「OCHIMUSHA~超能力と僕~」 (Ochimusha: Chounouryoku to Boku)
“OCHIMUSHA ~Psychic Powers and Me~”

You know, if you guys would just take my word for it what the really great shows are going to be, we could all save ourselves a lot of time…

The stars are really in alignment with Mob Psycho 100 (quite literally in the case of Tachikawa and ONE, who are among the brightest industry lights of their generation). What we’re seeing play out here is no less than an example of what happens when you have truly elite elements on every level – the source material, the director, the studio, the composer. It doesn’t always work that way, to be sure – there are certainly cases in anime where the whole comes nowhere close to the sum of the parts, often inexplicably. But more often than not the cream rises to the top, and great anime is the product of great component parts.

I think the movement with Mob Psycho has been pretty much unidirectional, with each episode building on the success of the prior (I knew pretty much from Episode 2 that this show was going to click, but even I didn’t expect this much this soon). The fact is that as good as ONE’s manga is, the reason for that is Tachikawa Yuzuru’s influence. He’s the one who tweaked things slightly to create this great sense of momentum, understanding that when looking back at the end of a great series we see a marathon and not a sprint (as Death Parade bears out).

Tachikawa’s influence is strongly felt in the spectacular visuals too, obviously. He has a big part to play in shot composition and cinematography, but the role of a studio like Bones in an episode like this can’t be overstated. Watching this play out in spectacular 2-D glory one gets the same feeling they did after watching Gon fight Hisoka at Heaven’s Arena, Balsa cross her spear with the swords of the Hunters, or any of a dozen sequences in FLCL – you know you’re watching anime royalty at work. You know the standards are simply higher when you’re dealing with the best of the best, that there’s no consideration of doing something simply average of even “good”. This is the sort of anime that separates the wheat from the chaff, made by people who love their work and are ridiculously good at it.

Still – and this is why Mob Psycho 100 is as special as it is – when you get past all the visual brilliance you’re still left with an amazingly riveting story playing out on screen, and that all goes back to ONE’s manga. This is a deeply human story, and ONE does a sterling job of melding all the pubertal symbolism and universality of emotion with the fantastical premise. The relationships in this series are both complex and compelling, and defy easy categorization. None of them and none of the characters fall neatly into the pigeonholes we create for them based on first appearances – there are always layers and sides there which only reveal themselves over the course of development. That, kids, is what’s called good writing.

Hanazawa-kun is everything Mob isn’t, but that’s not all he is. What he does represent is the polar opposite of Mob in how he relates to his powers. He’s all flash and front, while Mob doesn’t even like to use telekinesis (it makes him nauseous). Teruki embraces his powers, but in a purely superficial way – for him, they make him special. He uses them to cheat on tests and intimidate others and succeed at sports, all for the glorification of his own ego. Mob sums him up in a nutshell – the two of them are very much alike. Not because they’re both powerful espers, but because they’re both terrified that if you take their powers away, they’re nothing. The difference lies in the way they respond to that fear.

This “fight” isn’t really much of a fight for a very long time, because Mob is resolute that he not use his powers against other people. Reigen is a wonderful contradiction, a fraud and a quack, yet someone who gives Mob the soundest possible advice and mentorship he gets from nowhere else. You don’t point knives at other people, period – and Mob struggles to be a model of passive resistance even as Hanazawa breaks every rule Mob holds precious. He even exorcises Dimple (fill in the blanks on why he wanted to take over Mob’s body for “a few minutes”) – someone who Mob’s massive reserves of empathy are comfortably big enough to encompass. What we didn’t know before, of course, is that Mob did lose control once, when he and Ritsu were attacked by a pack of high school bullies – and Mob has carried the horror of that moment with him every day since.

The tragedy of Mob’s character is obvious by now, and it’s gutting to see the agony having lost his battle with himself causes him. Make no mistake, Hanazawa forced him to it – but likewise, it’s unmistakable that Mob is a being to be feared when he unleashes what’s inside him. It’s impossible to say at this stage how deep his power goes but it’s clear that it’s a deep and dark abyss, and Mob surely knows this and is terrified of what he might become. Whatever fraction of his true power he uses here, it’s obvious Teruki is not remotely a match for him (“Top of Teru’s head – 0%”) – he’s quite literally laid bare by the massive difference between his abilities and Mob’s. Mob has certainly won the battle, but just as certainly lost the war.

