Friday, February 15, 2019

Episode Review: Mob Psycho 100 - "Ripped Apart ~Someone Is Watching~" (S2E1)


This post will contain spoilers for


Mob Psycho 100 Season 2, Episode 1



You have been warned.



I saw great things from the newest season of Mob Psycho 100.

Familiar Old Faces

Never hurts to start strong: everything I loved about the first season was back.

Funimation 2019

The beginning monologue, which introduces the world of espers, has returned. Viewing it again felt like catching up with an old friend. We also still have villain spirits that are just the right amount of silly and slightly intimidating to introduce the show’s humor and Mob’s overpowered psychic abilities.

Funimation 2019

Funimation 2019
Mob’s employer Reigen, who uses Mob to exorcise evil spirits, is still conning the easily-conned. And, we find as Mob arrives at the client’s rural property in this episode, Mob is still asking Reigen to stop calling him to work on short notice. (And that brings up a question: how far did Mob have to travel just to get to this client’s house? Does Mob have a bicycle? I don’t recall seeing one in the first season. Does he have to keep paying bus fare each time Reigen calls him for a job? How does he even afford that on Reigen’s paltry salary? Reigen was paying Mob the equivalent of $3/an hour last season!)

Which, speaking of, Reigen is still paying Mob paltry sums and still trying to make money on get-rich-quick schemes.

Funimation 2019

I’ll never get tired of their shenanigans.

Anything else I was looking forward to seeing that didn’t make it into this episode was at least hinted at through the new opening.

Opening Impressions

We see plenty of our main boys looking cool: Mob, Reigen, Mob’s younger brother Ritsu, and their fellow esper Teru are all prominently featured. I can’t wait to see more of all four of them, especially since I felt Teru didn’t get much time to shine as an ally last season.

We also see the big bad group Claw is still in play, including—if the visuals are to be believed—their most intimidating member, the psychotic Koyama, who I found to be the most interesting of the villains by far.

Koyama's pretty much terrifying. Funimation 2019

Sho Suzuki, Funimation 2019
Though with that said, I’m also eager to see more development for the leaders of Claw, the father-son duo of Toichiro and Sho Suzuki. I really hope the son, Sho, becomes a prominent antagonist for Mob to butt heads with, similar to how Teru was in season one.

Plot Progression that Matters

All the things I loved about the first season are present again, but better still, Mob Psycho 100 continued plot threads they didn’t get to wrap up fully in season one. The school reporter, Mezato, is meeting with the remainder of a cult Mob rescued from an evil spirit. The student council president, Kamuro, is apologizing publicly after he’d set up one of the students in an effort to get the student expelled. Kamuro himself, who was a total wreck in season one, is now all cleaned up and running for student council president again to redeem himself. It’s continuations like these that prove this show believes the first season mattered, which is a great way to start any new season in my book.

Exciting New Events

There’s also plenty of new developments the show already hinted at or introduced just in this first episode alone...

Funimation 2019

For instance, Mob’s already gained a new ability, and that’s something I’m super psyched to see. What other new abilities is Mob going to learn this season? How is he going to use or develop this one?

Funimation 2019
Mob’s family dynamic is also visibly more healthy this season. Whereas Ritsu revealed in season one how he’s been living in anxiety under Mob’s shadow and was jealous of Mob’s psychic abilities, they’ve had time to work things out, and Ritsu seems genuinely happy for and concerned about his older brother. Not to mention, Mob’s mother, who in season one was notoriously always giving Mob a hard time about his powers, does no nagging whatsoever in this episode. It’s great to see his whole family having a healthy moment together.

There even seems to be some hints at a love triangle—or love quadrangle?—that may develop this season. It’s funny to see Mob at the center of so many girls’ attentions, between school reporter Mezato scheming to turn him into a cult star to his childhood crush Tsubomi finally noticing him again for the first time since their childhood to a third girl from school, Emi, being inspired to write a story about him.

  
Funimation 2019

This Season’s Themes

I’m also really enjoying seeing the not-so-subtle hints about how Mob will grow this season. The opening proudly proclaims this season’s main theme: “Your life is your own.”1

Funimation 2019
Mob needing to chart his own course isn’t exactly a new theme for this show (we saw bits of it in the first season), but season one’s primary theme was about Mob experiencing his feelings and accepting them, rather than acknowledging his feelings are valid and chasing after what he wants. But in this season, what Mob wants is front and center. This is nowhere more evident than when Emi turns to Mob and asks: “[C]ould it be... that you don’t even have feelings?... Like, your own opinions.”2

Initially, her question seems to echo the evil spirit Dimple’s sentiment from season one. When Mob confronted Dimple, the spirit mocked Mob’s stoicism by arguing he must not have emotions at all. “The feelings of people resonate with one another, you know,” Dimple taunted, “But you’re unable to do that. You can’t... even be moved.”3

But this season takes the idea a step further. Emi inquires, “Could it be that you don’t even have feelings?” but then she clarifies it by adding, “Your own opinions... Did you only run for president because someone told you to?” This transforms the question “Do you not have feelings?” into “Are you really charting your own course, or are you letting other people tell you what to do without considering your own desires?”

It may be a painful question for Mob to hear, but it’s an important one. Mob has indeed been doing things because other people want him to, not because he wants to. Emi’s question spurs Mob to not only acknowledge and accept his emotions, but also to act on them.

