Summary of the Plot
A 34-year-old NEET gets killed in a traffic accident and finds himself in a world of magic. Rather than waking up as a full-grown mage, he gets reincarnated as a newborn baby, retaining the memories of his past life. Before he can even properly move his body, he resolves to never make the same mistakes he made in his first life ever again and instead live a life with no regrets with the new one that was given to him. Because he has the knowledge of a middle-aged man, by the age of two, he has already become a magical prodigy and possesses power unthinkable for anyone his age and even older. Thus begins the chronicles of Rudeus Greyrat, son of swordsman Paul and healer Zenith, as he enters a new world to become the strongest mage known to man, with powers rivaling even the gods themselves.
Power of the Verse
Mushoku Tensei is not an especially powerful verse. The powers are very condensed to within its top tiers and god tiers, the rest being essentially named and unnamed fodder save for a few exceptions. Speedwise, sword practitioners Saint-ranked and above have lightspeed attack speed via the Sword god style trump card, Longsword of Light and its attack equivalents in other sword styles. Beyond that, there are few quantifiable feats for anyone below the high tiers, who are Massively Hypersonic+ at the least. Power-wise, the top tiers are around City to Mountain level and up.
Magical-wise, only one fighting style is known, which is the Saint Dragon touki (whose name has little connection to actual touki that protects the body), a fighting style Rudeus found semblance to real world Wushu and is a combination of magic and martial arts, and specializes in using the minimum amount of mana required to defeat an enemy. It is considered the greatest fighting style in the world.
- Notable user; the Dragon god Orsted, who due to certain factors, has to limit his use of spells to an absolute necessity. He only ever uses magic when forced to in a fight with a worthy opponent, like Rudeus with the Mk.0 armor, and when he does, he combines it with his swordsmanship and close combat fighting, like when he used gravity magic to attempt to subdue Rudeus after forcing him in a particular direction with sword play, and only using the dragon gate to sap the power of an attack that he thinks is too dangerous, but lets others he is sure he can take hit him if he can't evade or block.
Physical-wise, there is the Sword god style, the North god style, and the Water god style. These are the three great sword styles that are akin to rock, paper, scissors, but with swords.
The Sword god style specializes on aggression and speed. It is the perfect counter to the North god style's pragmatic way of fighting. It is typically regarded as the strongest style, and is the most popular.
- Notable user; Eris Greyrat who fights with ruthless aggression, to the point of dropping her sword mid-swing to surprise her opponent with punches instead. She does not stop until either she or her opponent is overwhelmed.
The Water god style specializes on immense defensibility and counter attacks. It is the ultimate counter to the Sword god style's speedy, but straightforward fighting style.
- Notable user; Reida Reia, the Water god, whose greatest skill, Sword of Deprivation overwhelmed a room full of people, half of which are reknowned fighters like Rudeus and Eris Greyrat the moment they attempt to move, and even "killed" Arumanfi of Light who can move at lightspeed in movement bursts.
The North god style is less an actual sword style and more a discipline or a way of combat, in that no two named swordsmen have the same moveset. In fact, practitioners of the style tend to have peculiar/unique traits that they use to their advantage, e.g. Wii Ta who uses light to remove vision, Peacock Auber who fights like a ninja, etc. It fights with trickery and adaptability and is considered the second strongest fighting style. This style is the hard counter to the Water god style in that its unpredictability makes it hard for the defensive style to counter.
- Notable user; Paul Greyrat, who created his own fighting style, becoming like a dog, dropping on fours with a sword in his mouth for greater maneuverability against an opponent who is has the range superiority.
- Another notable user; Death god Randolph Marianne who created the Sword of Bewitching, a psychological warfare type of swordsmanship. This fighting style is composed of two styles, the Sword of Luring and the Sword of Hesitation. The former entices the opponent to attack when he should defend, leaving him open to counter, and the latter entices to defend or retreat when they should attack. With this style, Randolph in his prime was a candidate for North god and was considered a master of stealth, giving birth to the saying, "The Death god is always behind you."
There is a power ranking in-universe that is observed by practitioners of both magic and swordsmanship and seems to be quite distinct in its description, though it is not by any means close to perfect as a system.
Magic-wise, one can only reach the next ranking, if one knows a spell on that level, and that is per element. Rudeus is a great exemption due to his ability to alter the properties of the spell without any use for words that limit it (changing words in the spell chant can alter a spell to the point of raising or lowering its rank, but it takes long studies to do so), making it so his Elementary-ranked spells like Rock Bullet can have Emperor level attack power.
Physical-wise, rankings are attained through reaching certain milestones (e.g. learning Longsword of Light to become Saint-ranked) or being recognized by the current god of each sword style. This is again a flawed system in that, for example, Eris exceeded some of her Saint-ranked Sword god style peers in sheer skill and aggression despite not learning the Longsword of Light (due to no one being able to teach her), which the Sword god, Gal Farion recognized.
The power rankings in Mushoku Tensei is as follows:
Elementary-ranked - Around street level magic and basic swordsmanship training.
Intermediate-ranked - Not much stronger than the lowest rank, but still notable enough to be a higher category. Cavalry level swordsmanship.
Advanced-ranked - Unknown in how much stronger it is than lower levels of magic due to lack of showings. Implied to be around Elite Cavalry level swordsmanship, and is the highest one can go without Touki powering them up, as Rudeus can attest to.
Saint-ranked - A massive power and area-of-effect (AOE) gap from the previous tier, magic spells of this level can now ruin multiple city-blocks to an entire city or something of the like. It usually affects the weather or something to that effect. Sword practitioners, particularly the Sword god Style now has access to lightspeed sword strikes, though they are not necessarily capable of combat on that level, regardless, they are considered one-man army compared to the lower ranks.
The following two tiers for swordsmanship do not actually have requirements but are more dan titles given out by the the current reigning god of the specific sword style.
King-ranked - Unknown in how much stronger they are to Saint-ranked, but implied to be more of refinement and combination of spell effects of Saint-ranked spells than sheer power creep. King-ranked spells can regrow entire limbs in short time span.
Emperor-ranked - It deals with very high amount of mana and complex manipulation, usually increasing range or power or both, from the King rank.
God-ranked - God-tier elemental magic is of extreme power output, considered to be on a continental scale or something that cannot be replicated by most any means. God-ranked sword practitioners on the other hand, are beings unmatched by the lower ranks. There can only be one practitioner of each sword style to hold this title, and claiming a title can only be done by a defeating the previous holder. The North god style is a unique case in that its previous title holder, North god Kalman II disappeared for quite a while that North god Kalman III has been entitled despite not defeating the former.