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Mob Psycho 100 – 11

「師匠~leader~」 (Shishou: Leader)
“Master: Leader”

I’ve mentioned this before, but you can always tell when Mob Psycho 100 has just had an epic episode by looking at the Stalker rankings, because they spike big-time. Usually it’s an action-driven blockbuster with a preponderance of big fights, giving the peerless team Bones has assembled for this series the chance to really strut their stuff. But while there were definitely some sasuga moments, it was a different sort of epic this week that drove the numbers.

Reigen has been Mob Psycho 100’s most perplexing character right from the beginning. ONE plays up the contradictions in Reigen’s nature brilliantly of course, and Tachikawa-sensei made a really interesting choice in highlighting the charlatan – and buffoon – side of his character so heavily in the first episode. If there were ever a case where a director intentionally made a premiere less satisfying that it could be, I think this series is it. In terms of Reigen, the director set up the audience like bowling pins.

The answer to the cliffhanger of last week became pretty clear in the first moments of this episode. No, Reigen was not secretly the leader of Claw as some had speculated. He’s just a guy with balls of steel who can talk his way out of any situation – or at least he has so far. It wasn’t through his aura that Reigen convinced those zaku that he was Ishiguro’s (we finally get a look at him, and he looks a lot like a kid) boss – it was simple conviction and a silver tongue. Hell, he wasn’t even intentionally trying to make them think he was the boss – all he had to do was command the situation. One of the great liars in fiction history, George Costanza, offered this advice to Jerry about fooling a polygraph test – “Remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it’s the truth.”

More than just being one of the great bullshitters of all-time, though, there’s a remarkable sense of, yes, honour and inner peace with Reigen. He’s s guy who pretends to be a medium for a living, yet he seems the most grounded and common-sensical man in Japan. When Mob first came to him (as we see in flashback) he was desperate for someone to talk to, and Reigen clearly didn’t believe there were real psychics out there. And he gave Mob the kind advice that changed his life before he knew the boy was the real deal – he expected to get nothing out of it. His words were simple – you have to accept who you are and be happy. Esper powers are just like any inborn trait – they’re nothing to be ashamed of and shouldn’t be run away from. But they also don’t make you special – only being a good person can do that. And Mob has tried to live his life by that creed ever since, despite being maybe the most “special” boy in the world. The thing about Reigen is, he defies that old adage “money talks and bullshit walks” because damn, when he bullshits he backs it up. After talking his way into Claw HQ (charming an entire squad of lackeys enough to turn them) he’s not leaving without Mob (not to mention Ritsu and Kanazawa).

One has to really sympathize with Mob here, because he’s truly torn about all this. He’s genuinely dismayed at having defied his master’s rules, and Reigen genuinely dismayed he had to. But now Reigen is determined, by hook or by crook, to get the kids out without letting them fight. And above all to not let Mob lose control again, because he’ll be the one paying the price for it in the end. Reign may not be an esper but in effect, he’s almost like an anti-esper weapon because he just doesn’t give a flip – he has weapons of his own, and doesn’t hesitate to use them. And let’s be clear – if Mob’s meter can hit “100” and Reigen can still talk him down off the cliff, Reigen is plenty powerful in his own right.

It strikes me that Claw is especially vulnerable to someone like Reigen, because their authority is effectively a reig(e)n of terror – much akin to a ring of school bullies. I don’t see much loyalty to the group here, only fear – and not much loyalty to each other either. Guys like Shou, the guy from HQ (as has been pointed out, he has no scar) seem to have no regard for the group’s larger rules. If someone like Reigen shows up and undercuts their position, and someone like Mob shows up and demonstrates strength greater than theirs, Claw’s hierarchy is in trouble. Most of the Scars seem like guys who’ll follow whoever’s the strongest, and that’s clearly Mob – but maybe Reigen is even stronger, if he can keep Mob from unleashing his terrible power.

