Watch Wednesday

Watch Wednesday #31: Mob Psycho 100 is the Greatest Acid Trip I’ve Ever Seen

Okay, I’m going to be honest here, I’ve never actually had an acid trip, so clearly me terming Mob Psycho 100 as the “greatest acid trip I’ve ever seen” should be the “closest thing to an acid trip I’ve ever seen”.  But that’s a really freaking long sentence just for the point of accuracy, don’t you think?  So, for now, let’s just keep it as it is.

Still, people, listen to me here–this show is fantastic, I can’t get enough of it.

Mob Psycho 100 is the Greatest Acid Trip I’ve Ever Seen

Mob Psycho 100 was the breakout anime hit of the summer of 2016.  Done by the same guy who created One-Punch Man, an author know as ONEMob was first serialized as a webcomic in 2012, ending in 2017.  Between July and September of 2016 the anime adaptation was aired and quickly became a hit.

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Despite what the title might suggest, Mob Psycho 100 has nothing to do with any unhinged gang activity.  Rather, “Mob” is the lead protagonist’s nickname, taken from the gaming term, “mob character”.

A mob character refers to all those otherwise unimportant background characters, like a nameless villager.  They are nonessential filler people, with such non-importance that they aren’t even qualified to be considered a side character.  This is how our protagonist, whose name is actually Kageyama Shigeo, sees himself.  Thus, he is willingly called Mob.

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As sad as it is for Mob to feel that way about himself, his lifestyle and look really do match the description.  Mob, in his day-to-day life, is entirely unremarkable.  Scrawny and weak in stature, with a deadpan face and bowl-cut to boot, Mob’s social presence is about zilch.

That mediocrity, however, is all just a front in Mob’s attempt to control his insane amount of psychic ability.  Once his internal ticker hits 100%, he is an explosion of power.  The series follows Mob as he struggles to wrangle the many variables in order to prevent himself from reaching that final percent, including stifling all of his emotions.

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Mob’s inner struggles are mirrored in his several counterparts.  His charlatan psychic boss, Arataka Reigen (whose exorcism powers including Photoshop, massage, and throwing salt); his rival psychic, Hanazawa Teruki; his younger brother, Ritsu–all, for their own reasons, working to carefully maintain a facade.

I enjoyed Mob because of this theme.  Rather than merely being about mundane versus extraordinary, or normal versus abnormal, Mob takes a deeper look at the varying fronts we put on and asks why we do so.  For the most part, it’s fear.  While Mob is motivated by the fear of his destructive powers, Teruki’s fear stems from the realities of being a nobody.

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Ritsu, on the other hand, cloaks himself in academic and physical accomplishments because of his own lack of self-worth.  Reigen’s charade is the most interesting (and hilarious), because rather than being created out of fear, it’s out of stupid self-assurance and purely a desire for easy money, and as such he acts as a foil to the others.  As useless of a human being as he may seem, he continually presents himself as the guide that each of these characters so desperately need, most especially Mob.  Reigen is a cool character because he, more than anyone else, preaches that we need all sides of ourselves in order to really live life.

Another thing I enjoyed about the show is the more mob-like characters.  Rather than being stale stepping stones for the leads, these smaller roles feature clear, individually designed people, each of which whom has their own set of goals and consciousness.  Even Mob’s club, the Body Appreciation Club, is full with middle school boys who have their own main character potential.  As silly as their goals may seem, they are still grounded as humans because they aren’t merely there for the protagonist’s benefit.  I always appreciate that effort put in by the author!

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Mob Psycho 100 has a contemporary art style all its own.  Often touching back to the flurried, scribbling, and more unattractive style of the webcomic, this contemporary anime is anything but conventional.  However, between the colors, smooth animation, and action scenes, Mob is much more than what meets the eye.

I think the character design especially draws a lot of people away from trying this anime, but I really don’t believe that you need to be a fan of Mob‘s appearances to enjoy it.  Trust me, this is coming from a girl who is all about appearances when it comes to animation.  (Still cannot enjoy Aaaah! Real Monsters, the animation is just too gross for me.)

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Beyond its looks, Mob Psycho 100 is beyond funny.  The deadpan, anticlimax humor is so perfectly timed.  The character personalities are so well-defined that their interactions provide a plethora of hilarity.  Reigen alone repeatedly had me ready to pee myself.  So much of this show is just plain funnies that even if you hate the art you’re going to enjoy yourself, the ridiculous humor is enough to tickle your funny bone several times over.

The exploration of our personal veneers is such a cool concept.  A lot of Mob Psycho 100 breaks the rules of shounen anime, and I think that upsets some people.  But for me?  It’s a breath of fresh air.  Is the show utterly strange at times?  Absolutely, and it’s awesome.  Is it funnier than you can believe?  Oh, definitely.  Is it deeper than you expect?  Yes, and thank you for that!

11 thoughts on “Watch Wednesday #31: Mob Psycho 100 is the Greatest Acid Trip I’ve Ever Seen

  1. A mob character refers to all those otherwise unimportant background characters, like a nameless villager. >> DIDN’t KNOW THAT.
    Also yes i’m reading anime blogs not to be convinced of liking the things i already like but to get more eloquent and specific with why I like them. Oddly enough as a fellow psychic, mob psycho was purging for me. I also highly recommend the manga, it’s going placessss

    Liked by 1 person

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