Escape Artists

Escape Pod => Science Fiction Discussion => Topic started by: Chicken Ghost on September 27, 2017, 05:12:08 AM

Title: Mob Psycho 100
Post by: Chicken Ghost on September 27, 2017, 05:12:08 AM
Mob Psycho 100 is one of the best shows I've ever seen.  I don't care if you don't like anime, you should watch it.  The anime cliches it doesn't ignore, it upends. 

I'm gonna describe it to you, and it's going to sound like a hundred other shows:
Mob is a middle school student who has psychic powers.  He uses them to fight ghosts that only people like him can see.  He attracts the attention of others with powers like his, and the conflict escalates.  BORING! SEEN IT!

Except it's not like that.  It isn't a typical teenage power fantasy, though if that's what you're looking for, there's plenty of ass-kicking, in a format not entirely dissimilar to what you've seen before.  (Though the animation is ...unique, and there are some other key differences.)  There's no progression to Mob's power.  It's got two levels, high and low, and they are there from the beginning.  His power isn't even presented as something he wants. 

What makes Mob Psycho 100 special is its protagonist.  Apparently "mob" is a manga term for background characters who don't matter.  And that's what Mob thinks of himself as.  He doesn't want to be special.  He wants to be like everyone else.  He wants to succeed by working hard and developing himself as a person.  He has these super powers (ability to see ghosts, telekinesis, and a nearly-impenetrable barrier) that set him apart from everyone, but he doesn't want that.  The others he meets with those powers can't understand this, and they sneer at him for it.  Mob pities them. 

But deep inside he has anger.  The anger can make him lose control.  Where he would normally never hurt anyone, if he is pushed far enough, he releases his full power.  He may hurt people, but he feels bad about it.  He never wants it to happen again, and so he contains all his emotions until it happens again. 

The other characters aren’t there as obstacles in Mob’s path on the way to some goal, like in typical shonen-fight series.  They are there to contrast against Mob.  They’re there to show what Mob is, what he isn’t, what he wants to be, and what he doesn’t want to be.  There are characters who are powerless where he is powerful.  They want to have power like him, he just wants to be like them.  There are characters who are powerful and get by in life by using that power; while Mob is more powerful, and wants to get by in life without using his power at all. 

Another aspect of the supporting characters is that they almost all want something from Mob.  They aren’t competing with him to obtain some MacGuffin.  They aren’t even trying to take anything away from Mob, in many cases.  Mob’s opponents, and his friends, all want Mob to become something.  The Telepathy club want him to join their club (and not even because he’s telekinetic, they just need a warm body to have enough members to stay a club).  The bullies want to prove themselves by fighting him, then they want him to be their leader.  His boss exploits his abilities.  The only characters who don’t want anything from Mob are the Body Improvement Club (who don’t need anything from him, and only want to help him), and his parents.  (And even his mom wants him to stop bending spoons.)  Even the bad guys, who want him to join them at first, become upset when he won’t destroy them on their terms.  The conflict in Mob Psycho 100 isn’t over an object, it’s over Mob’s identity.  Mob wants to be himself, not what anyone else wants or expects him to be. 

Mob Psycho 100 may be set in a suburban Japanese school (UGH, I know, right?) but it actually does something important with that setting.  Mob isn’t a middle school student (just) to appeal to middle school students.  He’s a middle school student because that’s what he has to be for this idea to really work.  It takes a kid who is trying to figure out what he wants to be and presents his struggle to become that.  It doesn’t show a weak kid achieving power in a way we all wished we could.  It presents a powerful kid seizing control over his own identity despite what his circumstances dictate he should be.  He has an easy path to every superficial desire.  Everything the people around him have convinced themselves they should want can be his.  And he shocks and infuriates them all by just wanting to be a normal kid. 

The ending is kind of a let-down, in that it undoes a lot of what made the series so special in the set-up for a sequel. (There is no way any continuation can possibly be this good).  But setting that aside, this is one of the best works of fiction I’ve ever seen. 

Oh yeah, the music is badass, and the animation excellent.
Title: Re: Mob Psycho 100
Post by: SSSSSSSS on October 02, 2017, 01:20:41 AM
Title: Re: Mob Psycho 100
Post by: Ginny123 on October 31, 2017, 02:25:48 AM
Where is it available?  On-line, cable, or ??
Title: Re: Mob Psycho 100
Post by: Chicken Ghost on November 02, 2017, 01:44:08 PM
Where is it available?  On-line, cable, or ??

Crunchyroll in the US, apparently.  I'm not in the US.  

edit:  You know what it kind of reminds me of?  Crime and Punishment, but like, in reverse.  Sort of.   I mean in terms of character arc and motivations, not plot.  (Crime and Punishment was over-the-top style-heavy satire, too.) 
Title: Re: Mob Psycho 100
Post by: ramonvine on December 21, 2017, 07:42:19 AM
I bought 5 volumes at Barnes and Noble last Sunday after I had my fender flares ( fixed. It actually has similar art style to One-Punch Man in some silly ways.