It’s been a while, folks! And I’m a good deal late on this review (blame the part-time work I’ve picked up in the meantime–a small blessing, but it does interfere with my blogging), but I’m determined to get it through anyhow! I’m excited, because Mob Psycho 100 has been a big reason that I kept coming back to watch anime this season. It’s a story from the creator of One Punch Man, and this time, it’s a tight show about a powerful adolescent psychic who’s coming of age and coming to grips with the incredible ability that he possesses. It’s short (only 12 episodes), sometimes gritty, sometimes funny, and packed with psychedelic psychic battles.
What is Mob Psycho 100?
Mob Psycho 100 started as a webcomic written and illustrated by ONE, who also wrote and illustrated the webcomic One Punch Man. Both comics became popular enough due to their writing that they got turned into manga and then received anime adaptations. While One Punch Man is ONE’s comedic take on mainline superheroes (especially DC-style superheroes), Mob Psycho 100 is a bit closer to X-Men, although it more intentionally echoes anime that focus on high school-aged protagonists with supernatural or psychic abilities. Not only does it feature characters with limited powersets, but it also focuses on the character drama and emotional struggles of adolescents.
Mob Psycho 100 follows Shigeo Kageyama, nicknamed “Mob”, who’s an immensely powerful psychic (or, as some call him, an “esper”). He works part-time for a sketchy supernatural investigations business that may or may not be at least partially a scam. His boss, Reigen, charges people money for his ghostbusting services (he gets rid of evil spirits), buuuuuut Reigen may or may not actually have psychic powers. Fortunately, Mob has power enough for the both of them, and he goes around generally doing Reigen’s dirty work. It’s somewhere between a buddy comedy, an intense superpower show, and an exploration of the desires of the human heart.
The Two Sides of Mob Psycho 100
On the surface, Mob Psycho is a show about a powerful adolescent who battles bizarre supernatural beings, in spectacular-looking action sequences. It’s certainly enjoyable as such–the show really stretches the viewer’s brain cells in mind-bending and gorgeously colorful ways. It’s vivid and trippy, with massive special effects-heavy setpiece fights that bring the vibrant world of the show to life. If you thought the fluid action sequences of One Punch Man were delightful, you’re in for a massive treat.
That’s really only the surface of the show, though, and that’s a good thing–the show wouldn’t be very good if it was just a superficial excuse to watch superpowered fights. Where Mob Psycho 100 takes root is its exploration of what happens when a young boy has incredible power. Instead of just limiting itself to the main character’s emotional struggle, the anime also branches out and explores how that power affects his personal relationships, especially the way he interacts with his brother and the rest of his family.
There’s also comedic elements woven into the show as well, and they help to liven it up, so that the psychological portions don’t keep it dragged down. There’s jokes, especially when it comes to Reigen’s shady act, but they don’t override the more serious portions of the story. Overall, it’s a bit of a magic blend of humor, character development, and sensational action which defines the show.
The Plot of Mob Psycho 100
Beyond the tone of the show, I do have to stop and discuss how well the plot comes together. To be honest, it’s kinda mixed. The show only aired for a single cour of 12 episodes, and it feels very obvious that it was adapted from a much longer work. Everything gets wrapped up in a way that feels a little too tidy and quick for the scope of the plots that were developed. There’s plenty of suggestions that the conclusion was only the beginning of a much bigger story, and I find that a bit bothersome, since the last episode definitely seems intended as a capstone to the show. It’s what Shirobako calls a “But Our Fight Continues” (for short, “BOFC”) ending, and I’m not the biggest fan of it.
That said, the plot does do a good job of developing the action and setting stakes for Mob to face, with some really keen twists–although not without an irksome fakeout or two. Ultimately, it does do a good job of bringing the characters to the central point of the show, asking “how do these sorts of powers change a person?” The anime milks a massive amount of content from that question, exploring all sorts of characters’ reactions to having psychic abilities–in a sense, it’s the core issue that Mob faces, but explored through other people’s lenses.
Should you give Mob Psycho 100 a watch? I say yes, because even with its flaws, it’s a potent, glorious story with amazing animation, fantastic music, really interesting character work, and a solid plot.
You can watch Mob Psycho 100 for free at Crunchyroll.com