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Mob Psycho 100 II – 06

「孤独なホワイティー」 (Kodokuna Howaitī)
“Lonely Whitey”

Well now, that was quite a left-hand turn for Mob Psycho 100 II this week, not just within the series but the episode itself. It was pretty clear things were going to be considerably more low-key than last week’s blockbuster (there was really only direction we could go after that), so a character piece this time was no surprise. But I wasn’t necessarily expecting things to take the turn they did.

I’ve noted it before, but the thing that really makes Reigen such a standout character is his paradoxical nature. There are two facets to him (I was going to say “faces” but that implies a duplicity I don’t think exists) in almost every sense. I mean, while he’s an amazingly cool guy and a badass who’s (up to now at least) always been reliable in the clutch, but he’s also kind of an asshole. Most of the time he’s an asshole in the service of good, so it’s not such a problem. But we saw a side to him this week we really hadn’t seen before – or at least not that I remember to the extent we saw it here.

If there’s been a recurring theme through the stylistic roller-coaster of the season’s first six episodes, it’s Mob’s quest for self-respect. This is certainly fitting, because he’s at the age where he should be discovering himself – the fact that he’s an incredibly powerful esper has little to do with it. As with FLCL (the real one, I mean), all the sci-fi and fantasy trappings are the glitz and the flash, but the story is at its heart a relatively simple take on adolescence. And Mob – starting with the premiere and Mob’s assertion that he was trying to “listen to his own feelings more” – is growing up before our eyes. Exceptionally lucky in the people he has surrounding him, yes, but Mob has friends now. Friends that genuinely like and care about him.

Here, then, is yet another paradox with Reigen. Despite being a hack and a fraud he’s still been Mob’s protector, his catcher in the rye – and for the most part, he’s steered Mob in the right direction especially where his powers are concerned. But he’s also taking advantage of Mob, who does whatever legitimate work Spirits and Such does for a pittance and is expected to come at Reigen’s beck and (phone) call. It’s a testament to how much Mob has grown (all those emotional push-ups he’s been doing) that he’s finally ready to stand up to Reigen when he walks out on a fun outing with the Body Improvement/Telepathy club members (it was going to include Mob’s first ever karaoke experience) only to be treated quite shabbily by his master.

A couple of points up front… First, it’s totally, 100% healthy that Mob decided he needed a break from Reigen. He deserves a chance to have a sliver of normal childhood while there’s a rare moment of peace. And second, Reigen was a serious asshole to Mob there – I mean, almost to the point where it seemed out of character. He relentlessly poked at all Mob’s sore points and insecurities – which was an incredibly nasty thing to do and if we’re honest, there’s no way someone as perceptive as Reigen didn’t know exactly what he was doing. We saw an ugly side to Reigen here – including the fact that he’s possessive of Mob and flat-out jealous at the idea Mob has friends (or God forbid, confidantes) apart from him.

The B-part of the episode was, to be frank, kind of unpleasant for me. I get that it was supposed to be, but above and beyond that. It’s not fun seeing a grown man so unmade by being rejected by a 14 year-old boy that he falls into a cycle of despair. The fact is that it’s Reigen, not Mob, who has no friends apart from the other. And perhaps most unpleasantly of all, we see what Reigen’s life – professional as well as personal – is like without Mob in it (no messages on his birthday apart from Mom). And it’s unsettling, not reassuring, that he can be so financially successful relying 100% on fakery and bullshit. For all that Reigen has been a positive on Mob’s life (and he has, and downright saved it more than once), this episode leaves no question that meeting Mob has been a hugely positive factor in Reigen’s life as well. We saw this week how Mob brings out the worst in Reigen, but he also brings out the best in him.

For now, it seems pretty clear than Reigen has surfed the wave of bluster and lies a wave too far, and he’s gotten himself into serious trouble. The TV appearance with an extremely pissed off Shoudo-san (who for all his popinjay ridiculousness is an actual psychic) has disaster written all over it. I’ve no doubt that Mob would come to Reigen’s aid if he knew he was in trouble, and he very likely will here. There’s genuine affection and even love between these two despite the dysfunctional side of their partnership that was on display this week, and that will win out in the end. But in order for them to remain a team, I think Reigen has to start respecting Mob as a person in a way he hasn’t up to this point, and to stop treating him as a child. Maybe, as ugly as all this was, it can be a good thing if it leads to that end result.

