Anime Review: Mob Psycho 100 Season 1

By Drew Hurley 17.12.2018

Image for Anime Review: Mob Psycho 100 Season 1

Mob Psycho 100 Season 1 (UK Rating: 15)

One Punch Man has gained worldwide acclaim, and with good reason. The deconstruction and subversion of the superhero genre has never been done better. It has the insane writing of  Mangaka ONE, which created the series as a crude web-comic in 2009, and it came to worldwide acclaim when he paired it with Eyeshield 21 artist Yusuke Murata to redraw and re-release this tale. In 2012, though, when One Punch Man was beginning its new life, ONE was working on a new original series, following an equally overpowered individual, but putting psychics in the place of superheroes and a teenage kid in place of Saitama. This is the story of Mob, and what happens when he goes 100% psycho. Coming courtesy of Manga Entertainment, this first season collection contains episodes 1-12 and is available from 17th December.

Kameyama Shigeyo - nicknamed Mob - is a gawky little kid with a bowl haircut who is struggling through the second year of middle school. He has issues talking to girls and making friends. He's also one of the most powerful Espers on the planet. Most kids would abuse this power, as proven later on in the series, but Mob is a good kid. He keeps his powers in check as much as possible, apart from taking out the occasional spoon; he keeps his powers for helping out his master. Mob is the disciple to a fraudster spiritualist, Reigen Arataka. Reigen has no real power, but has been scamming the masses with his fake exorcisms, and scamming Mob into working for him for a pittance.

Mob isn't interested in his godly powers, thanks to some depressing moments in his past. A girl originally impressed with his telekinetic powers grew bored of him and focused on the jocks in class. Then there was the time he let his emotions run wild when his brother was being bullied. He let loose and caused some monstrous damage. This combined with the values Reigen instilled in him not to use his powers to hurt any other person has caused an issue within Mob. When he begins to feel, to let his emotions build, they compound more and more, as shown via a little percentage meter, and when it hits 100% Mob blows his top. Normally, Mob only uses his powers to exorcise the evil spirits his "master" pretends to take care of, but when the power hits 100% his powers go out of control, tearing up the surroundings in the process.


 
Tonally, this first season is all over the place. The first half is filled with irreverent comedy and standalone episodes; Mob dealing with the day-to-day of his school life, joining a club, or trying to make friends… then heading off to work with Reigen, taking on terrifying creatures like "Mr. Balls on Chin,"  Biker gang ghosts, and cults ran by evil spirits. As the second half begins, though, things get more serious. Mob's younger brother who had always been jealous of his big brother's abilities finally starts to develop his own latent abilities as he begins acting up in school. The sibling rivalry is interrupted by a shadowy organisation. Suddenly, the show goes all-in on the shonen elements and there's a group of evil Espers known as Claw who is kidnapping kids with psychic powers.

There's a decent supporting cast. First up is the scarily named "Dimple," an evil spirit almost exercised by Mob joins him as something of an exposition device/comedy sidekick. Then there's Teruki Hanazawa, a rival to Mob who becomes a friend with a Gon Freecess style wig. Best of all, though, is Reigen. He seems a terrible, at first, but there's so much more to him and he's the star when it comes to the comedy of the show. Stealing the spotlight in every episode he's in and responsible for the funniest moments. There's a good reason why he eventually got his own spin-off.

One of the best aspects of One Punch Man is the stunning artwork, and it's somewhere that Mob Psycho seems to be severely lacking in, at first. Murata is not part of Mob Psycho; it's entirely ONE and so the art quality is considerably less impressive. However, it manages to really own the cartoonish style and aesthetic that it's going for. Studio Bones has perfectly adapted that style from the manga and has complemented it with some wonderful animations, delivering moments that can look absolutely great, especially when the big fight scenes explode into action - it reaches the same level as One Punch Man, just in a different, scrappy, and scribbled style.

Then there's the audio. This collection comes with both the original Japanese dub and an all-new English dub. The English dub is produced by Bang Zoom Entertainment and while it doesn't represent the biggest and most well known VAs, it's refreshing to hear some voices other than the usual. Best of all is Kyle McCarley, well known for his work as Shinji Matou in the FATE series, and Ryo Asuka in the recent Netflix series of Devilman Crybaby. Here he delivers an understated, deadpan performance worthy of his Japanese counterpart. The Japanese dub has plenty of lesser-known stars, too. Here, though, the star is Reigen, played by Takahiro Sakurai. A serious veteran of the industry, he's played supporting roles in many major series over the years. This release also comes with some bonus features. There's the usual clean opening/closing that are a requirement of any anime release, along with some promotional videos, trailers, and a random short "Flipbook" video. The important bonus, though, is a series of six OVAs in a 16-bit sprite style, each carrying on stories from the episodes and giving more time with the supporting cast.

The opening and ending animations are absolutely wonderful. First up the opening animation is a surreal explosion of insanity. Giant spirits spin like a kaleidoscope, characters bounce on giant mushrooms, transform into Takoyaki, and they burst into swathes of vibrant colours and all to a hyperactive, upbeat jam known as 99 by the "Mob Choir." The ending animation is rather relaxed in comparison, but the music is even better - a rocking beat known as Refrain Boy by J-Rockers ALL OFF. Both deserve a place on any fan's playlist of best openings and closing themes.

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10
It should have been expected that Mob Psycho 100 Season 1 would be something special, based alone on the success of One Punch Man, but this is entirely its own beast. Managing to play with completely different themes but still keeping the same smart wit and stuffed to bursting with genuinely hilarious moments. It's crazy that this is 12 episodes long, they seem to absolutely fly by and it does a wonderful job in getting the audience invested in the story and its characters, and will leave fans as desperate for Season 2 as One Punch Man did. Thankfully, both shows will be returning next year!

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Comments

There are no replies to this article yet. Why not be the first?

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
K-Pop Korner - The Best of Korean Music
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Adam Riley, Azuardo, Ofisil, RudyC3

There are 4 members online at the moment.