This is a spoiler free review.
“No going back…”
Mob Psycho 100 is one of those very special anime that come around few and far between that clicks on every level. The ridiculous psychic-centric series is so fun and accessible that it’s even a popular title for non-anime fans. Its specific brand of mayhem is just hard to resist. Second seasons are often the time that viewers figure out if a series actually has some energy behind it or if it was more of just a one-hit wonder with a season’s worth of story behind it. Thankfully, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 (stylized as Mob Psycho 100 II) rises to the occasion on every level and produces what’s a fuller, better, sharper series in every sense. What already seemed like an incredible anime has now just become the baseline for this show and it’s exciting to see that it can do even more.
Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 scales back from the giant Claw death battles from the end of season one and instead presents much smaller stories. The premiere opts to focus on human relationships and school-based problems, which hint at a much more emotional, human side of the series. It’s shocking to see that it’s almost more satisfying to see Mob make a new friend than it is for him to win some psychically charged battle. However, the series still draws inspirations for its exorcisms from creative places, like a haunted scarecrow and field of crops or urban legends and ancient folklore.
The high-level evil spirits encountered this season are already very unique and boast creative designs. This season also feels like it lays into the horror angle a little more, whether it’s in terms of the evil spirits that Mob and company encounter, or just the general tone through certain scenes. This degree of creeping tension works well throughout the series and adds more even more layers to what are already fairly complex action scenes. To that end, this season—at least at this point—doesn’t hesitate to jump into the action with its episodes. The audience knows these characters and understands how they function, so the privilege of being able to sometimes immediately head into chaotic exorcisms and even use them as a way to work out character conflicts is wonderful.
It’s no secret that there were a lot of expectations placed on Mob Psycho 100 Season 2, so the fact that this is very much the same show, but a more mature, better balanced version of it is deeply satisfying. Not only does Mob open himself up in new ways and grow as a character, but the show also does and finds ways to apply psychic abilities to do good and heal situations rather than simply overwhelm others in battle. It’s an enlightening moment when this realization is dawned upon and it should be exciting to see the sorts of stories that it brings forward. As Mob slowly becomes a slightly more confident individual the show is able to tap into fascinating new aspects of the character. Mob wants to figure out who he really is as an individual, which makes for a deep, rich journey.
In a similar sense, Mob’s powers also begin to grow this season in very cool ways. He’s a character that already has the capacity for tremendous power, but it’s a lot of fun to see the different ways that psychic abilities can grow other than in the strength department. This should lead to what are not only rounder stories for the series, but also more creative battles where Mob has a wealth of psychic tools at his disposal instead of just blasting his enemy with brute power.
Mob grows in some fulfilling ways in this premiere, but Mob Psycho 100 II also allows its supporting cast to step up to the plate this year and share the spotlight. There are also several new psychic users and exorcists that get introduced this year. This is frankly a great fit for the show and while the outliers in the series have always been the very best kind of weirdoes, it’s helpful for Mob to learn how to better work with others and become less of a reserved individual.
Perhaps the best application of this is the idea that this season sees Mob wrestle with a budding romance and an attempt at a girlfriend. It’s an incredibly endearing storyline for the character, but the series is also at its best when it’s able to mix ordinary, grounded problems with its psychic madness. The first season would often skew towards the latter because Mob intentionally closes off his emotions and tries to sever that side of himself, but with the character trying to remedy that to some extent this year it allows for more “slice of life” problems to plague Mob as he tries to get through life. It’s a good fit for both the character and the show.
The animation that Studio Bones brings forward in Mob Psycho 100 has always been one of the series’ highlights (as is the case with ONE’s other anime, One-Punch Man). Psychic energy swirls and surrounds characters in battle with a frightening, unpredictable energy. Colors collide and explode like a melting kaleidoscope and the series turns tense fights into visual spectacles that will stick with you long after. Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 finds a way to become even more ambitious with the animation as it constantly mixes different mediums to illustrate different moods and experiences in this busy show. On top of that, the show’s score also features many appropriate rhythms that enhance the mayhem.
The action and the animation in Mob Psycho 100 have never been sharper, but the humor this season also remains incredibly on point. Whether it’s the dialogue, pacing, or the schizophrenic way that the show will animate character’s faces under certain intense emotions, the show is always hilarious. Reigen’s immense bullshitting continues to delight, but Mob overthinking his decisions as he gets caught up in the intricacies of a romantic relationship also lends itself to a ton of comedic material. It’s the right blend between this comedy and the psychic-thwarting action.
It may have been a long wait for Mob Psycho 100 II, but it’s completely excusable when the product is this polished and impressive. The show’s second season somehow doesn’t buckle under the lofty expectations and turns out an even more impressive anime. Rest easy that Mob Psycho 100 is in the very best of hands. If you liked the first season then your Satisfaction Level is only going to hit 100% this year.