highlight again how incredibly Paul shines in this episode. I really wish to see his prime when he is capable of cutting all the heads while managing to cover whenever someone else gets in trouble.

We saw him jump to defend Elinalise who’d actually jumped in first to defend Rudy earlier in the fight, and here he protects Talhand after he gets caught by the hydra. He keeps track of everything going on in the fight while also being the only one dealing real damage to the opponent. After they’re almost done with all the heads, Rudy gets his own turn to be protected by Paul. I felt legitimately mad at him for getting cocky at that moment. Seeing Paul kick him out of the way made just confirmed my earlier thoughts about him dying. But the fight was not yet over.

The scene where Rudy angrily uses his hand to burst through the hydra’s eye and launching an earth spell was unexpectedly raw. The voice acting throughout the episode had been stellar, but Rudy’s voice actress (Yumi Uchiyama) really delivered a standout performance. Together with her and Rudy’s adult voice (Tomokazu Sugita), I also thought Paul (Toshiyuki Morikawa) and Roxy’s (Konomi Kohara) voice actors brought the overall quality of the episode up by a few levels.

As Rudy thinks that his hand was a small price to pay, he quickly turns to thank Paul for saving him. And this is where the feels strike.

It had been rather predictable, but the execution of this scene was perfect. Rudy’s cheerful attitude turning to despair after the sudden realization hit hard. Still, the heaviest hit by far came from seeing Paul’s reaction. Cut in half and practically already dead, we do not get the usual sob story final words we might expect.

No. Paul isn’t even capable of speaking at that point, so he uses the last atoms of his strength to turn his expression into a smile. He had already told Rudy he was a son he could count on. He had already told Rudy he was a son he was proud of. Now he was just happy that they succeeded in saving Zenith and that he succeeded in saving Rudy at the end. He was happy to die protecting his son, and, although it may have been a coincidence, I think we should still give it to Studio Bind for delivering this episode on Father’s Day (after a 1-week break ahead of the Teleportation Labyrinth arc no less).

Unfortunately, this isn’t even where the emotional damage stopped. The party leaving the dungeon in complete silence was a heavy hit itself, and a stone would cry after that eerily tragic soundtrack started playing. We are made to listen to it as we see Lilia happy to see everyone back only to get her own heart broken at the news. No matter how sad anyone is at that moment, Rudy has it the most difficult. Lilia is shown to understand that, as she hugs Rudy and tells him to rest.

As the OST keeps playing, Rudy sees the torch burning and it’s linked back to them cremating Paul. At this point it just felt like an overkill. HOWEVER, it was not over yet. The episode’s title wasn’t “Father” or “Parent.” It was “Parents.” So, of course, it ended with Zenith waking up, only for Rudy and Lilia to realize that her mind seems to be gone. Leaving Rudy, myself, and probably many others, speechless (yeah, made it make sense!).

If you have gotten to this point, you’re in luck! I will follow the example Rifujin na Magonote gave and twist the knife a bit more in your heart. Here are throwbacks to 15 precious Paul and Rudy’s moments that will hit like a truck after watching Mushoku Tensei Season 2 Episode 22.

The anime ranked 4th last week, and I think there hasn’t been a better time this season to vote for Mushoku Tensei than after this episode. If you watched and enjoyed it, you can vote for the best anime of week 11.

Images via Crunchyroll
©Rifujinnamagonote/MFBOOKS/Mushoku Tensei II Production Committee

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