Mob Psycho 100 Episode 11
by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Mob Psycho 100 ?
I was a little worried about how Mob Psycho 100 was going to reintroduce Reigen to the story. While Mob and Reigen have a fine rapport on their own, Reigen generally exists in a more comedy-focused space than the show's recent material. The esper-on-esper fights of the Claw break-in have been pure shounen spectacle - not only would Reigen's lack of any real powers presumably make him useless here, but his tendency to lean the show toward over-the-top gags might also make for an awkward tonal mix.
Fortunately, this episode blew my misgivings away. Reigen's entrance did indeed lean the show back towards comedy, but his antics here had me laughing far more consistently than his earlier material. On top of that, the explanation for how he ended up confidently strolling into the base reflected nicely on the episode's focus on the powerful versus everyone else. As Hanazawa noted, the Claw underlings are naturally inclined to prostrate themselves before anyone who can demonstrate their superiority - confronted with Reigen's offhand confidence, they quickly assumed he must be the leader of Claw itself. So the first segment of this episode made for a great running joke, as Reigen imparted a rambling pile of wisdom on his impromptu cult following.
Reigen immediately taking the reins from the Claw lackeys also made for a reasonable new reflection on the nature of power itself. If Reigen has any true strength, it's in the confidence he possesses that's at least partially born of ignorance - he almost never knows how much trouble he's getting into, so he's able to act tough because he doesn't know any better. This power allows him to stride effortlessly into a variety of terrible situations, from the haunted tunnel in the first episode or the Claw headquarters this week. But the fact that Reigen's power is illusory seems to reflect ONE's general ideas on such hierarchies; even the idea of power is a kind of power, and the psychic strength of Claw's leaders can't prevent Reigen's assessment of them as grown-up children from ringing true. The strength to enact your will is a meaningful metric of power, but it's far from the only kind of strength.
Along with Reigen's comedy, this episode was also lifted by some excellent smaller character moments. Mob and Ritsu's reunion was a lovely bit of understated catharsis, demonstrating the uneven but unbreakable bond between these two brothers. Mob's love for his brother has consistently been used in a negative sense, offering a catalyst for his explosions, so it's important that the show demonstrate that their relationship is a fundamentally positive thing. And while Ritsu's descent into villainy was a little hastily constructed, his actions since have made him a welcome addition to the show's main cast. It's extremely rewarding to see this show respect the everyday but incredibly valuable love shared by these two, since it's a more equal and giving relationship than any other in the story.
And of course, there's that final battle. In spite of Reigen's best efforts, the end of this episode erupted into a torrent of vividly animated psychic action, demonstrating more of the perspective fluidity that made the eighth episode so thrilling. The Claw headquarters was animated with as much dynamism as any of the characters - the walls and ceiling bent and crumbled around the characters, creating a sense of apocalyptic uncertainty. But in spite of that, the careful solidity of character movement kept the exchanges highly impactful. Even as the characters were flying away from each other and nearly being skewered by loose rubble, the laws of physics and anatomy were obeyed; little touches like the speed of Hanazawa sliding across the rubble or the reverberation of uncovered piping as it hit concrete ensured there was still a sense of physicality and consequence. It'd be easy for standout sequences like this to embrace visual creativity at the expense of a sense of grounded danger, but this terrific sequence felt both visually exuberant and consistently dangerous.
Overall, I was very impressed with how gracefully this episode integrated Mob Psycho's very divergent characters, themes, and even genre styles. Reigen had some of his best comic and dramatic material, earning himself an accidental cult in one scene and demonstrating his clear positive influence on Mob's life in another. The Claw and Mob factions both got to strut their stuff, offering one more action highlight in a show already overflowing with them. Finally, the stage was set for a climactic follow-up, as Mob's powers are finally unleashed to defend the man who first taught him restraint.
Mob Psycho 100 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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