Eighth-grader Shigeo "Mob" Kageyama has tapped into his inner wellspring of psychic prowess at a young age. But the power quickly proves to be a liability when he realizes the potential danger in his skills. Choosing to suppress his power, Mob's only present use for his ability is to impress his longtime crush, Tsubomi, who soon grows bored of the same tricks.
In order to effectuate control on his skills, Mob enlists himself under the wing of Arataka Reigen, a con artist claiming to be a psychic, who exploits Mob's powers for pocket change. Now, exorcising evil spirits on command has become a part of Mob's daily, monotonous life. However, the psychic energy he exerts is barely the tip of the iceberg; if his vast potential and unrestrained emotions run berserk, a cataclysmic event that would render him completely unrecognizable will be triggered. The progression toward Mob's explosion is rising and attempting to stop it is futile.
#1: "Refrain Boy (リフレインボーイ)" by ALL OFF (eps 1-7, 9-11) #2: "Refrain Boy -English ver.- (リフレインボーイ -English ver.-)" by ALL OFF (ep 8) #3: : "Refrain Boy -TEKINA remix- (リフレインボーイ -TEKINA remix-)" by ALL OFF (ep 12)
There’s probably a million ways to describe Mob Psycho 100. One simple word is just exciting. How can it not be? It’s by the same creator of one of the most talked about shows from 2015, One-Punch Man. As a reader of the source material, I can also firmly say that the show’s trailers and hype is legitimate. Not in the legitimate way that it’s the best anime of the century. It’s more of legitimate excellency that represents classic supernatural entertainment.
Even if you’re unfamiliar ONE’s work, you’ll easily recognize that Mob Psycho 100 isn’t just a show with traditional artwork. The visual follows the manga
pretty closely while the action sequences are animated by a famed studio, Bones. Plus, we got director Yuzuru Tachikawa on board as part of the staff. Known for his work such as Death Parade, Terror in Tokyo, and Kill la Kill, it’s definitely something to get excited about. Fans of the franchise will be also be pleased to know that Kawai Kenji is the sound director, known for famous works such as the Ghost in the Shell franchise, Gundam 00, and the more recent Joker Game. Still, Mob Psycho 100 is beyond what just the staff has to offer.
It’s not always so simple to understand the visual representation of Mob Psycho 100. Taking a closer look at the storytelling will give you a better idea as we are introduced to the main characters. At its core, we have main protagonist Shigeo Kageyama, otherwise known as Mob. He is a 14 year old kid attending a school with an average life. However, it’s immediately obvious that he is a special because of his ESP powers. Events in the story causes his powers to go unstable and Mob finds himself difficult to be “normal”. The premise is pretty simple on paper, right? An ordinary kid who tries to live a normal life with abnormal ability is the basic idea. However, the series delivers many scenarios where Mob uses his powers way more than he should. For a kid who wants a normal life, he gets into many abnormal situations which puts himself at risk. Still, this isn’t exactly the case as we’ll see how powerful Mob is. While he isn’t a Saitama 2.0, Mob’s abilities are not to be underestimated. In many battles he’s been in, Mob is able to overpower his opponents, sometimes without even realizing it. It’s interesting to also see what often triggers Mob to get involved in such unusual events. Social peer pressure and bullying are a few factors. Mob also seeks admiration and even wants to impress a girl he likes so this leads to him making mistakes at times. I mean, he is still human and humans make mistakes.
Even though he is the titular character, the show doesn’t neglect its others especially with characters such as Reigen, Ritsu (Mob’s younger brother), Teruki, and Dimple. Ritsu has really grown to me as a very interesting character. Unlike Mob, he is very clever and often uses trickery to get what he wants. Sometimes, he even treats life as if it’s a game where playing the right cards will win. What most impresses me about Ritsu is his own self-awareness and how despite being powerless in the beginning, he is able to rise up as a leader. It’s also shown that he has an inferiority complex compared to his brother (because he originally lacked special powers) and that causes himself to express doubt. This eventually also turns into guilt and there’s reasoning for redemption.
