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Mob Psycho 100 II – 06 »« Mob Psycho 100 II – 04

Mob Psycho 100 II – 05

「不和 ~選択~」 (Fuwa ~ Sentaku ~)
“Discord ~ Choices ~”

After I’ve just gone and waxed poetical about how different Dororo and Mob Psycho 100 were while being equally great, watching this ep brings home the flaws in that line of thinking. I mean visually, sure – one could hardly imagine two more diametrically opposed styles. But there is a universal theme running between these two stories, that of trying to retain your sense of decency in a fundamentally cruel and unjust world. They don’t get a lot more universal than that in fact, so it’s really not so surprising even if it’s counter-intuitive.

As odd as it is to say, one of the first things that crossed my mind in watching this episode was “My God – how much did that cost!?” I rarely focus heavily on production budgets in reviewing anime, but I rarely see episode on TV that look anything remotely like this. Money cannot buy brilliance, that’s for damn sure – but at the same time, you can’r deliver the blizzard of sakuga we saw this week on Mob Psycho without spending a lot of it (especially by TV anime standards). Bones isn’t like most other anime studios, and MP 100 isn’t like most other anime. Even so – wow.

In truth, the visuals were so good here that it’s hard to focus much on anything else. ONE’s underlying story, with its powerful themes of alienation and loyalty, was represented brilliantly as always and this was a powerful subplot. But in truth that side of things was what we’ve come to expect from this show (I’d actually still rank the season premiere as the most emotionally powerful so far this season, in fact). We’ve come to expect great art and animation too of course, but if the writing was vintage Mob, the visuals were an a whole other level.

The spirit of Gainax (and some of its former staff) are certainly a presence here (the “manga in motion” sequences are super-FLCL, and those explosions…), but this is a unique entity – Bones, Tachikawa, ONE – we’ve never seen anything that looks quite like it. In point of fact ONE’s native art style and Tachikawa’s (at least if Death Parade is anything to go on) are quite different, and he’s assembled a murderer’s row of the greatest cel animators and background artists from the past three decades to work on this series. Stylistically there’s so much to unpack here – rather than a consistent look the ep is in fact all over the map in a way that totally works. It’s breathless and unrelenting, a visual tsunami that picks you up and carries you along helpless to resist.

One of my favorite visual conceits here (and I’m going to assume this is a ONE thing) is representing Mogami’s presence in the dream world through a variety of creepy crawlies. “Come into my parlor”, said the spider to the fly – and Mob came voluntarily, too much the compassionate fool to abandon a girl he’d never met to her fate. If I’m honest I thought the dream sequence sped by a little too quickly – I would have liked to have seen an entire episode (or maybe even more) devoted to Mob trying to cope without his powers. It certainly goes more or less as you’d expect – Mob is still socially awkward and physically weak, but now he has to face the world basically unarmed. And Minori is a major force among his tormentors.

It’s pretty clear where Mogami is going with this to be honest, and there may even be a tiny grain of honesty in his telling Mob he sees something of himself in the boy, and wants to prevent his making the same mistakes. Of course the overwhelming mass of motivation for Mogami is selfish, to turn a child he realizes is a freakishly powerful esper into an acolyte. As terrible as things are going for Mob in there, it does seem as if Mogami’s literal mind games are shifting him – something inside Mob does seem to break, though tellingly it’s not when he himself is threatened by Minori and her team of bullies but when the stray cat he’s been feeding is.

What would have happened if Ekubo hadn’t broken into Minori and snapped Mob out of it? I suppose we’ll never know, though it’s a bit disturbing to consider. As it turns out Matsuo is a key player here – it’s his psychic B-12 shot that allows Dimple to get past Mogami’s barrier (and for another reason, as we’ll soon see). As Reigen says, he refuses to flee because he’s “dumb” and trusts Mob – and Mob is dumb because he trusts Dimple and Reigen. But trust is the key to everything for Mob, and it’s hard to overstate the important of Reigen’s appearance in his life giving him someone to trust. That’s one thing Mogami was absolutely right about – Mob was very lucky to have wound up surrounded by good people who care about him (and a debatably good spirit who does).

