When it comes down to it, this episode is about one thing alone: Rudeus discovering that he has feelings for Fitz. On one hand, this marks a major milestone for the character: Fitz is the first person Rudeus has fallen for since he and Eris parted. On the other, this whole situation feels like a wasted opportunity for Rudeus to learn more about himself and his sexuality.
After getting acquainted with Nanahoshi last episode, Rudeus’ daily life has changed. Rather than spending afternoons in the library with Fitz researching teleportation, he spends that time with Nanahoshi working on her magic circles instead. While he notices the lack of Fitz in his life, it doesn’t bother him—until the day he meets Fitz on the street and finds himself completely ignored.
This serves to highlight just how hypocritical Rudeus is being in this case. Being ignored hurts him emotionally, but it doesn’t even occur to him that he has been doing the same thing to Fitz for weeks (and, as we see, Sylphy has been feeling insecure because of this).
That said, Rudeus is introspective enough to question why he feels so hurt. After all, Luke gave him a perfectly fair explanation about why Fitz was ignoring him—that Fitz had been ordered by royal decree not to speak when on duty. Nonetheless, he’s suffering from that pain of rejection he knows all too well from what happened with Eris. And, of course, the reason Eris left him hurt so much was because he was in love with her—just like he is in love with Fitz.
It’s here that we reach the “missed opportunity” of the episode. For a brief few scenes, Redeus is shown suffering from a heterosexual crisis of sorts. He views himself as not liking men romantically. However, he also admits that he likes Fitz. Instead of confronting this contradiction head-on, he looks for an escape: If Fitz is a woman, then he isn’t queer in any way. So he starts trying to confirm Fitz’s gender—going behind Fitz’s back to do so.
Then, when Rudeus doesn’t get the answers he wants, he continues to dodge the obvious conclusion in his mind. But before he’s forced to deal with the idea that he might be bisexual, pansexual, etc., he simply lucks into finding out that Fitz is biologically a woman when she falls on top of him and certain parts squish together. Thus, the problem is solved and Rudeus no longer has to deal with the fact that he fell in love with a man—because that man turned out to be a woman in the end. Honestly, it feels like a bit of a cop-out at this point.
However, the whole situation does serve to show Rudeus the first hints of what he needs to truly heal from the aftermath of his first night with Eris. It’s not a physical connection he should have been searching for—which is why none of his potential sexual partners since then have been able to get a rise out of him. The deep emotional connection he has built with Fitz—the safety he feels in the idea that Fitz would never simply abandon him—is what has helped combat his impotence. Of course, it’s not like he’s fully healed. But now he knows that his love for Fitz is the key to getting over his trauma.
..Now if only he hadn’t outed one of her greatest secrets and sent her screaming from the library in a panic.
• Before Nanahoshi met Rudeus, how was she testing the circles she drew since she couldn’t use magic?
• Letting a little girl get drunk? You’re gonna make a great parent one day Rudeus.
• Has illusion magic been mentioned before in Mushoku Tensei—like to the extent one person can completely look like another (as is the case with Princess Arial and Fitz)?
• I continue to be blown away at the fact that Sylphy’s eyes are fully animated under her sunglasses—despite barely being able to see them.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation II is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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