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Autumn of 2017 is here and it's time to buckle down, grab your laptop, some pumpkin spice coffee, and the coziest blanket you can find because newsflash: it's only going to get chillier from here. As one anime nerd to another, you know this time of year is perfect for blanket/pillow fort anime marathons and binge-watching Ghibli movies at 2:35AM on a cold Wednesday night even though you know your alarm is set for 7:30AM that morning -- that's right, we've all been there, we're all in this together my sweet little nerds. However, we've also had those days where it is impossible to find something new to watch. How do we know if it's worth our time? How many episodes does it have? Is the dubbed or subbed version better? Just how emotionally attached am I going to get to the characters before this is over and I'm left empty and craving something new to fill the void?
Well have no fear my anime-loving nerds, I'm here to help!
Today on this series of Anime That Should Be On Your To-Watch List, we're going to be talking about my most recent anime binge: Mob Psycho 100.
But, before we get into any specifics, let's go over what MP100 is about:
Shigeo "Mob" Kageyama is a middle school aged boy with middle school aged boy problems: he's struggling to fit in, keep his grades up, and be noticed by the girl he likes that (unfortunately for this sweet cinnamon roll that has never done anything wrong) has yet to give him the time of day. So what more could a pre-teen possibly have to deal with? Well, Mob has been gifted (and burdened) with astounding psychic powers! His kind, known as espers, are few and far between. However, during his attempt to fit in and control these aforementioned powers, Mob reaches out to a 'spiritual' mentor (the quirky but morally-rounded Arataka Reigen) to help guide him into becoming a better person and gain control of his ever-expanding and reputably strong psychic powers. Noticing Mob's potential, particularly to his business, he takes Mob under his wing and hires him to be his apprentice. During his time under Reigen's care, Mob continues to discover himself as a person, explore what exactly makes his powers tick, experience the struggles of joining school clubs and making new friends, all while trying to maintain a relationship with his perfect and beloved little brother that, understandably, becomes envious of his powers.
So, what more could you possibly want from an anime? I'll tell you!
While the art style was a bit too much for me to handle in the beginning, not comparing to what I consider to be a "prettier" form of art like you see in most of it's sister series One Punch Man, it quickly becomes tolerable and even entertaining to watch. While this might be a bit difficult for what I call "anime art style snobs" (you know who you are), the design of the characters is truly integral to their character. Mob is a simple boy: therefore, his art style is simple. Besides the more un-aesthetically pleasing looks of many of the characters, the art is expressive and satirical, while also maintaining a more attainable feel that a lot of people may not experience in other beautifully styled, extravagant anime. To make it short: it's unique and enjoyable once you get past the cringe-factor of realizing all of the characters are imperfect.
"But Author, I couldn't possibly watch an anime without a witty and entertaining sidekick character."
Oh, my sweet readers, don't worry! MP100 has this for you as well!
To be blunt: Dimple is not your neighborhood happy-go-lucky, cute sidekick. Expecting Akamaru from Naruto? Don't. Maybe more like Happy from Fairy Tale? Trust me, you wish. But that's what makes Dimple so fudgin' entertaining. Dimple, a previously renowned evil spirit (before Mob enters his life) is a horrendous, selfish, ugly little spirit that befriends Mob in hopes of utilizing his powers for himself one day. Along the way, he becomes more attached to Mob as a person. After all, he's only a kid, isn't he? Or, perhaps that's just Dimple's way of gaining an ignorant boy's trust? Both an enemy and a friend, Dimple becomes equally the worst and best character that you wish you weren't rooting for.
"Author, that's all well in good, but this sounds more like a regular ol' school-life anime with a lil' twist to it. What's going to really get me hooked and keep me along for the ride?"
Well, my highly inquisitive friends, this is a school-life anime with a twist. What's going to keep you along for Mob's journey, then? Well, Mob's journey. When watching Mob Psycho 100, you become a part of Mob's mistakes, his misguidance, his assumptions, and his pain. Mob quickly goes from experiencing life as a clueless kid, to suddenly having his happiness (the little that he's known) stripped away from him by selfish, unrighteous people who have, ultimately, also been misguided. During this sudden shift in his life, you get to see just how astounding Mob's powers really are and how important these smaller changes in his life have altered him up until that point to become better than he originally thought he could be.
Of course, Mob isn't perfect. Life choices are hard to make. After all, he is only in middle school.
"Alright Author, let's say I'm gonna watch this anime now. You've got me intrigued... subbed or dubbed?"
Really throwing it all on the table, aren't you reader? Well, to tell you the truth, I watched it in both subbed and dubbed. Like the freak that I am, if one episode wasn't available immediately in dubbed, I'd just settle for the subbed. Let it be known: the comedic and entertaining value of the content didn't change because of a different translation. They were both very enjoyable. I don't believe either of them will ruin your experience with MP100, so just go with whichever one you prefer most, as it is for your viewing pleasure. For now, I'll remain unbiased with my general opinion on the aged old dubbed vs. subbed debate. After all, we all know which one is the superior viewing experience anyway, am I right?
"Alright Author, we'll definitely consider watching this next. Any last additions to why it's worthy of our time?"
Well reader, if you're anything like me, after you get a taste of the adventure you don't want it to end. Lucky for you, the manga to MP100 is also available, and it's like reliving it all over again, with your favorite cast, only (in my opinion) better.
And finally, my dears, a quote:
"Listen. Just because you have psychic powers doesn't make you any less human. It's the same as people who are fast, people who are book smart, and people with strong body odor. Psychic powers are just another characteristic. You must embrace that as part of yourself and continue to live positively. The truth behind one's charm is kindness. Become a good person. That is all."
— Reigen Arataka to Shigeo 'Mob' Kageyama.
That's it for now, and no worries. More anime review/recommendations to come.
Peace out nerds.