Reigen is also an interesting character who is known as “Mob’s master”. He claims a lot of things and often speaks and lies with the truth. Despite being manipulative, he isn’t a bad guy and often looks out after Mob’ well-being. He also offers good advice to Mob including what really makes someone a “better person”. One weakness that I do find about him though is his unwillingness to admit mistakes. Somewhere in between, there’s Teruki (“Teru”). I have to admit though, this guy has one of the most ridiculous hair styles I’ve ever seen from ONE’s work. Unlike Mob, he freely uses his esper powers like if they are God’s holy gift. What makes him interesting is how after meeting Mob, Teru undergoes a big change in his character. It’s like a bully that reinvents himself after getting put to his place for the first time in their life. Quite iconic if you ask me. Finally, Dimple strikes to me as the most mysterious character. In fact, he isn’t even human! He’s actually a spirit who even at one time had his own cult. What makes him interesting is despite having a God-like complex and ego, Dimple also wants others succeed in particular Mob. With such a colorful character cast in this series, expectations are met especially when it comes to creativity.
Despite the story looking complex, it really isn’t. The first few episodes introduces our main characters while most episodes for the first half just follows Mob’s life in his daily misadventures. The latter half focuses more on linear plot though as dangerous individuals are introduced that truly tests the strengths of our protagonists. This puts strains on Mob as he must overcome his personal demons. Because remember, Mob just wants to live a normal life and when he gets stressed, rage follows. When that rage explodes, we get Mob Psycho 100%, literally. And it’s not a very pretty sight.
As a source reader, I am impressed at how they adapted the character relationships. Mob and Ritsu has one of the most complex relationship even as brothers. Teru’s evolution from a bully to a sidekick/ally to Mob is both amusing and also impressive to see as changes aren’t always easy for characters to accept. Reigen’s relationship with Mob is also based on respect and trust. Mob genuinely cares about Reigen and in one episode, his rage level almost goes out of control after seeing his master being put down. On the other hand, I am slightly disappointed that the season is only a 1-cour of 12 episodes. Some episodes are rushed as I was hoping they would adapt more into the story. For most parts, the series is still directed with good faith.
Ah yes, the artwork and visuals. Even though I already talked about it before, it’s really hard to ignore Mob Psycho 100’s quality with its artistic style. It is very stylistic to the manga and unique in quality. When things get serious, the artwork really works with its hardcore cinematography. Violent scenes really do feel impactful while body movements never really suffers in the show as character designs are simple enough to avoid that. In addition, Mob’s character is portrayed as pretty plain normal just as he should be. Other characters such as Teru and Dimple stands out with some unique physical traits; seriously, I still can’t get over how ridiculous Teru’s hair is at times. In retrospect, Bones did a fantastic job with the production for the show. With talented animators such as Yoshimichi Kameda and Matsumoto Norio involved in this project, Mob Psycho 100 stands out extravagantly in the artistic field.
Don’t underestimate the soundtrack either. The OP and ED theme songs are also stylistic and as a whole. The OST is instrumental and often intense during many segments. Character voice expressions are also noticeable especially when Mob’s mentality reaches 100%. And because the show is so filled with personality, the speech pattern and dialogues of the more prominent characters are often very memorable.
The amazing thing about Mob Psycho 100 is the excitement while feeling less of an anime but more like a comic action flick. As an adaptation, the show is stuffed with action, personality, and creativity. I can’t remember any episode where I was watching the clock and in fact often feel like episodes goes way too fast.
“What? That episode felt like 5 minutes?!”
It’s because of how entertaining it is that is more than just pure popcorn entertainment. Sure, this might not be a series that’s suitable for everyone. However, Mob Psycho 100 stands on its own merits and is definitely not just a One-Punch Man-wannabee. Crafted by ONE, it’s a show that’s more than a supernatural character drama. It’s just a damn good piece of greatness.
Uninspiring, highly overrated, and cheap. Brilliance and creativity are the last things to come to mind while watching Mob Psycho 100.
The story is a complete joke. It is a major step-down compared to One's other work, One Punch Man. The entire story plays out like a tale a 5th grader would write and present. Of the many terrible presentations Mob Psycho 100 has to offer, One of the most bothersome reoccurring things is that the show lacks of creativity. The main character in particular, shares the same characteristic traits and personality of Saitama from One Punch Man. The plot and story always feature an overpowered
main character that is socially awkward trying to save the day with his inexplicably obtained powers. The main characters in his works usually lack any motivation unless they're triggered more than the typical girl on Tumblr. Rinse & repeat for every this process for just about every episode and that my dear readers is the show. If this continues as a re-occurring theme for his stories, One needs to do a better job with creating and introducing a story, plot, and characters that doesn’t appear too similar to his other works.
