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Mob Psycho 100 season 2 doubles down on the empathy that makes the show great

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Mob Pyscho is one of the few anime that rewards empathy more than strength

Bones

There aren’t many anime like Mob Psycho 100. On its face, it seems like a typical action show: a young protagonist who’s phenomenally strong, tasked with saving the day. But the show’s first season turned that formula on its head — not just by being significantly funnier than most shōnen anime, but also by ending with the characters deciding that kindness and empathy were more important traits in a person than strength or special powers. Now the show is back for its second season, and three episodes in, it hasn’t missed a beat.

Mob Psycho 100 follows the supernatural adventures of a boy nicknamed Mob who is gifted with incredible telekinetic powers. Along with his teacher, a well-meaning con man passing himself off as a psychic detective, Mob helps solve psychic mysteries and destroy dangerous spirits. At least, that’s the idea. With a premise so strong and easy to jump in and out of, the show constantly mixes things up and brings entirely different plots into episodes.

[Ed. note: This contains minor spoilers for the first three episodes of Mob Psycho 100 season 2.]

In fact, in the season 2 premiere, Mob quickly dispatches the episode’s evil spirit in the first few minutes, then spends the rest of the episode trying to navigate a confusing romantic relationship. While the pretenses of the relationship aren’t exactly honest, it turns out fine because Mob is just an overwhelmingly nice person. Rather than a central drive to achieve greatness or be the best, which so often propels anime characters forward, Mob simply wants to use his powers to help people out in their everyday lives.

Even as the season starts to ramp up the action in episodes two and three — with Mob and Reigen clearing out quite a few spirits for their psychic detective agency’s new clients — the show still takes the time to let Mob’s character shine through. In the season’s second episode, a woman comes to Mob, his teacher, and another psychic for help, claiming that she is seeing spirits. In fact, she says, there’s one next to her now. In the animation, there’s nothing for the audience to see. Even the other two characters simply pretend that they can see what’s there, but Mob sees and describes the spirit perfectly.

Mob wants to make sure that the clearly distraught woman knows that someone understands her and that she is telling the truth. It’s a quiet moment that only lasts a second, but it’s exactly the kind of low-stakes scene that makes the the show work. It’s moments like these that remind us that as awkward as Mob can be, at his core he is deeply empathetic and really cares.

And that extends to the show as a whole. Mob Psycho 100 isn’t just one of the funniest series of the last several years, it’s also one of the most caring ones. From Reigen having no qualms about conning people but wanting Mob to always remember that being kind is more important than being powerful, to the show trying to change the mind of human villains rather than defeat them, no show wants people to like each other quite as much as Mob Psycho 100, and that’s exactly what makes it special.

New episodes streaming Mondays on CRUNCHYROLL | VRV