Watching anime is like diving into a river. A torrential river that washes everything away extremely quickly. Most of the time, you’ll come out with the same thing; something decent, but not all that exciting. Meanwhile, everything you left in the water is washed away.
But every now and then, once in a very long while, you dive down there and find something exceptional. A diamond in the rough. One little show that impacts you in a way you could never have anticipated.
For me, that particular show is Mob Psycho 100.
Mob Psycho 100 is one of the most unique, memorable, and powerful anime I have ever seen. The writing, the visuals, and the music all stand as a monument to how incredible anime can be. It’s a true artistic achievement that deserves all the praise it gets.
Very soon, this remarkable show will end. Season three is only four days away, and it promises to bring this story to its grand conclusion. So, in preparation for this, I’m going to tell you exactly why Mob Psycho 100 is worth your time and why you should watch it.
The story stars Shigeo Kageyama, AKA Mob, a middle-school boy with god-like psychic powers. Together with his con-artist teacher, Reigen Arataka, he uses his abilities to exorcise spirits and defeat espers who use their powers for personal gain. When he’s not doing that, he’s struggling to find his own identity and to become the best version of himself he can possibly be.
At its core, Mob Psycho 100 is a deconstruction of shounen tropes. It takes the very idea that people are special because of their unique abilities and laughs at it. This isn’t a story about a young psychic defeating every foe in his path to become the best. It’s the tale of a young man figuring out who he is and becoming a better person despite his powers, not because of them.
Mob is one of the greatest protagonists I’ve ever seen in an anime. He’s quiet and unassuming, gentle and kind, if a bit awkward. He truly, earnestly tries to improve upon himself, struggling to address and overcome his shortcomings and to just be a decent person to those around him. The kid is so genuine and innocent and pure that you can’t help but love him.
But when his emotions boil over… when he hits that 100%… That is a spectacle to behold.
His supporting cast can be just as incredible as he is. Reigen is the most iconic character of the show, without a doubt; this con artist with a heart of gold has become so popular that he’s basically ascended the show itself, becoming an internet icon for… interesting reasons. Dimple, the little devil on Mob’s shoulder, is a fantastic companion to our hero, going on his own emotional journey right alongside him.
The rest of the cast is filled with some truly delightful, colorful, and outlandish characters. Even the most minor of background characters are given time to shine, even if it’s only to highlight their outlandish appearance or silly powers. Together, they make the world Mob inhabits feel alive, bizarre, and truly interesting.
It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however. Every now and then, this show dips its toes into some pretty horrifying stuff. Season two in particular can get super dark and depressing. These work especially well because of how goofy the show regularly is; seeing these silly characters we know and love being put into these awful situations only further escalates the tension, to the point where you grip your seat and can’t tear your eyes away until that tension is released.
Supporting this excellent writing is some of the greatest animation I have ever seen. People might think the show is ‘ugly’, but that does the style a disservice. The simple, rough, goofy like the show presents doesn’t just help amplify its comedic tone. It also allows the animators to more easily create larger-than-life expressions for each character; they don’t ever need to worry about whether an action scene or dramatic moment looks too silly, because the whole show does.
And with the right direction, it can turn from silly to downright terrifying.
Style is one thing, animation another. Luckily, the animation team behind Mob Psycho is one of the greatest I have ever seen. Every single scene is a delight on the eyes. Hell, episode five of season two genuinely looks better than some feature-length movies!
Then there’s the music. Every single OP done by the excellent Mob Choir is a banger; I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve listened to ’99’ or ‘99.9’, and I have no doubt I’ll do the same when the full version of ‘1’ is released. If you’ve never heard them, fix that; your ears will thank you.
The actual OST of the show is just as good. Each track adds to the psychedelic style the show is going for. They even managed to make a badass track using a kazoo! The musical talent behind this soundtrack is next level.
Mob Psycho 100 is the complete package. It’s a gripping tale of a young boy finding himself and becoming the best person he can be, supported by some of the most gorgeous animation you can find in an anime. If season three maintains the same level of quality the first two did, then this show is going to be an all-time classic.
It’s very rare that something so special as this show happens. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d highly recommend giving it a chance. Words truly aren’t enough to do it justice. You just have to see it for yourself.
*Side note: Crunchyroll, the producers behind the English dub, has refused to sign a union contract that would give its voice actors the benefits they deserve. As a result, the English voice for Mob, Kyle McCarley, will likely not be reprising his role in season three. It’s a bad situation and I figured you’d all best know about it.
Alright, that’s about it. See you guys later!*