It’s certainly notable that Mob did the preview voice-over for the first time (though with Reigen seemingly having just been struck down by Sakurai’s katana it’s not surprising). In effect this confrontation comes down almost to a referendum on pacifism – and in the process, an object lesson on why pacifism is such a difficult philosophy to live out (after all, “I don’t care what happens to the enemy if I can protect the ones I love” could hardly be a more seductive line of reasoning). It’s hard to imagine we won’t see more Mob Psycho 100 after this season – Bones is certainly acting like we will, and it figures to do pretty well on disc. But if not it’ll be a crying shame, because it’s clear ONE is exploring some very big ideas here, and that he’s got an awful more to say – and I, for one, really want to hear him say it.

 

Preview

September 20, 2016 at 11:14 pm
17 comments »
  • September 20, 2016 at 11:28 pmKiraboshi

    The fact that Hanazawa’s magnificently handsome haircut is not in the screenshots disappoint me.

  • September 21, 2016 at 12:00 amGuile

    Post-haircut, his hair is SO stereotypically protagonist!

    It’s kind of funny that in another manga, Hanazawa could probably carry the leading role just fine. Like Genos in One Punch Man, in that respect.

  • September 21, 2016 at 1:58 amTrippwire

    The best quote of the episode: “These brutes who are seriously attacking middle school kids… These guys who are seriously talking about taking over the world… are children who failed to grow up.”

  • September 21, 2016 at 3:28 amjohn

    “It’s hard to imagine we won’t see more Mob Psycho 100 after this season – Bones is certainly acting like we will, and it figures to do pretty well on disc. ”

    Mob manga barely has enough chapters for another 12 episode season, so no matter how good it does we won’t see it for at least another two years, even if they order another season this year.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • September 21, 2016 at 3:59 amsonicsenryaku

      that’s not true; there’s definitely enough content to do another 12 eps easily, There’s a spot in the manga that would be the perfect end for cour 2. There’s a reason why ep 1 and the opening foreshadow events from later in the manga

    • September 21, 2016 at 11:49 amGrahav

      I also respect Hanazawa’s. You need power to stop power.

      • September 21, 2016 at 1:49 pmGuile

        Well, you shouldn’t have to. But as we live in an imperfect world…

    • September 21, 2016 at 7:14 pmyukishina

      No, there is enough materials for 2nd season. I’ve been catching up with the manga so I knew.
      I’m not sure if it’s a spoiler but just in case it does ^^;…
      Show Spoiler ▼

    • September 21, 2016 at 10:19 pmGuardian Enzo

      Sure looked like you intentionally put an unmarked spoiler in there. Strike one and two.

  • September 21, 2016 at 9:37 amsillk

    Darn, there goes my evil twin theory… ^^;;

    So it wasn’t physic powers the esper kids felt shivering down their backs, but mass hysteria from the huge group of minions.

  • September 21, 2016 at 10:56 amlaila703

    This episode features probably the best use of misunderstandings in anime history. REIGEN IS TOO BADASS .

  • September 21, 2016 at 10:36 pmSecsuey

    you guys have NO idea how hard is for me to not go and read the manga.

    Man this anime is the shit, as hunter x, I would fucking love to see more animes like this and be done with the ecchi/harems fest that plages anime these years.

    • September 22, 2016 at 11:52 pmChromeNova

      Trust me, we KNOW. I’ve been holding the urge since like episode 3 to not read it. Just one more episode left and I’ll splurge on this shit like I have no other obligations.

  • September 22, 2016 at 1:40 amSeph

    It’s a series like this that reminds me why I like anime in the first place.
    And why I have been experiencing anime fatigue for a while before this.

  • September 22, 2016 at 6:44 pmNissi

    The confrontation in this episode somehow remind me of Shinji in EVA, when he struggled to convince himself “I mustn’t run away”. Reigen just straight up told Mob “you can run away”. Can’t explain why but I found that scene so powerful but soothing.

  • September 24, 2016 at 4:04 pmchaos

    What a great episode. The feels when Mob hugged Ritsu. I nearly died laughing at Reigen’s antics.

  • September 25, 2016 at 6:46 pmLunascha

    How in the world is Reigen going to survive that attack D: