There are a multitude of anime that manage to create characters that are infuriatingly stupid. Loud mouthed fools whos only positive aspect is their sheer determination to beat the odds.
As I have grown older, my patience for these types of stereotypical “male” idiots has dwindled as my appreciation for characters with more depth has grown.
When I originally started watching Mob Psycho, I thought I had come across yet another anime showcasing the “dimwitted male who happens to be very strong” trope, used again and again in most shows these days.
I was wrong, and quite happy about it. The show manages to weave together a bundle of cliches, just like the studio’s other work One Punch Man, into a thoroughly enjoyable show. The manner in which they put them together and the underlying meaning behind the character’s attempts to come to terms with who they are really resonated with me.
Mob, for lack of a better word, is awkward. Awkward in the cannot socialize, express emotions well kind of way. Rather than this being boring, it takes on a different light when you realize that the reason he is like this stems from repressing his immense psychic powers from a very young age, as well as an internalization of inferiority as he believes that his abilities do not make him special in any way, and that those things he lacks, such as social skills or good looks, are much more important and his lack of them a sign of deficiency in character.
Obviously for anyone who has watched the show, this is meant to be comedic, just the ridiculousness of a human being with such immense power believing his abilities are meaningless and refusing to use them in any way.
But if you look at the show deeply enough you can really see how this plays out in many people’s lives, minus the psychic powers of course. The consequence of repressing for Mob are severe as he develops a sort of dark, separate personality when pushed to his limit and completely loses control of himself, causing quite the devastation.
His inability to come to terms with his powers and recognizing that they are a part of him and one that he should use and be proud of is his downfall. There is wisdom in him not thinking he is better than other people, but he takes it to an extreme that is unhealthy.
I believe many people, myself included, have held ourselves back for fear of not being good enough when comparing ourselves to other people. It is so easy to look at other’s skills and think that because we cannot do what they do, because we do not have what they have, that we are somehow lesser, inferior, weak.
Each of us has a set of things, whether physical, mental, or emotional that we excel at. But even those things require great will, effort and loads of practice to become great at. Not recognizing the gifts we have and the work we put into getting good at something will lead to many negative consequences, and Mob Psycho showcases this perfectly.
Mob’s brother, who is good looking, intelligent and very physically adept, lives his life feeling massively inferior to Mob, even though he has so much in his life, and because of that he does some very cruel things, and even more when he finally develops his own psychic powers. Mob on the other hand will probably never reach his full potential due to his refusal to merge fully with his powers.
We are who we are, and only when we utilize all that we have been born with can we fully grow into our potential. On a less philosophical note, Mob Psycho is a roller-coaster ride of great fight scenes, interesting use of color, using white and black and little bits of other colors in a way that really expresses the powers being used and draws you in, as well as an amusing cast of characters, making it a fun view for everyone, I highly recommend it.