Mob Pyscho 100 is the ambitious second animated creation by ONE, but can it separate itself from One Punch Man’s shadow and stand on its own?
(skip to REVIEW if you don’t need introduction to Mob Pyscho 100)
Mob Pyscho 100, is originally a Japanese webcomic (and now anime) created by Japanese artist ONE (One-Punch Man). Whereas One-Punch Man was being self-published as a webcomic, Mob Psycho 100 was at the same time being serialized via the online version of Weekly Shōnen Sunday (2012). A television anime adaptation by Bones aired between July and September 2016, and a subbed version of each episode was additionally added to the Crunchyroll roster shortly after each Japanese release.
Preview & Synopsis
Shigeo Kageyama is an average middle school boy, called Mob (モブ means background character) for lacking a sense of presence. Although he seems like an inconspicuous person, he is in fact, a powerful Esper. As he grows older, Mob realizes his psychic powers are dangerous. To avoid his power getting out of control, he constantly lives a life under emotional shackle. Mob wants to live just like others, but a barrage of trouble comes to him. With the suppressed emotions growing inside Mob little by little, his power threatens to spill over its bounds.
Before getting into the review, I want to make it clear that I have not read the manga. Furthermore, I do not plan on comparing the animated version with the manga either, however, I might compare some aspects to the animated version of One-Punch Man. Without further ado, here is my review for Mob Physcho 100 Season 1.
During the first minute of the first episode, we are introduced to a powerful being. This being is in midst battle and appears to be destroying (exorcising) spirits in an unrecognizable location, perhaps in another realm. Later in the series we are made aware that this being is, in fact, the stories protagonist, Shigeo Kageyama, also known as Mob. On a side note, we do see Mob use his psychic powers, however, we don’t ever see this battle actually take place during the 12 episodes that lay ahead. It is an incredible scene, but my guess is that it might be a scene that will actually happen further down the line in other seasons. Even though we don’s see this battle occur during the whole season, it appears they are simply showing us a glimpse of his full abilities so we aren’t drawn away as the first few episodes primarily focus on character introductions and plot build up.
Soon after the memorable scene, we are officially introduced to Arataka Reigen, Mobs master, mentor, boss, and friend. He is a con artist by trade, conning people by promising to exorcise them using shady tactics (séances, messages, etc.), however, when something truly paranormal occurs, he calls in Mob, who has unmeasured physic powers.
We also get to meet Mob’s family, however, there is more focus on his younger brother, Ritsu Kageyama. We also meet characters from his middle school, Salt Middle School, such as Tsubomi Takane, his friend, and childhood crush. Tome Kurata (President of the Telepathy Club), Shinji Kamuro (President of the Student Council), Musashi Goda (president of the Body Improvement Club) Ichi Mezato (member of the Newspaper Club), Tenga Onigawara (The leader of Salt Middle School’s delinquents), and Dimple, a powerful psychic/ghost who has a run-in with Mob. We are later introduced to other key characters like members of their rival school, Black Vinegar Middle School, such as several gang members, and the strongest Esper from that school, Teruki Hanazawa, a.k.a. Teru. Further in the season, we meet other important groups such as the Awakening Lab, a training club for low powered espers, and Claw, a group of powerful evil physics who kidnap low powered espers and brainwash them before they reach full potential.
What I did like about the introduction of Mob is that very early in the story, we get to experience mob complex personality and how he interacts with all the character. For the most part, he is very timid, shy and scared of social interactions. Even though this seems like a cliche main character, there are many reasons why he is like this, and it has nothing to do with the typical, bad childhood stories we have seen over and over in other animes. For the most part, Mob has good parents and a decent childhood. He loves and admires his younger brother, and his parents treat his abilities like nothing grand, but more of an inconvenience or bad habit. What he does become is a bit lonely because he doesn’t really have anyone to talk to as there aren’t many people around with similar abilities. In fact, he feels his powers are useless as they don’t help with him to grow socially. Where we have seen similar powerful but shy characters in other animes; characters who tend to, for the most part, embrace and/or show off their abilities, Mob is quite different. He feels that the only way to succeed in anything is to work hard, and prefers to work on himself over abusing his abilities.
