Mob Psycho 100 Review

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This show is a nice contrast to Attack on Titan. That show had amazing animation, soundtrack, and writing which helped to counter the terrible source material. It managed to bring up the manga which is like a 1 all the way to a 5. Granted, it hasn’t had to adapt the really sketchy stuff yet so we’ll see if that can last. Mob Psycho is the opposite as the animation is terrible and the soundtrack is only average at best while the plot isn’t bad. It’s funny how two shows can be so different and so similar at the same time. It’s no One Punch Man, but the series manages to pick up its game just enough in the end to save itself.

The series is about a kid named Shigeo. He was born as the strongest being in the universe and he could end all life on the planet if he wanted too. Shigeo was unable to deal with this so he locked away his true powers with his emotions and decided to train under a con artist named Reigen. As a result of losing his emotions, Shigeo is now super timid and unsure of himself. He basically says whatever he is thinking and is typically a very oblivious person who is also not fit physically. He is forced to come to terms with his powers more when an evil organization known as Claw kidnaps his brother. Can Shigeo defeat them without losing his cool or is it curtains for him?

Right from the start you’ll notice a lot of similarities to One Punch Man. I like to think of it as the poor man’s version of OPM as it does everything on a lower level, but at least it still tries to be like that show. If you’re gonna copy something, you should copy from the best. It’s from the same guy so at least he’s just copying himself, I imagine there would have been a lot of waves online if this had really been a ripoff from another person.

Lets start with the negatives and then go into the positives. Mob Psycho is hurt by a very slow start. The show is only 12 episodes and the plot doesn’t really begin until around episode 8-9. The first chunk is just for filler and character development. Most of the development isn’t any good though which doesn’t help its case. The show isn’t so much boring as it’s just very underwhelming because of the animation. You won’t really begin to like any of the characters aside from Reigen and most of the supporting cast is pretty bland and lackluster.

The beginning of the plot didn’t help matters either as it covered Shigeo’s brother Ritsu on his descent into darkness. He turned completely evil and wrecked some lives before being beat up a few times and realizing that being a hero is less paiful. He was definitely one of the worst characters in the series so getting multiple episodes to himself wasn’t a really good idea on the show’s part. Next up is the biggest negative of the series though…the animation.

You can call the animation indie or experimental, but it leads to the same result. It’s just really bad. The average episode will look like hastily drawn title by the Dragon Ball Super B team. (Not even the starters) The character designs are only good when the episodes get serious or during a battle so otherwise they don’t look very good at all. It’s like we’ve time traveled decades into the past for this show. Moreover, the show looks ugly on purpose at times. The show has a really awful way of drawing characters sweating and we get some dicey facial expressions the whole time as well. The animation focuses on elements that don’t help the show’s case and parts of it will even seem like FLCL. It can be subtly gross if anything.

Now, the animation isn’t terrible 24/7. It magically transforms into a solid spectacle once the action gets underway. Suddenly the show remembers that this is 2016 and it looks top of the line. For the final 3 episodes, this is mostly the case for the entire adventure which also proves that this “experimental” style as intentional. It’s a little insulting that the show looked so bad on purpose. It would be like if the One Punch Man anime had decided to look like the web comic sketches. It would make no sense and would have severely hurt the show. Unlike Mob Psycho, the OPM series is just a lot better in general so it’d probably still get a 7, but it would be a massive two point drop.

As for the soundtrack, it’s not bad. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a little standard, but I’ll take it. It has 1-2 really good themes with the rest not being very notable. I wasn’t a big fan of the theme song and I still don’t care for the visuals, but the actual music grew on me by the end of the show. It’s definitely pretty catchy and the serious Mob themes are good. I’ll give this area of the show a thumbs up. All right, lets talk about the characters.

I definitely don’t like Shigeo. He’s not very smart and is way too timid. While the first trait can work to a character’s favor if handled well, the latter pretty much never works. Shigeo gets serious when he reaches 100% rage of course and he quickly jumps into the other extreme since there’s no middle ground for him. I wish he’d stay like that though. Not only does his design get a lot cooler, but he actually has a personality. Normal Shigeo has no character and just lets everyone walk right over him. He stays in normal mode for so long that a member of Claw even defeats him and then he loses another round later on for losing control again. Shigeo’s just not a good character and he is extremely annoying whenever he is on screen. For being the world’s strongest fighter, he’s got a ways to go.

