Apr 1, 2019
Aslt (All reviews)
A heart.

Is a component many works seem to neglect to implement into their final structure. Understandably, people can view it as an irrational generalisation, yet to me, this is how more often than not seasonals taste, in the ever-growing landscape that is the anime medium. They feel as if they had no soul behind them; not juicy at all and very bittersweet. It's not vital to having fun with the show through and through, yet its absence hinders potential intenser emotional attachment one might have. Nonetheless, shows with this hard-to-describe segment still make their appearances, and Mob Psycho 100 2 will, without breaking a sweat, secure this year's champion belt in that discipline.

How does the series' heart manifest? Naturally, in its most glaring form - in the production values. Since minute one, Mob Psycho 100 was destined to be as visually captivating as it is humanly possible, with its myriad of energetic fights and encounters bursting with brightness and vitality taking up the screen quite often, though never seeming overbearing nor exhausting. For their quality only ranges from phenomenal to jaw-dropping and mind-destroying, not allowing you to be unamused even for a mere second. The art style, whose unique nature and its frequent changes is home to many lively and smile-inducing facial expressions, character designs excellent in their simplicity, smooth visual gags which carry a genuine laugh within, and gorgeous, pastel-like colours. It glues you to your seat the second you lay your eyes on it and never lets you go - it's similar to an unbreakable charm, impossible to resist. The animation plays an indispensable role as well, on account of its immersive fluidity and wacky, yet dynamic movements. It complements what the show looks and how it plays out, and is gorgeous on every front.

Candidly, these are the lion's share of the previous season's success, and the primary factor people had to gush over Mob at least once. Not acknowledging this as free as a bird in the sky style would be an impossible task for any animation enthusiasts and me in particular, for I value creativity and freedom in expression. Despite admiring it deeply, I felt as though there was something missing. It was like a fireplace with fire all hot and sparky, yet unusually insignificant in size and volume. It all changed, however, with the arrival of Mob's long-awaited continuation, fans have been dying to see. This missing ingredient came storming in, providing us with one of the most visually appealing and impressive episodes I've ever had the pleasure of viewing, and, to my surprise, maintaining this immeasurable vim and vigour throughout the show's duration. I'm still uncertain what the element is exactly; maybe it's the anew obtained another heart, perhaps it's the slight change in the plot which, in turn, sparked a few more conflicts; showcases of utterly vibrating animation, or possibly it's the fresh air it brought with its entry. Whatever it might be, it goes without saying that there's a major jump in both the art style and animation's quality. An already breath-taking look escalated to heights it hadn't before conquered and achieved extraordinary victory. It won me over.

We can detect the same kind of flair within the soundtrack. While the predecessor's ending and opening themes were quite pleasing to the ear, they are no match for Season 2's counterparts. MOB CHOIR and sajou no hana outdid themselves with "99.9". Delivered a downright catchy and enthralling song, I couldn't stop listening to whenever I had the chance. I had it playing basically on loop for solid hours both at home and outdoors. It also goes well with the established tone, killing two birds with one stone in a way. The three new endings may not have left a grand impact overall, although they are great additions to the already impressive catalogue containing a horde of otherworldly and bizarre tracks you must nod to like a complete madman.

Even though the preceding mentioned parts are the biggest presence in the room, it isn't the sole one. Mob Psycho isn't a particularly profound tale boasting some thought-provoking concepts, slick connotations and ingenious symbolism. At the core, it's a simplistic story about a middle-schooler trying to suppress his emotions as to keep his firm abilities in check, yet peppered with rather humane themes of self-discovery, continually bettering yourself and striving to be good at more than one domain - looking outside your comfort zone and taking new challenges head-on. I find it quite intriguing how this playful comedy battle shounen-like anime contrived to tackle topics of this calibre with surprising finesse and understanding. It didn't come off as a forced or superficial attempt at attaching more depth for the sole purpose of doing so. Quite the opposite - it was genuine. Such undertones don't appear in the foreground at first though. They were a notable part of the series since the very beginning, but season one never seemed to focus on these more than it was necessary. Albeit, the further we delve into the sequel the more we get to observe them in full rotation.

And it displays that in how the characters' evolve and how much there's to them beyond surface level characteristics. Reigen received a remarkable amount of development and changed his persona in a healthy, non-invasive manner. They humanised him. He went from a con artist, a master of deceiving people with the knowledge he'd acquired over the course of his life as a working adult; with an oddly huge and glowing with compassion heart of gold hidden beneath this facade. To a man, whose entire life was filled with loneliness and lack of the closeness of others. He craved attention and strived for recognition no matter what. He was no longer just a comedic relief character - he began feeling authentic and flesh and blood. He started feeling like a person. Shigeo experienced a similar operation, though incomparable in scope. All of the Mob Psycho's motives centre around his personality, and here we are able to examine how great of an impact they can leave. From a shy, socially awkward oddball with magnificent powers, to one of the most kind, good-willed and understanding characters out there. Kageyama grew as a person through unhinged willingness to improve, changed for better thanks to his tenacity, got new allies and friends alike, and didn't' stop developing himself. It's an enormous switch and that's simply compelling. Everything moves forward, including him.

Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 commenced on refining its appearance, swiftly advanced to the backbone - its quirky duo, and finished on making its mesmeric motives seem more grounded and humane; this series proved it's more than capable of turning over a new leaf and showed us how it became the textbook definition of the word improvement both narrative and audiovisual-wise. Without complications at any point, it matured into a product deserving of genuine support and appreciation. It's nothing short of a delightful and overflowing with vitality treat I, for one, didn't expect to fall in love with, notwithstanding its short length. I hope we will be honoured once more and witness this wholesome dose of whimsical entertainment merged with bizarre relatability one day again.

I look forward to it, Bones.