Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mob Psycho 100 (2016)

Mob Psycho 100 is a 12 episode anime based upon the Japanese webcomic of the same name.  It only adapts a portion of the webcomic and so hopefully, a second season would come to fruition soon.  The anime has a distinct animation style.  It shifts from minimal detailing on characters to extreme detail during close-ups, and likes to do random shots to amplify the humor.  In a way, it is similar to One-Punch Man, who is written by the same author.  Mob Psycho 100 follows Shigeo Kageyama, also known as Mob.  He has psychic powers ever since he was born, mainly around telekinesis but can adapt to various situations including forming a protective barrier around himself.

Mob's master is Arataka Reigen, a self-proclaimed psychic who owns a spirit counsel agency, but in actuality, has no powers whatsoever.  Reigen is just using Mob for his own benefit and to no one's surprise, Mob swallows Reigen's lies unsuspectingly, which can feel frustrating in certain scenes since Reigen is such a fraud.  In normal day-to-day life, Mob is a nobody.  He's emotionless, unpopular and physically unattractive.  However, Mob's psychic powers are parallel to no one.  During episodes, we get to see a percentage towards "Mob's Explosion", which if it reaches 100%, he releases his pent up feelings and unleashes his full power.

Naturally, you cheer for Mob, who despite his shortcomings, is quite likeable.  Mob always plays the underestimated character, to the huge detriment of his opponents.  In addition to psychics, there are evil spirits in the world who can interact with humans and causes all sorts of problems.  These spirits are fully sentient and most are filled with malice.  They can take physical forms, which are usually grotesque.  Mob can exorcise them by pretty much blasting them into oblivion.  The anime feels episodic in the beginning as you have no idea what the plot is trying to achieve.  Only the humor and the undeniable truth of Mob's amazing powers keep it interesting.

There are plenty of melodramatic scenes, but the crazy explosions and exaggerated actions make for great visual spectacle.  The last four episodes, where a shadow organization filled with psychics reveals itself, and Mob has to infiltrate their headquarters to save his brother, has great tension and atmosphere, with quick pacing and neat twists.  Mob's brother is perfectly normal, with no psycho powers but is the model student and son.  Naturally, he is secretly jealous of Mob and wants psychic powers of his own.  It makes his brother unlikable as the series progresses but eventually redeems himself.

Early on, it is implied that psychics are rare, as evidenced by the fact that the shadow leader of another school was surprised when he found out about Mob.  But as per normal with people of power, they tend to attract other people of power and by the end of the season, we've seen plenty more people with potent psychic powers that seem to rival Mob, but don't really come close at all.  When Mob gets serious, he is so overpowered that it is hilarious since battles can be over in a few seconds.  Although sometimes, battles are skipped and you wish that they could have planned a proper fight with tactics as Mob's opponent's powers seem interesting to see how it would pan out, and how Mob would deal with them in his own way.

During the climax and also throughout the series, Reigen holds Mob back, teaching him not to give into his powers to hurt power.  It can get annoying when he stops Mob going all-out, just when you're hyped for an excessive fight scene.  It leads to an anticlimactic ending but suits the theme of the series, so it is still satisfying.  The ending scenes leave a lot unexplained though.  Overall, Mob Psycho 100 is a solid anime that contains great humor.  It's weaker in terms of plot since not much is revealed or explained, however, it shows a lot of promise and is very much enjoyable as it is right now.


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