 

Preview

February 12, 2019 at 7:09 pm
9 comments »
  • February 12, 2019 at 8:06 pmRantics

    It does feel out of place for him to be a bit nasty towards Mob, but I can’t help but wonder that maybe Reigen has sensed that Mob has been drifting farther and farther from him as Mob grows and develops, and also we have to consider up to what extent does Reigen know about Mob’s school life.

    As I remember in Season 1, the first impression Reigen had with Mob’s friends was with Tome who was initially using Mob so that they could keep their club. Then all throughout the series, we’ve only seen that Mob would only speak to Reigen about his friends and classmates whenever there’s a “problem”. So I can see Reigen developing an idea where Mob has just been the general “problem-solver” in his group which Reigen later associated that image towards Mob’s friends. Reigen hasn’t even personally met Mob’s friends, so that further limits his perception of them.

    We also have to take into consideration Reigen’s social status with all this. We learned that Reigen has no friends, other than Mob, so he may have a negative experience with socializing and keeping a bond with others that he can’t normally assert himself with. So those nasty words that he said to Mob were probably a form of projection of his own beliefs. Surprisingly enough, if you only read the dialogue of Reigen without associating the identity, it almost sounded like Reigen was trying to get a fellow sympathizer of his own social issues (Like a certain evil spirit named Mogami), which may have greatly peeved Mob as not only were his friends being bad-mouthed but it sort of sounded like a re-enactment of that conversation with Mogami.

    And finally as you have said, we then have Mob’s own development. Being more assertive, outspoken, and thankful of everyone around him. If this conversation were to have transpired prior to Season 2, Mob probably would’ve kept quiet and agreed to what Reigen said. But now that Mob has been a bit more selfish(rightfully so) that his usual self, then this was how their relationship went.

  • February 13, 2019 at 5:18 amInstantNoodles

    Ah finally seeing the world from Reigen’s point of view instead of Mob’s. To Mob, Reigen is a cool adult who know everything, because to a kid, that’s what adults are supposed to be, especially someone who appear as sure of himself as Reigen.

    Adults know better just how much they don’t have their shit together. But they have to get mature for the sake of the children who look up to and depend on them.

    Hopefully by the end of this arc, Reigen will mature a bit more too. So he can still remain cool to Mob even when Mob is finally grown enough to notice the faults in his father figure.

    • February 13, 2019 at 5:35 amGuardian Enzo

      Which sort of begs the question of why Mob’s father isn’t his father figure. His parents don’t seem like either bad people or bad parents, but this is manga so I guess it’s hardly surprising that the story progresses mostly as if they don’t exist.

      • February 13, 2019 at 5:50 amInstantNoodles

        I’ve wondered about that too? Maybe they are unsure what to do for Mob with his psychic powers? They don’t seem that close to Ritsu either, and he was the normal kid.

        It’s not like the parents have to work abroad and entrust their kids to extended family members. They all still live in the same house. Too busy with overtime only goes so far. But then not every parent is parenting material. You don’t have to be a bad person to be a distant parent.

      • February 13, 2019 at 8:51 amcvb

        It’s a reflection on the typical japanese family, I believe at some point in the series it will show how they really care and how their way is the true japanese parent way. In fact, Ritsu and Mob relationship is the reflection on how japanese close people care for each other, not by direct words and actions but on doing what it is expected from them to do and thinking on how they can help.

  • February 14, 2019 at 9:24 amUrahara

    Is this season 12 eps or 24 ? because the main arc hasn’t even been alluded to

    • February 14, 2019 at 3:44 pmGuardian Enzo

      One cour. After that we’ll see (but please, do not get any more specific than the above).

      • February 15, 2019 at 12:03 pmUrahara

        I haven’t watched the manga my friend, but it is pretty obvious that this is not the main event of the show considering that Claw hasn’t even been mentioned yet

  • February 14, 2019 at 9:44 amstarss

    Well this may be my absolute favorite breather episode so far! Reigen is such a fun character he can pretty much carry his own show! But then it wouldn’t be a very uplifting one because clearly he can’t be totally complete without Mob, whether he wants to deny it. This is also one of the funniest ever!