Anime NYC 2018 News Roundup
Anime NYC 2018: Premiere Report: Mob Psycho 100 Season 2
by Cindy Sibilsky,
The full-capacity crowd of 1000 eager otaku was squirming with anticipation for the long-awaited second season of the Mob Psycho 100 anime. Hundreds were turned away due to space limitations. There was plenty of reason to be excited. For one, Japanese actor Setsuo Ito - the voice of Shigeo Kageyama (a.k.a. Mob) - was one of the guests of honor at Anime NYC. He was outfitted in the very costume he wore for the stage play of Mob Psycho 100 in Japan.
But the biggest reason for the frenzy was that the lucky thousand who made it to that particular panel would be the very first fans to see a sneak peek of the first episode of the second season, nearly two months before both American and Japanese audiences get to see it debut on January 7th in Japan and January 10th in the U.S. It will be available for streaming on Crunchyroll thereafter.
The first episode was chock-full of all the things that make Mob Psycho 100 such a hit - I'll try my best not to spoil anything. All of the favorites from season one return: Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, the shy, inconspicuous 8th grader who blends into the background but is in reality a person with incredible psychic powers, Mob's master (who acts more like a manager or sleazy agent) Arataka Reigen (voiced by Takahiro Sakurai) and Dimple (voiced by Akio Ōtsuka) the green blob with blushed cheeks, an evil spirit bent on godhood whose plans were thwarted by Mob and now he claims to be his partner.
The first episode features the same kind of dry, over-the-top humor both the Mob Psycho 100 manga and Season 1 of the anime are known for, as well as the creator ONE's other hit series -- One-Punch Man -- and of course there are plenty of awe-inspiring action moments (such as the opening scene in a farm possessed by wicked spirits) but what makes this season even more involved are the tender moments that are snuck in, much to the delight and approval of the fans in attendance. Mob has the same issues as any eighth-grader -- insecurity, self-doubt, crushes and unrequited love -- only he has the burden of superpowers to boot. A huge embarrassment attracts the attention of a cute girl at school, Emi, which only further complicates things for a boy who suppresses his emotions.
But one of the most remarkable things about the series remains its animation, which utilizes an entire toolkit of styles and inspirations to create a show that looks like none other -- from black and white charcoal drawings to high tech digital effects to video game imagery and rudimentary retro simplicity – all of which are woven seamlessly into the narrative as way to heighten the emotion on-screen. Mob Psycho 100 remains an incredible production.
The creators who chose to launch the world premiere had one more trick up their sleeves for those lucky fans in attendance. There were personal video messages from Yuzuru Tachikawa, the Japanese director who first teased that he was actually hiding backstage and would burst through the doors and manifest before the eyes of the New York audience (even the host, Miles Thomas from Crunchyroll, almost believed him). He thanked the American fans for their adoration and devotion to the series, something he wasn't expecting. His video was followed by the voice of Dimple, Akio Ōtsuka, who hinted that Dimple may seem as if he's forgotten his original scheme, but he is still looking to possess Mob – but fear not, he's just “a good guy with a bad side.” The last video greeting was from Takahiro Sakurai, the voice of Arataka Reigen who portrayed the character's signature slickness even through the video reflected that he feels this season has a more mature start, and to look out for the relationship between Mob and Reigen to change and evolve.
Then he had another announcement -- they would be screening the world premiere of the second episode of the second series as well! This set off a fever pitch amongst the crowd and for good reason, the second episode is even better than the first. This would be the first time it would be seen anywhere in the world. The episode is called “Urban Legends” and explores those imaginative monster stories that get passed down from person to person until they're grown into local myths. It begins when Reigen, desperate for more business, takes Mob to another town where such urban legends are still more commonly believed. There they are confronted by a portly fellow with psychic powers who sees them as competition – Banshomaru Shinra, a new character for this season. Their capers continue with horror and humor so brilliant it would be a shame to give it away here, but a couple of particularly ingenious moments include being mistaken for a pervert on a playground and a video game-esque sequence with a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots duel.
Though the fortunate few at Anime NYC got a sneak peek at the second episode, which proved to be even more exciting and enticing than the first, fans who didn't get that rare opportunity will have a lot to look forward to when it is officially released in January 2019!
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