Let’s get existential.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Mob continues his work with Reigen at the exorcism agency, which has been getting a lot more business since Reigen put up the agency website. The first client they receive is a disgruntled middle-aged man looking to put a curse on someone. Reigen isn’t interested in such negative work, so he simply writes him a fake curse charm and sends him on his way.
Their next client, however, is a little more their speed. A young woman is afraid that a ghost is stalking her, and she needs the spirit in her apartment exorcized ASAP. Mob and Reigen investigate but find that isn’t a spirit stalking her, but an astral projection of the neighbor next door, who is a real piece of work. Reigen confronts the stalker, who breaks down crying and gets arrested by the police.
The next job they get is to guide some selfish teenagers through a spooky night in the woods where they want to visit a haunted site. Reigen sees it as just harmless fun, so he and Mob take the job and accompany the teens into the woods, where they come across a burned down house that’s supposedly haunted. They don’t encounter any ghosts, but Reigen takes a picture of the teens. Since he didn’t have to do anything, the teens refuse to pay and leave them in the woods.
The next day, Mob gets harassed by some bullies, but his friends come to help him out. However, one of the fitness club members tells him to stick up for himself next time. Later that day, the teens come back, having seen a ghost in the picture they took. They’re spooked, and want Reigen to exorcize the site they took the picture at so they can be rid of their fear.
So, once again, Reigen and Mob find themselves at the site, where Mob senses the family of ghosts that haunts the place. However, the ghosts are peaceful, and the family begs for their existence there so they can spend more time together. The teens are pushy and try to bully Mob into exorcizing the spirits, but Reigen eventually throws some salt on them and calls it a day. Mob, however, is shaken by the experience, realizing that if he wanted to unleash violence on someone, there would be no one who could stop him.
This episode took a wild turn into a direction I wasn’t expecting at all. This episode and the one before have been focusing on perception and fear, and how Mob reacts to fear as a character. For someone who, historically, have been quite fearless, (Save for awkward social situations) this conflict really drives at the core of who Mob is. We see him get rattled for the first time here, as he struggles to hold himself back from hurting people with his immense psychic power. Ultimately, what he fears is himself, which is a bitter pill for a middle schooler to swallow. This makes for an amazing episode, though, one that nearly brought tears to my eyes and immersed me into a strangely intense episode of a series that’s usually so jovial.
Mob is growing with each and every episode of this show, slowly becoming an adult and facing the hard challenges that come with personal responsibility. The first season of this show seemed to have much more of an external focus, with Mob fighting different opponents, but it seems the theme of this season is gearing more towards Mob reconciling with his own power. I like this change of direction, and the darker tone that accompanies it. Make no mistake, this is a dark episode. Mob Psycho has always loved to blend contrasting tones together, but the struggle of having to choose between life or death for an innocent family is something way out of left field here. You can feel Mob’s suffering, you can empathize with his anger, which makes his internal struggle all the more valid.
The confrontation with the ghost family is heartbreaking and beautifully solemn. I wasn’t prepared for that kind of emotionality here, but I’m delighted and surprised. Everything fits into place to make this climax feel like the natural extension of everything Mob has learned and dealt with in this episode.
There’s so much to enjoy here, but one thing that particularly stuck with me was the sense of unfinished tension that accompanied the ending. Mob simply gets tired and goes to sleep, but one can tell that this struggle isn’t over, not by a longshot. This not only emulates real-life and legitimizes Mob’s pain, but also makes for some great storytelling, because now I’m on the edge of my seat and chomping at the bit for more.
I love this anime, and I love this episode. It’s been a great start for season two of Mob Psycho, and it looks like there’s plenty more good to come.