MOB PSYCHO 100 II: Episode 1 & 2 Review
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
The second season of MOB PSYCHO 100 II promises to do its predecessor justice (and beyond) with new characters, better art, fluid animation, and developing relationships.
98 %
Outstanding Sequel
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The AnimeNYC premiere of MOB PSYCHO 100 II hit 100%, promising to be an even bigger success than season one! AnimeNYC gave fans a sneak peek of MOB PSYCHO 100 II, screening the first two episodes at their MOB PSYCHO panel. Special guest star Setsuo Ito, the voice of Mob himself, flew to New York in his best Mob cosplay to watch the global premiere with fans. The episodes were a major success, moving American fans to cheer and shout along with the characters.

In pre-recorded videos broadcasted at the panel, the production team expressed their worries about the show. They feared MOB PSYCHO 100 II wouldn’t be as impactful as the first season. Fans of the series also worried that the long hiatus between seasons would be a major obstacle in its production. But if the audience reactions are anything to go by, then the team has nothing to worry about moving forward.

The Everyday Life of a Middle School Psychic

Season two picks up where the first season left off: with Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, a boy with extraordinary psychic powers, struggling to get through middle school. After taking down a cult and facing off against powerful psychics at the end of season one, Mob’s life (mostly) returns to normal — if normal consists of running to the aid of your boss, a fake (yet lovable) psychic. Reigen, Mob’s cash-hungry boss, constantly stumbles into exorcism jobs that are far beyond his pay grade and relies on the stressed middle-schooler to bail him out. No matter how monstrous the haunt seems, Mob always exorcizes the beast with the same neutral expression.

Mob stares deadpan with his hand outstretched after exorcising a pesky spirit.
Even when vanquishing spirits, Mob’s trademark deadpan remains. | Image: Crunchyroll

Unfortunately, even Mob’s patience has a limit. The daily stress of life affects Mob’s capacity to control his psychic powers. He keeps his emotions under lock and key for this reason. However, those pent-up feelings eventually pile up to a breaking point. Mob’s powers unleash to their fullest potential when his emotions hit 100%, manifesting in whatever he’s feeling at the time.

From One to 100

The new season delivers the MOB PSYCHO 100 atmosphere in more than just its top-notch voice acting and emotional blend. The art of Studio Bones continues to impress with crisp, clean animation that lacks noticeable signs of rushed work. More often than not, animation studios cut corners on animation quality in favor of finishing the episode in time to air. Studio Bones’ work with MOB PSYCHO 100, however, is nearly flawless. Nothing in the animation feels out of place or looks careless.

The animation technique highlights the artistic ability of the animators as well. Studio Bones depicts the raw emotion (or lack of emotion, in Mob’s case) and character of MOB PSYCHO effortlessly through expressions and color choice. Most impressively, Studio Bones continues to produce high-quality art and animation while remaining loyal to original manga artist One’s style. The character designs deviate from popular anime styles with flashy, eccentric hair and dewy eyes. Instead, faces are simple and lack excessive detail. Despite this, both One and Studio Bones display a mastery over artistic expression in depictions of emotions and fight scenes. Studio Bones excellently translates One’s style to the screen with fluid animation that surpasses that of the first season.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Countdown to 100 and Beyond

As always, the characters of MOB PSYCHO continue to entertain with their unique personalities emphasized by the show’s style. Mob, Reigen, and the ghost Dimple bring the story of a psychic middle-schooler to life yet again in season two. Although only two episodes were shown at the premiere, episode one already promises further exploration of these lovable characters. Mob’s trip to a haunted farm with Reigen at the beginning of the episode quite literally plants the seeds for Mob’s continued growth. After meeting a particularly menacing ghost, Mob realizes the many possibilities of his psychic gift. He learns through the encounter and mimics the spirit, adapting his own abilities to take a similar form.

Though the scene was short, we get a peek at what’s to come for the young psychic in the future. Reigen (as always) brushes off Mob’s increased understanding of his own abilities. However, his oversight only directs more audience attention to this new ability. If Mob can adapt his powers so quickly and effortlessly like this, then how else will Mob’s power manifest in future episodes? If a change like this is no big deal for Reigen and Mob, then I can’t wait to see what kind of change is a big deal.

The Many Emotions of Mob

MOB PSYCHO 100 II’s first episode takes a slightly different direction from the rest of the series. After the chaos of Mob and Reigen’s fight against a secret organization of psychics, Mob’s life finally returns to “normal.” The first episode takes off with Mob running for student council president, motivated by the desire to impress his crush. His unsurprising failure at the election speech, however, sparks a dialogue between Mob and another student. He spends the following week getting to know her and their relationship spurs something inside Mob, letting him break out of his shell a little.

Mob flinches with shock as a classmate correctly guesses who his crush is.
MOB PSYCHO 100 II nails those relatable, comedic expressions. | Image: Warner Bros. Japan YouTube

The shift to a focus on Mob’s emotions and normal middle school life creates an excellent opening for season two. While it may seem tame in comparison to the events of last season’s end, it makes perfect sense for Studio Bones to ease into the new season. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to introduce it. Episode one sets the tone and hints at future character growth while showcasing Mob’s potential to grow as a psychic and a person. It perfectly blends themes of emotional maturity while still balancing that trademark humor surrounding Mob’s lack of presence at school. All these elements and more tie together to deliver the same atmosphere of One that fans adore.