When it’s all done, of course Mob forgives Minori – he has an infinite capacity for goodness, so he’s always prepared to see it in other people. He believes in their power to change, but the struggle for him is believing in his own – not to become kinder or more selfless, but in fact to value himself and his feelings more. That’s what someone like Mogami can never understand, and that’s why Mob is able to carry the burdens he does while remaining pure even as he struggles to become the person he wants to be. That, and the insanely on-point support team good fortune has allowed to stand behind him.

Epilogue:

 

Preview

February 5, 2019 at 10:06 pm
13 comments »
  • February 6, 2019 at 1:11 amBambi

    It was great, so very great.
    I would like to say I THINK I understood the dreamworld that Mob went through, but I’m not ENTIRELY sure I got it fully. That reality is harsh… but with kindness you can change yourself and people around you? At least I know that we’re all collectively so happy for Mob to have people like Reigen, Dimple and club mates by his side. Will be interested to look into Mob’s “inner self” or whatever that is.

    Anyhow, I could not get used to Mob’s face and tone of voice this episode but he’s always a shounen hero in my eyes xo

    • February 6, 2019 at 2:19 amGuardian Enzo

      I mean, this is definitely not a kumbayah message from ONE that courage and kindness can conquer all. Mob was seriously tempted by the dark side before Ekubo arrived, and he kind of had to go Linda Blair to defeat all the evil spirits he released when he destroyed Mogami as a vessel.

    • February 6, 2019 at 6:00 amcvb

      Is still a shonen manga. Of course it’s going to places that most of them haven’t and one is good at changing tropes’ perspectives, but I don’t think it will go much further or get more realistic, at least for now.

      And he will be sweetest boi forever, doesn’t matter if it’s a hero or not.

  • February 6, 2019 at 4:22 amAex

    I have really mixed feelings about the whole dream part. Mogami says that the whole point was to make Mob his sympathizer, but presumably even after Mob went dark Mogami wouldn’t have given him his real memories back, so isn’t he kinda shooting his own logic in the foot? If someone needs to be brainwashed to agree with him, it feels like he’s admitting that his logic is messed up. I mean, wouldn’t anyone think the world sucks if they’re locked in a box their whole life and the only time they saw other people was when they were getting punched in the gut for no reason? That’s doesn’t really feel like some grand revelation. It’s good for breaking people down, but I don’t really see how it proves a point.

    It’d had more impact if Mob had kept his memories and still gotten worn down by having to live powerless and alone in a crapsack world. It felt like Mogami wasn’t willing to risk that method, though, so his whole argument really loses a lot of weight IMO.

    • February 6, 2019 at 6:48 amsonicsenryaku

      the hypocrisy is kind of the point

      • February 6, 2019 at 7:33 amAex

        True enough… guess I was looking for something that wasn’t there because of how much time they put into Mogami and how badly he took out Mob.

    • February 6, 2019 at 8:25 amEugene

      If Mob ended up killing someone in Mogami’s world, I don’t think he’d be able to A-OK the situation simply by getting his real memories back, I doubt he’d ever actually become Mogami’s ally but he’d be permanently scarred by what he’d done. Dimple arrived basically on the nick of time to preserve Mob’s purity.

    • February 6, 2019 at 8:27 pmInstantNoodles

      Even when reading the manga, I thought Mogami was more ‘I ain’t happy until you all are not happy’ person due to his past. So his torture of Mob to me felt more like wanting to ruin an innocent’s life like how his was ruined, than truly trying to gain any ally.

      • February 6, 2019 at 11:02 pmGuardian Enzo

        I don’t think he was trying to gain an ally, I think he was trying to gain a weapon.

  • February 6, 2019 at 7:57 amstarss

    … when Episode 4 ended the way it did, I knew two things.

    1. The next episode’s animation will be the best in the season yet, and

    2. It would be so packed, there wouldn’t be enough room for the standard ED sequence.

  • February 6, 2019 at 1:35 pmL0ken

    Absolute masterpiece of episode,after watching it a few times I catched up much more visual details that improved my experience even more,only wish the first half was a little bit longer as the manga reader,but whatever,they really conveyed all points and enhanced them by visuals.Bless BONES!

  • February 8, 2019 at 6:45 pmsealouse

    It’s stuff like this that keeps me going. Pure fuel.

  • February 11, 2019 at 5:15 amWalker52

    Can’t wait for the next arcs boss, maybe Mob will have to go SSJ2 this time.