From the creator of One Punch Man, comes Mob Psycho 100, a brilliant shounen anime about a middle school boy and his psychic powers. While One Punch Man was a mostly comedy focused show featuring intense battles and light hearted banter, with little in the way of plot, Mob Psycho 100 goes much farther, setting up deeper characters with interesting, complex relationships, all while establishing a larger, overarching conflict. It is disappointing however that the show does a good job of hiding all of that in the first few episodes with a rather slow start. However, once things pick up, Mob Psycho 100 delivers all the beautiful shounen action you need for this season.
Mob Psycho 100 is about a boy named Kageyama Shigeo, but he goes by the nickname, Mob. Ever since he was a small child, Mob has had powerful psychic powers. One day, he goes to self proclaimed number one psychic, Arataka Reigen, in order to seek help in controlling his powers. However, Reigen is not really a psychic, but is instead a con artist who tricks others into believing he is a psychic in order to make a profit. Finding out that Mob really does have psychic abilities, he quickly sees him as a means to further his business, by using him to do all the “fake” psychic work for him under the pretense that all the work they do is beneath him, because he is too powerful. He takes Mob under his wing, and together, they go out to hunt ghosts, and spirits that are haunting the people of the town.
This is the premise that fell flat for me. Mob Psycho 100 starts off seeming like a monster of the week show, where Mob and Reigen fight spirits, and it’s all really just decent. However, during these slower episodes, they are building up small things that are important to where the show eventually heads. Mob spares a weaker spirit who sets a series of events in motion that lead to the shows final moments. Likewise, you are also introduced to Mob’s brother, Ritsu, who has never had psychic powers, but continues to hope that since Mob has them, some day he will too. The plot goes into how there are more psychics other than Mob, and how they may or may not all be good people. Mob promises never to use his powers to hurt anybody, and doesn’t think of them as special at all, but that may change if the people Mob cares for are put in danger. However, Mob isn’t perfect. If his emotions get the better of him, he can lose control, and he may be the one hurting the people he cares for instead. A nefarious organization that uses psychic abilities for evil needs isn’t going to help with that much, and all of these factors weave together to create a surprisingly deep, darker narrative, filled with action, suspense, and laughs.
Mob Psycho 100 has a very unique art style, and is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in anime before. However, initially, it can be very jarring. There was a moment in the beginning of the show where I equated it to a poorly drawn early 90’s Nickelodeon cartoon. In fact, if I had seen the art close up before watching the show, i wouldn’t be surprised if I delayed watching it. It is just that off-putting. However, much at the same time as when the show starts becoming better in terms of plot, the art style starts to shine as well. It’s used magnificently to excel many of the comedic events and to bring a special flare to the action segments as well. And on top of that, this anime’s animation is incredible as well. Mob and the other psychics in the show’s psychic abilities are presented beautifully. Their powerful auras radiate from them in a beautiful rainbow, and all the destruction caused by their powers create incredible looking chaos as rubble and tangible energy fly in every direction. It’s all so colorful and alluring, making the battles in this show a true spotlight. When you add that the voice acting is all fantastic, especially from Mob who presents his monotone tone of voice perfectly, you really have a complete package here.
If I could voice a small complaint on top of the weak beginning, it may just be the ending. The show ends in a very entertaining way, but it never really feels like Mob defeats a foe worthy of him directly in battle. It’s hard to tell just how powerful Mob really is. Sometimes he feels overpowered, and unstoppable, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like that at all, but there being no final battle really makes this show’s ending feel somewhat incomplete, and keeps his overall strength as compared to the most powerful psychics of the show a mystery. On top of that, while the show’s second half is where the show excels, it also crams a lot of content into a small amount of time. Many battles feel rushed, and a few of them are skipped outright, presenting nothing but the victor. Here’s hoping there’s another season, because if so, all is forgiven.
Mob Psycho 100 starts off weak, but is well worth it long before the end. It’s weird, and some scenes can only be described as ridiculous, or absurd, but the characters are fantastic, the story is meaningful, the fight scenes are a spectacle, and the animation is some of the best you will ever see, being sure to leave your eyes wide open even after you hit pause. When you throw on top of that the comedy, which never lets up, even in some of the more emotional episodes, Mob Psycho 100 is truly an anime worth watching.