Mob Psycho 100: Volume 1 had me hooked from the get go. It was originally written by ONE, the writer/artist responsible for the absolutely fantastic One Punch Man. On top of that, Mob Psycho 100 sells itself on the premise of a character with overwhelming psychic abilities which sounded reminiscent of the landmark Japanese film, Akira. Basically, going into Mob Psycho 100: Volume 1, I had every reason to be excited.
Mob Psycho 100‘s story is pretty straight forward: Arataka Reigen is a spirit medium in a world full of demons, ghosts, and other such occurrences. Spirit mediums dedicate themselves to eradicating these threats. The only problem is that Arataka is a complete fraud and actually relies on his assistant, Mob, to deal with most ghosts. Mob is your average middle schooler who just so happens to have incredible psychic abilities. Despite this, Mob is blissfully ignorant of the true potential of his powers.
As that brief synopsis may show you, Mob Psycho 100 doesn’t take itself too seriously. The series mostly takes comedic potshots at major Japanese tropes, and each chapter is more or less a self-contained vignette. The pacing and comedy of each chapter works well because of this. I was reading the book during my breaks at work, and I found I could get through a chapter in just a few minutes and feel as though I’d consumed a full story.
The best part of the story, by far, is Mob himself. Playing the straight man to the wacky characters that surround him, Mob deals with everything from school clubs to cults. One of the most compelling elements is how every character tries to manipulate Mob for their own goals, only to fail when put up against his unwavering naivety.
Now, with the praise out of the way, the elephant in the room when it comes to discussing any of ONE’s work is the art style. The art in Mob Psycho 100 is heavily stylized – intentionally drawn in a simple, almost childlike way. While this often aids the comedic timing and has its own charm, the unique visual style can be distracting at times. Ultimately, it isn’t going to ruin the book by any means, but the reader should not go in expecting a visual masterpiece.
I set my expectations pretty high when it came to Mob Psycho 100. I can’t say it quite reached the same heights One Punch Man did, but it was still an incredibly funny story that was often smarter than its simplistic art would have you believe. It’s a great, easy read, and if you’re hungering for more content in the same vein as One Punch Man, then Mob Psycho 100: Volume 1 is a great place to get your fill.
Creative Team: ONE (Writer/Artist), Kumar Sivasubramanian (Translation), John Clark (Letterer), Carl Gustav Horn (Editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Click here to purchase.