- Genre : Action, comedy, supernatural, urban fantasy, science fiction.
- Episodes: 13
- Studio: Bones
You know what’s tricky? Navigating that confusing time between childhood and adulthood. Especially if you grew up as a bit of a loner. Feeling outcast and different all the time. And that type of isolation can cut deep. Loneliness can get to you and turn you into someone you don’t want to be. Luckily for Mob, he’s always had a loving family by his side. And master Reigen has always supported him best he can. And now, without even realizing it, Mob is surrounded by friends. But what would have happened if he wasn’t? What would a powerful psychic like that turn out to be without others to keep him grounded?
The first season of Mob Psycho came as a long-delayed delightful surprise to me. I had been putting off the series for reasons that are obscure even to me, and when I finally got around to watching the first season a month or so ago, I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long. Mob Psycho made me happy. Eager to learn from my mistakes I watched a few palette cleanser shows and dove right into the second season. Let’s see if I’m kicking myself again.
Production-wise, there isn’t much change between the two seasons. Mostly because it was a really solid production, to begin with. I was slightly more taken with Itou, Setsuo voice acting this season but only because a few scenes allowed him to tap into this calm and melancholy tone that he does very well. Mob Psycho has always been a visually distinctive show and the aesthetic is once again rigidly upheld. If you didn’t like the look of the show before, you still won’t. If like me you really liked it, well you can figure out the rest.
All of this said there were two notable improvements in my opinion. One is expanded colour palettes. There are dusk and early morning scenes that bathe everything onscreen in a wash of colours. Environments get plunged in sudden ominous darkness as superpowered character shine. It really gave a lot of dimension to the series and made Mob Psycho 100 II look lush compared to its predecessor.
The second visible improvement was the animation. Not that it was bad in season 1, to the contrary , but there is a whole lot more this time around and it’s awesome. The action is exaggerated and quick-paced with insane ragdoll physics and skewed perspectives that are frankly just plain fun to watch. I found myself completely engrossed in fight scenes no matter how obviously unrealistic they were, unable to turn away and biting at my thumbnail.
Sadly I have a feeling that if you don’t like the art style, no matter how much praise I heap on the animation, it won’t sway you. So let’s talk story!
I recently wrote a post on 100 Word Anime discussing the pitfalls of comparing one anime to another so let me do it again right now… Mob Psycho season 2 reminded me of Natsume’s Book of Friends.
Some of you may know that I compared Mob Psycho 100 to Neon Genesis Evangelion. The first season did in fact bring that show to mind for me. This second season, however, has matured and tweaked its themes and no longer brought to mind the classic series for me. Now you may think I’m just using another excuse to mention Natsume yet again, I don’t blame you. I do that. But there is a reason. When I say Mob Psycho II reminds me of Natsume I mean specifically season 3.
The second season of Mob Psycho is a wild ride. The action is geared way up and the stakes have been raised considerably. Yet for all the heart-pounding adventures what I took away from the season was just how much Mob and the show itself had grown. I actually wrote it in my notes after the first episode and couldn’t help but grin like a Cheshire when the characters on screen started to echo that exact thought throughout the season. It’s great when you can feel like part of the team.
The second thing I wrote is just how beautiful Mob’s personal evolution was. The young boy isolated and bound by anxiety and fear had come out of his shell. Without even realizing it, he suddenly finds himself surrounded by friends and for the first time even something akin to peers. And because he finally has that support system available to him, he can finally find the strength to confront his own power. He actually starts using it to help others in mundane situations instead of only having it as a last resort. His emotional gauge actually gets filled by positive feelings just as often as negative ones if not more so. He no longer sees himself merely as a burden to others and therefore he no longer is.
I wrote all these notes down happily then went over them. When that early feeling of deja vu hit me. As I leafed through my past notebooks I realized that I had written almost word for word the exact same thing for the third season of Natsume. Clearly, I need to get a bit more varied in my note-taking but it also shows that I know what I like. And make no mistake I loved this second season of Mob Psycho.
Reigen is my favourite character in the series. I generally love tricksters but beyond that, I think that one of the main reasons Mob didn’t fall apart in his younger years was because he always had Reigen by his side. I doubt I’m the only one with a soft spot for the 2-part midseason mini-arc that developed Reigen and Mob’s relationship specifically.
I always thought that Reigen genuinely cares about the boy beyond what use he could make of him. Fact is, Reigen is scripted to ooze shifty sleeve but when push comes to shove he’s actually an extremely capable guy. Ok, not as a psychic obviously but as a con artist, definitely. More often than not his advice is pretty good, he has impressive observations skills and is a wonderful huge of character and he is protective and caring of Mob. He trusts and believes in the boy even when the boy does not believe in himself.
But it’s the flashback that got to me. The fact that Reigen had grown bored with his psychic gig and was considering moving on. With his social skills, he could easily have found some other way to make a decent living. But a young boy clearly in need of someone walks into his office and he just couldn’t turn him away. Sure, if he could make a buck in the process, all the better, but that wasn’t the main motivation. And he’s still like that. When someone is truly in need of help, he doesn’t turn them away, ever.
Combine this with a Mob that has become self-assured enough to think for himself and even say no! A young man that has gained the maturity to accept his mentor’s limits and failings and still appreciate him. And you have a tremendous character arc in two short episodes. Not only did they develop both characters without resorting to exposition dumps but they also did so without sanitizing or retconing either. I said this a lot in the first season review, but Mob Psycho is a smart show. And it continues to be so.
This season also brought some conflict that was way more nuanced. In the last episodes, we even see Mob gleefully revel in his powers and the destruction they wrought. He immediately stops himself and is filled with guilt but there’s something else going on. There’s a great attention given to Mob’s expressions. By default, he’s a bit of a blank canvass, largely expressionless. This season, as he’s opening up more his feelings are starting to show on his face. Small shy smiles, tiny barely there scowls… But when he goes to 100% then it’s the complete opposite. He is deliberately drawn to be terrifying, almost demonic. Dishevelled unnatural hair, impossibly intense eyes, an uncontrollable aura escaping from him. But in that one moment, that minute that he let himself enjoy his power, he looked….great. I mean he looked like a healthy happy young man. The spiked hair flowing lazily about him like a pretty anime boy, no visible aura at all, a relaxed smile reaching all the way to joyful eyes.
In another anime, I would have called this an odd design choice but not in Mob Psycho. For two seasons this show has been very precise with its imagery and particularly with Mob’ expressions. This was thought out and selected for a reason. The visual language of the anime is telling a completely different story from the script. It’s subtly showing us a boy that has been at war with his own nature for his whole life and the one moment of release came as a huge relief. A boy that could still go down a dark path. This is a moral ambiguity the first season stayed very far away from and a noted shift in narrative vision. One I am excited for.
I want to see more of Mob Psycho 100 and I hope I can do so soon!
Favourite character: still Reigen
What this anime taught me: Sequels are fantastic
Come, we’ll get drunk, quote movies and talk about how awesome we are
Suggested drink: Brown Sugar Manhattan
- Every time Mob’s in street clothes – take a sip
- Every time the show turns into a video game – take a sip
- Every time we see a tomato – get a snack
- Every time we see the super awesome Body Improvement club – Cheers!
- Every time anyone is pantless – gasp
- Every time Reigen seem kind of cool – put the drink down
- Every time Mob gets a call – take a sip
- Every time we see Mezato-san – take a sip
- Every time other psychics are watching tv – take a sip
- Every time Ritsu doesn’t get along with Reigen – take a sip
- Every time you’re surprised by how touching this show is – check if season 3 has been announced