What They Say:
Unbelievable psychic abilities. A dark and dangerous force. These are the things that make up Kageyama Shigeo, a.k.a. Mob. But despite his great power, Mob only wants one thing to be cool! Like any other adolescent boy, Mob has a crush on a classmate, but unfortunately, he’s the most awkward kid in his entire school. Sure, he can do things like exorcise evil spirits, and yeah, he has a dark hidden power that unleashes when his suppressed emotions hit 100 percent. But none of that matters if he’s not cool, strong, or able to impress the girl he likes. With surprisingly wise advice from master psychic (ahem, master con artist) Reigen Arataka and the help of some quirky comrades, Mob will learn what it means to be a regular kid facing the trials of adolescence oh, and go up against a host of supernatural troublemakers and an underground psychic organisation up to no good. All in a day’s work for a top-tier esper.
The audio has a 5.1 release in English and a 2.0 in Japanese for the series– I watched the first disc in English and the second disc in Japanese to compare, despite not saying 5.1 the Japanese release was high quality to the point there was no adjustment to the volume, there were no other issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc – the quality is high overall. Both language tracks do emphasize the characters well and there was no slow down or issues with synching either way so a general good release.
The menu is pretty standard – we see what I call flipbook drawings in movement on either a black or white background with a generic song I don’t recall hearing the show in the background as below the scenes we get the selections of Play, Episodes, Set Up and on disc 2 Extras. Easily selectable and like most Blu-Rays gives you the option to choose via a pop-up menu whilst in show some else (bar extras). Fast, quick, efficient and nice looking.
We have some standard extras, we have a promotional video, a short video called a Flipbook Video (basically images of Mob done flipbook style, a.k.a. pencil drawings in a flipbook and you flip it and it looks like the characters move), some commercials for the show and the textless ending song (strangely not the opening song, albeit the majority of that is in English but still…)
The big extra which is a ton of fun is the Mob Psycho Mini episodes – altogether they last a while as they are short mini-episodes contained in the actual episodes themselves which do a bit of comedy done in the style of what I call overhead 8 bit graphics – I compared it to the original Legend of Zelda – there are 18 shorts in total (3 for each selection) and range from Reigen losing his key back at a spirit site, how they went about dressing up as girls for one of their missions (usually saying when this mini-episode occurred in the timeline of the main episode), adventures with the telepathy club, Mob going out with his crush…kind of…Mezato infiltrating the LOL club, the self-improvement club going about their routine (with actual intelligent explanations of the muscles they are talking about) and do Mob’s parents also have psychic powers? There is a lot of fun to be had with these so I’ll let you enjoy the rest without my hints.
I reviewed One Punch Man earlier this year and whilst I liked it, felt I needed to have more to see what the true appeal it was outside of Saitama being awesome. Mob Psycho 100 is a series made by the same team and one of my close friends has been recommending it to me over and over, so with it being on the review pile and with Season 2 due early in 2019, it’s time to see if this series underwhelms me or is right on the mark of hype it is getting?
Based on the manga running between April 2012 and December 2017, Mob Psycho 100 is a unique looking show in the same style as One Punch Man (for the most part, there is one character who is drawn bishoujo style quite deliberately ^^) which similar to OPM and also One Piece, the unique style of drawing and animation gives it a real element of its character. Add that combining CGI and an awesome soundtrack, this is one not just for shonen Jump fans, but in general this feels like recommended viewing for anyone either getting into anime or long term fans like myself.
It starts with a character named Reigen, also known as an example of good character development, as I suspected I would hate him at first considering his con man ways and seems at first to take the lead for a ride, but it is clearly not the case and is quite the source of comedy throughout. He is a supposed exorcist, and his exorcising in a case fails miserably (forgot to get the purifying salt) so he calls his one employee…a young man named Shigeo Kageyama…better known as Mob, who IS a psychic and a very powerful one. Reigen basically uses Mob for the most part in tricking him to believe that Reigen is a very powerful psychic but is in fact a con man. Mob however still believes him throughout and there is a weird respect there which becomes much more obvious and reasonable as the series goes on.
So the first episode is Mob basically overwhelming spirits and ghosts, including really powerful ones – then the second episode focuses on him going to school. Mob is very quiet and subdued, has a popular younger brother (but unlike the obvious trope of jealousy, he loves his brother…the jealousy is surprisingly on the other side as we will see…) and we see a group known as the Telepathy Club is in danger of shutting down, so they try to force Mob to be recruited in whilst Reigen wants him to focus on work. After a funny incident trying to get into an all-girls school to exorcise another spirit, the Telepathy Club is about to be disbanded to make way for a new Body Improvement Club but at the last second Mob decides to join…the Body Improvement Club.
Must admit that twist had me in stitches. Bonus for the Body Improvement Club actually being some of the favourite characters in the show for letting the Telepathy Club stay and actually liking and encouraging Mob as he tries to get fitter.