Fun fact: Did you know that you can pretty much get an idea of what the plot is about for the rest of the series based upon the opening title sequence alone?
One was either sitting on the toilet or taking a shower when he thought about what was going to happen next for this series. The director could have easily changed specific things to make it more intriguing however; there were no signs of that happening. Now perhaps one of the interesting things involving the story was that certain episode's do like to focus on more serious matters. It wasn't all nonsensical fighting. To contradict what I said about the toilet thing earlier, there were a few moments in the story were the characters did try to improve their powers while trying to understand the most complicated things about their psychic powers and abilities.
There were multiple scenes featured within the story where tense emotional dialogue would temporarily take over action scenes. It made the show a little more “dramatic” however; I don’t believe that most of the parts where these “dramatic moments” had taken place were proper. This was evident during many of the fights. The pacing of the story was pretty straight-forward. Often times there didn't seem to be a reason to go back and explain certain details within the story. Depending on how you perceived the show, I didn’t thing that the story was as awful as others make it out to be.
In conclusion, the story could’ve have definitely used some touching up! Plot developments lack excitement; it’s constantly riddled with predictable moments, and lacks an interesting narrative.
Animation, character designs, quality and background settings. The following are the shows weak points in the art department. There were some pretty decent fighting and action sequences. The bad thing is that they are plagued with awful choices made in quality, setting, and special effects. I look back at earlier episodes like 4 & 5 prospectively, and believe that within the entire series 4 & 5 had the best fight scenes; this is me being nice by the way. Although the background setting featured in those particular episode were plain and dull. The school yard setting reminded me of old anime from the 70's, 80's, and 90's. In those days, background settings were not that important unless it had meaning.Of course it being 2016 at the time of this review, it is highly unacceptable by today’s standards..
The animators often times put a lot effort into the details of a fight. Characters muscles, facial reactions, and body reactions along with the well fitted dialogue, worked out pretty damn well. Sometimes, it made for more believable and intense fights. Not all fights were good though, I use episode 8 such as, during the time Mob is getting Rekt, the animation, facial expressions body movements looked a complete mess. While it may be fixed in the Blu-ray it still doesn't change the fact that it was terrible at first.
Moving on, special effects like the rain and the auroras surrounding characters while they are using their powers. It looked as if the animators just went into after effects or even Sony Vegas, created them, and put them into the final product. It seems safe to say that this series was on a budget.
This could be good or bad because if you're reading the manga then you can tell that the animators decided to stick with the original designs created by One. Bad thing is that, if you're like me, and care about seeing animators put a lot effort towards making an original work look better with upgraded character designs, special effects, and lots of great details in various scenes, you would be disappointed. Now I've seen many, many titles where the manga or LN designs look, and are much more beautiful than the anime however, now is not the time to discuss it.
In short, Mob psycho is a visual disaster! Characters designs in the manga, as mentioned earlier lack any kind of beauty or aesthetics. But, I'm focused on the anime now. Getting back on the subject, anime character designs are a pain to look at. Every other character appears to look exactly alike in facial features. This ranges from the head shapes, eyes, along with facial structures and hair. The appearances of characters, background settings, clothing, and background objects seen within the series are poor in quality and design.
The sound was pretty decent. There were less than a handful of tracks and sound effects that made the show stand out. The music composed for certain scenes that express sadness, depression enhances the mood and atmosphere. Songs created for the fight sequences were lacking an edge to make the fight more engaging. The voice actors were “okay.” I didn't think the actors had the right attitude for the series.
Some seiyuu’s are dedicated to making their characters sound more realistic by remember something that made them angry in the past and expressing the anger they felt from that experience to make a more believable attitude or sound for their characters vocals. For the most part, I did not feel that the voice actors were putting forth all their potential.
In ONE's future work I hope that he introduces more original characters. The characters are too one-dimensional. I wanted to drop this show on episode 2 because of this. The main character Shigeo is a blatant, lazily copy & pasted Saitama. I had trouble trying to like Shigeo because he doesn't have the same appeal that Saitama does, despite being a rip off. Shigeo's most unappealing trait is his socially awkward and clueless demeanor.
