Mob Psycho 100 is the follow up show to Yusuke Murata’s run away series One Punch Man. Let’s call it like it is: Mob Psycho 100 has very large shoes to fill and a fan base that has high expectations. Not like Star Wars level of expectations, more like Star Trek but still a considerable amount of pressure.
So what’s Mob Psycho 100 all about?
Kageyama Shigeo, a.k.a. “Mob,” is a boy who has trouble expressing himself, but who happens to be a powerful esper. Mob is determined to live a normal life and keeps his ESP suppressed, but when his emotions surge to a level of 100%, something terrible happens to him! As he’s surrounded by false espers, evil spirits, and mysterious organizations, what will Mob think? What choices will he make? (Thanks Crunchyroll!)
The show starts flashy, literally with several bangs. The sequences DEMANDS your attention, you cant look away, and it doesn’t want you to. The director of the show understands exactly what they’re facing: the overwhelming hype and expectation train. They’re throwing scenes at the audience that they can instantly relate to: the ending battle of One Punch Man. Lots of flashy colors, over exaggerated expressions and limbs, and a few epileptic seizures later….Congratulations, you now know you want to stay on the hype train of Mob Pyscho 100.
This big-wow opening sequence was done with purpose because they knew if they couldn’t hook an audience at the start, it would a devastating uphill battle to keep them for the rest of the episode. This is because the first episode to Mob Psycho 100 is of the customary formula, nothing wrong with that…other than the fact that Mob Psycho delivers this customary episode with a lack of flare or distinguishing story telling.
Let’s get the hate out of the way: I want to stick with Mob Psycho 100 but the first episode makes it just a little hard because , besides the opening action sequence, the show spends it time building up the characters and laying some foundations. Not a bad thing, its totally necessary and I get that, but it does it in such a bland way.
I heard nothing but good things about Mob Psycho 100 after it premiered at Anime Expo this year, but I think what helped people enjoy the show as much as they did (besides the atmosphere feeding into the excitement) is that the AX premier crowd was able to view 2 episodes back to back. Im sure that the second episode has the customary story plot and character introductions out of the way, the series will move into defining itself more clearly –and I look forward to that.
That being said, Mob Psycho does a lot of things RIGHT.
First off, I like how Mob Psycho flips the script on itself and it’s predecessor show. In One Punch Man we follow the story of Saitama, the slacker master who doesn’t know how to be a master…he just says a whole lot of bull and somehow manages to teach his pupil life hero lessons. In Mob Pyscho 100, we get to the follow the student instead of the teacher–and to top it all off, Mob– the student–is actually the stronger of the two. The role reversal in Mob Psycho is a great to see and helps keep the story and characters fresh for returning Murata fans.
Secondly, the animation is unique. One Punch Man was this really appeasing mix of the over exaggerated cartoon animation and modern anime style. Majority of One Punch was pretty main stream anime but it had pops of exaggerated art styles throughout the series. Whether it was Saitama or the episode villains, there was always something different, away from the stream lined animation, that was present in an episode. I think the combination of modern animation and over exaggerated animation is what made One Punch Man such a main stream success–it was able to draw in the average viewer, but it was different enough (or had enough “different” in it) to make the anime hipsters stay. The style of Mob Psycho 100 reminds me of Shin-Chan but a very upgraded version, with highly pigmented colors and over the top character reactions and movements.
And when I say exaggerated character movements, I have never seen someone type so furiously on a computer so casually. Or throw about his arms as frequently and violently as Reigen.
Mob Psycho 100 has the advantage of an established audience thanks to its predecessor, so they were able to really stick the roots of the show and take a gamble on the web comic art style. Thanks to that gamble Mob Psycho 100 has one of the most distinctive art style in an anime to date, making it for an interesting watch. Even though you’re watching a very standard first episode, you dont want to look away because the art direction is very unique. Unique as in: a mecha- unicorn -with -a -rainbow- blast -cannon-ridding -atop -a -gigantic- banyana -cat kind of unique.
At first you’re not sure what to make of it, but after the initial adjustment, you find that the animation style grows on you and helps define Mob Psycho 100 and it’s characters. Admittedly though, I can sometimes find the animation and some of the over exaggeration from the characters a bit distracting.
The writing and dialogue of the show stays true to Murata’s tone and style of satire. Murata doesnt nearly poke as much fun of the shounen genre in Mob Psycho 100, like he did in One Punch Man, but he does get in a lot of great jokes about the perceived notions of espers. We find that our main character, Mob, has a nasty habit of bending spoons by accident. Additionally, Mob’s master-Reigen- is a bit of an esper fraud (always have to have those in the community) and thinks he’s actually doing something productive by throwing salt, or punching spirits with fist full of salt. Ah yes, salt. If you don’t understand the significance of salt then you need to catch up on your mythology or watch a few episodes of Supernatural. Murata’s whit and sarcasm is still very present in Mob Psycho 100 and it’s still very enjoyable. However there is an excessive comedic tone present in the show.
Between the over the top animation style and the over proportionate comedic scenes, Mob Psycho 100 can come off like a try hard joker. A few times during the episode I found myself wishing they would kinda just lay off the “in your face” comedy approach and just do something subtle for a change of pace. Sometimes the over exaggerated animation and tone felt forced and over whelming.
For the time being, I remain neutral- but hopeful- about Mob Psycho 100. The first episode wasnt spectacular but it wasnt awful–there is still plenty of room for improvement and for lots of surprises. The hype train is still pushing me along – I’m curious to see what happens once the meter hits 100!
You can watch Mob Psycho 100 Simulcast Mondays 9:30am PDT on Crunchyroll.