Mob seems like an average middle school boy, except he has extraordinary psychic powers. Working under Reigen, a fellow “psychic”, Mob exorcises evil spirits while balancing the social and academic demands of school.
Following the explosive popularity of One Punch Man last Fall, the creative works of ONE have received a lot of attention. Therefore, it wasn’t too surprising when it was announced that the manga series Mob Psycho 100 would be getting an anime adaptation. Brought to life by the one and only Studio BONES, the unique and free-flowing animation style may be off-putting at first glance, but it conceals a series that packs just as much action and arguably more character development/depth than One Punch Man.
Don’t get me wrong – One Punch Man had a lot of very interesting characters…visually and otherwise. However, Saitama in episode 1 and Saitama in the finale were practically the same person. That was part of the appeal and the joke of the series – he’s so monstrously powerful he doesn’t need to develop or do anything different. Whether he’s battling the King of the Sea or a cosmic entity that has roamed the universe seeking a worthy opponent, one good punch is all it takes for him to secure victory. The drama isn’t in whether or not Saitama was victorious, but the entertainment of watching other heroes getting swatted like flies while Saitama crushes every opponent with ease. This, combined with the intriguing universe that One Punch Man is set in, including the Hero Association hierarchy/drama and other S-class heroes, made it a standout series. Of course, the phenomenal animation helped as well.
Mob Psycho 100 is quite a bit different than this formula. Yes, Mob is extremely powerful – it appears as though he may be the most powerful Esper on the planet, but he’s still able to be defeated. In addition to that, like most boys Mobs age, he has very little confidence in his abilities. He idolizes his master, Reigen, despite the fact that to the viewer he’s nothing more than a smooth talking con-man. He looks up to his younger brother, Ritsu, for his academic abilities and intelligence. He’s mortified at the idea of talking to girls. The list goes on. The bottom line is that while Mob is blessed with tremendous power and ability, it is stored in an uncertain, and at times unstable, vessel.
You see, Mob is typically a very reserved kid. His tone is very flat, and even when faced with strange circumstances, nothing really shocks him. The reason for this is because when Mob lets his emotions get the better of him, he loses control of his powers. Sometimes this happens when he gets too angry, too sad, too annoyed…the gamut of emotions that Mob experiences are taken to the extreme and manifest themselves with terrifying force.
So, he keeps his cool – as much as he can. This was definitely a challenge for fellow Mithical contributor Archmage who had difficulty connecting with Mob as a character due to his flat personality. As you progress through the series, however, you gain a greater appreciation for Mob’s restraint and can ultimately witness his growth as a young adult.
In this way Mob Psycho 100 provides a unique look at the tensions that kids around Mob’s age experience as they go through school – trying their best to balance school activities like clubs with rigorous academic demands all while preserving some semblance of a social life. In the early episodes it takes a while for Mob to hit his “limit”, but as the series goes on he begins to lose control more frequently.
Mob is complemented by a diverse and likable cast of secondary characters including his master, Reigen, his younger brother Ritsu, the ever-supportive and awesome bros of the Body Improvement Club, a mischievous spirit named Dimple and another powerful esper named Hanazawa. Despite the relatively short 12-episode length, many of these characters enjoy more development than you would expect and round out an exceptional cast for the series.
As I mentioned near the start, the animation for Mob Psycho 100 is a bit…different. The early episodes feature a lot of exaggerated scenes that typically work better in comedy series (which, let’s be honest, Mob Psycho 100 does pretty well). However, the loose style allows for more frenzied and fast action during the fight scenes – especially involving psychics who throw each other around and are often in the air. Mob’s later clashes with the nefarious organization, Claw, as well as the climactic battle between Ritsu, Hanazawa, Mob and the upper echelon features some spectacular action sequences.
With a solid cast, great animation and a well-paced story, Mob Psycho 100 delivers one of the most entertaining experiences of the Summer season.
What did you think of the show? Share your thoughts by rating it below: