Mob Psycho 100 – 12 (End) and Series Review

I can sum this one up in three words: it was great.

It’s been a very interesting season, with a basket of really strong shows at the top that span a fairly huge range of styles and genres. From the lovably cheeky romcom of Konobi to the abject emotionalism of Orange to the peerless and almost regal Hollywood storytelling of 91 Days, there’s been something here to suit a sizable array of tastes.  But in Mob Psycho 100 I think we have the most quintessentially “anime” of all the top series – a series that’s both reminiscent of the medium ten or twenty years ago and quite timeless.  No matter how retro it is I don’t think a show like this could ever feel dated, because it’s simply too alive and inspired.

In truth, I don’t think Mob Psycho 100 has really out a foot wrong over the course of its entire run.  And funnily enough I’d include the first episode in that even though it was the weakest of the series.  The reason is that I think it was the weakest quite on purpose – it was an insidiously clever tweaking of the manga by director Tachikawa Yuzuru to both send us down the garden path when it came to what kind of character Reigen was, and to throw off our expectations of what kind of series Mob Psycho was.  I was lucky enough to see the first two eps in one sitting but most weren’t, so there’s no question this would represent a lot of faith in his audience on Tachikawa’s part.  But based on the evidence, I think it’s going to be justified.

I think the signs that there was something kind of deep and touching about Mob and Reigen’s relationship started to creep in pretty early (I believe I noted it around Episode 3) and this season finale was the natural culmination of that turn of events.  If we look at Mob’s powers as an extension of who he is, it’s only natural that after Reigen saved him (and I mean in the existential sense) Mob would extend those powers to Reigen.  For me, what it really comes down to is this – Reigen is the only one who tells Mob that wants to believe in his heart is true.  That he’s a good person, that his powers don’t make him special, that he not only doesn’t have to hurt anyone, but that he absolutely has a duty not to.  Time after time when Mob is in darkness, Reigen pulls him back.  And what nobler purpose could there be for Mob’s powers than to protect someone he loves without hurting anyone else?

That’s what it means for Reigen to be Mob’s “bridge” – a very elegant way to put it (I assume coined by ONE).  And let’s face is, Reigen is a pretty badass guy.  Mob’s powers may be propping him up but damn, this dude walks the walk.  He indeed has powers of his own – he’s such a good bullshit artist himself that he has an infallible eye for BS in everyone else.  He bats away Ishiguro’s gravity balls like soap bubbles and snaps Sakurai’s sword (that’s sort of ironic when you think about it) like the plastic toy it once was.  But much more than that, be punctures the bubble of pomposity and false superiority these overgrown schoolyard bullies have built around themselves.  The emperor has no clothes – not when Reigen strips him naked.  By the time he’s done shattering their illusions about themselves the lot of them have been left broken, defeated husks.  Mob’s powers and Reigen’s chutzpah – an unbeatable combo.

The carnage includes Ishiguro, whose mask Reigen literally and figuratively rips off (after scolding him for not removing it when talking to people), revealing a wretched, spotty old geezer who’s the most pathetically insecure of the bunch.  Even after it’s clear the battle has been lost Ishiguro decides on a scorched earth strategy, and with even Mob’s power starting to tire things look dicey for a moment.  But then Shou steps in, and reveals why he’s unscarred – he’s clearly a step up in power from the rest of the Seventh Division elites.  He puts down Ishiguro once and for all, declares that the Seventh Division is to be shuttered, and calls Mob a coward before disappearing into thin air.

I realize that we’ve yet to see Claw’s true fangs (or whatever), and that when we do, that’s likely to be a major part of seasons to come.  But what happened here seemed quite predictable in a way, because as far as the Seventh Division goes at least, Claw has always struck me as a paper tiger.  The reason Reigen’s verbal assault was so effective was because it was so on-point – these really are a bunch of school bullies, and once you take away their implicit advantage in brute force they have nothing.  Even Onigawara found this out, though he more or less reached the conclusion on his own after Ritsu and Kamuro’s treachery drove him to rock bottom.  I don’t know what the future holds for the ravaged remains of the Scars, but it’s hard to imagine that they can be reformed as a meaningful weapon for Claw.

