Mob Psycho 100 Volume 1 Review

Mob Psycho 100 has been around for a while now. The anime debuted in 2016, a live-action adaptation came out in January 2018, the manga was originally published in Japan back in 2012, and the English-language manga release actually began in November 2018.

For those not familiar with the story, we follow a boy in the second grade of middle school named Shigeo Kageyama, but who is better known by the nickname “Mob”, because this seemingly emotionless, pudding bowl haircut-sporting boy blends in with the crowd. Outside of school, he works for Arataka Reigen, owner of the “Spirits and Such Consultation Office” and a man who claims to be a psychic but is really a fraud who pays Mob less than the minimum wage for his work.

However, while Reigen is a charlatan, Mob really is a psychic. Not only that, he is one of immense power. He can easily make objects float without touching them, bend spoons and exorcise spirits without any effort. What takes him effort is keeping his emotions in check. Throughout the story we see a percentage rating of “Progress towards Mob’s explosion”. The more he cannot control himself, the closer this reaches 100%. When the psychic Mob hits 100 his true, devastating powers are finally unleashed.

Regarding the series, perhaps the most notable feature is its creator. Written and illustrated by ONE, Mob Psycho 100 is from the creator of hit series One-Punch Man, a series which you secretly suspect is mostly popular in the West because Americans like comics starring superheroes (see also the massive western popularity of My Hero Academia). However, you need to remember that the One-Punch Man manga released in English by VIZ Media is a remake, illustrated by another artist named Yusuke Murata. Mob Psycho 100 is entirely the work of ONE, and thus is entirely filled with ONE’s more unusual artistic style, complete with occasional references to One-Punch Man.

ONE’s art is notable for a few reasons. First of all, it is impossible for a Brit to talk about “ONE’s art” without sounding terribly posh. (Seriously, you can’t say that phrase and not sound like the Queen.) Secondly, the art is designed to be humorous rather than stylish. Part of the comedy value in ONE’s work (going royal again) is the rough styling that adds to the ridiculousness of the scenarios ONE creates (anyone fancy some swan?).

In terms of the translation by Kumar Sivasubramanian, it does feel like some elements of the work have been made a bit too Americanised. I can fully understand putting the surnames last for the characters. Turning the currency from yen into dollars is a tad annoying (Mob’s wages are $3 rather than ¥300). Giving Reigen lines like: “Haters gonna hate” just irks as it doesn’t feel like it fits in with the story.

Something that might irk other readers is the fact that the chapter order and the anime episode order are clearly revealed to be different. For example, a bonus chapter in this manga appears at the end of the book. This chapter forms part of a scene in the first episode of the anime, with most of the manga dealing with the second and third episodes.

These are however, minor quibbles. Mostly the manga is entertaining and fun. The second volume is out on March 20th.

A free preview is available on the Dark Horse site here.

8 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

More posts from Ian Wolf...