Mob Psycho 100 II
by Steve Jones,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Mob Psycho 100 II ?
After a bit of a lull last week, Mob Psycho 100 returns in top form as the war against Claw begins. This episode leans heavily toward the action side of the series, delivering a great deal of psychic spectacle that features everything from voracious plants to rippling muscles. However, it wouldn't be Mob without the show's blend of humor and compassion, and despite the elevated stakes this arc still finds time to vamp on its themes and get some good laughs in at Reigen's expense. All is as it should be.
Claw situates itself in the tallest tower of its leader's hometown, because if you're going to go through with your hyper-macho world domination power fantasy, you might as well oversee it from the tip of a giant phallus. Suzuki reveals more about his psychology, but it's not revelatory so much as it confirms him to be the exact kind of megalomaniac who would grow up to either found a cult or start a reactionary YouTube channel. His flavor of dispassionate rhetoric, where he even boasts about his complete disregard for other people's feelings, is sadly all too familiar. It's the same emotionally-stunted response to rejection that characterized the villains from the 7th Division last season. People can delude themselves (and others) into believing that they're wholly rational and unbiased—that Suzuki's social Darwinism is simply an expression of the natural order of things—but everyone is still human. His lust for power and revenge are plain as day; he didn't choose his hometown as a base simply because he knows the layout. He lies to both himself and others, making him the antithesis of Mob's painstaking efforts to better understand himself and others.
Mob spends most of this episode asleep, and that's fine with me because the poor lad needs all the rest he can get. Meanwhile, his allies gawk at the scenes of destruction wrought by Claw's troops. The ex-Claw members are quick to prepare for battle, no matter how much the odds are stacked against them, but Reigen, once again The Only Adult In The Room, brings them back down to earth. He knows they have no chance of putting up any resistance without Mob's powers, and he knows better than to leap into a battle he has no chance of winning. This isn't the hot-blooded shonen wisdom of Mob Psycho 100's peers, but the boring yet practical wisdom of a man in his late twenties. However, being an adult also means being concerned about things like insurance, and since his renter's plan apparently doesn't cover psychic terrorist attacks, Reigen does an about-face and leads the charge. Sometimes being a hero means standing up for your friends, and sometimes it means braving the slings and arrows of bureaucracy to get as much insurance payout as possible.
This episode functions as another showcase for various animators and their unique styles, which are all wonderful to see in motion. I can feel the weight of the buildings as Claw's ground troops levitate whole structures into the air and slam them down on top of the police, splintering concrete and sending debris everywhere. The ring of collapsed buildings surrounding the tower makes for a striking visual, and it's no wonder that Reigen was in no hurry to contend with their powers. Suzuki's Ultimate 5 also live up to their hype as vehicles for some neat psychic duels. Minegishi's plant manipulation hearkens back to the season premiere, and his weaponized greenery injects a lot of nice colors and shapes into the episode's composition. Sho's lackeys fight back by using their powers in tandem, specializing in attack, defense, and healing like an MMO party. Mixing and matching superpowers like this is reminiscent of something like My Hero Academia, not really something I come to Mob Psycho 100 for, but it nevertheless slots in with its theme of both reaching out and relying on others.
Speaking of teamwork, Mob's semi-comatose state means it falls on Reigen and Dimple's laps to protect him once Claw storm their hideout. Reigen's wiles take him as far as he can go, but in the end he's not an esper, and there's not much he can do when staring up at the bulging muscles of Suzuki's Ultimate 5 goon Shibata. These scenes turn out to be the most fun of the episode, with Reigen's character acting as animated as ever, and Dimple turning Mob into a temporary martial arts master. The animators are great at making Shibata's presence and blows feel full of weight, and I actually winced when Mob's body got ping-ponged around the room. It can be difficult to craft real tension when your main character has godlike powers, but the show's continued emphasis on the physicality of Mob as a weak (but getting stronger!) teen boy gives this fight stakes. Dimple, like Reigen, is smart enough to know when to run away, and even though he continues to justify his actions out of self-preservation (i.e. the fear that Mob will exorcise him if things go too poorly), his heroics this season have been a surprising highlight. Of course, he still gets knocked back so hard that he loses possession of Mob, but it's the thought that counts.
Miraculously, Mob lands in the beefy arms of the Body Improvement Club. Is this a highly stupid coincidence? Yes. Is it hilarious? Also yes. It also results in the episode's fantastic climax, where one by one the club members try in vain to defend their friend. This ends with Goda shielding Mob with his entire body in a last ditch effort, refusing to give up because of how much Mob's determination continues to inspire all of them. It's another wonderful example of finding strength in one's weakness—Mob could easily work around his frailty with his esper powers, but he chooses instead to put the work in, no matter how difficult it is. That's why the Body Improvement Club loves Mob, and that gives Goda the courage to stand up to Shibata. Luckily, he's also aided by a Dimple-ex-machina, but in the end it's his painstakingly-honed muscles that win over Shibata's psychically enhanced ones, in parallel to Mob's own efforts. There are no shortcuts when it comes to improving yourself.
Our boy is finally conscious, but it doesn't look good for the rest of the anti-Claw resistance. Now, if I were Reigen and I needed to come up with a contingency plan for my teams in case they were caught, one of them pretending to double-cross the others while secretly triple-crossing Claw would absolutely be in my playbook. Regardless, Claw is large and organized, and I'm sure there will be plenty of cool-looking psychic battles in the next episode no matter how these conflicts work out. Mob's been through a lot already, but all of the hard work he's put into bettering himself will surely be the perfect antidote to Suzuki's lazy and selfish pessimism. That is, as long as neither of them level the entire city along the way.
Steve is a friend who's good at watching anime and can be found making bad posts about anime on Twitter.
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