How many psychics does it take to stop one smol middle school lad from delivering his precious bouquet? Well, I haven’t exactly been keeping count, but we’re up to half a dozen at least. Mob’s rampage continues relatively unabated this week, although those small moments of true resistance add up to the most interesting parts of this arc, of course. While the procession of his friends’ and families’ failures makes for a darkly comic process of elimination, we can see the show—and Mob himself—slowly inching toward the grand resolution his character deserves. And hopefully, the city will still be standing when he arrives there.
Like last week’s duel with Teru, however, this episode’s conflicts are less about Mob and more about his impact on the people around him. Suzuki is a perfect example. When last we saw him in season 2, Mob’s heroism had inspired the megalomaniac Claw boss to turn himself in and commit to rehabilitation. Here, we see the fruit of those efforts, centered most importantly around his relationship with his formerly estranged son Sho. While they were once at odds (for excellent reasons!), now a humbler Suzuki manages to accept his son’s aid and companionship, forming a united front to help smack their mutual friend out of his fugue state.
It’s easier said than done. Suzuki still tends to think selfishly and dramatically, which is why he entertains the idea of returning Mob’s favor. It’s a classic setup, especially in the kind of valorous narratives that shonen manga draw from, for a former villain to gain atonement through sacrifice. I could even feel primed to celebrate it. And that’s why I’m glad that Mob Psycho 100 very deliberately refutes this character arc. As Suzuki walks to his doom, he realizes that he’s revisiting the same attitude that pried himself away from his family in the first place. Regardless of whether it would have worked, he would shoulder the fate of the world and walk away from the people who love and care about him. This time, he stops himself and asks to lean on Sho’s shoulder. His redemption—real redemption—will only come from living on and mending his relationships. The series recognizes that this is the more difficult route for him, and that’s why I love it.
Ritsu also tries his hand at piercing his brother’s shell, with slightly more promising results. The most fun part of this is the cheeky repurposing of Mob’s explosion counter; this time applied triumphantly to Ritsu finding the strength to match his brother’s brute force, albeit only briefly. This does close in on a pretty obvious point: Mob’s not going to be stopped through strength alone. The whole conceit of the series revolves around Mob restraining his godlike powers, so it wouldn’t make sense for another character to overpower him at his full, unchecked capabilities easily. What truly separates Ritsu from Mob’s other opponents is not his telekinetic prowess but the depth of his brotherly love. He admits so himself; his powers are just a reflection of his desire to be a good bro with whom Mob can hash out his problems on an equal footing.
Unsurprisingly, then, Mob’s real enemy this time is himself. Though he denies it when Ritsu says as much, berserker Mob is perfectly congruent with the precious boy we all know and love. His goal this whole time has been delivering that bouquet to Tsubomi in One Piece—even unchecked, his subconscious is, in its own way, trying to do something nice for someone else. Thus, I don’t believe Mob can get out of this by denying this part of himself he’s been repressing all these years. Each side is vying for supremacy right now, but the actual resolution, I imagine, will come from Mob accepting all parts of himself. The angry side. The scared side. The happy side. The sad side. The determined side. All these faces and facets make up one complete Mob, and the sooner he accepts that the sooner he’ll come to.
And it looks like the infamous online sexyman Reigen will be the final white knight racing to Mob’s aid, which is perfect. Reigen hasn’t had as much to do this season as I would’ve liked—nothing on the caliber of his episode in the second season—but this conman’s weirdly wholesome relationship with Mob has always been the heart of the series. If anyone can help Mob right now, he can. Or, at the very least, he’ll accidentally stumble into the solution and claim it was intentional afterward. Either way, I think that would be the most appropriate note for this arc, and this story, to end on. And with presumably just one episode to go, I have confidence that this adaptation will do it justice.
Mob Psycho 100 III is currently streaming on
Steve is a regular freelance contributor to ANN and also the guy who called Arataka Reigen an internet sex symbol that one time. Feel free to roast him on Twitter about this. Otherwise, catch him chatting about trash and treasure alike on This Week in Anime.