Anyway, it seems at first an episode of the day type show – we see Mob and a reporter class-mate named Mezato seemingly converted by a group known as LOL – but Mob is immune to the cult leader Dimple’s tricks but it leads to why the ‘Psycho 100’ title is added because when Mob gets to a certain emotional level, he explodes his powers in a very serious mode. He stops Dimple (who is a spirit himself and then for the time being ‘haunts’ Mob) and then we get a rival school of Mob’s in a turf war, where we meet another psychic called Teru who uses his powers just for himself whilst Mob is very reserved in using them – so when he gets involved with the terf war, Mob is hesitant to attack him whilst Teru wants him to fight back as we learn that Reigen is actually a good mentor to Mob and one of the rules was for him not to use his powers on a person – it’s where the two psychics are surprisingly similar in both feel they are nothing without their psychic powers. Here, Mob fully loses it when Teru nearly chokes him to death, and becomes a new form even stronger and obliterates the school and beats Teru (which changes him once seeing Mob’s ideals, similar to Reigen, despite how short the show is the character development is great…)…
And speaking of character development, Ritsu, Mob’s younger brother gets in it. He’s been shown briefly as a model student compared to Mob who is impressed by him, however Ritsu to himself is jealous of Mob having psychic powers and he doesn’t. With the aftermath of the fight, some people think Ritsu is the one with the powers which makes him unhappy yet gets involved in a secret psychic research place called The Awakening – the kids abilities there are weak but Dimple returns to ‘awaken’ him and he gets his own abilities, just in time to try and help the student president Shinji to clean up the trash of the school…
…this isn’t going to end well…
Dimple in his weakened state does power him up, and he uses these powers to help ‘clean up’ the school by tricking delinquents and framing them, letting him get drunk on power a bit until Teru turns up, a changed man – despite this, Ritsu sees the council president as a problem as well and after Mob’s exploits as a rumoured warrior named White T Poison, Ritsu is thought to be him so takes out a mob of gang members…just as Mob finds him. It’s here we learn Ritsu’s hidden trauma/fear of Mob yet still cares about him, and it’s here we learn the true antagonists of the show, a group named Claw as they look for other psychics to join their organisation via brainwashing. One of them defeats Ritsu and kidnaps him, which is a trigger for Mob to go ape on him…
Sadly he still gets away with Ritsu, leading to Teru teaming up with Mob and telling him about Claw and the two decide to go pay them a visit. Ritsu meanwhile has been taken along with the kids from the Awakening lab as they have to team up to escape, with Mob/Teru looking to rescue him. I won’t spoil what happens at the end but it leads to a) a lot of Mob awesomeness, b) Reigen showing why he isn’t just a guy exploiting Mob and c) making you want more…
Mob Psycho 100 is one of those little gems of a series that fits in the shounen genre, yet with so many long-running shows, this is one of the few I would have liked a lot more episodes – sure, there is a 2nd season due but this felt way too short. And yet, it still managed to cram a lot of development with most of the cast. Mob is beginning to get friends and use his powers for true good, Ritsu is out of the shadow of his brother but learns harsh lessons, Teru realises he is similar to Mob yet different in the worst ways and begins to change his ways, Reigen whilst a con man actually hates other con men (there’s an episode where some people try to swindle Mob that he broke a vase, Reigen out cons them ^^) and is a much more positive character than you’d first believe when you see him, and Dimple becomes less selfish and more involved with Mob and Ritsu. It’s actually really impressive how well the characters tell the story throughout the short series.
Granted the antagonists are only revealed near the end and they aren’t really anything special bar a potential reveal about one of them being a father and son duo which I’m going to assume will be established more in the next season, the running joke of Mob having a crush on the one traditionally anime drawn character really gets nothing if there was a romance element because Mob is improving himself…but at the same time the bros that are the Body Improvement Club are ridiculously awesome and the short time they are on the screen I treasure every moment.
The show does almost everything right – action and character development on point, the show is also genuinely funny as well, and whilst it waits till episode 8 the plot begins to kick in waiting to suck you in until you want more and trust me I do. Mob as a character I identify with a lot as being quite reclusive but also wanting to make everyone happy and I love him to bits – one of my favourite male leads in a long time, helped by a great supporting cast, the show isn’t perfect but considering its length and what it does in its short time, I can’t wait for more.
Mob Psycho 100 is a delight to the shounen genre and really needs to be appreciated. Great designs, great animation and music, a wonderful cast (I’m amazed at how much I love Reigen considering I’d thought I’d hate him right at the start) and a wonderful lead – I am hooked and want to see Ritsu, Teru, Dimple, Reigen, and Mob continue on and see where their battle ends with Claw – the cliffhanger is there and whilst the villains are quite weak, there are hints more is to be unfolded and ready to explode like Mob’s powers. Highly recommended.
Promo Video, Flipbook Video, Commercials, Mob Psycho Mini episodes
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: December 17th, 2018
Running Time: 600 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.