If there’s a reason to have hope for Mob, it’s that he’s not alone in facing his inner demons. The relationships are indeed complicated, but ultimately there are those who support and believe in him – Reigen for one, and his brother as well. It’s a testament to Ritsu’s love for Mob that he lies to him, knowing full well that it was Mob’s powers that had injured him in that incident. Ritsu’s feelings for Mob are conflicted, certainly, but his desire to believe in his brother’s goodness is a palpable force. Even the Body Conditioning guys are true bros – they may not understand Mob’s deepest and darkest nature, but they understand his desire to change who he is and they understand the value of loyalty. As much as Mob Psycho 100 is the story of Mob’s powers and his struggle to contain them, it’s also the story of the connections which keep him grounded in turbulent moments (insert adolescence metaphors here).





  1. You know, if you guys would just take my word for it what the really great shows are going to be, we could all save ourselves a lot of time…

    A broken clock is right twice a day.

  2. This episode was packed with so much emotion… teared at certain parts. ( ; ___ ; )

    On a side note, does anyone know how well this series is doing? I’m wondering if there’s a possibility of getting a season 2.

    1. The disc release schedule was announced relatively late, so it’s tough to get a gauge on Stalker yet. Early returns are looking pretty decent. The overwhelming belief is that it’s already booked for two (split) cour, though that hasn’t been confirmed officially.

  3. This is probably the best episode of this show to date! I say probably because so far we have been familiar with this show for its satire. This is the first episode that was entirely dramatic and intense! It really showed me how great this anime can be!

  4. At this point, I feel pity for the people who decided not to watch this show due to the “strange” artstyle, because we have quite the amazing story here. While One Punch Man was great popcorn fare with amazing action, comedy, and a few poignant moments, Mob Psycho has poignant moments in spades. The inner struggle between Mob has been made quite clear in these past few episodes, and watching him trying to better himself despite the trauma he holds in his heart is really interesting to watch. I especially like how Reigen’s advice is really spot on, no matter how much of a fraud he is. And jeez, the moment he turned into that ??? state, it gave me the chills (in a good way).

    1. I’m with you on that. Mob Psycho has a lot going for it (this adaptation more than the manga), but the comedy definitely misses more than it hits with me. Whereas One Punch Man was just the opposite, I thought it’s comedic timing was excellent and the jokes were better.

  5. I watched this episode perplexed as to how a certain presidential candidate had gotten into my anime ;;
    No more politics plz…

    The shave’N’strip was hilarious and well-deserved. The world is so lucky Mob is too nice. Poor kid needs more someones looking out for him kindly.

  6. I dont read the manga but the story is getting interesting. The ???% form is creepy like hell but I like it lol
    I think we all need an episode about Reigen. You know, from that advise he’d given to Mob, I think his character might be really interesting.

  7. The difference between this and the first episode is the difference between a protagonist who is god-powered but extremely dull, which is good comedy, and a protagonist who is god-powered & moody & brooding, which is shit drama.

    This stuff is all very nicely written and shot and I actually enjoyed it, but it’s starting to take its own parody a bit too seriously, which happened to OPM too. It’s still the best show of the season, but damn, a superhuman dreaming of an ordinary life is far too tired a plot to be the apex of a serious-faced drama. I sure hope Mob quits turning into a Mary goddamn Sue. (I haven’t read the manga yet.)

    1. it interesting you think of it as a tired plot ( i think it well done ) he just wants to be normal despite having what seem like god like power. the one thing he wanted more then anything else so far is a girlfriend.

      in a flashback when he showed off his power to a girl he liked an saw her dismiss it as nothing special an then went for another boy, he thought of his power as trivial after that. one the reason he pushing for more muscle is the fact he wants to be notice as a normal person an be loved by a girl, he does not like his power as seen in this episode.

      least the my perception, have not read the manga an could be way off.

  8. ” It’s a testament to Ritsu’s love for Mob that he lies to him, knowing full well that it was Mob’s powers that had injured him in that incident. Ritsu’s feelings for Mob are conflicted, certainly, but his desire to believe in his brother’s goodness is a palpable force.”

    Show Spoiler ▼

  9. “Being confident about your powers is fine, but you mustn’t get conceited. Depending on how you use our powers, they can also be deadly weapons.”

    90 out of 100 heartwarming points lost when I realized that it was Reigen who said it. LOL


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