The postscript of the episode is conspicuously open-ended, given that this was in theory the final episode. Ekubo has eaten his way (that belch!) through Matsuo’s remaining spirits and emerged rejuvenatedHanazawa has decided to team up with Awakening Lab to try and act as a mentor to the esper’s eggs, helping them prepare for the next time Claw comes for them.  Reigen and Mob return to their usual life as itinerant spook hunters – though it might be argued that the truth of Reigen’s lack of ability is now no longer a secret to Mob.  Most interestingly, it’s revealed that Shou is the son of the man we can safely assume is the leader of Claw – and he isn’t afraid to speak his mind to him, either.  The Scars may be finished, but we’ve surely not seen Claw’s big guns brought to bear yet.

So what’s next?  Well, as usually happens, we’re left to ponder and wait.  I was hoping for a S2 announcement at the close of this episode, but not really expecting one.  And frankly, I’ll be very surprised if we don’t get a second season, and fairly soon, too.  There’s plenty of manga for it, and there have been rumors (including of a supposed hidden cache of episode-chapter correspondence on the official website) since the series began that Mob Psycho 100 was a split-cour.  If all that weren’t enough, the series looks to be on track to sell quite well on disc – wedged between Boku no Hero Academia (which is a far bigger seller in manga form) and One Punch Man, if Stalker is to be believed.  Bones is sure acting like this series is going to continue in anime form, and it’ll be a far bigger surprise if it doesn’t than if it does.

That I sure hope so is so obvious that it hardly bears repeating.  The equation here is simple – if you take really smart and well-written source material, pair it with arguably the best studio in anime and probably the most exciting young director in the business, you get Mob Psycho 100 – a powerhouse of an anime that exemplifies the best that the medium can be.  Tachikawa is the goods – a stunning talent, equally adept at storytelling and storyboarding.  His visual interpretation of ONE’s idiosyncratic (to use a charitable term) art style is nothing short of genius, and Mob Psycho 100 doesn’t have a manga adaptation by a heavy hitter like Murata Yusuke to act as a template and buffer.  Bones has pulled out all the stops here – Kawai Kenji’s music and a murderer’s row of legendary animators – and the results are nothing short of staggering.  Bring on Season 2 – and the sooner the better, as far as I’m concerned.

ED Sequence:

Epilogue:

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

17 comments

  1. e

    Three words reply: great it was. Also: worth 1000% gratitude. And yay for mushrooms (we are in season now, come on! Dat fungous goodness :Q__)!
    The series has delivered both fun and depth, thrilling action, memorable – when not also lovable – characters, pop culture Easter eggs and a few sound messages rolled in a consistent and visually out-of-the-ordinary fashion. Honestly it has been a blast – and as much as heartwarming at times to boot – . Too much Reigen awesomeness&wisdom, so much Mob blushing and Team Mob endearing factor [ including the oh-so-grounded and humble Kageyama household parents ]. Gah <3
    In s2 we trust especially after OPM s2 was announced. Good omen for ONE's titles. Huzzah for quality that sells. Furthermore that Yggdrasil-broccoli(?) thing in the OP was too conspicuous of a foreshadowing for my taste to let it go to waste X,D.

  2. F

    It was a really great ride from beginning to end, and I can’t actually believe that it is over. Let’s hope for a second season which can’t come soon enough.

  3. I really liked the series up until this last episode. I kinda felt cheated in the A side of the episode that Mob powered up his con man boss instead of taking the bad guys out himself. Then the Boss just destroys all the villians without any concern or care in the world. Thats BS to me.

