Mob Psycho 100 by ONE

mob5If you are a fan of the incredibly witty, extraordinarily funny, and still amazingly deep story that is One Punch Man, then you will most likely enjoy ONE’s second series Mob Psycho 100. TheBetterCup and I have seen every episode up to date, and even started the manga, and we have to say Mob is a cute baby angel you can’t help but cheer for. Unlike Saitama, who is an adult and has his own mind made up as to how he should live his life, Mob is only a kid struggling to find balance with inner struggles.

mob3-Plot

Mob Psycho 100 is about Shigeo Kageyama, or Mob (which apparently means background character). Mob is a simple young student in middle school who is average (or a little below average) in his grades, athletic abilities, social life, and just about everything. He dreams to be normal and even a little popular at school. He also seems to lack emotions when he interacts with others and often cannot read the atmosphere. Through the story, you learn that Mob actually has esper abilities (which he has had since a very young age) and that he is also incredibly strong. Because of his esper powers though, (which are connected to emotion, and when overwhelmed emotionally can spill out in dangerous ways), Mob keeps a blank stare and emotionless exterior, which also lends to his inability to socialize. More trouble than just his own personal struggles come his way though as he meets other espers and gains friends he needs to protect.

-Characters

mobkkMob: Shigeo Kageyama is the main protagonist of the story. He is a quiet and average looking 8th grader with incredible esper powers and absolutely little to no other talents or skills (other than empathy, the ability to refuse to harm even the bad guys with his powers, altruism,  and the wonderful talent of hard work and willingness to change himself instead of bitching *cough*Ritsu*cough*). He has lived most of his life suppressing his emotions because when overwhelmed his powers leak out in incredibly dangerous ways, often unknowingly harming those around him (others have described him of having some dark and dangerous monster within). Mob is also very perceptive. He works part time at a spirit consultation office with Reigen (his master/teacher). His biggest goal in life is to live normally, and he feels that esper powers aren’t necessary for day to day life.
mob2Reigen: Arataka Reigen is a spirit counselor, and demon exorcist, and scam artist that uses Mob’s powers to keep up his business. He is Mob’s teacher and a self proclaimed psychic (con artist). Though he seems like scum at first, he actually really cares about Mob and is able to help him through many of his own personal demons. He is very clever and quick on his feet, excelling in persuasion and understanding situations on the fly. He truly is Mob’s mentor, viewing Mob’s inner conflicts and taking them seriously, often giving Mob advice that truly helps him find himself morally.

ristuRitsu: Ritsu Kageyama is Mob’s younger brother (by a year and in the seventh grade). He is smart, athletic, popular, handsome, a student counsel member, praised by his parents and colleagues alike, and everything that Mob strives to be. Though sweet and perfect on the outside, just like Mob, he has a complex, where he wishes he was as talented as his brother (Mob). The only difference is that Ritsu lets this eat away at himself instead of trying to change for the better. His obsession for power leads him down a terrible path that causes him a lot of strife and guilt later, but thankfully, he loves his brother and Mob loves him back so they always have each other by their side’s.

Mob-Thoughts

The art is adorable, bizarre, and simple yet colorful. The animation flows very well with exagerated perspectives and it reminds me greatly of the weird, very Japanese, colorful surrealistic style that can be found in animations such as Mind Games (great movie by the way) or Tatami Galaxy (also good check out my post on it: https://espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/tatami-galaxy-by-tomihiko-morimi/). Side Note: Both Mind Games and Tatami Galaxy (by the way) where directed by Masaaki Yuasa, who also directed an episode in Adventure Time (the Food Chain), Space Dandy, and worked on some of the animations of Samurai Champloo. We really love his style.

mob4Anyways, the animation is really top notch and gives it that strange quality to the world that underscores Mob’s strange place in it. We really loved the characters, especially the Body Improvement Club (who are all super strong and scary, but prove to represent the ‘good’ choices that Mob can make such as refusing to be violent and choosing to better one’s self for personal reasons other than shallow ones and accepting others readily). Mob is truly a sweet baby angel who like other Shounen heroes, fights to stick to his moral code even as the world tries to trample over it. He has his own issues concerning his powers, which others would love to have, but he would rather not. We also really loved his relationship with Reigen, who at first seems like a bad con-artist, but whose advice helps Mob try to find his own way to come to terms with both living a normal life and having powers (Arataka is the shit!). The contrast with his own brother (who serves as a foil to Mob) really emphasizes his character. It is by comparing his ability to be considerate and gallant even though he views himself as dangerous and others see him as a loser, to that of others (who also share similar views about themselves but have better lives) that we see how empathetic he is, how perceptive he can be and how heroic he truly is. Also this shit is funny as fuck, but it’s the little details that you watch throughout that add up and emphasize thematically all the inner turmoil and moral struggles that characters face (both normal characters and espers alike).
-Blog Barista and TheBetterCup

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Cool guys don’t look at explosions

91 Days by Shuka Studios

AngeloTheBetterCup and I have to commute to our respective schools (since we still both live at home). So, we both wake up pretty early every morning (like 6 am) to get to our 10 am classes every day. It isn’t really that great, but at least everyday we make time to watch one anime episode together while eating breakfast or on the commute or any time we are both free. On Thursdays we started 91 Days, because the art looked so good and the plot seemed interesting.