Sometimes it's cute when girls in anime are shy and awkward, however guys, not so much. Side characters are a joke. You know, as I’m writing this, I don’t even think that’s a good word to describe them because they were not in any way funny. While some give a little entertainment others are so annoying. I found this true mostly with the antagonists. The so-called "supportive" characters are more like comic relief than anything else.ONE appears to lack the ability to create characters that have a more “unique” and “rich” personality. His bad habit of copying and pasting the same characters from his different work is getting stale.
Enjoyment during the span of this series ranged from “awful” and “okay.” I usually drop titles after four episodes however the fourth was a deal breaker. I gradually continued to hope that maybe a new development in the story and characters would come along to change my negative feelings for Mob Psycho. This simply was not the case. Some may argue that “most people fail to see the shows appeal” or that “You shouldn’t judge a show based upon appearances.” I argue back that when it comes down to Mob Psycho, the show tosses away fluent story-telling, creative writing, lasting appeal, memorable characters, good character designs, creative background settings, quality animation and a soundtrack with songs you can keep on repeat.
The real question is why and how? How could a show that has such awful traits be so highly praised? The answer is simple. Simplicity is what the show builds its foundation upon. The entire show is simple enough for anyone new or old to anime understand easily and most importantly enjoy. Its’ welcoming, the show doesn’t need good character designs or a good introduction. Having high quality animation? Forget that! Everything is kept simple, and that’s’ actually a good thing. I think of it as an old Nintendo console. You play Super Mario bros 3. You’re having a good time, sure the graphics aren’t the best, but the important thing is that you’re having a good time. You’re having fun seeing the simplicity and joy of Mario flying around in a tanooki suit crushing goomba’s and turtles.
Overall Mob Psycho 100 really needed work in creativity. Mob Psycho would’ve continued to do well
as just a manga title. As for whether I recommend this or not, I would actually say yes. Mob is a pretty good despite the fact that it lacks appeal, creative story-telling, and quality. Referring Mob, or even considering Mob Psycho 100 to be less than or equal to One-Punch Man is an insult.
I felt that Mob Psycho 100 deserved a solid 4/10 for trying… if you even want to call it that.
Have you ever watched an anime that had 12 episodes that had very interesting visuals, great characters (and development) and story that was charming in its own nature? No? Well Mob Psycho 100 is right here for you to watch!
Story - 8/10
To be entirely honest, I didn't think much with this series. I was going to skip over it and not even bat an eye at it--why? I heard it was by ONE and even though I enjoyed One Punch Man, it wasn't something I'd rewatch and go after again. I tend to steer away from "stereotypical" shounen series nowadays. I thought this
series was going to be the same formula. I was wrong. Yes, the anime starts off slow--yes it appears to be recycled garbage at first. But it really evolves into something very charming.
The premise of this series is pretty simplistic. Mob is the main character and he's a middle school boy who's an outcast from most of society, including social circles. What separates him from the norm is his psychic abilities. It's quite a quirky show with a lot of comedy elements. Each episode consists of Mob going after spirits and performing an exorcism using his psychic abilities. Along the way you meet different characters that add to the comedy aspect of this anime. With this said, story-wise. It's more of a character driven show, but honestly, I like the simple story and how it goes deeper and deeper into the world building. Conflicts arise later in the series and the way it's handled between the characters is nothing short of amazing. I don't know about you, but I'm really sick of melodramatic sequences in stories where characters act really stupid (i.e. romcoms) and it ruins the quality of storyline.
Mob Psycho 100 doesn't do that--it propels a simple story with endearing characters. I'm honestly so surprised how much world building we got in 12 episodes without it feeling rushed (I'm an anime only so I do not know how well paced it was compared to the source material).
Art - 10/10
Bones has done it again with another incredible job with animation! The art is probably what makes this anime stick out so much--and why people probably turned a blind eye to this series. Which is such a shame given the beautifully fluid animation; especially in action scenes! The style may come off more cartoony than the traditional "moe" anime style we are all used to, but I promise you that it's not a reason to overlook this anime. I personally think the style is unique and really sets a tone for the series. It's simple in nature much like the story.
