Mob Psycho 100 – 08

Mob Psycho 100 - 08 -1No question, the last two days have offered an object lesson in the sometimes harsh realities of anime production, courtesy of two of the Summer’s best series.  As Orange – the product of a mid-sized studio and working on a limited budget – has seen its production values crater, Mob Psycho 100 has soared to heights of sakuga unseen this season (except perhaps in its earlier episodes).  It seems almost unfair how different things are for premier studios like Madhouse and Bones.  Not only does Tachikawa have the money he needs, he can call on the talents (and boy, are they talents) of guys like Nakamura Yutaka and Kameda Yoshimichi when episodes call for that extra dose of visual flash.

Mob Psycho 100 - 08 -2And this was certainly such an episode.  Big-time confrontations are fewer and farther between in Mob Psycho 100 than in ONE’s One Punch Man (it’s just that sort of story), but when they happen, they really matter.  But what I really appreciate about them (as much as the glorious way they’re animated) is how the big action sequences in Mob Psycho are character-driven.  It reminds me very much of Hunter X Hunter in that way.  That’s another series that features stupendous fight sequences at infrequent intervals, and never dishes up a throwaway – all the fights are organic to the story and full of subtext when it comes to the characters.

Mob Psycho 100 - 08 -3At first, this seems very much like it’s going to be a story of the conflict (albeit a one-sided one) between brothers.  Hanazawa-kun was the one who brought Mob to show him what Ritsu was doing to the banchou in the alley, though he had no idea the two were brothers – he just knew Ritsu was using Mob’s name.  Naturally enough Mob is horrified by what he sees, even disbelieving for a while.  He can’t believe the Ritsu he knows would do this – not just (or even mostly) because as far as he knows Ritsu is incapable of it physically, but because the Ritsu he knows would never do such a thing.

Mob Psycho 100 - 08 -4This is a pretty powerful moment here, and it shows us a lot about Mob’s character (as in the attribute).  Ritsu sells this as effectively a declaration of independence (if not outright war) towards his brother, telling Mob that his prior deferential attitude was a matter of being fearful of Mob’s powers.  Ritsu does a good job selling it (having a seiyuu as stellar as Irino Miyu helps) but Mob isn’t buying it – he knows the truth.  He knows Ritsu’s love and admiration is the thing that’s real, and that what he’s seeing and hearing now is the lie.

Mob Psycho 100 - 08 -5Mob is such a good kid, truly.  None of this is a front for him – he walks the walk.  He’s a pacifist in his heart, almost totally lacking in conceit or ego (to a fault at times).  Ritsu is naturally horrified when Mob begs for the bullies’ forgiveness for what his otouto has done to them, even more when they tell him to grovel and Mob complies.  But no one is more aware of the dangers of his own power than Mob is, and his pride is a price he’s more than willing to pay.  All of this is mooted, of course, when Koyama (the hoodie guy) shows up to kidnap Ritsu – who he still thinks is Kageyama Shigeo.  At this point the bullies revert to the sniveling cowards they are, and Mob and Koyama are the only two people in that alley.

Mob Psycho 100 - 08 -6This is the money scene, and the boys at Bones don’t disappoint – it’s stupendously drawn and delivered.  But there’s a lot going on here.  It’s a painful (literally) reminder that Mob doesn’t have the luxury to live the passive life he wishes to – he’s simply too exceptional to be unexceptional.  Koyama is strong, no doubt about it, and he initially gets the upper hand on Mob (to Ritsu’s horror).  But we know the drill here – we know what happens when Mob’s kettle goes on the boil, even if Koyama (and his handler, played by Hosoya Yoshimasa) don’t.  Ekubo sees that one way or another this isn’t going to end well, and brings in Hanazawa to see if he can be of any help.  He can’t, much – but when Koyama plays his trump card and ends up fleeing with Ritsu, he at least takes Mob back to his apartment to sleep it off.

