How Erectile Dysfunction in Mushoku Tensei’s New Season Tackles Abandonment and True Intimacy

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The critically acclaimed anime “Mushoku Tensei,” often referred to as the Godfather of the Isekai genre, has completed its first part of its second season. Though we’ll have to wait until April for part two, we can appreciate this masterclass in character development in the first part. 

One of the standout aspects of this season is how it uniquely addresses depression and heartbreak. While it’s common for characters to go through the stages of healing after heartbreak, “Mushoku Tensei” takes it a step further by giving Rudeus Greyrat, its main character, Erectile Dysfunction (ED), a sensitive, real-life problem.

In last season’s finale, Rudeus has his first intimate experience with his partner, Eris, only to find her gone the next morning, leaving behind a note stating, “I’m going away; we aren’t compatible right now.” This leaves Rudeus questioning whether his performance in bed was the reason for her departure, leading to abandonment issues.

Season 2 begins with Rudeus navigating a complex mix of emotions, primarily centered around depression and heartbreak. In the first episode, he experiences passive suicidal ideation, giving up and almost surrendering his life to a pack of bears. 

However, through seeing his group (Counter Arrow) make efforts in fighting hard to protect each other and keep one another going — it reminds Rudeus of his Master Roxy and how perhaps she may have stumbled on her journey as an adventurer too. He can’t give up and disappoint the teachings of his Master who taught him what it meant to be alive, so he finally decides to fight and take a step towards moving on. He says one of my favorite lines in the entire series when he said, “I’d lost I cared about very much. That was true. But that didn’t mean I had nothing left to live for.” 

Through his time with Counter Arrow, he forms a great bond with Sara. Their relationship escalates to a physical level, but Rudeus faces a significant problem — as they got intimate for the first time, he failed to perform sexually — leading to a humiliating situation where she storms out on him, destroying whatever pieces of him were left. Rudeus is clearly attracted to Sara but we discover his ED isn’t physical but a result of his current mental health. He needs to be sure his partner won’t abandon him.

We then progress to the University Arc, where Rudeus meets many people, most notably the respectable Silent Fitz, who secretly is his childhood friend, Sylphiette, in disguise as a man. 

However, even after discovering Fitz’s true gender and her potential to help him overcome his ED, Rudeus decides to respect Fitz’s wish to be known as a man. This marks a notable transformation in Rudeus’s character, departing from the extremely pervy behavior that he constantly harassed Eris with.

The iconic cave scene unfolds, with Fitz revealing her true identity as Sylphiette as well as her declaration of love for Rudeus. Though Rudeus has feelings for Sylphiette, he’s unsure if he should call it love. Fearing that she might leave him — like Eris did — if he gives the wrong answer, he decides to tell her he loves her too. This demonstrates the lasting impact of Eris’s sudden departure on Rudeus. However, his ED resurfaces, leading to an awkward explanation to Sylphiette about his condition. To his surprise, Sylphiette accepts him, seeks solutions, and provides the emotional support he needs.

While Rudeus uses the special aphrodisiac from Sylphiette to cure his ED and gets intimate with her, it’s clear that the mental reassurance of her commitment and intimacy played the biggest role in his recovery. The following morning, Rudeus awakens to find Sylphiette gone. Just like how Eris was gone but, unlike Eris, Sylphiette comes back. She was just running errands.

Rudeus starts bawling in her arms as she caresses his head letting him know that she’s here for him and he says, “I’m cured. Thank you.” This heartwarming scene symbolizes his healing and marks a turning point in his life.

After the finale aired, I went back to watch episode one of this season just to compare how different things were, as well as to fill the hole left in my heart. In order to reach the highest heights, sometimes you have to hit the lowest lows. The season finale is a stark contrast to the season opener where at first Rudeus was cold and alone in the winter, while now he is in love and engaged with someone who will stay with him no matter what in the warmer seasons.

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