Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Studio Bones
From the mind of the man behind One Punch Man, comes this equally crazy show, albeit for some different reasons. After some initial hesitation, I would consider this show to be just as good as One Punch Man despite a different focus. I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth anime review.
Story and Characters
Mob Psycho 100 features the story of the immensely talented psychic named Mob. Due to the dangerous nature of his powers, Mob lives his life by maintaining his emotions because the release of his emotions triggers his powers. He works as an exorcist with his boss, Reigen. Despite being a con artist with no psychic ability whatsoever, Reigen takes Mob under his wing in order to guide the young man as he grows up. Of course, the pair manages to get themselves in a variety of wacky situations as trouble seems to be attracted to Mob.
At first glance, the story is nonsensical and overtly crazy. Around episode three though, it becomes apparent that this show is much more serious than it initially lets on. At the basic level, this series is a character study as Mob attempts to better himself. This character study nature also extends to a variety of other characters in the additional arcs. Mob is basically a loser. He has a limited friend pool and is picked on quite a bit, despite having some amazing powers as an esper. Mob is one of the most likable anime characters because despite his situation, he always moves forward and is genuinely a good person at all times. For instance, one of the later story arcs involves how Mob’s family deals with his psychic powers, especially his younger brother. Despite being popular, Mob’s brother envies Mob’s psychic powers to the point where he develops an inferiority complex about it. At the same time, despite his brother having everything that he is working towards, Mob is simply proud and very caring toward Ritsu.
Despite the craziness, this series features a rather grounded look at the characters. Mob is an excellent protagonist that the audience is naturally attracted to which is kind of meta considering Mob’s goal is to better himself and become popular. It takes a bit to reach this point, but the story and the characters are very strong and make for a highly enjoyable watch.
Animation and Sound
Studio Bones mimicked ONE’s art style to perfection with this series. The goofy style of animation is present, but it’s not bad in any way. It’s just a simple stylistic choice that really works for this series. In fact, this series has some impressive animation. It’s a visual treat anytime Mob unleashes his psychic powers. I would even say that the fight scenes are some of the best of the season even with the goofy stylized animation. The real strength is the way that the animation captures the expressions of the characters. Reigen is especially assisted with this manner of animation. The characters emote so well and it leads to a lot of the more comedic moments, but surprisingly lends itself well to those serious moments that I mentioned earlier in the review.
As for the sound design, it is phenomenal. The voice acting is perfect for this series. Actors are able to manage the more insane scenes while also being able to perfectly capture the more serious scenes as well. It is certainly an impressive balance between drama, action and comedy. The voice actors flawlessly manage to deal with the almost schizophrenic nature of this series at times.
In terms of music, this series figured it out. The opening song is a high octane display of crazy visuals accompanied by an equally insane, but catchy song. The ending song is a more typical anime song, but it’s more subdued. Comparing the intro and the closing song perfectly represents the dichotomy of this series. On its face it’s just a crazy show, but the more time the audience spends with it, the more serious it gets. As for the soundtrack itself, the music perfectly suits the series. My favorite tracks are the almost ethereal, grungy pieces that play when Mob uses his psychic powers. These tracks really create an unsettling feeling which perfectly captures the tone as unnatural powers are being used in these scenes. The presentation and sound design of this show come together almost perfectly.
This show starts out a bit rough, but quickly finds its footing. Despite the craziness, the story is actually relatively simple and focuses on a very natural topic; a young man’s desire to improve himself. The art style is unique and impressive. The sound design manages to be just as good as the animation as well. I give Mob Psycho 100 my Bananaowns’ stamp of approval. It did not get the same level of traction as One Punch Man, but it is equally deserving of a watch. Thanks for checking this piece out and I’ll be back next week for another review.