Sound - 9/10
The OP "Mob Choir 99" is such a catchy tune and you start counting with the song every week! The visuals that go with it is also very catching! You notice something new every time you look it. The ED song is very simple and mellow--this captures the easy going nature of the series (until the battles scenes though lol). The OSTS are also very interesting to hear.
Character - 10/10
I've seen comedy series get 25 episodes and do absolutely nothing with the characters and shove repetitive rubbish in my face episode after episode. Whether you like the comedy or not is entirely subjective, but regardless, in 12 episodes I never once felt that rubbish shoving in my face. The characters manage to get more development in such a short amount of time compared to anime with 24 episodes.
Our main character, Mob, starts off fairly easy to read. He's introverted in nature and isn't good with social interactions. The only thing he seems to be good at is his psychic abilities--he has deep admiration for his little brother who seems to be the top at everything except what Mob is good at. Later in the story, we see how Mob expresses his emotions and feelings. We see how complicated and powerful he truly is. But what separates him from most main shounen characters is his modesty--he doesn't want these powers and he never once in the 12 episodes ever desires to be stronger. He's never egotistic about it. He never shows it off. He's almost always kind to anyone who returns kindness to him. He tries his best and he's deeply supported by those around him. He's a misfit in theory, but he's managed to have so many people care about him and despite his struggle to express feelings, he's close to them as well. He never wants to hurt anyone unless it's a spirit. He'll do anything to protect his brother and friends even if it meant throwing away personal values. And even when he's been knocked down and defeated, he gets back up and though he may lose his way, he still tries. Maybe not with strength, maybe just maybe, in the end he will win without really winning. Maybe he'll succeed with only restoring those personal values and the faith others have given him. Mob, the main character of Mob Psycho 100.
Anything else I say about the characters would be considered spoilers, and I wouldn't want to ruin it! But for the sake of summary, Ritsu (Mob's brother) has great development and beautiful characters bonding between brothers :') Reigen (Mob's Master) comes off as an asshole in the beginning and you come to think that he only uses Mob as a tool for his own personal gain. Later on however, you come to realize there's way more to him than at first though. He will also have his shinning moment! Ekubo (Mob's spirit friend) starts off evil but then develops a bond not just between Mob, but the other main characters and even some of the supporting characters. He went from bad to not so bad haha.
Any other characters that have some sort of role are likable and charming to say the least. It's just all well balanced with a full set of cast without making it feel overwhelming! I'm just so impressed with how Bones handled this anime--so very impressed.
Enjoyment/overall - 10/10
Through the comedy, stunning action, great characters, and unraveling plot, this anime didn't fail to assume me! I'm so excited to see a season 2 ASAP! I highly recommend this anime :)
Funny, whimsical, charming, and oddly enough, thoughtful.
Mob Psycho 100 is another comedic/action endeavor brought to us by author ONE, the mind behind 2015's breakout hit, One Punch Man, and like that success story, this also carries with it his signature flare for cool action set-pieces, theatrical displays of goofball antics, an art presence that's immediately eye-catching, all while being peppered with an obtuse sense of humor that's interwoven to form the finished product. And while it started out in a manner that felt like a subsidiary of its much more recognizable older brother, as it ventured on, it has proven to be more than
capable in earning its own identity, deserving of the same level of respect as its predecessor. Where One Punch Man was all about being bullheadedly direct with everything it hits you with, Mob Psycho 100 instead chooses to blare the same kind of energy upfront, before coming in with a sneaky left hook; one that not only rattles off a few bells to the unexpected viewer but also lands the first blow of the show's claim to autonomy from unnecessary comparisons to determine its own self-worth.
And with that being said, let's get the obligatory comparisons out of the way first, if only for the sake of those viewers who simply came for just that.
•Both Mob and Saitama are characters with regressed emotions, but where Saitama's emotionless state comes from sheer boredom from a life with no true obstacles, Mob's state derives from a completely different reason. He's socially inept and insecure about his inability to make meaningful connections, while at the same time, mindful of his immense power, choosing to suppress them, and in the course of doing so, suppress his feelings as well. But when he could no longer keep those emotions in check, the show's namesake becomes clear as day, but we'll address that later, for now, hold on to that thought.
•They contain fights that are equal parts wacky and inventive. Where OPM chose a more polished look to exemplify everything, MP100 decided to go the opposite route, staying faithful to the source material, while maintaining the level of quality expected from a work of its stature.
