The climax of the Cell Saga, Roy Mustang’s incineration of Envy, the battle against the Spiral King in Gurren Lagann, Attack on Titan‘s pilot episode, Cowboy Bebop‘s Ballad of the Fallen Angels… these are just a few examples of my on-going list of favorite anime episodes. And this week, I’m glad to say that a new entry has managed to garner the same distinction.
All right. Where do I start. Every once in a while, there comes an episode that makes me stop chewing whatever I’m eating, and had me swallow it only after the credits has rolled. Goosebumps weren’t enough; I even started tearing up halfway through this episode just from the sheer epicness of it. You see, there’s this looming air of tension waiting to snap as I watched. Mob’s countdown to explosion and his love for his brother, the ambient grit of the BGM, Ritsu’s confession, an unknown enemy, ominous shots and framings… everything meshes in together to create one massive pot of hype ready to explode at any moment. The delivery that followed afterwards — Mob’s 100% burst — was nothing short of orgasmic. Every punch thrown had impact, every punch received felt excruciating. Every moment has that gravity and emotion that pulls you into what’s happening, instead of you just watching it out of entertainment. In Mob Psycho, both the sakuga and the story behind the sakuga compliments one another in a way most fight scenes do not. Here’s a great video explaining what a good fight scene is (tl;dr geography, motion, psychology), and factoring in the indicated elements into what we’ve seen in episode 8 perfectly explains my appreciation towards it.
This episode isn’t just about kicks and punches as it’s actually thick with emotions on its backdrop. The first part was a set-up with Ritsu’s raison d’etre for his obedient little brother facade. I briefly discussed last episode what I think of Ritsu’s predicament, and he easily destroyed my pre-conceived notion for his inferiority complex. His admiration is half a lie and half a truth. He is afraid of his brother’s untamed side, yet, at the same time, I feel like he still admires him for being the hero he was back then. Perhaps he simply wanted to gain power in order to be the one who becomes the savior, the hero, thus reducing the chance of his big bro unleashing what he fears the most. After all, Mob is evidently prone to bullying, and the extent to which the damage Mob’s monstrosity can inflict has already been gleaned over after his encounter with Teru.
Of course, for being the loving nii-san he is, Mob accepts Ritsu for what his decision lead him to. In turn, we’re shown that Ritsu still does have that sliver of care for his brother — Mob called it right: he is lying. At one point, Ritsu has that glare of hostility in his eyes, however, after seeing Mob get beaten to a pulp, his face contorts into that of a hapless pup. These genuine displays of affection are what became the base of emotion for every jaw-dropping second Mob is in Saiyan mode. His love for his little brother was further exemplified by the fact that protecting Ritsu precedes his iron creed of not using his psychic powers for physical harm.
Another great part I’d like to commend here is Reigen’s usual gag. It didn’t really get in the way of the aftershock of that bloody brawl; it became a much needed refresher instead after what felt like 15 minutes of holding my breath. He is fucking cool, but I start to wonder what his role will be for these last few episodes. Teru had some great character development too. He’s still the show off that he is, but seeing him change from an obnoxious brat to that of a friend to Mob was a treat to watch. See? Reigen’s teachings is spreading!
- The sakuga was fucking amazing. It isn’t just the type of sakuga meant to make a scene look good; it’s a sakuga that can tell a story on its own. The closest description I can use to describe it is Japanese calligraphy. There’s vigor and emotion in the animation to the point that I can almost imagine the feelings of the characters and the animators oozing from my screen.
- And when we thought Mob is invincible… well, he is but damn, I still can’t rub this goosebumps off me.
- The VAs great work added to the intensity. Even the hooded villain sounded creepily menacing.
- I guess the following episodes will be the final arc for this season. I’m so fucking hyped.
- The fact that I said ‘fucking’ three times in the post is a testament to how fucking awesome this episode was. Make that four.
It’s too early to get this out of there but MP100 is going to be my anime of the season. No doubt about it. It’s honestly gearing up to be a contender for anime of the year too with how things are going! I wouldn’t be surprised if it did become nominated though. Anyways, I’ll see you guys next week! Until then!