Mob Psycho 100's second season let the show remind us of the value of taking on intense challenges for the sake of self-betterment in all new spectacular ways. So, with it firmly behind us, it's time to look back at the 5 best moments of the series. Why only 5 when there are so many? Because we want to better ourselves too.
5. Wriggle Wriggle
In case you don’t remember, Wriggle Wriggle is the name of the ghost who possessed a farm to consume its crops and the first malicious spirit encountered in season 2. He doesn’t have much long-term impact aside from introducing the vegetables that play an important thematic role in this season, but first impressions are important for a serialized narrative and the absolute spectacle brought by this wriggly wriggler ensures that the season starts off with a bang.
Quite literally in fact, as the encounter quickly turns into an explosive psychic battle that hits the audience with the full force of this show’s incredible visual production. Wriggle Wriggle’s armada of psychically controlled vines ensures that a bevy of impressively moving parts are constantly on screen, but the show takes it several steps further by adding character acting, detailed debris, smoke and morphing effects and plenty of stylish dark smears that will assure anyone watching that the show’s newest season will look just as great as the first. It’s weird, for some reason we find it reassuring that the second cour of this animated adaptation of a One manga would have great animation right off the bat. That’s probably not in response to anything, though.
4. Emi’s New Book
The biggest strength of Mob Psycho II’s writing is the way it develops Mob into a more assertive agent within the narrative while still keeping him as the soft-spoken shy nerd we all recognize. It's a hard balancing act to get right but we see it pay off in episode 1 where Emi is introduced, asking Mob out after he flakes out on a student body election speech. He turns her down, but they still walk home together after school for a week as she tells him about her dreams and aspirations as a novelist.
Their relationship doesn’t get the chance to move past that before the show reveals that this was all part of a plan to prank Mob by Emi and some other girls. Her friends even mock Emi’s manuscript, assuming it was only a prop she used to play along and rip it up in front of her. This is where a less developed version of Mob would probably just stand around awkwardly, but here, he immediately gets on his knees and starts picking up what remains of the shredded draft, fully aware of what it really means to Emi. Though she can’t bring herself to contradict her friends to their faces, she quickly helps Mob in his efforts to collect the print’s remains.
Although it’s a genuinely sweet bonding moment for them after all the deceit, the best part comes when they finish gathering all the pieces and restore the manuscript… only for the wind to scatter all the paper once again. Emi accepts the futility of the situation, but Mob decides to use his powers in front of a classmate for the first time in years to repair the book. Seeing him use his powers for reasons other than protection is his first major step down the path to realizing his own agency seen throughout the season and it also enables a touching moment between him and Emi, capped off with one final scene with her at home, where she decides to start writing a new story about an esper in middle-school.
3. Everyone vs. Ryo Shimazaki
Much like its predecessor, season 2 of Mob spends its second half on a series of escalating esper battles and by far the best is the one against Shimazaki. He may be only one man, but he stands between a large group of Mob’s psychic friends and foes from last season and our main villain in this story, and he has the power to back that position up. Most crazy-strong anime villains have one type of incredibly overpowered ability, but Shimazaki sports two, being able to both teleport anywhere and foresee his opponent’s next move and neither of these actions take any significant effort from him.
This teleportation power is what really makes this fight awesome, as it allows the show to transition into a new style of sakuga each time Shimazaki repositions himself. As we move from flying debris cuts to rotating camera shots, to shots that track moving objects through cuts to even a first-person perspective, the show treats us to visuals that seem impossible for a TV budget.
2. Life Inside the Mob
Mob's internal conflict has always been the contrast between his massive psychic power and even bigger mental hang-ups. He's undefeatable on the battlefield, but in his head, he's completely useless. So how could anybody beat this unbelievably strong esper? For the villainous Keiji Mogami, the answer is to take the battle inside Mob’s head itself, where he’s at his most vulnerable.
We’ve seen Mob in some tight spots before but the threat of him actually losing a fight has never been so real. He’s completely powerless inside the mindscape, reliving painful memories and facing his inner demons like never before, all while Mogami taunts him, drawing him to the proverbial dark side. This sequence gives us some much welcome trippy visuals, of course, but what’s most important is that we get a deep dive into Mob’s character and see his internal vulnerabilities like never before. These weaknesses are so bad that our hero almost cracks until Dimple steps in to save the day. A rare treat for fans of the character and yet another reason this scene is so good.
1. Reigen’s Redemption
Reigen is the best character in the series. The fact that he lacks any of the amazing superpowers Mob has while conning people into believing he does by using the kinds of useful skills practical to everyday life that Mob envies means that their relationship has the most personal interplay in the story.
Reigen has flaws beyond being psychically challenged, however, and that leads to he and Mob splitting up part way through the season. We see Reigen go on a journey of sorts in this episode, learning that he doesn’t have any actual friends, seeing him take his fake-psychic career to the next level, getting famous from it only to have his fake career implode on him. Like with Mob, seeing Reigen at his lowest point gives us an introspective look into his character like never before. He eventually gets a chance to hold his own press conference to clear his name, but can’t think of a decent plan and goes in unprepared.
The tension here is thick enough to cut with a knife, as the shots are deliberately framed to show the overwhelming presence brought by the reporters and Reigen’s anxiety in spite of his composed façade. It seems as though all of Japan, even Mob, is watching as the phony psychic is backed into a corner, left to reflect on his mistakes. Unable to sway the reporters, he takes a long pause, then looks into the camera to address Mob directly, finally acknowledging how much he’s grown. Suddenly, the room starts to shake violently as all the recording equipment begins to levitate. Reigen stands, bidding farewell to the press and his life as a public figure, before finding Mob outside some time later and making up with him, ending the season’s best character arc in the most satisfying way possible.
Mob Psycho 100 II may have one of the more awkward anime titles of the year thus far, but it more than makes up for that with an expertly crafted blend of exciting visuals and impactful character writing. Let us know your favorite scenes from the show in the comments and we’ll see you for season 3.