•Mob looks like Saitama with a wig.
Alright, with the comparisons out of the way, on with the review!
The first thing that would immediately jump out at you is the art itself, which could be described as a fever dream filtered through a barrage of psychedelia, along the lines of a visual interpretation of an acid trip. With neon reds and blues swirling around disproportionate character designs, and animators that look like they're trying everything within their power just to color within the lines, this anime could get quite intoxicating at times. An accomplishment in wacky cerebral distortion that hasn't been seen since 2008's Kaiba. And it's this very warped production that helps drive the narrative along, and for many, this aesthetic appeal would have already been enough to get them through all 12-episodes. But thanks to some meaningful passages being brought up to supplement this nutty art-style later on, to many, the presentation only became a secondary reason to stick around instead.
And with a story as frenetic as this one, this style of presentation felt like one of those "why haven't anyone done this yet?" kind of moments. Mob Psycho 100 is X-Men meet Ghostbusters.
Shigeo "Mob" Kageyama, residential egghead and harborer of immense power, is our protagonist. As he bobs along with an expression that makes it clear that he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, he enters the office of his employer, Arataka Reigen. When he isn't busy stealing your wallet to sell it back to you, Reigen and Mob forms a ghostbusting duo that runs around town exorcising evil spirits for profit. And when I say they exorcise evil spirits, I mean Mob does the work while Reigen thinks of new ways of swindling some sap out of their hard earned paycheck. And had that been the only thing going on in the story, there wouldn't be much here to discuss, but thankfully, that's only a jumping off point to what's really important.
A dive headfirst into easily digestible symbology and subtext.
While adored the world over by critical thinkers and any reviewer worth their salt, allegorical content is usually received with mix reception by the general audience, in large part to the fact that said material requires a keen eye to make what's being digested more engaging. Indie films don't rake in big box office returns, the big brand-name Hollywood blockbusters do, and understandably so. The general audience simply wishes to be entertained, and where one requires more fixation on the details of the plot and what certain things may mean, the other promises none of that, instead offering an experience that's as straightforward as the images on the screen would have you believe. In a way, that's the difference between OPM and MP100; OPM makes bullet-point statements with no hidden agenda, while MP100 has fine print written into its spastic portrayal. And let's not make any quick assumptions here, that's not bad at all, simple programming is equally as needed as something with a bit more bite to it. One services everyone, while the other offers a second helping for those that want a bit more.
But then there's that weird breed of content. One that's as direct as the big blockbusters, but at the same time, manages to slide another layer in for those that pick up on it. Something that appears to be a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, but when bitten into, has the texture and taste of something a bit more high-end.
We've seen it with anime titles such as Gurren Lagann, Gunbuster, Abenobashi, and FLCL, and now MP100 has seemingly stepped up on the mantle to join their ranks, if only on a scale that's not as far-reaching.
This unexpected layer is found in the humorous scenarios, quick "blink and you'll miss it" commentary, and the relationship Mob shares with his brother, Ritsu.
Being hidden within the folds of blaring orchestrated set-pieces, comedic jabs at the situations that the characters are placed in, and the occasional factoids pertaining to the state of certain issues, you'll find very quick cheeky retorts that draw into question the very nature of these kinds of narratives that are simply accepted by the masses. Where mini-boss battles are simply accepted as side conquests for smaller characters or obstacles that the protagonist has to plow through to meet the head honcho, in MP100, that very idea of thinking is sideswiped with a swift punch to the face and characters that are practically voicing the audiences' concern of "just get to the boss battle already." Where the presence of a villainous organization full of henchmen being operated haphazardly is simply shrugged off as a byproduct of superhero stories, MP100 makes that very notion its reason for doing nothing short of walking through the front entrance without so much as a scuffle. And where we never questioned why megalomaniacs all come off as infuriatingly disturbed manchildren, MP100 doesn't even think twice about having someone say "These guys who are seriously talking about taking over the world are children who failed to grow up."
Every jab towards these trends are delivered with pinpoint accuracy but never in a mean-spirited way that feels like the writers are cynically lampooning them. ONE has proven to be a fan of these accepted tropes and cliches but doesn't shy away from addressing it for what it is. I can go on and on about moments like these, but the point is, MP100 is fully aware of the lunacy populating the very landscape of contemporary trends it has become a part of, while still fully embracing it to tell its own kooky version of the same kind of story.
