OP Sequence

OP: 「99」by (MOB CHOIR)

「自称霊能力者・霊幻新隆~とモブ~」 (Jishou Reinouryokusha Reigen Arataka: to Mob)
“Self-Proclaimed Psychic Reigen Arataka: And Mob”

It’s time for Summer 2016 to bust out its “A” game.

Summer is off to a strong start, no question about it – both in terms of volume of good series and quality at the top, it seems like it has a chance to be above average. But the two shows I’ve had circled on the calendar since they were announced are late arrivals, and ultimately the rise or fall of Mob Psycho 100 and Battery are going to determine just how good a season this summer turns out to be. Given the pedigree behind it I had every reason to suspect Mob Psycho 100 was going to be exceptional, and I’ve seen nothing to dissuade me of that view.

Full disclosure – I saw not just the premiere of Mob Psycho 100 but the second episode as well last week. Bones founder Minami Masahiko hosted a screening at Anime Expo, and I’ll say this much – whatever you thought of the premiere, trust me on this, the second episode is far better. And that’s coming from someone who’d rank the premiere as one of the best of the season. Bear in mind this week’s ep was comprised more of less of omake chapters stitched into a series introduction, with next week’s more the true beginning of the story proper.

The thing is, though, that Mob Psycho 100 isn’t going to be for everybody, just as One Punch Man wasn’t for everybody. Mangaka ONE’s visual style is obviously singular and frankly weird, but his storytelling approach is too, is somewhat subtler ways. This series is frantic and disjointed and way, way over the top – there are definitely elements of stuff like FLCL and Excel Saga here as much as OPM. But I would encourage you to stick with MP100, because – as you know if you watched (or read) One Punch Man, ONE isn’t simply throwing crazy against the wall for its own sake. He’s a writer with a perspective and a vision, with something to say and a good idea of how to say it. And I think Mob Psycho 100 is broadly speaking a more approachable and less overtly ridiculous story in substance than OPM, even if it’s perhaps more so in style.

The key decision Bones made here was to put this adaptation in the hands of Tahcikawa Yuzuru, who for my money is the most exciting young talent in anime. He created, directed and storyboraded and wrote nearly every episode of the magnificent Death Parade at the age of just 32. That was at Madhouse, the same studio that handled One Punch Man – and once again, ONE is very lucky to see his work get stellar treatment from a platinum studio and excellent director. Tachikawa establishes himself with this show as a director who adapts to the material rather than stamping it with a signature style, and MP100 is one of the most visually arresting premieres in a very long time. Bones also put the excellent Yoshimichi Kameda in charge of animation and character design and hired the legendary Kawai Kenji to write the music, so to say this series is obviously in good hands is a massive understatement.

I think what ONE is going for in terms of story and character themes will become much more clear after next week, so digging too deep into that here would sort of be a manga spoiler. For now we meet Reigen Arataka (Sakurai Takahiro at his most unhinged), a sham psychic who runs the “Spirits and Such” agency in the town of Seasoning. Reigen’s job is to sell – when it comes to actually exorcising anything he calls on a real psychic, middle schooler Kageyama “Mob” Shigeo (Ito Setsuo, who gets to the essence of the character perfectly). Mob is a quiet and self-effacing kid who politely does what Reigen orders him to, even as he accepts paltry 300 Yen wages and threadbare bowls of ramen while Reigen pockets the big bucks and throws table salt at the spirits they encounter. At home, Shigeo involuntarily bends spoons to the weary aggravation of his mother and bemusement of his father, as his straight-arrow younger brother Ritsu (Irino Miyu) watches on.

For purposes of the premiere, Tachikawa has effectively decided to set the table, leaving the actual meal for next week. He defines the broad parameters of the story, shows us roughly how the characters relate to each other, and has a good time with a couple of exorcism stories (a guy who jumped so high after seeing a cockroach that he put his head through the ceiling and a motorcycle gang who slipped on a banana peel). He also gives us a sense of just how powerful a psychic Mob is (incidentally, the title “Mob Psycho” really doesn’t translate literally into English – the Japanese meaning is closer to “boring guy psychic”), without wading into just what this “100” countdown is all about. All in good time.

I loved this premiere, which was just overflowing with style and flourish (including the fabulous OP) but again – if you didn’t, stick around for at least one more episode before you decide. There’s a lot going on with Mob Psycho 100 – a highly literate source material, a ridiculously talented director, a great staff – and it seems very likely Bones is going to give this story two cours (possibly split). Tachikawa-sensei intentionally took a modest approach with the premiere, but even in doing so it’s obvious that this show has exceptional written all over it. Once he takes the limiters off, Mob Psycho 100 is going to blow the roof off the place.




  1. As much hype as One Punch Man is, Mob Psycho 100 is the manga that’s actually paying ONE’s bill, as it’s his day job. The One Punch Man webcomics that he self publishes is literally just a hobby, thus the wildly erratic publishing schedule. Mob Psycho 100 has actual publish deadline and without Murata’s redrawn to smooth out the jarring drawing style. You can also tell he actually put in a whole lot more effort in MB100 than OPM in terms of drawing.

  2. Right, because ‘mob’ characters are the faceless crowd characters off to the side of the ‘real’ protagonists and antagonists in a story. Neighbor A, Classmate B, like that.

    Personally I’m not a great fan of Mob Psycho, but I’ll give the anime a go anyway.

  3. Ahh this heartwarming story of a young child on the cusp of manhood struggling to learn what it means to be a responsible adult, and all the irresponsible adults around him!

  4. For better or worse, this looks just like the comic, which I greatly enjoy. But it’s certainly not pretty; ONE is not what you’d call a top tier artist, though Mob Psycho 100 is markedly prettier than the original OPM strip, which looks waaaay sketchier (literally) than the gorgeous Murata rework that the OPM anime was based on.

  5. The freshest and most interesting anime / animation style I’ve seen in a while!! /tears of joy/ Loved the trigger and FLCL vibes, the music, characters, and just about everything about this first ep though I’ve never read the manga. Definitely looking forward to more!

    1. You just made me realize that in some alternate universe somewhere, Trigger got to adapt MP100…

      Now excuse me while I go pick up pieces of my brain and skull from around the room…

  6. This show is obviously not for me. I have read and loved OPM for years. But I honestly thought mob psycho was the worst of the 4 or 5 shows I have watched this season all of which i though were mediocre at best.(Taboo Tattoo) I cant think of a show that was more painful to watch recently. While OPM seemed genuinely original this seems to be a slave to tropes. And in a world with DBZ or almost any battle shounen its action inst actually over the top. I am honestly wondering if the exciting atmosphere of AX effected your judgement of this show.

    I think it is also telling I had never heard anyone talk about the manga on any of the forums I frequent even though some of them are doing live translations of manga chapters.

  7. So far, i think this, orange and Fukigen are tops for this season, for me anyway.

    Will continue watching, in no particular order:
    Active Raid (odd I didn’t like the first episode of the first cour, will have to give it a re-watch)
    Amaama (this could join the top of the seasonn list)
    Tales From Zestiria

    Taboo Tattoo

    On the bubble:
    Danganronpa (watched the first season, and it was difficult to get through the first episode)

    Haven’t watched, but planning to:

    Bamboo Blade Cat
  8. Wow, apparently ppl drop this series due to the artwork. Too bad tho—
    Sometimes, A good series is born from a not so good artwork. Take OPM for sample. If you ever read the interview between Murata-sensei & ONE sensei in OPM, you’ll get what I mean. I love OPM and kind of familiar with ONE’s artwork so I can say that the anime did a really good job.

    My fave series in this season 🙂


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