It’s always difficult for the second season of an anime to be significantly better than the first, but Mob Psycho 100 II definitely did not disappoint with its Winter 2019 comeback. The first season was a great introduction to the series and Mob’s world, but season two builds on top of that after a three-year gap and sprouts into something even better. The second season to Mob Psycho follows the build-up and relationships from the first season, and goes far and beyond to take the series to a satisfying curtain call.
In the second installment of the series, Mob, or Kageyama Shigeo, matures and understands his role as an esper who has the power to drastically affect the livelihood of others. Reigen, who is Mob’s non-esper master, continues to ask Mob to come along with him to deal with the supernatural requests from customers, whether it be exorcizing evil spirits or uncovering urban legends. Things take on a more serious and dark tone as the dangers Mob and Reigen face on their exorcisms are much more tangible and unsettling.
The highlight of this season was the overall growth of the main characters. In the first season, Mob never really spoke much – he usually kept most of his feelings to himself and was an awkward, middle school kid. His habit was to bottle up all his emotions in him which led to his 100% explosions and his esper powers becoming uncontrollable. However, with so much experience now under his belt, Mob is able to analyze things on his own to see the world with his own eyes and not through others.
Mob showcases a huge amount of empathy, and most of his growth can seen through his own foils in this season, which are Keiji Mogami and Claw’s leader, Toichiro Suzuki. First off, Mogami represents what Mob could have been – an outcast of society, edged on by the hatred and anger toward everyone around him. With the amount of power Mob has, he could very easily murder others out of vengeance and pure anguish. Yet, Mob is able to counter this with the trust he has in the people that he has met throughout his middle school career – the people in his club, Reigen, Dimple, his brother Ritsu, and others. With these relationships and connections that he’s made, along with his strong sense of responsibility to protect them, all of it leads to his final fight against Toichiro Suzuki, the other antagonist in the series who wishes to show off his powers and control the world. Again, Mob could have easily done that as well. Perhaps Mob could’ve joined forces with Suzuki to plot world domination, but he chooses not to because he sees his power just as a part of his identity. Mob empathizes with the antagonists as he understands their feelings and where they come from. He doesn’t tell them they’re outright wrong and neither does he berate them harshly for what they have done. Instead, he expresses his thoughts about the world and presents himself as a friend or a fellow esper who understands, and that alone speaks volumes about Mob’s character.
In contrast, Reigen and Dimple mostly act as direct observers of Mob’s growth. For example, Dimple’s original goal was to take over Mob’s body and rule as an extremely powerful esper. Yet when disaster strikes, Dimple acts to keep Mob safe, which is the complete opposite of what he’d always wanted to do. He is inspired by Mob and sticks close to him to assist when needed, making it clear that he’s developed a soft spot for the young boy. As for Reigen, his past is revealed in a short arc which helps shape his character as a whole. Near the middle of the season, Reigen finally realizes that he’s overdone it for tricking Mob and almost forcing him to do things that he doesn’t want to do. Mob is, after all, a middle school kid who just wants to hang out with his friends, not exorcize small spirits, and listen to Reigen ramble on about his “esper powers”. What’s amazing is that Reigen comes to this conclusion on his own. Many grown-ups hate to admit that they’re wrong, but Reigen mans up and admits to his own faults for lying. Therefore, Reigen is able to be more open-minded as he acknowledges Mob’s development and treats him the way he should be treated, listening to his disciple for once. In the end, Reigen is the one who’s able to understand Mob the best.
Although this second season explores darker themes and more serious topics following Mob’s progression, the comedy, which is a highlight of Mob Psycho, is still on point. The comedic scenes that happen within seconds are always there, especially when Reigen comes to the rescue with his silly names for regular punches or salt sprinkles. Dimple’s side comments and expressions are hilarious to listen to, and you definitely don’t want to miss any of these small bits and moments that will leave you roaring in laughter.
Mob Psycho’s art style is unique in that most of it is simple, but it also gives rise to the question if the animation could be even better or improve the artstyle itself. Season 2 doesn’t disappoint as there are plenty of battles (practically every episode), and the murky, dark scenes really bring out the more sinister side of the supernatural genre: dealing with the dead and powerful spirits. The peak of this season was the fight between Mogami and Mob, where the vibrant colors and glob-like animations truly contrasted one another to create a battlefield like none other. The amount of space and moving objects during the fight truly makes one wonder what Mob or Mogami’s next move would be, and these esper battles are absolutely stunning to watch. Another notable fight was the skirmish between one of the Claw members versus Terada’s group. It’s extremely difficult to follow teleportation in a fight, and even more so with ten or more people involved. However, with the laser-focus on the angles and action sequences, even the audience is able to easily follow the battle, step-by-step, without guessing who hit who and how the fight plays out. These fights between espers are explosive but also lighting fast or chaotically heavy, and with the surrounding environment in shambles and pieces everywhere, it’s a wonder to see these things contrast with the glowing espers in each of the battles.
Although there are a few loose ends with the supporting characters in the series like the Body Improvement Club, the rest of Claw, if Dimple will ever regain the powers he once had, or even the new member who will join Mob and Reigen’s adventures, the overarching plot with Mob and Reigen has truly come to an end for now. Maybe we’ll be able to return to those eventful slice-of-life days and humor, especially with the upcoming OVA. Nevertheless, Mob Psycho 100 is one of the most grounded and profound character-driven coming-of-age stories out there.