It’s been a hot minute since I last talked about ONE. Aside from a few passive-aggressive jabs at One Punch Man’s second season, I haven’t discussed anything he’s written in a while! Let’s fix that, shall we?
ONE has some of the most well-written characters I’ve ever seen in anime! One Punch Man’s Saitama is a hilarious take on the overpowered hero with a ton of depth! Garou from the same series is a unique villain, one who is simultaneously sympathetic and intimidating in the best possible way (but I’ve already talked about him). Mob Psycho 100’s Reigan is a charming con artist, one with more than enough humanity to make him easily lovable! I could reach into a hat and pluck out a random ONE character and I’d be able to write a whole character analysis about them!
But out of all of them, one has managed to worm his way so deeply into my heart that I could never let go of him. And that character is Shigeo Kageyama. Otherwise known as Mob.
At first glance, Mob seems like a copy-paste of Saitama. A boy with extreme power whose emotions have been dulled by his god-like strength. But as the series progresses, we learn a lot more about Mob! About how and why he suppresses his emotions and his power! About what he wants to be! Mob quickly becomes his own character, one that is incredibly lovable, relatable, and intriguing! Out of all of ONE’s characters, Mob is easily my favorite!
Let’s crack him open, shall we?
The Wound: Control Lost
Mob’s wound is far from the most dramatic. But that’s part of what makes it so effective! While it isn’t as world-shattering as some other characters we’ve discussed, it is certainly traumatic enough to shape Mob’s character, as all good wounds should!
It all started with a simple accident. When Mob and his younger brother Ritsu were both kids, they ran into trouble with some older bullies. In the exchange, Mob lost control of his powers, hurting both the bullies and Ritsu very badly. When he came back to, his little brother was on the ground, bleeding and moaning weakly.
This event would prove so traumatic to Mob that he’d try to constrict his powers forever. His abilities were tied to his emotions; the stronger the emotion, the stronger the psychic abilities. So, seeing no other option before him, Mob did the only thing he could think of to prevent anyone else from getting hurt.
The Lie: Lock Them Away
While Mob is certainly not afraid to make use of his powers to vanquish evil spirits, he is terrified of hurting anyone with them. Thus, in order to prevent another rampage, Mob tried to completely suppress his emotions. To bury them deep inside and never let them out again. Surely this would keep him from losing control again, right?
Well… no. Not at all. In fact, it may have made it even worse!
Simply trying to stop feeling is not going to solve anyone’s problems. Believe me, I’ve tried it, it doesn’t work! That’s why I relate to Mob so much on a personal level; because when I was his age, I had tried to do the same thing. I was a very angry kid, one that would often have explosive fits of rage. I was terrified that they’d push people away, so I tried to just stop feeling altogether. But that only made me angrier, which led to even bigger bursts of rage.
Mob is a strong kid. He’s more than willing to work on any part of himself that he feels he needs to improve in order to be happy. That’s why he joined the Boy Improvement Club; initially, he just wanted to impress his crush, but he quickly developed a powerful desire to improve himself and overcome his weaknesses. It’s very admirable and it goes a long way in making him a lovable character.
Little by little, Mob has learned more about this crippling lie that has held him back for so long. He’s learned that suppressing his emotions isn’t the best solution to his problem. But he doesn’t know how else to handle it. He’s still too afraid to let loose and allow his emotions to do their jobs.
Which is why achieving his goal has proven so difficult for him.
The Want: Fight On
Mob has two primary goals over the course of the series. The first and most prescient is his desire to impress Tsubomi, his childhood crush. She is the main driving force behind a good number of his actions. In season one, he joins the Body Improvement Club to get swole and impress her. In season two, he tries to do so by running for Student Council and literally running in the school marathon.
But confessing to his crush isn’t the main goal that drives Mob’s character arc. It’s certainly important to his character, don’t get me wrong. However, his other goal is far more crucial to understanding his character. And that goal is incredibly simple: be better.
Thanks to Reigan, as well as many other people in his life, Mob has a strong understanding of where he stands in the world. No matter how powerful his psychic powers may be, they’ll never help him succeed in society. In order to do that, one needs to be the best person they can. They need to work hard, be kind, and strive towards making a better future for themselves and those around them.
Every day, Mob strives to be the best person he can be. He aims to overcome his physical weakness by working out with his bros. He struggles to overcome his social weaknesses by spending time with his friends. Hell, even his crush with Tsubomi plays into this desire, as he aims to become courageous enough to confess to her!
It’s this simple desire to be better that makes Mob so damn lovable and admirable! He understands his weaknesses and works to overcome them, all while trying to be the best person that he can. However, there is one major hurdle that stands between him and achieving that goal. One obstacle that will always hold him back.
Unless he finally learns to let go.
The Need: Open the Bottle
Over the course of the show’s two seasons, Mob has done a lot of good with his powers. He’s saved his friends and family numerous times, helped reform other psychics into better people, and even saved the world against an evil organization! By letting his emotions free and using his powers to help him, Mob has overcome many obstacles and learned many valuable lessons. Unfortunately, even after all that, Mob is still terrified of letting his emotions out. He is still repressed.
This is the crux of Mob’s problem. He needs to learn to accept his emotions. To let them flow freely and naturally rather than trying to completely restrict them. If he is to truly become the best person he can, he needs to accept his powers, accept their ties to his emotions, and live with them.
This, again, is where I can relate to Mob a lot. Even today, I still have a hard time living with certain emotions, though I’m definitely not as angry as I used to be (or at least I hope I am). I’ll still try to bottle away the feelings that I don’t like, try to bury them and hope that they go away. I know it doesn’t work, and I know that I shouldn’t try to do that. But it’s still a hard challenge for me.
Which, again, is why I admire Mob so much as a character. He feels real to me in a way that very few characters can be, despite his psychic powers and wacky shenanigans. Watching him learn to accept and live with his emotions is really inspiring to me! He pushes me to become a better person more than anyone I’ve ever talked about.
Okay, I know this got really sappy and personal. I hope you guys don’t mind.
I can’t wait to see where Mob goes from here. I hope to see a season three for the anime some time in the future, hopefully sooner than we got season two (three years was far too long a wait). This series, and all the characters in it, is absolutely phenomenal. Easily one of my favorite anime of all time!
Fucking hell, now I need to go watch it again…