Mob Psycho 100 – Episode 5

Hoo boy did Mob Psycho ever hit it out of the park this week. The show’s visual execution was actually maybe a bit more conservative than usual, but that was more than made up for by this episode’s buffet of thematic meat and sharp character writing. The confrontation between Mob and Teruki turned into a bitter, mutually destructive meditation on each of their insecure positions in life, ending in tears all around. I really didn’t expect this show to be the emotional highlight of the summer, but a couple more episodes like this, and it’ll easily be one of my favorites of the year. What a ride.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!

Mob Psycho 100

“Before anything else, we need to establish something – the hierarchy here.” This seems like an odd priority, but it also reflects the hierarchical world of One Punch Man. ONE is clearly angry at allegedly meritocratic social orders

“Why are you attacking me? I haven’t done anything. Let’s be…”

Mob just wants friends, but lives in a world where everyone else is defined by adversarial relationships. It’s a bit of a misanthropic perspective, and I think it might reflect the author. But there’s certainly humanity there

“He’s put his powers to use and is living a fulfilling life.” But he certainly isn’t happy. And again – power doesn’t make us happy

This episode’s animation seems a bit more limited

“You can’t put one person over another. You can be proud of your powers, but don’t get conceited”

Reigen’s code – which, contrary to what Dimple says, is actually perfectly reasonable coming from him

“Leave all that crap to the average people!”

Mob realizes he’s not that broken up over Dimple after all, lol

And then he remembers the times Dimple actually called him great

“Why do you have to belittle others?”

Teruki can only see Mob’s words as mockery, because he’s built his identity on strength

Teruki’s “100% charge” features some nice animation

“Top of Teru’s Head: 0%” okay that’s a good gag

“Hanazawa Teruki is the chosen one!” “How can you be so confident in yourself?”

“If you take away your psychic powers, there’ll be nothing left. You’re scared of that realization.” A ruthless meritocracy is not a comfort to those who are arbitrarily at the top

At worse, this sort of philosophy leads towards stuff like Mahouka. ONE’s not there, but it’s a weird place

I love how well the show frames the weakness of Mob’s punch

“Just how much are you going to keep rejecting me?”

“People can’t change that easily.”

Not much comedy in this episode, which is appropriate

Teruki realizes that Mob not using his powers makes him “stronger,” and he can’t stand that

Aw jeez, this memory of using his powers in the past

“I’m going to change. I won’t use them”

Mob is harboring something incredibly dangerous

Teruki is completely defeated in body and philosophy. But Mob still loses, as well

Even the sad note of Mob searching for Dimple for hours

The music is also great this episode

This quiet scene with Ritsu is such a perfect capstone

4 thoughts on “Mob Psycho 100 – Episode 5

  1. “At worse, this sort of philosophy leads towards stuff like Mahouka. ONE’s not there, but it’s a weird place”

    How do you read that here? If anything it’s the exact opposite for me. In Mahouka the guy who has a natural gift and thus thinks he deserves naturally to be at the top of the social order is the protagonist; here it’s a delusional villain who gets cut to size when he meets someone who’s far meeker than them and yet has even greater power. What’s arbitrary is the gifts that we are assigned at birth by the genetic lottery. Teru is happy to rely on them; Mob does not want to be entirely defined by them, and instead wants to build a sense of self through his own work. He can appreciate different sorts of strength and acknowledges that he has powers only by a caprice of fate he can’t be especially proud of.

    There’s nothing especially misanthropic, in fact if anything it’s Mob’s worldview that is too bleak – he has Reigen, the bros of the Bodybuilding Club, even Dimple, and his brother (though his position is still kind of ambiguous – but the last scene suggested he genuinely doesn’t want to burden Mob with knowledge of whatever happened that day). He doesn’t hold himself in high esteem, so he downplays his human connections as well. But he’s simply surrounded by both friends and jerks, like pretty much anyone can be.

    • Agreed. I saw this episode as a humanist argument against what author DFW calls our default-setting – automatically thinking that oneself is “the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence.” Teru’s position is a symbolic representation of absolute self-centeredness/egoism, while Mob (and ONE) reject his self-isolating ideals, opting to instead struggle to reach past these immediate and hard-wired barriers in order to achieve empathy.

      ONE doesn’t necessarily portray relationships in Mob’s world as adversarial, either. While he may certainly inject plenty cynicism into his style of humor, Mob Psycho’s message is ultimately affirming.

      • Yeah. One-Punch Man was more cynical (suitably, since it was more comedy-oriented and terrible people often make for funnier characters and punching bags than decent ones) but it wasn’t especially bleak or misanthropic either, and a strong part of it was exactly built on how being good at things doesn’t make you a better person. Arguably, the best human being in OPM is Mumen Rider, and he’s the weakest of them all. I’m buying the One Punch Man manga and there’s a very nice side story on Saitama being arrested by the police for a misunderstanding and confronting their view on heroes – that they distrust because they feel they are a bit attention whores rather than performing their duty for its own sake. When a monster attacks and the Hero Association has the gall to ask the police commander to beg for help so he’ll lose face in front of the public, Saitama steps in and kills the monster, then lets the cops take the merit. Consistently, the view if anything seems to be that good and decent people is everywhere, while sometimes those who shine brighter and are supposedly “better” are the ones who may be the most rotten.

  2. One of the problems I had with this episode was the translation. In the manga, the word used instead of “average” is “commoner.” While that may be a bit strange to read, it conveys an entirely different connotation. This also ties in better in my opinion with Teru’s “hierarchy” line. He didn’t just want to establish who’s better, he wanted to establish who is king.

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