Mob: More than Just a Background Character?

The premiere also hints at the blossoming of character relationships with a few hidden metaphors. Mob’s new friendship with classmate Emi encourages him to step out of his comfort zone little by little. Eventually, they form a trust that allows Mob to reveal something to her he almost never shows anyone else. Though their relationship has a few — okay, a LOT — of bumps, in the end, Mob gains a new friend. Most importantly, he gains a friend who feels like she can open up to him in turn.

Emi watches sadly as her writing is torn to pieces and blows away in the wind.
The mysterious new girl, Emi. | Image: Warner Bros. Japan YouTube

Mob will need more encouragement and guidance from her moving forward. Even so, this small step for Mob leaves room for character exploration down the road. Thanks to his time spent with Emi, Mob learns to speak his mind and form his own opinions about the world. We can only wonder what impact this will this have on his relationship with Reigen, who exploits Mob’s lack of autonomy for profit.

One final question that episode one presents to viewers — the question every MOB PSYCHO 100 fan has been asking since the season’s trailer dropped — is what role Emi will play throughout the new season. Their relationship, to say the least, is complicated. Emi has her own reasons for approaching Mob in the first place and Mob, naturally, responds to her the awkward confusion typical for a middle school boy. The episode ends on a happy note, with a cute and shockingly smooth scene with Mob, but where will their relationship end up? That question can only be answered in time. Anticipating fans will just have to wait until January to satisfy their burning curiosity.

Who You Gonna Call? Urban Mythbusters

After an emotionally-centered and heartwarming first episode, MOB PSYCHO 100 II dives straight back into action with episode two. It opens with Reigen and Mob on a train heading to a town famous for its urban legends. Reigen takes Mob with him to sniff out the perfect opportunity for a con business venture — or so he thinks. The town does have some real spooks haunting it, though, and a frightened local hires them to take care of the pesky ghosts. Comedy takes root again here; some of the ghosts are nods to popular horror stories, like IT and THE RING. In town, Mob and Reigen meet another exorcist, though so far his abilities don’t hold a candle to Mob’s. Together, the three of them work to vanquish the threats and put the town at ease.

A young Reigen stands transfixed, fearing the urban legend of a woman who kidnaps children on rainy days.
We all float down here, Reigen… | Image: Warner Bros. Japan YouTube

This episode is an excellent transition from the character-driven plot of the first episode. After taking the time to grow and learn in episode one, Mob finally shows off his awesome psychic powers. Additionally, the second episode brings a new character, the other exorcist, to the center stage. According to the videos shown at the AnimeNYC screening, the exorcist will return as a recurring character. It will be interesting to see how this new character grows alongside Reigen and Mob. Can he learn a thing or two from Mob, despite being much older? Season two already promises to be an amazing addition to the MOB PSYCHO series and this episode adds the exciting possibility of introducing even more psychics.

New Faces in MOB PSYCHO 100 II

With new faces, we also saw a new side of Reigen. In the middle of their urban legend hunt, Reigen and Mob follow a lead on a “human-faced dog.” Surprisingly, Reigen shows compassion to the alleged haunt, bringing out a side of him that was heartwarming to see. Although the scene is comedic, it’s refreshing to see that Reigen isn’t entirely selfish.

The camera zooms into Reigen's face as he points determinedly at himself, accepting a job offer.
One of the early shots of Reigen from season one. | Image: Crunchyroll.

The episode’s plot isn’t too complex or as emotionally compelling as the first episode, but it does the job. While their mission to track down all of the urban legends in town gives the story a “filler” vibe, the episode is more significant than that. Filler episodes can be just as important as plot-driven episodes when they’re done right. Shows like AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST can hardly call their in-between episodes “filler.” They’re always used to further the plot or nurture complex character backgrounds and relationships. MOB PSYCHO 100 II, fortunately, follows that same direction. Although the story is mostly comedy-driven and resolves itself quickly by the end of the episode, it leaves room for new characters to make a scene and for existing characters to establish their roles in the coming season.

Psyched for Season Two

Both episodes shown at the AnimeNYC screening provided fans with an incredible premiere and sneak peek at what’s to come this January. Concerns about the coming season’s success as a continuation of the series needn’t be voiced. The show not only continues to impress with excellent humor and animation, but goes beyond the first season. Already MOB PSYCHO 100 II holds a lot of potential. Judging from what I’ve seen, the future episodes will surpass that potential 100%.

The psychic introduced in MOB PSYCHO 100 II holds a set of large mantra beads.
An early image of the new character from the opening episode of season one. | Image: Crunchyroll

Although they’re very different in tone, both episodes deliver that same atmosphere from the first season that MOB PSYCHO fans are dying for again. Considering the amazing success of the first two episodes of this new season, I can’t wait to see where MOB PSYCHO 100 II takes us. With promises from to delve deeper into Mob and Reigen’s relationship and heavy hints at Mob’s growth, both as a character and as a psychic, season two promises to be everything that MOB PSYCHO fans hope for and more.

Excited to see what choices the budding young psychic makes? Or curious about whether Mob actually gets a girlfriend? Not to worry — MOB PSYCHO 100 II airs January 7th, 2019!

Featured image courtesy of Warner Bros. Japan YouTube.

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