With a score of 8.34/10 in the big anime database MyAnimeList, the Isekai anime Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is one of the most discussed shows of the Winter 2021 season. In 11 episodes, the first season starts telling the story of a man who dies in a car crash, only to reincarnate as a child, Rudy Greyrat, who retains all memories and regrets of his previous, purposeless life.
Rudy decides to use the lessons from his previous life to live his current one with no more regrets… and it looks like the world he found himself in is not a bad place to do that: the Six-Faced World in which he reincarnates is one full of magic. And our main character happens to be particularly gifted.
Rudy’s world has a developed magical system the resembles tabletop games, with many types of spells the main characters can cast and magic ranks that determine what a magic-user can do. Here are the ranks and the perks that come with each:
To understand the way ranks work in Mushoku Tensei one has to understand the workings of magic in this universe. Unlike other works, in which magic is a mysterious, inexplicable force, the magic of Mushoku Tensei is not completely unlike technology, in the sense that magic too, uses energy. This energy – which is inherent in each resident of the Six-Faced World is called Mana or Mayoku in Japanese.
Beginners can manipulate their mana only minimally, but they’re still able to use Incantations. These are simple spells, aided by speaking certain words of powers.
After learning the basics, magic users of the Six-Faced World can harness their mana to achieve more than before, though they can still mostly use it in simple ways.
Advanced magic users can manipulate their mana in more complex ways. At this point, spell-casters should be able to cast magic circles – think of the transmutation circles in Fullmetal Alchemist for instance.
Characters who reach the fourth-strongest rank can move far beyond small, basic magical practices. At this point, the magic-user’s action can have a large-scale effect on their world, as they can influence the weather among other things.
Not only are more advanced magic users able to do more complex things with their magic, but they also get a higher concentration of mana, which means more magic.
Imperial magic users have even higher mana concentration, and therefore almost limitless amounts of magic.
The more advanced a magician becomes the more they can manipulate the laws of magic, for example by using shortened versions of incantations or casting spells silently, but very few characters can do this. Rudy, of course, is one of them.
Six-Faced World residents who reach the seventh and last rank have infinite amounts of mana and – as the name indicates – god-like powers. Given Rudy's gift, we can assume that he will eventually reach this level. Already, he has shown extraordinary abilities, partly attributed to his origins as a human reincarnated from another world.
It’s interesting to note that while magic in Mushoku Tensei is highly systematized with complex ranks, spells, and equipment, making it what author Brandon Sanderson would call a ‘hard’ magic system, there’s still a place for wonder. After all, the creators don’t limit what can be achieved with magic, allowing for it to take almost god-like proportions for characters who dare try something different – such as voiceless spells, which Rudy can perform.
In the anime, we’re still quite early in Rudy’s development, so it will be interesting to see him interacting with other magic users and growing. In any case, this type of magical anime could lend itself well to a video game adaptation - and with its success so far this wouldn't be unthinkable.
Mushoku Tensei airs every Sunday on Hulu and Funimation. The latter is known for its dubs, making tthe show a potential candidate to be dubbed. For more information about the show's magic system, be sure to check out the original light novels and the manga.