Hey hey fellow ani-bloggers! It’s Archi-Anime’s turn for the July tour stop on the OWLS blog tour. Just a friendly reminded that OWLS: Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, is a group that hopes to spread the important message of respect and kindness to every human being. Our monthly blog tours that reflect this message of tolerance and self-acceptance, through various analysis of the anime medium; although it is not limited to anime.
July’s theme is “Mirrors”:
“Magic mirror, on the wall—who is the fairest one of all?”
When we look in the mirror, what do we see? Do we see ourselves or someone we don’t want to be? For this month’s theme, we will be exploring some of our favorite anime and other pop culture media that redefine individual beauty—inside and out. Some topics we may explore are physical appearances, social expectations on gender, and the importance of self-confidence.
This topic is kind of close to my heart. I’ve struggled with the importance of self-confidence ever since I was young. It especially hit the hardest in middle school. I wasn’t exactly the cool kid, but wasn’t labeled the nerd. I thought being myself was enough: a nice friendly girl. I was more of a floater that didn’t have a specific group. Unfortunately, that was not well received as I ended up being a target of bullying for it. Apparently being nice and being friendly to everyone had earned me the title of notorious flirt trying to get all the guys’ attention. I also had a few pranks pulled on me during this time as well. Middle school was a dark time for me; to the point that I was so fed up with all of it, I transferred districts for high school and opted for a private school hoping to get a fresh start; which wasn’t entirely easy either.
The struggle of adolescence is something we can all relate to in one way or another. Adolescence is such an interesting time of our lives: our bodies are developing, we’re acknowledging the opposite sex and we’re witnessing the development of “social statuses” and social circles within the school setting and more specifically at that age we’re more susceptible to peer pressure and wanting to be cool and popular.
This is where Mob Psycho 100 plays into this month’s prompt. Mob Psycho 100 follows Kageyama Shigeo, a.k.a. Mob, a boy that is an incredibly powerful ESP-er despite his stoic demeanor and lack of prescence. Mob realizes that his powers are steadily becoming stronger and potentially more dangerous as he gets older. In order to keep his powers in check, he suppresses them by suppressing his emotions. Throughout the series there’s a percentage that pops up that is reflective of the storm of his bottled emotions. Once it reaches 100%, Mob experiences an “explosion” of his psychic powers and another side/personality starts to come through in this phase.
Mob was my favorite anime of 2016 and it’s precisely how Mob handles himself as a middle schooler that drew me to love this anime so much. Honestly, this was one anime I wish existed when I was growing up because in hindsight it’s relatable. Mob represents all the issues that comes with adolescence but how he handles it is akin to how most of us react at that age, and while he struggles with his issues of self-identity and self-confidence, he has his “master” Arataka Reigen, a professional con-artist helping him guide his way through adolescence. And while Reigen is a con-artist, he does have Mob’s best interest at heart, and usually has bits and pieces of wisdom that are actually helpful.
If there’s one thing anyone needs to do, it’s to learn to value yourself and love yourself. This is something I personally don’t do enough despite the great qualities I know I possess. I’m in a constant state of self-doubt and questioning my own talents in comparison to others. It’s like being in a constant state of stress. This is something that I saw in Mob that is a mirror of myself.
In one of the earlier episodes of Mob Psycho, someone questions him, “Who are you?” Mob replies, “I’m nobody.” Reigen interjects and says, “You idiot! You’re Mob!” This struck a chord with me, because I’ve done something quite similarly. One time at a company event, a guest asked me: “What do you do at the firm?” The tone of my reply was said in such a way that it sounded as I could be written off as a nobody as I said, “Ah, I’m…just a junior designer.” I didn’t say it with enough confidence because my boss interjected and said, “No, you’re not JUST a junior designer. You’re A designer. Be proud of what you do.” Needless to say, it was an embarrassing moment for me as I clearly undervalued my position and my contribution to the firm.
In this case, I was my own worst enemy as I lacked the pride I should feel in a job that I absolutely love and enjoy. I’d like to say that I’ve improved, but like Mob, improvement doesn’t occur over night. It’s something that you constantly work on little by little.
You are Not Alone
In my middle school years, when dealing with the bullying and my declining confidence, I started to bottle it all in. I didn’t try to reach out to adults; I thought it would be a hassle and a burden to my parents. I was lucky that the bullying that I was exposed to wasn’t severe enough to garner intervention, and I was lucky to be somewhat mentally strong in dealing with it without resorting to any kind of self-harm. I couldn’t exactly turn to my peers for help because they either couldn’t help or provide any useful advice. I didn’t turn to my parents as I thought it would be a hassle and of course having to deal with the backlash of being a snitch was not something that I wanted to be labeled, so I internalized a lot of those feelings of frustration that once I reached a limit I would end up crying into my endless amount of journals and diaries pouring everything out in the best option at the time: writing.
