Logo for Byte Magazine at Ball State University

‘Mob Psycho 100' season two inspires growth

by Eli Sokeland Mob Psycho 100 isn’t a normal anime by any standards. While it does show common anime tropes such as a high school setting and overpowered abilities, these are spun with unique characters. Mob demonstrates this through his submissive behaviors in the first season, despite the amount of power he possesses. However, the characters undergo massive changes within the narrative of the second season.

Mob gains new abilities

Image from IMDb
The story greatly differs from the first season due to how the characters change. This can be observed mostly through the major cast, such as Mob and Reigen. Previously, Mob only defeated evil spirits through simply exorcizing them. However, he demonstrates in the first episode that there are other methods to drive out spirits. One of Mob’s new abilities is to sense the spirits of living beings, such as plants and humans. While the series gradually shows Mob’s psychic evolution, it signals something more; Mob is able to understand life better. Instead of being unable to read people’s true motives, he is able to see the bigger picture that life encompasses. With a better understanding, Mob becomes restless in his current life. The show creates a sense of empowerment through the protagonist’s struggles. While Mob fails with a majority of events that he tries such as a marathon and running for class president, his efforts are not in vain. It’s motivating to see him become closer friends with his classmates genuinely and not through some dirty trick.

Supporting cast conflicts

Within this awareness, the show creates tension with Mob and Reigen for the first time. This was incredibly surprising, especially since Reigen was considered Mob’s role model. While this does resolve between the two, it challenges Reigen to also survive on his own.
Besides these two main characters, the rest of the cast is tossed aside. For example, the telepathy club doesn’t get a single episode throughout the second season. This can even be said for Mob’s brother as well. Instead, the series focuses on longer interactions between Mob and the villains of this season. While there are some major spirit battles, the major threat that lies in the season is the head of Claw. Even though the series moves pretty fast, it does take it time to explain its members.
Image from IMDb
Within the first season, none of the villains were particularly menacing. Within season two, however, the villains define life and death situations. From their incredible powers of teleportation and psychic strength, the top members of Claw (called the “Ultimate 5”) create fear within the protagonists. While these members do have unique abilities, they all share a similar mindset. Their belief is that they should rule over the world because they believe they are better than non-espers. While this is a common trope in anime, the show differentiates itself by the lessons it teaches. By showcasing ordinary people taking on espers, it shows that everyone is equal. Even though this theme of superiority was introduced last season, it was a welcome idea to remind viewers that power doesn’t always equate to being better than others. While it is important to establish the villains of the series, this prevents development on the existing characters. This is especially prevalent with the series missing out on developing the relationship between Tsubomi and Mob. This could’ve been improved if the series had more episodes that were dedicated to Mob’s social life. Even though this would break the more connected narrative of the season, this would’ve given the supporting cast more development. The only significant part of the second season that truly shows off every aspect of Mob’s life is near the final battle. For example, members of the body improvement club join together to fight enemy espers. While this may not seem like much, it was a welcome sight to see these characters finally in action.

Animation is 99.9% perfection

Image from IMDb
The animation of Mob Psycho 100 is unlike any other. From expertly shadowed scenes to simple drawings, the show contains a ton of animation variety. While it does seem like these animation styles are lazy, they underlie clever ways to induce emotion. Carefully observing the mood of the show, there is a high amount of contrast between emotions and animation styles. For example, fight scenes are usually showcased with a high amount of sharp outlines. This helps viewers really grasp the small details that can be missed within these scenes. By contrast, scenes with humor usually contain softer lines, lighter color tones, and some colorful flair behind characters. Even though this style isn’t as prevalent in the second season, the animation does enhance the light-hearted aspects of the series. It’s these small details that really define the animation as one of the best I’ve seen in years.

(Almost) lacking in music

From the first season of Mob Psycho 100 , there were plenty of new music tracks that helped define the series from the rest of anime. Specifically, this was noticeable within fight sequences where Mob would use all of his power. However, season two fails to define any new pieces of music. With the music’s wacky design, the series is able to connect the viewers with Mob’s emotions. When he is calm, the music plays a nice upbeat piano theme. In contrast, the music sounds shaky and uncontrollable when Mob is angry. While these two emotions are pretty constant, they don’t change the actual music from the first season. However, there are some additional emotions that are introduced with new music this season. The most noticeable emotion within Mob this season is empathy, which was accompanied by a chorus of violins. Lastly, the music for the opening and ending themes are pretty fantastic. The opening titled, “99.9” is literally an improvement from the previous opening, “99.” Not only does it keep the beat going strong for the action that follows in the episode, it signals Mob’s inner struggles as well. This pairs wonderfully with the relaxing ending song that is meant to accompany a relaxed mind after a struggle.