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Mob Psycho 100

Entry updated 3 May 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated tv series (2016-2019). Bones. Based on the Japanese web-Comic and Manga by ONE. Directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa. Written by Hiroshi Seko. Voice cast includes Kazuhiko Inoue, Miyu Irino, Setsuo Itō, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Akio Ohtsuka and Takahiro Sakurai. 25 25-minute episodes and a film. Colour.

Shocked by the harm caused by his Psi Powers when a child, Shigeo Kageyama (Itō), nicknamed "Mob", tries to be one of life's background characters. Now a shy, naive 14-year-old, he sometimes works as an assistant to Arataka Reigen (Sakurai), believing him to be a powerful professional psychic. In reality he is a conman: his exorcisms are more flamboyant than effective, likely to involve a relaxing massage or the throwing of table salt in a dramatic manner – but he calls on Mob should bona-fide Supernatural Creatures make an appearance. Nevertheless Reigen provides genuine moral guidance for Mob, even if he is a little stingy on the pay front. They are assisted by the ghost Dimple (Ohtsuka), a formerly evil spirit defeated by Mob.

At first, season one alternates between battling the supernatural and Mob's social interactions at school and elsewhere. Later we are introduced to Claw, an organisation of criminal Superpowered "Espers" (see ESP; Wild Talents). The second season centres on an attempt to take over the world by Claw's leader, Touchirou Suzuki (Inoue), a psychopath. Mob offers his hand in friendship, but his philosophy ("Everyone grows because of their encounters with other people. People need other people.") is incomprehensible to the other and battle ensues. Suzuki is defeated and captured, which leads to some self-reflection, at one point his hand mimicking taking Mob's.

The show examines power fantasies, the importance of kindness and how an individual's character is not fixed. A Villain has Mob relive the last six months of his life without his powers (via Time Distortion – to observers only minutes pass): he is treated appallingly, but the villain is eventually defeated and one of Mob's tormentors, initially offering a glib apology, suddenly breaks down in genuine remorse. Mob also changes, maturing and developing self-confidence.

Like its creator's other well-known work, One Punch Man (2015), this show features a quiet and not over-bright protagonist rather than the loudly emotional Heroes more typical of Superhero Anime. Mob Psycho 100 impresses in both art and story: the animation is imaginative and rewarding, liable to abruptly change in style. The plot, initially focusing on absurdist Humour, increasingly adopts a more serious tone (this shift in mood is a little disconcerting on first viewing); though the comedy does not disappear altogether – the show ends with a giant broccoli overshadowing the city.

The film, Mob Psycho 100 Reigen: The Miraculous Unknown Psychic (2018), is mainly a repackaging of season one material, but has a framing device of Reigen dictating their adventures for a planned book, with Mob's inputs noticeably downplayed. There has additionally been a Japanese live-action Television series, also called Mob Psycho 100 (2018). [SP]


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