Mob Psycho 100 – 09

The stakes sure have been raised quickly here…

Mob Psycho 100 - 09 -1When you stop and think about it, the escalation of events in Mob Psycho 100 has been pretty staggering.  We’ve gone from sham exorcisms and low-level spirits to schoolyard banchou to world domination and child-killing (sort of) in the matter of a few episodes.  It really makes you wonder just how grand ONE’s schemes for this series are, and fervently hope we get to see more than one cour of it in anime form.  I think our chances are good – Stalker is looking better, and there were split-cour rumors right from the beginning – but it’d be a real shame if a story with so much scope and possibility has to leave most of it on the table.

Mob Psycho 100 - 09 -2That feeling is strong especially with an episode like this one, that really puts me in mind of Hunter X Hunter.  As I mentioned last week it’s striking how similarly ONE approaches the big action set pieces in Mob Psycho to the way Togashi-sensei does in H x H – they’re anything but non-stop but when they happen, they’re character-driven and laden with subtext.  He’s also fond of grotesque character designs, a Togashi signature – looking around that conference table at Claw it almost seemed like something out of Togashi’s imagination.

Mob Psycho 100 - 09 -3We’ve already met two members of “Scar”, the top echelon of Claw (apparently there are eleven of them) and a third quickly joins the fray this week –  Terada.  He’s played by H x H veteran Tachiki Fumihiko (Terada even gives us a Gendou pose) and is keen to cash in on Koyama’s slip-up  by taking out the boy too strong for Koyama to handle.  Like Koyama Terada sports a grisly scar – apparently they’re a token of rank bestowed by the organization’s top boss – and like Koyama, he seems a little overconfident due to the age of his opponents.  Even now Koyama thinks Terada – who he declares is the weaker esper – should be able to gain the upper hand on Mob because “he’s a kid”.  Reality soon intervenes with extreme prejudice.

Mob Psycho 100 - 09 -4Meanwhile Ritsu and the kidnapped kiddos from Awakening Labs (I feel you, Ritsu-kun – I couldn’t remember their names either) are herded into the Seventh Division compound and promptly imprisoned in the basement.  For a while it looks as if one of the kids (the younger of the telepathically linked Shiratori brothers) is murdered as a show of force to get the others to comply, but this turns out to be an illusion crafted by another Scar, Mutou (as classic a Togashi design as you’ll ever see).

Mob Psycho 100 - 09 -5What’s interesting here is seeing Ritsu display a very different sort of strength than his brother.  Ritsu has indeed awakened psychic abilities, but it’s other qualities that he uses to engineer an escape.  Namely patience, natural authority, calm under pressure and outright cleverness.  He keeps the others – a nearly powerless gang of third-tier espers if we’re honest –  from panicking altogether, and devises a plan by which they use their meager abilities not to escape, but to lure the guards into complacency with their meagerness (is that a word?).  Mob is scary for obvious reasons, but Ritsu is pretty terrifying in his own right.  He has a ruthless detachment about him that’s very unsettling, especially when one considers that it’s attached to a 13 year-old with as-yet undetermined psychic abilities he’s only just discovering.

Mob Psycho 100 - 09 -7As for Mob, Terada is no match even for his second, Hanazawa.  He has no qualms about torturing Terada for information, though the kind-hearted Mob is more inclined towards mercy (albeit an ironic sort).  And after they force Terada to lead then to Claw HQ and Koyama heads out to seek his revenge, Mob finally unleashes his own power.  Whatever tiny percentage of the iceberg that’s sticking up above the waterline so far is terrifying enough – it’s not just that Mob is stronger than everyone he’s facing, but that it’s not even close.  What would he be capable of if he really let loose?

Mob Psycho 100 - 09 -8While on some level we may be at-risk of overpowered MC syndrome here, I think Mob Psycho 100 can get past it – largely because so much of the drama here is not built around Mob’s battles with others, but with himself.  That Mob is a good soul who wants to do right is irrefutable based on the evidence, but (and it’s a big “but”) he’s still a pubescent kid.  When Ritsu is in trouble Mob’s all too willing to “not hold back” against Koyama, knowing time is of the essence (his only regret is that he was too noisy).  As hard as it would be for anyone to control powers like Mob has when relentlessly provoked, surely it’s that much harder for a middle-schooler with the usual wheelbarrow full of middle-schooler neuroses.  As bad as it would be for the world if Mob really lost control, what most gnaws at me is what that would do to Mob himself, because he surely deserves better.  And I think that’s the real driver of this story going forward.

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7 comments

  1. s

    Again, im one of the strong believers that we are going to get a split cour announcement either before the last ep or as soon as the finale takes place. There are just too many signs indicating an intention to tell a 24 ep story in the same way that it became clear over time that space dandy was going to be split cour. The cold opening of episode 1 doesnt happen until a certain arc with the manga later on; the opening song has imagery that foreshadows events in the latest completed arc in the mob psycho manga. Ep 1 drops the name of a character who will become relevant in the arc after this one…the signs are just there. As with space dandy, this is a show with such a large scope in terms of animation; it makes sense why it needs to be split cour. As you said, the best of mob psycho is yet to come and what we are getting so far is already killing it

  2. d

    At this stage I’m only hoping there will be a new season.

  3. e

    – Again I’m really really glad Teruki is Team [still mah (Cinna)]Mob. By virtue of power and character – and a little curbing bonus – he’s the best option available. And then of course his fabulous wig & pink sweater 8D.
    – “Ekubo is dangerous” . When srs bsnsss Shigeo speaks one ‘d better take note. Gut feeling: some heel turn awaits… although maybe not soon / not during this arc. Chekov’s Powder?
    – Ritsu is mastermind material ohoh. In the current scenario again there are a lot of branching routes for his character. *waving tiny cheering Ritsu flags* Be well Lil Bro!
    – Aaad ONE gives us more butt-chins ! XD
    – There must be more than cour. *optimism* Relatedly…
    – Anyone getting a feeling this arc could be very short as much as likely as very long?

  4. I think the infiltration in this specific base will probably be pretty short. Claw as an organisation though might stick around for quite a while – this is only the 7th Division after all. I imagine the Division Leader will be strongest one around of course (though I don’t know if strong enough to give Mob a match), but he certainly still has superiors at the HQ he mentioned that are even stronger.

  5. e

    @Simone: good point(s) 🙂 .

  6. The episode flew by in about 5 minutes, our psycho powered trio have some really great chemistry.

    I’m not sure that we will see Mob single handedly take down the whole organisation, not having any reservations about killing is a pretty strong weapon against Mob.

  7. Again, I think a key as Simone says is this isn’t the whole organization – just a little piece of it. I suspect Claw will prove to be somewhat Hydra-like.

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