Mob Psycho 100 - 08 -7There’s a somewhat extraneous interlude with Reigen here that’s worth mentioning, because the evolution of his character has been one of the most subtly interesting elements of Mob Psycho 100.  This time around he’s helping a woman who’s been told by a fortuneteller that she has a spirit on her shoulder, using Himalayan sea salt, aromatherapy and massage.  Again we see the seemingly absurd spectacle of Reigen being outraged by a con, but here’s the thing – his outrage is real.  There’s a funny sort of honor to what Reigen does, because the thing is he actually does help people.  In effect he’s a therapist rather than a medium, but so what?  Those people still get helped – they feel better.  And Reigen seems to understand the distinction between hucksterism and genuine evil, deceiving or using one’s power to hurt.  He’s a scoundrel, but ultimately an honorable one in his own way.

Mob Psycho 100 - 08 -8Stepping back, the bigger picture in Mob Psycho 100 has definitely seen a tectonic shift.  Thanks to Hanazawa (who’s been their target before) we now know of the existence of Claw, a power-hungry cable of espers (over 100) who kidnap children with powers and brainwash them into a psychic army.  They’ve already hit the Awakening Lab, snatching the kids and leaving the place a wreck and the adults unconscious.  And now they have Ritsu, too, which means no matter how much Mob would prefer to avoid a confrontation (one Hanazawa is skeptical that even his vanquisher can win) he must act.  This is the harshest test yet of Mob’s world view – Claw is not only hugely powerful, but represents the existential opposite of everything Mob believes about how to live with psychic powers.

 

 

 

 

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18 comments

  1. What a great episode, I’m really looking forward to this arc.

  2. s

    Nakumara and kameda never disappoint…ever. They are two of the best key animators working in anime today, especially nakamura and it’s pretty much an anime orgy when their both working together. I think there’s truth to what ritsu said about being afraid of his brother and wanting psychic powers to defend himself. Ritsu tries to play it off as the only reason why he wanted powers, but we can tell that there’s this mix of admiration and fear ritsu experiences every time he watches his brother do what he does. I guess when you think about it, admiration and fear are sorta two sides of the same coin. Oh, and i kudos to mob’s VA to selling his emotional outbursts when he needs to. He doesnt get super screamy like in some anime, but you can definitely hear the ranges in emotion in mob once he starts to outwardly emote. Those subtle changes in his voice really sell those 100% scenes..besides you..the stellar animation

  3. Considering Kameda’s age (he’s just 31, 17 years younger than Nakamura) his resume s equally impressive. His work on FMA: Brotherhood (still in his mid 20s) is incredible. He’s another guy that’s done work for Madhouse in addition to his Bones catalogue, including of course OPM.

  4. h

    mob psycho sealed the deal,best anime of the year and into my personal favourites,and when you see yutaka Bones superstar and the best action animator of all times,you knew that Bones cares about this series

  5. All I’d say as a bit of a rejoinder is that Bones is different than Madhouse in that they almost always seem to care. There are shows where they dial it back a bit (like Chaika or Soul Eater Not) but generally, they don’t ever mail it in the way Madhouse does at times.

    That said, it’s almost as if Madhouse and Bones are one-upping each other to see who can deliver the most audacious sakuga in a ONE adaptation. Can’t wait for Madhouse’s response when OPM season 2 comes out.

  6. Is there a chance of a Mob Psycho season 2 right now though?

  7. Well, there have been a lot of rumors this is a split cour, but nothing official. It’s hard to say – I would think there’d be a pretty good chance, but it’s not a lock. It’ll probably sell decently (my guess 3500-4K) but not great, but I think it’s a series that will have considerable appeal to the likes of Cartoon Network.

  8. s

    not tryna sell madhouse short or anything because ya know, hunterxhunter had some lovely animation moments worked on by in-house animators from madhouse (and who can forget their past work before the big split), buuuut the one’s responsible for one punch man’s amazing animation were mostly comprised of animators who work at bones; animators that shingo natsume brought on board and they were responsible for almost all the sakuga moments. There’s a reason why some people call OPM “a bones production”. Basically by saying you cant wait for madhouse’s response with OPM season 2 is like saying “how is bones going to respond to bones” which is technically what they did when they produced mob psycho to begin with

  9. Hyperbole

  10. s

    a little bit but think about it; almost every single sakuga moment fans enjoyed where animated by animators who frequently work with bones. The sakuga moments dont make up the whole production so i get where you’re coming from but still, it’s what most people remember OPM by and the metric by which people will gauge the animation acumen of these two shows