Funimation 2019
When Mob overhears Emi’s so-called “friends” tearing up the novel she’d worked so hard to write, Mob comes to defend her... because it’s what he wants to do. “I don’t think this is trash...” he says as he kneels down to pick up the shredded novel piece by piece. “I’ll take it. I made the decision to consider my feelings more.” And, Mob finishes with tears brimming in his eyes, “And you need to pick up things you feel are important.”4 Though my memory of season one needs a refresher, I’m fairly certain this is the first time we have ever seen Mob cry, a key cornerstone in his emotional development.

What’s even more beautiful to me is that it’s not just Mob who’s going to grow emotionally this season. Emi becomes more emotionally honest because of Mob, too. Whereas before she was all about pretending—pretending to ask Mob out or pretending not to care about writing while with her so-called friends, Mob helped her open up. Mob’s actions encouraged Emi to be brave enough to show her book to someone for the first time. And when Emi’s so-called friends made fun of her book, Mob spurred her to cherish her work no matter what they said. Mob helped Emi become emotionally honest even though he struggles with it himself.

Funimation 2019
The scene where Mob and Emi pick up the pieces of her novel brings up another interesting theme. As they scramble to rescue the novel shards, a wind picks up the pieces and billows them away. Emi stares at one of the last remaining fragments: “No going back,”5 it says. It seems like this is going to be yet another show that points out how it’s important not to get stuck in the past, to let it go because there’s no going back. Imagine my surprise when, rather than settle for that answer, Mob uses his psychic powers to bring all the pieces back and put them together again. This show actually spurns the idea of “No going back,” no holding onto the past! I’m not certain I’ve ever seen a story touch on such a theme. But it makes sense for Mob Psycho 100: that past is something Emi worked hard to achieve; it meant something important, so it shouldn’t be cast aside. Mob rescues Emi’s past work, and that past work leads into the future: serving as inspiration for a new story Emi writes. This scene suggests that the past is the way forward.

Funimation 2019

With so many good things to look forward to—from deep themes, promising new content, and all the old familiar things I loved about season one—Mob Psycho season two is looking incredibly promising. It’s as pretty dang close to a 10/10 in my book as you can get. Though, as with anything, it’s not quite perfect.

My Few Complaints

Though I’m quite interested to see how things will go with Emi, I will admit that she did kind of come out of nowhere. I think her introduction would’ve felt more natural if her plot thread had tied to Mezato instead of being a completely separate plot line. Mezato’s goal was to increase Mob’s self-esteem so he could become the cult star, so when her plan to get him to run for student council president didn’t work out, the next logical step would be for her to try something else: something like bribing Emi to shower Mob with attention and praise to boost his confidence.

At any rate, Emi won me over fast, so it makes me sad she didn’t have much time to develop. I think I would’ve rather seen her arc play out over the course of three episodes rather than just the one.

I’m also slightly frustrated to see a potential love triangle emerging. I really don’t think Tsubomi deserves a second chance with Mob after the way she treated him when they were kids, so I hope Mob sees that too, even if he does initially fall for her again. I may not like Tsubomi, but considering how hard Mob fell for her (she did indirectly kickstart Mob’s attempts at self-improvement), she is indeed a plot thread that needs to be tied up. Knowing that, I can forgive the love triangle. Or quadrangle if Mezato really does like Mob as I assume.

Funimation 2019
My only other complaint—which is hardly a complaint at all—was that I was surprised we didn’t see the budding espers from the Awakening Lab in this episode. I was worried we wouldn’t see them at all this season, but my concern was allayed when I noticed them in the opening. I have a feeling they’ll come into play later this season, especially knowing the big bad group Claw is still out there.

The Conclusion

With only those minor complaints, it’s plain to see this season oozes with possibility. It’s sure got me excited, and I can’t wait to check out the rest of season two!

---
Notes and References:
  1. Mob Psycho 100 opening, Season 2, Directed by Yuji Oya, 2019, Funimation.
  2. Emi, Mob Psycho 100, “Ripped Apart ~Someone Is Watching~,” Season 2, Episode 1, Directed by Yuji Oya, January 7, 2019, Funimation.
  3. Dimple, Mob Psycho 100, “An Invite to a Meeting ~Simply Put, I Just Want to Be Popular,” Season 1, Episode 3, Directed by Katsuya Shigehara, Written by Hiroshi Seko, July 26, 2016, Funimation.
  4. Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, Mob Psycho 100, “Ripped Apart ~Someone Is Watching~,” Season 2, Episode 1, Directed by Yuji Oya, January 7, 2019, Funimation.
  5. Mob Psycho 100, “Ripped Apart ~Someone Is Watching~,” Season 2, Episode 1, Directed by Yuji Oya, January 7, 2019, Funimation.
All photos property of their respective owners and used under US "Fair Use" laws. Unless otherwise specified, all are from VRV.

Mob Psycho 100 and all related names and terms are the property of Funimation.

From Him, To Him

3 comments:

  1. I've definitely been seeing comments about the new Mob Psycho season from some of my aniblogger friends. Looks like an interesting progression even though I haven't seen the first series.

    Wait, the villain group is named Claw? That's just BEGGING for me to use an Inspector Gadget or Kimba the White Lion joke and..oh wait, the Koyama guy has a scar on his eye, so the latter makes way too much sense. #HilariousInHindsight

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! Stealth references? PERHAPS.

      My brother (who's gotten much further into season 2 than I have) says that it's much darker than season 1. I'm interested to see what he means.

      Delete
    2. It would be amazing if it was a stealth reference. Hahaha!

      Oh, really? That sounds interesting.

      Delete