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.