And while this very tongue-in-cheek manner that MP100 operates on is worth discussing in lengthier detail, the true heart of the show's content lies with Mob's mental state and the relationship he shares with his brother.
Mob, as a brother, is too dense to see the anguish felt by his little brother, Ritsu, while Ritsu himself is too focused on trying to surpass Mob that he loses focus on the fact that he's admired by him, for reasons even someone as powerful as Mob himself can't obtain. It's the "grass is always greener on the other side" saying, but instead of them being delegated as enemies, they're simply misunderstood. Each seeking a quality that the other has without registering the actuality of their own self-worth. Where Ritsu fosters all of the qualities of a well-acclimated socialite, his brother, unfortunately, possesses the charm of Bozo the Clown. A trait that's only worsened by the increasingly negative reception that his powers tend to draw from others. What was once seen as an astonishing gift to some, was now only registered with blasé responses, or in worst case scenario, something that could endanger the lives of others. As a result, his already simple demeanor was reduced even further to a state that's almost autistic (and no, I'm not saying that in a joking manner), since the one thing that made him unique was now bastardized, effectively boxing him into a corner with nothing left to turn to. But where others shunned or ignore him, his brother saw otherwise. He saw a gift he yearned for but couldn't have. Despite being accepted by society, something his brother was robbed of, he still harbors a feeling of inadequacy when Mob levitates objects like it's no big deal or causes his dinner spoon to bend like playdough.
Just the very duality between these brothers was enough to dissect already, this doesn't even address the elephant in the room; Mob's powers themselves.
The title of Mob Psycho 100 quite literally refers to his power and what they mean, as it's shorthand for what's going on whenever he uses them. No one could suppress their emotions long enough before they hit a breaking point, and that's essentially the idea presented here. But where that "final straw" is usually only presented through someone emoting, in MP100, it's seen by a radiant burst of energy that exudes from every fiber of Mob's being. A burst of energy that's presented by a percentage scale that's occasionally flashed onscreen, when the number hits 100%, this power manifests itself upon release with the emotion he was suppressing. Whether that be the guilt he feels for putting others in harm's way or the animosity that boils over when someone dares to endanger his loved ones; every pent-up emotion is externalized into a colorful display of energy, feeling, and chaos.
It's simple ideas like this that adds a certain charming layer to MP100's content. It doesn't boast about its ideas nor does it tell you to take them seriously, it simply presents it for what it is and chooses to let the viewer take from it what they will. A kind of earnestness that goes a long way after witnessing other titles that flamboyantly boast their basic accomplishments. It's a small change in approach, yet it makes all the difference. And that's what this is as well; a simple idea but done so in a way that adds new meaning to what's at face value, another beat-em-up with superpowers.
And with the understanding of these basic ideas, physical encounters become much more than empty fists clashing, they become a fight for something. Not all share in this quality, but for the ones that matter, there's a reason for the audience to be genuinely invested in the outcome. In the schizophrenic world of MP100, it's these very humanistic ideas that keep everything anchored behind the layer of jokes and satirical jabs.
Even characters like Reigen that would usually remain pigeonholed as the sleazy money-grubbing con-artist types are given a surprising amount of humanity by the time everything comes to its final stop. This doesn't come from excessive showboating, it comes from observations made after seeing similar things play out. ONE's innate understanding of tropes has allowed him the ability to work them into something straightforward and fun, yet clever without the need to reinforce that fact. Don't get me wrong, this isn't to say that the show is subtle; on the contrary, it's very much on-the-nose 100% of the time. But what it is is humble about its ideas, not expressing some inherent birthright to be taken seriously just because it has something to say.
This is the kind of landscape that ONE seems to be paving with each new undertaking, helping give birth to a mini-cultural zeitgeist in the medium. One where not taking yourself too seriously could be a commendable approach, while still having ideas that could please those interested in them. Simplicity delivered with a new flare. A compromise that could give rise to fun, yet thoughtful, projects like this one. It may just be a direct response to the superhero genre that's dominating pop culture, but with results like this, I'm in full support for it. And with that in mind, Mob Psycho 100 is a welcomed addition to this blossoming trend.