Following in the footsteps set by “One Punch“, “Mob Psycho 100” presents another, extremely plain (and lame) main character, who happens to be a superhero with extreme powers, this time on a psychic level.
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This individual is Shigeo Kageyama, an average middle school boy, nicknamed Mob (モブ Mobu) (meaning “background character”) due to him lacking a sense of presence, meaning no one even knows he even exists. The ones who do know, though, form the protagonists’ circle of the film. Arataka Reigen, his master and a self-proclaimed psychic who is actually a despicable con man who takes advantage of Mob any way he can. Ritsu, his younger brother, who is jealous of his brother’s abilities, and his family, who are kind of proud for Shigeo, but also a bit perplexed due to his power, and even frustrated occasionally, particularly when he bends kitchen utensils accidentally. As time passes, and Arataka forces Shigeo in a number of adventures, more characters come closer to him, like Dimple, an upper class evil spirit who eventually becomes a kind of a sidekick, and Teruki, the “hidden boss” of another high school, who is also an esper. The story begins in a “villain of the week” and comedic fashion, but eventually, and as an evil organization named Claw is revealed, takes a darker turn, while following a number of rules of the Shonen category, although in the style of “One Punch”, not “Naruto”.
I have to admit, I find this new path shonen anime are taking, which combines the concept of the “underdog” with elements of parody, even regarding the genre, quite reinvigorating, and one of the best things that has happened in anime during the latest years. Furthermore, the fact that “Mob Psycho” manages to present a number of social comments through the aforementioned approach, is one of its biggest traits. In that fashion, the story deals with bullying, the “segregation” occurring in schools among the various castes (athletes, good students, popular kids, delinquents, and the ones no one notices), con men who use the ignorance of their “preys” about the supernatural, family, and a number of other topics. All of the above, however, are presented through a rather comedic approach, that benefits the entertaining aspect the title quite significantly.
These elements derive from the very interesting characters, starting with Mob himself, and continuing with Arataka and Ritsu, with the relationship of the two brothers forming one of the most interesting aspects of the title.
The above do not mean that the action is placed in the background. On the contrary, the battle scenes are many, and feature the combination of parody and impressive animation that dominates the title. As the story unfolds, the first aspect tones down, and the anime takes a more serious turn, although the comic relief moments are still there.
The drawing, particular of the characters, is in perfect resonance with the anime’s aesthetics, with Mob’s presentation highlighting the fact that he is considered a “nobody” by most. The majority of the main characters have this unremarkable appearance, and the most intricate sketches are reserved for the villains, who are impressive, both in conception and implementation. The animation by Bones is also quite good, in both the action and the non-action moments, through a mixture of realism and extremity.
“Mob Psycho 100” is a very rewarding anime, which manages to transcend the borders of the shonen through an approach that has reinvigorated the whole genre.