Please do not let the horribly flat and bland art style throw you off. There is a more compelling story in here than you initially realize and you have to watch it. I mean really watch it. Brought to you by the same folks behind “One Punch Man”, this tale, “Mob Psycho 100” (“Mobu Saiko Hyaku”) looks at people with abilities who may not know what to fully do with them.
We start off with Shigeo Kageyama (his back to us) who is an average middle school boy, called Mob (in another Japanese joke, as it means ‘background character’) for lacking a sense of presence. Although he seems like an inconspicuous person, he is, in fact, a powerful Esper, although he is more of a channeler. To avoid his power getting out of control, he constantly lives a life under emotional shackles. Mob wants to live just like others, but a barrage of trouble comes to him and it makes that dream and hope of his fleeting.
He works for Arataka Reigen (suit at right) who runs a spiritual agency, “Spirits and Such Consultation Office”, but he is a bit of a con man. The only reason he is able to succeed is Mob’s ability to bring these errant spirits to ground. In a sense, he sets up the situation by engaging in the bunk part of it, then letting Mob finish it off. He also pays Mob skint in relation to the amount of money that is charged. Also along is Mob’s younger brother, Ritsu (guy in uniform), who is jealous of Mob’s powers. This gives him an inferiority complex and an obsessive longing for psychic powers of his own.
Things take a strange turn (oh, really? How could you tell?) when Mob defeats Dimple (that green blob in the center). He is an evil spirit who took over a human body to foist a cult to garner power and money from all he could control. Dimple still wants to exploit Mob as well, but no longer has the sufficient power to do so. This group (aided by Teruki Hanazawa, at left, whom Mob defeated in battle) then end up fighting the shadow group Claw, an organization bent on world domination by harnessing all these Espers to do it for them. I know this sounds all serious and sober, but, trust me, things go off the rails pretty quickly.
As mentioned, the horrible art style adds to the silliness and the fact that Mob is rarely put off by the strangeness that swirls about him. But Mob holds a secret. He keeps his feelings and powers in check, but the anger and frustration can build and when he reaches 100% of his accumulated emotions, his powers unleash on their own and it’s clobberin’ time! If this guy had 10% more confidence in himself, he would be both frightening and overwhelming.
As a person who enjoyed OPM, this show is more of the same idea, but handled in a different way. Like his name suggests, he really isn’t the star of his own show and we see how he has to navigate life around him. You feel sorry for the guy, as he never seems to understand happiness, but it seems OK for him. You are also made privy to the weird and wacky people in his life, like the members of the Telepathy Club and the Body Improvement Club (who have to share the same room. Talk about bizarre character design).
Also, with rival schools aching for power (and weird names as well: Salt Middle School, Black Vinegar Middle School) they run into Mob and learn their lessons the hard way. Even the villains are sad and pathetic, as they are looking for power and position to fill voids in their lives. This is a funny and morose series at the same time and can be easily seen as what you derive from the Power of Friendship, but it is done in such a lackluster and bland manner, you can’t help but go with it. And keep in mind I mean those terms in the best of light. It’s like “I have this power and………?”
The only reason I would only want you to watch two shows at a time (rather than binging) is so you can take everything it. It make take two episodes for you to see how it unfolds and you can look at everything and see all of the action afoot, as understanding this world is key to seeing how it all fits together. Besides, there is no reason to rush through everything. You want to savor all the strangeness and it is absolutely marvelous to see Reigen spooling forth his con. I can only assume that people don’t see through it is that they are more clueless than imagined.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 5 (Deliciously weird and bland)
Plot 8 (Quite moving in a quiet way)
Pacing 8 (Supports the story all the way through)
Effectiveness 8 (Owing to unforeseen twists and turns)
Conclusion 8 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 8 (Tells its story quite well)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Why won’t this guy go down?