Luckily, Reigen is the best character in the series and he gets a lot of screen time as well. Since he is a professional con artist, he doesn’t fall for any of the tricks that Shigeo steps into. Reigen knows how to steal money from people and trick them into enjoying the process. While he doesn’t have any powers, Reigen does know basic hand to hand skills and has most of the best moments in the series. He takes on the final bosses and it’s just great. While his advice at the end was completely terrible, it was the only out of character moment for him. The rest of it was all pretty legit and he just steals the show plain and simple. He’s the kind of character who should definitely stay powerless as it’s part of his charm, but I’d still love to see him beat up more villains at some point.

Next up is Dimple. He was a big villain who got turned into a powerless spirit and now Shigeo allows him to hang around. It may just be to fuel his ego though as Shigeo will threaten him now and again. He is definitely a villain even if it’s not played too seriously so the other characters need to watch out. He’s not a great character, but he can definitely be amusing. Ritsu on the other hand never gets amusing or likable. He’s the classic “jealous brother” trope along with characters like Yukio from Blue Exorcist. He doesn’t have any powers so that makes him feel bad. Ritsu does whatever he can to gain powers, but nothing works so one day he decides to take a shortcut. After he gains his powers, Ritsu immediately uses them to bully people because of his inferiority complex. This is the part where Ritsu makes sure to never redeem himself. He really only turns into a good guy because he was completely humiliated by the villains and spends the last episodes just getting beat up over and over again. He got to keep his powers so now he can fight to a degree, but he’s nowhere near Mob. Like One Punch Man, if you’re a supporting character then you’re doomed.
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Ritsu does officially turn good so he’ll probably be a solid character in season 2, but it was too late for him here. He already ruined the lives of a lot of classmates by framing them and he just really crossed the line into full villain territory. It’s hard to reverse that in a handful of episodes as opposed to Naruto where Sasuke had hundreds of episodes to show you why he was a villain before turning good. Granted, it wasn’t handled any better than this show though, but that’s another story. Ritsu actually does bring down the show.

The last member of the heroes is Hanazawa. He has a similar plot to Ritsu as he starts off as a bully and then becomes a good guy after Shigeo shaves his hair off and beats him into the ground. There’s a trend here if you’ve noticed, the only way to turn a villain into a good guy is to beat him up. The series goes even further with this by the end of the series. I actually liked the ending of the show quite a lot. Just about everyone turned good, apologies were made, etc. It was a nice uplifting ending to the series and while Shigeo looks bad as usual in his epilogue, it hit all of the right notes. Since this is supposed to be a light hearted parody anyway, it should have an ending like this to match that beat. It’s why I have much higher hopes for the 2nd season. If it plays its cards right, I could definitely see that one getting a 7. Hopefully they don’t get the same animation studio though.

Time for the villains. Shou is the hype antagonist who they are saving for season 2. His abilities are certainly extraordinary as he was able to take down one of the strongest villains in the blink of an eye. He’s pretty charismatic and I think that I actually will end up liking this villain. He’s the best villain in the series at the moment. Another big villain was Sakurai. He’s a swordsman who uses psychic energy to amp up his equipment so he can take the fight to the heroes. He’s very strong and is certainly the most no nonsense of all the fighters. His role may not have been huge, but he was one of the big villains and I’d say that he was the best member. (Shou doesn’t count as a member of course)

Koyama was another one of the big members. He has super strength and it was quite formidable since he was actually able to punch a hole through Shigeo’s defenses. He wasn’t at 100% yet, but that was still really impressive. Furthermore, he was able to survive a long combo from Shigeo’s true power and had enough strength left to counter-attack and take him down. This guy was definitely no joke even if he was treated like one during round 2. He was another really good villain. There were other members of the group who shows up like one guy with fire powers and another who used a whip. The organization definitely had some really talented fighters under their belt.

Ishiguro was the leader of the group and “her” design while in villain mode was pretty cool. The gravity balls were also a nice touch. Gravity powers are some of the most underrated abilities in all of media if you ask me. They can definitely be very lethal and she was holding her own even after Mob stepped in. The ultimate reveal for Ishiguro may have been underwhelming for some and funny to others. It was mildly expected that something like this would happen, but at the same time it’s still a little surprising. It definitely destroyed Ishiguro’s character so hopefully it was worth the laugh.

