Mushoku Tensei: Does punishing Pursena and Linia make Rudeus a bad person?

Linia and Pursena

Mushoku Tensei has been faring in the problematic territory with the recent episodes. Making the fans raise eyebrows with the portrayal of some particular events in the anime. This event is Rudeus’ treatment of Pursena and Lilia. The entire sequence involving the beast girls stirred some emotions and raised questions among the viewers.

Rudeus kidnapped the two girls over a broken figurine which he could rebuild easily. Even after the kidnapping, his treatment of them was the furthest away from ideal. All of this reflects badly on his character. Does this make him a bad person now?

Pursena and Linia
Pursena and Linia being feisty as usual | Image Courtesy of Studio Bind

This article doesn’t justify his actions or speak in their favor, it just explores how the main character is affected by the writing choices of the author.

Mushoku Tensei: A Brief Character Analysis of Rudues

Rudeus Greyrat
Rudeus in Mushoku Tensei season 2 | Image Courtesy of Studio Bind

Rudeus ‘punished’ Pursena and Linia in three different ways, by kidnapping them, touching them without consent, and leaving them tied up without thinking about the potential consequences. These actions are unpleasant but he is a complex character. He realizes his limits and his self-awareness keeps him in check at times. 

  • The most recent example is his treatment of Julie. He didn’t question slavery or second-guessed his decision to indulge in it. But his behavior towards Julie exhibits kindness and compassion, at least up till now 
  • With his severe flaws and questionable actions, he is just trying to not make the same mistakes as his past self. He becomes reckless at times. We expect him to have the same definitions of right and wrong as us. But we need to consider that he has been living in this world for years. 

The context in which everything happened

Pursena and Linia
Pursena and Lina argruing | Image Courtesy of Studio Bind

The transition from the light novel/web novel to anime did not happen without some changes here and there. The anime managed to tone down the problematic bits. While these changes have helped Rudeus’ case, the tweaks are also responsible for converting the situation into something comic. 

Everything that was portrayed was laughed off as a joke, it helped soften the blow of these moments. Linia and Pursena’s reaction also needs to be taken into consideration. They submitted to Rudeus, calling him boss which downplayed the effect of his actions. 

Linia Mushoku Tensei
Linia getting hit by Rudeus | Image Courtesy of Studio Bind

Also, Rudeus is a character and this is fiction we’re talking about. A fictional world that doesn’t resemble our world. There are a lot of complexities we need to count on if we are going to discuss the morally good and bad factors. One example of the complexities is the way the characters deal with their bodily desires. They are outspoken and almost outrageous about it which is something, we as humans, are unfamiliar with. 

Conclusion: Is Rudeus a bad person now?

Mushoku Tensei season 2
A still of Rudeus explaining the greatness of Roxy to Pursena and Linia | Image Courtesy of Studio Bind

In any other situation, Rudeus would’ve been a bad person outright. As for the particular situation with Pursena and Linia, considering all the context present to us, no it didn’t make him a bad person. It was a distasteful and horrible gesture on his part.

And with someone like Rudeus, we can expect him to mess up even worse in the future. It can also go down as one of the most degenerate moments but it doesn’t put a character as complex as him in a black or white area such as good or bad. 

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