The announcement of an anime adaptation of Mob Psycho 100 came with one very suggestive sentence attached to it: it’s by the same creator as One Punch Man. It doesn’t matter if you’re an otaku or not, chances are you have heard of Saitama and what was undeniably the most talked about anime of 2015. Because of this, Mob Psycho 100 had lots of hype to it, but also very high expectations. Despite fulfilling and even at times surpassing those expectations, many people are still sleeping on this series. Maybe because of its unusual art style, or maybe because they did not enjoy One Punch Man that much and think Mob Psycho will be the same.
Here are 5 reasons why you should totally consider adding Mob Psycho 100 to your watching list.
Mob Psycho 100 ≠ One Punch Man
Both Mob Psycho 100 and One Punch Man are created by ONE (yes, that’s the author’s pseudonym), so there’s no point in denying the two stories are similar in many aspects. The main character of Mob Psycho, Mob, shares many similarities with Saitama: they’re both ridiculously overpowered and they both wear that deadpan expression most of the time. The art style and animation is similar, it’s the same type of humor, they both parody the shounen genre in one way or another, and you will have fun spotting OPM easter eggs in Mob Psycho. However, if you believe that just because you saw the much more popular One Punch Man you can already get an idea of what Mob Psycho 100 is like and therefore you don’t need to bother with it… you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Mob Psycho 100 is ONE’S original, main series, while One Punch Man is a side-project. Mob Psycho 100 is more plot-driven and explores some dark themes that are rare to see in One Punch Man. Just to clarify, this is not to imply that Mob Psycho 100 is the best story of the two (they can’t really be compared and everyone will have their preferences). My point is that Mob Psycho is an entirely different series that deserves to be considered on its own, and not under Saitama’s shadow.
It mocks shounen tropes and uses them to its advantage
With the shounen genre having such strict formulas and predictable tropes, the industry is no stranger to parodies. Aside from One Punch Man itself, there’s also been many popular series in recent years that have done the same thing, like Gintama or Suzumiya Haruhi. Mob Psycho also uses parodies and even breaks the fourth wall in some occasions, but it’s not a parody anime per se. Instead of that, it uses cliché elements to later subvert them and use them to its advantage. The parodies in this series are not over the top to the point the show becomes self-aware, so they never really distract the viewer from what’s going on in the narrative. The parodies are subtle and used in the right moment. Without spoiling much, pay attention to Ritsu’s behavior in Episode 7. I’m sure it will remind you of a very popular character from the Naruto series.
It’s an actual serious take on supernatural powers
Mob Psycho 100 falls under the genres of “Supernatural” and “Action”, but contrary to what could be expected from it, the series does not focus on characters training to become the strongest and battle each other. Mob Psycho does have some (astonishing) action scenes, but they’re often short-lived as Mob does not like using his powers on people. Because of that, the series puts most of its focus on the differences between espers and what are known as “commoners” (people with no psychic powers), and it explores those differences throug the characters’ perspectives. Every character has a particular point of view not only of psychic powers, but of what “power” means and whether it’s relevant or not in society. I mentioned before how Mob resembles Saitama in the sense that they’ve both overpowered. While Saitama views his own stength as a bother because it means he’s always bored and has no real competition, Mob sees it as a real danger to the point that he’s scared of himself and of how others might see him. There’s a saying that goes “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals”, which describes Mob’s role in the story perfectly.
Cinnamon rolls and sinnamon rolls everywhere
A likable cast is key in any story, and Mob Psycho 100 is no exception. ONE has a talent for creating charismatic characters that easily appeal to the audience, be it for the memorable character design or eccentric behavior. The characters in Mob Psycho 100 are surprisingly complex and multi-layered. It’s actually to be expected considering that, as stated above, the story mainly relies on the characters’ morals and emotions. Like many other things in the series, Mob’s character and his inability to express emotions is used as a running gag at first, but it does have a dark side to it that the series doesn’t shy away from showing. Characters that start off on the wrong foot might end up surprising you, and characters that are seen as good from the beginning might not be as perfect as you believe. BONUS: Mob has a younger brother, Ritsu. If you liked seeing the brotherly bonds in other series like Fullmetal Alchemist or Blue Exorcist, that’s something else to look forward to!
Every episode is a visual spectacle
Yoshimichi Kameda. That’s the man responsible for Mob Psycho 100‘s explosive animation. Having worked sporadically in other projects like Bleach, Death Parade or Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Yoshimichi is known for his unique, over the top animation. Similarly to what Studio Madhouse did with One Punch Man, Studio Bones knows how to take advantage of ONE’s utterly simplistic, yet charming art style. Putting together key animator Yoshimichi and director Yuzuru Tachikawa (Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill, Steins;Gate…) has proven to be the best option to bring this series to life. With such a killer combo, it would not be far-fetched to consider Mob Psycho as a contender for best animated series of the year.