“Everyone grows because of their encounters with other people. People need other people.”
Let’s get this out of the way, Mob Psycho 100 was already an amazing show and there’s lots of reasons why season 2 is several steps above season 1 from the spectacular visuals and animation, to the structure and pacing of the plot itself, to the charming sense of humor and emotional heft and of course the character development that our main characters go through as well, but none of that gets to the heart of what elevated Mob Psycho 100 season 2 from a great show to a masterpiece.
More than any of that, it’s Mob Psycho 100’s humanism and thoughtfulness that makes it stand out from the rest. It’s celebration of human connection, both good and bad, and how each and every encounter you have with different people can mould you as a person is a central theme that is prevalent in almost all aspects of the series. Episode 1 sets the theme of this season perfectly starting off with a little short story that amounts to Mob realising he needs to put in the effort to understand other peoples and his own feelings to help him grow as a person which sets off his character development.
The humanity of this show shines most clearly when it’s focused on our protagonist and his Master, which at first seemed unbalanced because Reigen appeared to be purely taking advantage of his student. When Mob’s growth causes a shift in their relationship and cracks start to appear because of insecurities, it is a humbling moment to see Reigen forced to reevaluate that Mob has grown up and it spurs a change in him as we see him taking an active role in Mobs life to give him the help and advice he needs as he tackles adolescence. Acknowledging that their bond is meaningful and dear to both of them and that their meeting gave them both a purpose in life is the essence of what this show is about, creating connections that will guide you to better yourself.
This theme about the community and people you surround yourself with and how they will affect your life would not be complete without talking about the Body Improvement Club, their unrelenting positive vibes and goodness is the driving force behind most of Mobs character development this season. Their involvement in the show which once seemed to be a simple gag ended up being the reason for Mob proactive attitude and bringing Mob courage in some of the toughest fights of his life. Perhaps one of the biggest examples of the change the right environment can bring you is seen through Dimple as he slowly takes on the role of a protector and worries over Mob. To a lesser, but no less important, extent Mob’s family and their encouragement to help him achieve his goals is what keeps him grounded as his battles reach absurd heights. These are the people Mob remembers when he’s about to lose all hope or lose himself to his psychic powers.
Considering the overarching theme of the season and how its lovingly crafted into every single aspect of this show, it is no surprise that the main villains of this season are characters who are the antithesis of human connection. Their philosophies clash with Mob’s of course like any shonen until they fight it out but that’s not nearly as important as how the fights change Mob as a person. Growing through the foes you face is hardly a novel concept, it feels refreshing though because Mobs growth isn’t related to his powers, but to become a better person for the ones he loves. It is through communicating with these awful characters that Mob comes to the understanding that there are some truly terrible people out there. When Mob accepts this fact, he’s quick to throw away his pacifism and fight them with all his strength. Despite most of the show advocating for self improvement, Mob Psycho 100 displays nuance and maturity by showcasing not everyone will be 100% susceptible to change and that sometimes you might end up being changed instead. The final battle is less a clash of strength and beliefs and more a showcase of Mob applying every lesson that he learnt through the course of the season from both good and bad people.
“I wanted it to be something that feels kind. When I came up with the concept, I was thinking something along the lines of ‘kindness’ or ‘the connections between people’” - ONE
At its core, Mob Psycho 100 is not a story about an insanely over-powered person, but about a kid learning what it means to grow up. It’s about appreciating your family and friends for all that they do for you all cause they want to see you achieve your full potential. It’s about learning from your hardships, and even from the people you dislike. It’s about empathising with others and giving everyone a fair chance in life. It’s about being good-willed and offering the world some kindness in your every day life because the little moments matter the most. It’s about the human condition.