If you liked volume 1, you're going to like volume 2. This is more of the same. If you’re first foray into this series didn't grab you, this isn’t going to change your mind. That being said, volume 2 improves on the first in a number of ways.
To catch up anyone who skipped the first volume, Mob is an unremarkable middle school boy living in Japan. He's insecure, shy, and generally blends into the background. Mob is also the most powerful psychic ever and is constantly pulled into strange events with everything from classmates to ghosts. Now, people have started to notice Mob's powers and are actively seeking him out while Mob remains blissfully ignorant of the true potential he wields. The story is off the wall and wacky while also having genuine, contemplative moments (which is starting to look like a trend of ONE’s work).
Volume 2 improves on volume 1's narrative groundwork in just about every way. While I liked the first volume, the story did have moments that dragged for me, and I found myself taking regular breaks. By comparison, I tore through volume 2. Not only is the pacing improved, but the humor is ratcheted up with much bigger reactions, clever reversals, and nice, subtle jokes if you're willing to pay attention.
The themes of the manga are also starting to solidify as Mob's lack of confidence takes center stage. ONE excels at taking superhuman, overpowered characters and making them feel like flawed humans. Mob never feels overpowered, because his own insecurities, naivety, and obliviousness constantly put him at a disadvantage in fights he would normally win. This is all played for comedic effect, but Mob's goals and desires feel very personal; he wants to prove he's good at something, and he doesn't want to use his powers to do it. I'll level the tiniest of complaints about the fact that the volume ends on a cliffhanger; I felt resolving the current arc would have been more satisfying than waiting until the next release to wrap up this part of Mob's journey.
Like last time, the art of Mob Psycho isn't exactly going to win any awards. It's simplistic to a point that it can be distracting. That being said, even this is improved in volume 2. More dynamic camera angles are used, and additional detail work in character models gives a lot more visual excitement to the story. I still don't love the art, but it felt much less like an afterthought this time around and, honestly, it did make me laugh in a couple of places.
Mob Psycho 100 Volume 2 isn't a perfect book, but the vast improvements from volume 1 certainly earn it a spot on the "most improved" list. I enjoyed the first volume, but I actively loved this book. If you haven't started reading the Mob Psycho series, you could start here, but I recommend buying volume 1 and 2 together and blasting through the first one. It’s fair to say this series has me hooked, and I’ll be picking up future volumes as they come out.
Creative Team: ONE (Writer/Artist), Kumar Sivasubramanian (Translation)
Publisher: Dark Horse
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