One element of Mob Psycho 100 that can be a mixed bag is the fact that it’s a parody. Shigeo is meant to be virtually invincible which means that he can beat people whenever he wants. The reason why it doesn’t work as well as One Punch Man is because he’s just not likable. Also, Shigeo does lose 2-3 times in the series unlike Saitama who has yet to even come close to losing. It hurts the whole concept a little. Also, this means that there is never any real danger in the show. The show did randomly get dark at a few points in the series like with Ritsu’s plot and when the organization showed up for the first time. It’s a little all over the place with the tone and especially when the show would just go full parody mode and have some big comedic reveal to disrupt a tense moment. It just didn’t always work well. Some episodes had a perfect blend like with the last episodes as Reigen wrecked everybody, but others like the super strength guy getting one shotted by Shigeo didn’t work. I do think that it’s a formula which could work like OPM proved, but this show just isn’t as good at it. As a result, many of the fights in this series are completely one sided which is never a lot of fun for the viewer. Whether it’s the hero outmatching the villain or vice versa if you make it too lopsided then it’s not going to be any fun. It has to at least be at the level where the other side has a slim chance like with Aizen wrecking the Bleach cast or Broly dishing out the pain. Those were lopsided battles, but they still felt like battles, not just one guy murdering everyone else or knocking them out with a thought.

Also, the supporting characters just need to be written out. The Alien, Psychics club is really just a waste of time. None of their scenes are funny and the characters aren’t likable. At least the body improvement club members help out Shigeo when he needs them. Those guys are honorable and you can count of them. Unfortunately, they are still side characters so they get beat up quite a lot. I definitely felt bad for them at any rate since they didn’t really deserve it. It was also one of the moments that hurt Shigeo a lot as he just watched all of his friends get beaten up in front of him and didn’t move a muscle to help. Considering that these guys only got into this mess to protect Shigeo from the bullies and it’s pretty messed up. The bullies sure get away with quite a lot in this show.

On a final note, making Reigen the main character would really help the show. As I mentioned, he has most of the best scenes in the show. He takes out the villains while staying classy and not breaking a sweat. One problem with the show is that all of the fights revolve around someone beating Shigeo black and blue until he turns into rage mode and then crushes the opponent while insulting him the whole time. There’s no middle ground so the supporting characters are your only chance at a good fight. It’s just Shigeo turning into rage mode constantly, but not even a really cool version like Kirito. (Best kind of rage mode) Reigen wouldn’t have that problem since he never even gets upset. The show could just tap into its comedy/parody nature and think of cool ways for Reigen to win through his scams. A show like that would definitely be a lot of fun and that’s the key thing. It would be fun as opposed to just being dark and brooding at times.

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Overall, I wasn’t really a fan of Mob Psycho. It had its hype moments and did get really good at the end, but the painful beginning really held it back. It could get a little mean spirited and the fact that Shigeo’s not a good lead doesn’t help either. That’s why I make the comparison to Attack on Titan, they’re both similar when you think about it. Mob Psycho has a whole lot more potential, but actually realizing it will be the struggle. Improving Mob as a character and getting the animation to a reasonable level should be the show’s two top priorities. Along the way it should also try to get the blend of genres balanced and write out some of the supporting characters as well. If it can do all of that, then Mob Psycho will be a success. Looking at One Punch Man and learning how to use humor as effectively would also be a valuable use of time. If you love One Punch man, then I guess you should check this out. I’d recommend just watching the first episode and then skipping the next 5-6 and starting with the plot if anything. That would probably help the experience quite a lot. Alternately, just check out One Punch Man instead.

Overall 5/10

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Psychic Power Nanaki Review

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This series is only three volumes so it’s definitely pretty short. At least we can call it a trilogy now right? It’s not bad, but it’s one of those series that definitely takes a major hit because one of the main characters is unlikable. In a small series like this, you definitely want to like all of the recurring characters. It’s a decent manga, but you can see why it was shortlived.

Nanaki was having fun being an ordinary teenager when he dies in a dream and gains ESP abilities. He’s an “attack” type so all of his abilities are related to fighting or ones that can help in combat. He can teleport and blow things up from a distance. Basic mental resistance to telepathy users and levitation are also granted to him. An agency quickly forces him to join so that they can keep an eye out for him. After all, they don’t want people with psychic abilities running lose right? Nanaki is paired up with Aoi, a healing type whose abilities are purely defensive with the exception of his ability to transform his metal stick into any object that he wants too. Given time and practice, that ability should be able to evolve at some point.

They have a few one shot adventures before the series is already in the final volume. The author quickly decided to do a mini arc that takes up the volume so that’s pretty neat. A vampire has appeared and he wants to take Aoi down. If he destroys him, he may be able to become immortal and gain absolute power. Well, Nanaki isn’t going to have any of that and the ultimate battle for survival begins!

So, it’s a decent series. It’s fairly interesting, but you could never call it a page turner. A lot of the stories feel a little generic and you can’t help but feel that there isn’t much of a point to the agency. They help out once in a while, but nobody takes them seriously and it sounds like they barely get any work. Supernatural occurrences must be rare and even when they do happen, the agency seems outmatched. I don’t know how they survived for so long without Nanaki since they are sorely lacking in offensive power.