Although I am no ESP-er like Mob, the fact that he suppressed his own personal feelings to keep his psychic powers in check reminded me of myself. In Mob’s case though, he keeps his emotions locked down to suppress his psychic abilities. However, just like everyone else, there’s a limit to how much his emotions can take before he goes completely wild – when he hits his 100% capacity the emotion he’s feeling will come pouring out; some examples include: rage, sadness and ???.
I feel that sometimes at that age we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. We’re no longer kids, but we’re not adults. Those odd tween years are hard. Who do you turn to for guidance? Especially when we’re so impressionable. This is actually really key, for anyone that’s struggling. If it gets too hard, don’t fight against it on your own. Again you’re being your own worst enemy by not seeking help. No matter how minor it may appear or how hopeless or meaningless it may feel, always reach out to someone. I should’ve gone to my parents with my issues, but I didn’t. Instead of facing my bullies head on I ran to another district. Luckily for me, my bullies came to me to address their wrong-doings and apologized; but some people don’t get that chance, and some bullies don’t grow up. I still know that one of my tormentors has some weird grudge against me, and for the life of me I’ll never understand why.
In Mob’s case he has Reigen. He went to Reigen because he had no one else to talk to. And having that one person to talk to makes all the difference in the world. While Reigen is a seemingly bad adult he does feel some type of responsibility towards Mob because he reaches out to him. Reigen may use Mob for his own benefit, but when he sees other’s try to take advantage of Mob, he tries to steer Mob in the right direction. At least Reigen realizes that he’s personally twisted, but you’ve got to hand it to him for still looking out for his protege. Also, in one of the final battles, Mob is about to break his promise to Reigen and use his powers as a last resort. In which, Reigen gets mad and tells him that he should learn to rely on adults a little more.
The Road Less Traveled
The number one thing I love about Mob Psycho is that in Mob’s search for popularity he doesn’t want to rely on his psychic powers. Granted he had tried to use them once to impress a girl, the girl eventually got bored of him. This became another reason for him to hide away his powers as he realized that power’s don’t actually make you special,
This is the opposite of what all of the other characters believe in this anime. One time he exorcises a pretty powerful spirit that’s haunting an all girls school. When he exposes his powers and saves the day, the girls praise him and actually ask him out. He gained instant popularity. It’s clear in this world that the use of psychic powers is viewed as a positive and if Mob really wanted to he could be a really popular guy despite his stoic personality and lack of physical presence. However Mob has convinced himself that his powers are nothing special. This is also probably due to Reigen’s influence as Reigen makes it a point to remind Mob constantly, that he should never use his powers against other people and that just because he has psychic powers doesn’t make him necessarily special. Reigen equates those powers to someone who is book smart, people who are fast and people who are good at talking. These are attributes that make people unique but not special. So he emphasizes that one shouldn’t be conceited with these abilities but celebrate their uniqueness instead.
Instead of relying on his powers Mob’s sole goal is to not live a life relying on his powers but rather find something else within him that he could nurture, which is why he joins the “Body Improvement Club” to work on his weak physicality. In this club he finds a bit of popularity as the boys of the club care for him despite his weak presence. They’ve eventually accepted him for who he is and actually enjoy his company and support him in his endeavors. However, despite his efforts, no matter how hard he’ll try he’ll never attain the ideal he’s looking for. It’s just not in him as Teru (another ESP-er) points out to him. But he strives to change himself despite that and without his powers.
This is something we could all learn from Mob; that striving to improve yourself ultimately allows you to gain more confidence in yourself and allows you to value and love yourself that much more. It’s easy to over analyze your own actions and to undervalue your self-worth, but that’s a disservice to yourself. Don’t be your own worst enemy, but be the best ally for yourself.
This turned out to be a much more personal post than I had intended, and I ended up talking about some pretty personal issues. But our OWLS topic called for some self-reflection and it just so happened that Mob reminded me of how troubling middle school was.
That just about wraps up my tour stop here at Archi-Anime. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Feel free to leave any in the comments!
There are quite a few more posts coming up left from the rest of the OWLS members. Please be on the lookout for Lita’s (LitaKinoAnimeCorner) post this Wednesday.
And check out these previous posts from other OWLS members from last week:
Also, if you haven’t don’t forget to follow us on facebook as well as our twitter @OWLSbloggers and our official blog as well as our Facebook page And if you’re interested in becoming an OWLS member, you can contact us here.