This is a core attribute of Mob that drew me into the series. For some time you might dislike his master Reigen, but the further you move along in the series, you will see where he fits in the grooming of Mobs unpretentious attitude. Even though Reigen is a fraud, he genuinely cares for Mob, and further down the series you will see how they met and what importance they each play in each other’s lives.
The plot in itself is typical. A quiet boy is powerful. A quite boy has trouble making friends. A quite boy overcomes obstacles and finds purpose.
With that said, the story behind the plot is what will resonate with people. The plot itself is more of the template to an amazing story. They aren’t trying to wow you or hit a nerve by giving Mob a dreadful background. But they attempt to draw you in by making him more human and making his powers secondary to the problems he’s having as a normal teen. He is constantly struggling to fit in, and this is what gives Mob some humanity.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that the series is consistent on several points. For a moment, we get to see Mob actually exercise evil ghosts, and help other ghosts move on to the afterlife, which was a very interesting and appealing concept. For a moment, it felt like this would be the general idea of the series, but soon it became apparent that this was only to show the viewers that Mob can exorcise ghost and is starting to really get a grasp of his powers. We don’t see much of this again. For the remaining of the series you see him fight foes, and struggle with being an adolescent. We see his exorcising spirits but usually, it is part of a battle and not simply part of ghost busting, which was originally his job working for Reigen.
Though the story was told well, you find moments where it can felt a bit spliced or shortened. In my opinion, I felt like the series needed at least 12 more episodes. Though I have not read the manga and I can’t compare how much was left out, the story felt shorten for the purpose of squeezing it into 12 episodes.
Where with some animes I feel they elongate seasons with filler episodes, with Mob Psycho 100 I felt like there wasn’t enough.
The story unfolds in 3 parts. He faces an early advisory. He loses something which gives something to fight for. He is met with obstacle’s that he needs to face head on. As generic as that sounds, there are great interactions and story build up, specifically with the contributions to the story by all the fantastic characters. There are some appealing struggles see him go through from figuring out how to impress the love of his life, to having a hard time finding ways around not using his powers to hurt others. He goes through hoops we are not used to seeing in an anime.
I think there is plenty of plot to keep you coming back for more. The episodes end in a way that will have you guessing what’s to come. However, like I’ve said prior, there was a lack of episodes. This felt a lot like watching FLCL for the first time. A terrific anime with a short count of episodes.
Visually, Mob Psycho 100 is beautifully animated. Subtle at times, but it shined where it counted. By simply watching the first 2 minutes, you will see what you be in for. If you want an idea, check out One-Punch Man as the same studio animated this series. If I had to compare to another anime, it would be Gurren Lagann. Not in the style, but in the subtleness of the animation. Like Gurren Lagann, Mob Psycho 100 peaks during fight scenes but simmers done during no action scenes. It is easy on the eyes and fun to watch.
Culmination and Fulfillment
Again, though I was slightly disappointed that season was only 12 episodes and that thy didn’t show more of the ghost busting, the season wraps up nicely. There is enough concluded to close out the season but enough left open to wanting more. For a 12-episode anime, they were able to accomplish a lot of the story. The story was exciting and heartfelt, which is always 2 winning aspects of any anime.
After all that said, both negative and positives, I could easily say that Mob Psycho 100 is my current favorite anime. Yes, it was short and had moments that felt needed a bit more storytelling, but I think that the way all of the stories shards were pieced together in 12 episodes was a pretty genius feat. I felt that many of us could relate to Mob, as he is constantly attempting to better himself when at the same time he is struggling with social acceptance.
Mob is also an incredible example of a good and kind hearted person, who loves his family and shows it in any way possible. He is an example of how we as humans could one day obtain greatness but still remain humble. Mob Psycho 100 is currently my favorite anime this 2016.
- A one of kind protagonist who is flawed an is easily relatable.
- Is not your typical "child with powers and a terrible childhood" anime.
- Unique story with an array of unique characters and intense interactions.
- The season is a short 12 episodes. Feels like not enough to tell a full story.
- Doesn't show enough of Mobs original growth as a ghost hunter and quickly goes into battling foes.