One of the standalone anime shows this year includes the new work from the creator of One Punch Man. Surely with more work like this he will soon be established as a great mangaka from the last decade. In this small blog post we get to look at how incredibly ingenious they make you feel character growth trough the eyes of the other characters prevalent in the show.
Let’s make something clear, while we are introduced in the first episode to our main character Mob, we expect him, at first glance to be the typical young boy who needs to discover himself and become a good person. This is where the show kinda lies to us, we are shown things like him striving to be popular or be liked by a certain girl, but those things are only there because of what his master taught him.
You will later be shown this, but his master (who is another great character that is mostly mature and a great father figure) told him that psychic powers do not make you special. He argues, that most of the talents people have do not make them special, this is a very Japanese way of thinking. Putting individuals aside for the better of society. Or as us western people think, is more on the lines to respect your friends and what others can do. It’s not that not all of us are special but more like we are all special in a way. Again we’re observing the Japanese way of thinking, very rigid and pragmatic but also a bit dense and tunnel visioned.
So basically, Mob does not need to grow as a character, he wants to grow in something else than psychic powers. He feels very adult in the way of thinking. He is forgiving and caring, and does not care on showing off, also he is very dense but not self centered. Mob is a projection of his Master which makes sense since the growth period happens before the episodes of the show. Finally, what we’re left with are other characters who interact with Mob in different ways and grow because of him.
Now I’m gonna list all the OTHER important characters in the show and how they grow in relation to interacting with Mob.
Reigen Arataka – Mobs master and tutor. He started wanting to exploit the kid for his own benefit, but ended up caring and loving him. He is guiding Mob trough the story or different situations with a goofy but confident attitude. Reigen develops as a father figure while working with Mob.
Kageyama Ritsu -Mobs brother. His story arc starts getting hinted when he always asks Mob if he needs anything. This is in relation with the question Ritsu asked Mob when they where little, „will I have physics powers later” at which Mob responds with „Yes”. Ritsu feels that Mob is responsible for not having powers and is desperate to gain and be like him. He is in opposition with Mob since he is popular but does not care about it and Mob has psychic powers but he does not care about them either. Ritsu ends up growing with the fact that Mob still loves him, and would use his powers to attack people if it meant his brother will be saved by the Adult Espers.
Dimple – A spirit Mob does not exorcise fully. He tried to create a religion by faking and hypnotizing them. When he becomes just a mere spirit he wants to control Mobs body so he can abuse his powers. During the show he sticks to this way of thinking and possesses Ritsu, but in the end he is shown as caring and affectionate towards the siblings and his newly found friends. He understands that friends are more important that mindless puppets lol.
Hanazawa Teruki – A kid from another school that has psychic powers. In complete opposition to Mob he abuses them to become strong and popular. Due to this he is scared at first by the fact that others have similar powers to him. He is simple minded and defiant but also protective of his popularity. After fighting Mob he understands Reigens philosophy and does not use his powers to achieve his goals. He is the visualization of human greed and humans getting drowned with power. After their encounter he respects Mob because of his strength and willingness to become popular and having a strong body with out the use of psychic powers.
Onigawara Tenga – A delinquent guy from Mobs school. He comes of as violent and rash. But is one of the characters that is very mature on the inside. In the latter episodes after Ritsu apologizes for framing him, we see him saying that it didn’t matter and that people hated him for being violent. He tries to change for the better by not being a delinquent anymore and by going to the Muscle Training Group.
Muscle Training club – The most awesome and cool club ever. A group of manly people who are not driven by violence but only by working on their physical appearance. They serve as one of the shows many comedic moments. Also their leader is another father figure for Mob and is very mature for a middle aged kid.
The 7th Division Upper Echelon – A group of espers that formed a world-wide organization. The members in the final fight get „scolded” by Reigen about living their life for crime and destruction. These scenes are a spin-off parody on the extremist groups of people who have tragic pasts and grow into becoming terrorists.
In the end, did you see any change in Mob? It was certainly much more rewarding for me to watch how great every character that touches Mob becomes. Also mad props to the author of manga/director of anime for this refreshing show. Waiting enthusiastically for the second season of One punch man :D.