  4. W

    Psychic powers = BS. OK

  5. So basically you wanted the conventional shounen ending and ONE gave you the Togashi ending.

  6. s

    You know what i think was brilliantly executed about this ep amongst the other well-executed elements? It’s how reigen, even with his temporarily obtained psychic powers, didnt really use it a violent way. He wasnt out for blood or out to hurt this claw members who he saw as children, but rather get them to understand the error of their ways. He only used the psychic powers as a way to make them desist. If you remember from last week, he attempted to do the same thing with the hypnosis punch. He had only wanted the claw members to think he had the position of higher power so that he could get them to listen to him. Obviously it didnt work that well because reigen completely underestimated the situation and lacked the actual power to get the scar members to listen to him. However, once he obtained the psychic powers, rather than wailing on them, he just continued to do what he tried to do before; the difference being he now had the necessary leverage to get them to listen to him . In the end, reigen avoided the trap of being a hypocrite this time around and stayed true to his desire to want the scar members to see the error of their ways. Reigen knew that mob, still being an adolescent kid, would not be able to draw the fine line between making his opponents desist and just outright killing them because of the pressure to protect his friends. This was a situation that required the experience of someone who has lived a bit longer, i.e an adult. ONE makes a nice commentary about the awkwardness, the joy, and the dangers of being an adolescent through the lens of psychic powers and he does it very well. Mob psycho 100 was my favorite show of summer 2016 and im glad Yuzura tachikawa knew what he was doing with this adaptation. I only have one complaint: WHY TEASE THE IDEA THAT THIS RUN OF MOB PSYCHO 100 WOULD BE TWO COURS??!!! DAMN BASTARDS!!!

  7. Wow, that was deep. Now I like the episode even more 😀

  8. Gosh I loved the whole season, even the most climactic finale episode had me laughing a lot! Such funny and deep writing is enhanced with the deceptively “simple” animation, I think it gives the director and artists extra flexibility to convey the story. The stars surely aligned for this ONE (pun intended). Those 12 episodes flew by so fast.

    My only gripe with your review was using “Holywood storytelling” as a compliment. 91 Days isn’t a recycled reboot, a low brow low intellect piece, blatant plagiarism, or abysmal adaptation of brilliant source material.

  9. If that’s all you think Hollywood storytelling can me, you need to watch more American movies (especially classic ones).

  10. The world would probably be a much better places if Reigen was the host for op supernatural powers, that man has a real way with words.

  11. O

    Some musings:

    1000% Reigen was definitely one of the most anticipated moments for manga readers. It was great, as expected.

    If I had one criticism for the anime adaptation of MP100 as a whole, it would be the pacing. Things went way to fast, and it felt like there wasn’t enough time for the plot beats to sink in. That being said, there were no better alternatives: the end of the 7th branch arc was the ideal place for this cour to end, and there was a lot of ground that needed to be covered to get there. However, if Bones want to end the second cour at the logical conclusion, the pacing is going to have to be even faster (or they will have to skip some key stuff).

    My favorite moment in the anime so far is Mob going ??? on Teru. It was just so satisfying to see Teru get put in his place, and it was so sad to see Mob get so torn up from knowing that he was responsible for destroying everything.

    ONE has written 2 of my top 5 favorite manga series. How does he do it? How is he so consistent?

    I once posted a link to one of your reviews in the MP100 subreddit. I’m sorry I did it w/o your permission! The only other review being posted in the subreddit was from Wave Motion Cannon, and there was one reviewer who panned every episode for seemingly the worst reasons! It was infuriating! That aside, I was wondering, why don’t you post links to your reviews in the corresponding subreddits?

  12. I guess I’m not enough of a Redditor to know the etiquette. Isn’t it considered shameless self-promotion to post links to your own stuff?

  13. Its common on reddit for people to advertise their blogs, but I’d say that the taste of the typical anime redditor is quite different.

  14. W

    > The reason Reigen’s verbal assault was so effective was because it was so on-point – these really are a bunch of school bullies, and once you take away their implicit advantage in brute force they have nothing.

    Not all of them were bullies. Some members had very elegant attitudes (asking why Mob wasn’t fighting back and caring for him as a fighter), and wanting a better world. His verbal assault was useless on the sword guy, he even used a story about being without his parents as if it was the same thing, not even understand the other’s perspective. Reigen’s speeches are as strong as his pacifism ideals, not really well thought out, which is why the only people he fools are mostly goofy naive secondary characters. He even belittled the other villain clothing sense, maybe he is the real bully after all.

  15. L

    One of them wasn’t totally a bully (Beside I don’t understand where is that “wanting a better world” come from) doesn’t change the overall tone. What Reigen did in the last scene is simply emulating Claw’s attitude, and destroyed their reasoning behind their action because it made them realized that “everyone can sounds reasonable when they have powers over others”. To say he did not other’s perspective was kind a misunderstand, because he understand: he is simply mocking him for his shallow reasoning.
    Also, his verbel assualt was effective to Katana Guy and Shoulder pad Guy.

  16. Ayup. Definitely one of the best series of the Summer 2016 season for me. Just excellent on soooooo many levels!

  17. s

    damn right it was 😀

Leave a Comment