  11. h

    about one punch man,I’d like to remind that madhouse in a rare occasion borrowed yutaka nakamura *he did the moon kick scene ep.12* from Bones,yutaka isnt a freelance he is known to work Exclusively for Bones .he is Bones weapon to one up any other studio

    in a sakuga match between Bones and madhouse,I’d say Bones wins this fairly easily,*don’t get me wrong,Madhouse is my favourite studio because they pick up better materials more often than Bones and handle them pretty well*

    but onepunch man is an exceptation,madhouse went an extra mile,to bring all the sakuga they could which is evident by hiring yutaka from Bones,but if we take any other madhouse anime,Bones wins with ease

    production I.G is the real compatitor for Bones,it goes like that for me
    -Madhouse favourite studio because of the material they choose,when they go big,they are on top of the game but that’s less often than other studio as Bones or I.G ,
    -Bones quality studio with best and more sakuga than any other studio
    my love for them is unlimited because they take the risks to produce new ideas with no concern for the market,production I.G got this too but their creativity isnt up to madhouse and Bones
    -kyoto animation mediocre materials however best quality studio,every episode of every show is high quality animation
    -production I.G the most balanced studio,I cant put my fingers on why I think they are the strongest studio,animation quality is always high

  12. Listen, I may literally be the last person in the world who’d sell Bones short. I love their work, and I love they way they respect anime as an artistic endeavor as if that were a worthwhile goal in itself (which it is). But let’s not sell Madhouse short here. Look at the work they were able to do with Hunter X Hunter for crying out loud – look at the quality they were able to maintain for over 150 episodes, even after a move to late night. Has any show every compiled that much sakuga in terms of sheer volume?

    I think there’s evidence that Madhouse and Bones have a very good working relationship. They do share talent, even talent which doesn’t often get shared. Tachikawa directed his first show at Madhouse, his second at Bones. Shingo Natsume did Dandy at Bones, then immediately jumped to OPM at Madhouse. These guys clearly work well together.

  13. h

    I will never sell Madhouse short,I made it clear,they are my favourite studio

  14. R

    I am never going to get used to Teru’s ridiculous hairdo at this point in the story. Didn’t happen in the manga, didn’t happen last week in the anime, still didn’t happen this week in the anime.

  15. e

    – Well they did manage to let some of their unresolved feeling out before Hoodie Guy went on a rampage, so yay for that and for Mob being (yet again) a darling in those moments 🙂 . I do think that Ritsu was telling the truth – his fear and inferiority complex and frustration are real – just blowing this part of his truth out of proportion as his love and admiration for his aniki are at least as much as real, poor kid. Btw the anticipation for some reconciled Brohood vs Bad Guys showdown is over 100% .
    – Reigen is so skilled *__* and what a range of competence he is displaying ahah. I’d love me some Aroma Express Train fix when the world feels so very heavy :,> .
    – Teruki confirmed as Team Shigeo. Yessss <3 . There need to be some more cunning and planning brains to complement CinnaMob's character for the rescue mission to succeed too. Dimple is too close to chaotic evil of a neutral (at the moment?) to be reliable on that I dare say.
    @Rita: nooo are you implying he will lose the beehive hairdo? Isn't that a spoiler? :PPPP. Also nayyyy whyyy the wig must stayyyy D:

  16. Ekubo is a chaotic neutral at this point, I’d say. I don’t think he’s evil, really – just naughty and selfish. And he likes the brothers by now.

  17. Inb4 he runs to Mob’s rescue every single time yelling “I’m the one who’s going to eat… I mean, possess you!”.

  18. Man, people get really caught up in Sakuga don’t they? It’s also an ironic reminder that this generation of fans often have low standards (or appreciation) when it comes to art quality and visual direction. When a show isn’t up to scratch visually, you see “all I care about is the story anyway!”. Such a contrast when shows like these knock it out of the park.

    Not a diss on Mob BTW, which has all those things going for it. This might be controversial, but it supasses madhouse’s OPM on creative visual direction. The latter already had a comphensive storyboard in the manga.

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