Of course, that goes into one of the plot lines that is never developed. Aoi had a partner who was actually pretty tough like Nanaki. Unfortunately, he went over to the dark side and became a freak. “Freak” is an interesting way to say villain, but it’s the official name for what happens when you go from a hero to a villain in this series. The sad thing is that the guy never actually gets to appear aside from flashbacks and that was a fairly huge plot. You could tell that the author was leading up to a big fight between him and Nanaki, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The commander also has a sob story that never gets to appear about why he can’t fight that much anymore. Aoi obviously has a troubled past and the other members probably have stories to tell as well.

This is why you always want to start a series out strong. You’ll never be able to get to show everything that you wanted too if you don’t take the opportunity when it arrives. The author made the mistake of thinking that an episodic beginning would be enough to capture the attention of the readers and he paid for it with his series. Starting the series off with some big battles and Nanaki being told what the situation is as he goes would have certainly helped.

Nanaki is a pretty decent/good main character as I’ve mentioned. He’s hot headed and he never backs down from a fight. The hero shows nothing but contempt for the agency as he still does what he wants whenever he pleases. Naturally, he was sounding too good to be true so the author also made him a flirt. He will flirt with someone even if he knows that she’s evil and it goes way too far. He failed the same simulation three times because of this and it’s a computer simulation!! His abilities are impressive, but also hard to deal with since his abilities will typically destroy an opponent. It’s hard to blow someone up without fatally injuring them so that may have gave him some fun morality questions to solve at some point. Either way, Nanaki is easily the best character in the series and he proves himself to be a loyal ally through thick and thin.

Aoi is the cool and collected rival figure for the series, but he just doesn’t do a good job in this role. He is constantly sarcastic to the point where you just want him to stop talking and he’s exceptionally weak. Nanaki has to constantly save him and Aoi still acts as if he’s in charge. He starts to befriend Nanaki as the series goes on, but his character development never gets a chance to go anywhere and he looks downright terrible in the final volume. He’s a character who will certainly get on your nerves in just about every scene. Aoi’s too full of himself for his own good and he never really helps in any of the fights. He’s simply too powerless and he’s naturally not good at the whole teamwork thing. Rivals need to be strong and independent. Aoi just doesn’t fit the bill and he certainly hurts the series since he is constantly on screen.

The agency randomly gets two other members who appear at one point, but they get even less of a role than the other characters since they appeared late. One of them can kind of see into items to view their past while another one has basic super strength. The super strength girl is all right I suppose, but that power is not going to cut it against a telekenesis user. She’s also a little too antagonistic at first. The other character is definitely not good in combat, but she’s definitely a more likable character. The commander is starting the series off on the right foot, but he’ll never get a chance to fight so we’ll just have to buy the hype for now. He seems like he would ultimately have a role that’s pretty similar to Kakashi from Naruto, but it’s all speculation at this point.

Nanaki’s art is pretty decent. It’s not great so it won’t be winning you any awards in the near future, but it works for the characters. The fights tend to be a little blurred so it’s hard to tell what is happening though. That is definitely its weak point. The art is certainly rough and it looks like an early work by the artist. I’m not crazy about everyone’s eyes becoming squints when they’re playing the straight man in a joke or just doing the joking, but it’s not as bad as other gimmicks that I’ve seen in the past.

Again, this is an aspect that could have been better and I’m talking about the volume covers for the last book in particular. It’s a cover that doesn’t make you curious about the series at all and you would likely just pass it by. The first two weren’t bad, a little generic of course, but they weren’t bad. The third one is a turn off though and it doesn’t do a good job of representing the series. An action packed cover is what we expect to see and that just doesn’t happen.

Nanaki will definitely be over before you know it and we’ll remember this series as one that showed promise, but ultimately ended too soon. What keeps it from a 7 is that it’s not quite as fun to read as the other mini series like Legends and Yugioh R and we don’t get enough action from the series. I can certainly see why it was cancelled so while I may sympathize with the author, I would have canned it as well. It simply wasn’t good enough to keep afloat.

Overall, Psychich Power Nanaki is a decently fun manga to read. A little less flirting from the main character with the clients would be appreciated. Aoi is also just not a good character and I don’t think that the author knows how to write the banter between him and Nanaki effectively. That certainly limits the series potential and we do have a lot of loose ends that don’t get wrapped up. It’s the kind of series that may have gotten better as it went on, but it never got a chance. Well, it’s a decent read if you want to see some action, but you can probably find better titles as you go on through the manga world. Check out Black Cat for a main character who looks similar, but is a lot cooler.

Overall 6/10