-What is the story?

angelo4So the story is set in Illinios, USA during the Prohibition. 1920’s USA is one of my absolute favorite settings for books, especially if gangs are involved (and of course this is one of them!!).  In the town of Lawless, Italian American Angelo Lagusa witnesses his family’s murder at the hands of the Vanetti family, a mafia gang. After seven years on the lamb (since the family would kill him if they knew he survived), Angelo returns under the alias Avilio Bruno after receiving a letter addressed to him prompting him to exact revenge.

angelo3Avilio returns and infiltrates the Vanitti family under the guise of brewing and selling moon shine (with a childhood friend of his). He befriends Nero, the don’s son and the man who years earlier hesitated to kill Avilio when he had the chance. The story follows Avilio through his 91 days of revenge and the dramatic story that unfolds. angelo1

-How do we feel?

I really loved this anime. It comes off like a giant movie that was broken into segments. The art is beautiful, the story is dramatic, and the authors put in a lot of effort into recreating the world of Prohibition era USA. I love the character designs, and the fluidity of the animation seems high quality. The story can seem to move slowly at times, but every episode leaves you wanting more (literally, since it almost always ends on a cliff hanger). I am excited to see how Angelo exacts revenge (and to see if he can keep his sanity through all of this). I loved his personality and his story, and really want him to have a happy ending (I hope he kills everyone, well almost everyone). Nero is also a main character, and I feel like there may be a chance that they truly befriend each other in the end. So if anything, I hope he can reconcile with him while getting revenge on everyone else. Either way, I can’t wait to see how this revenge ends.

-Blog Barista

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Yokai Manga

I have read so many manga lately, and barely talked about any of them (which is such a shame because I am afraid I won’t remember most of them), Anyways I am starting with these because I am continuing to read them and thus remember the story line.


Reimei and TobariAke no Tobari by Momo Chidori

This is a web-comic (fully colored) that follows the story of Tobari, a fox demon that dreams of creating a word where humans and demons can coexist. He loves humans, especially after meeting a young girl and befriending her (but she dies of old age once he comes back to the town she lives in). He befriends the town’s local priest Reimei. Tobari becomes Yokai Leader of the Shinonome Mountains, and together with Reimei starts to work towards the dream of creating paradise for all. The characters are lovable, and the art is wonderful. I am really enjoying the story so far. Tobari and Reimei find themselves facing opposition from both yokai/demons and human beings, but slowly bring both together through handwork and friendship. But seriously, look at how cute they are (left is Reimei and right is Tobari).

4be39f06df7959a4e03e32f18db92f58Kanojo wa Rokurokubi by Nieki Zui

Another really cute, almost slice of life romance manga. This story focuses on Kanoi Natsuki, a rokurokubi (demon girl whose neck becomes long when they fall asleep) who has a crush on her childhood friend (who is perfectly human). This world seems to also have a mix between humans and demons, only in this case it is almost normal and set in the modern era. The story is pretty light and very silly and funny at times. I love Natsuki’s friends who are both demon girls (though you only find that out as the story progresses). I also really enjoy learning about different less known mythical beings. The drawing style is cute and very round looking. The characters are not the delicate looking kind found in most shoujo, but it is still very cute. So far, I am on chapter 18 and the love story still has not really kicked in (it has been a little prevalent in the last 2 chapters, but not really), so I am not to sure if this is a romance. Either way, it is a really enjoyable story and also one of the few manga from the spring that I have continued.

mokkeMokke by Kumakura Takatoshi

Last but not least, we have this story which focuses on two sisters who live with there grandfather. Shizuru is the older sister (in junior high) who can see monsters that other people cannot see. Her younger sister Mizuki, on the other hand, cannot see the monsters, but is easily haunted by them. Each chapter focuses on a little episode of them dealing with monsters that either haunt Mizuki or other people. In many cases, Shizuru wants to help others, but her grandfather (who also deals with monsters) use his wisdom to guide them and keep them from getting involved with the supernatural and divine. One of my favorite chapters really took me by surprise with how serious it was and almost existential in a way. I really like this one, because it is like a slice of life mixed with mythology, and yet it adds some deeper stories inside too. I highly suggest it.

-Blog Barista

Sekko Boys written by Michiko Yokote

It has been a really long day, and I feel so exhausted. I have been awake for 13 hours and the day is no where near done (plus I slept maybe 3 hours last night). Anyways, I want to post a quick short post on an anime that I really enjoyed watching lately. All summer I have been watching One Piece (like all 754 or so of the current episodes), so I didn’t get a chance to watch new anime. So, TheBetterCup and I decided to watch this anime, Sekko Boys, for no reason other then it looked extra weird (which it is).

thhEc-What is the cartoon about?

The story starts with a young girl named Miki Ishimoto. After graduating art school, she finds herself getting a job as a manager for an idol group. This new rookie group, called Sekko Boys, is comprised of four statue busts: Saint Giorgio, Medici, Mars, and Hermes. And the series follows them as they try to rise through stardom.

-Who are the central characters?

GOODS-00056053_01St. Giorgio: Saint George of Lydda (the guy who slayed a dragon which I wrote a post on that myth) is the leader of the Sekko Boys. He is reliable and mature, but he makes horrible puns and isn’t the most popular between the boys.

GOODS-00056053_04Medici: Guiliano de’ Medici, duke and Italian nobleman, is the cute and extraordinarily popular one of the group. He is very rich and very selfish, but even so, the rest of the group still care for him. He is the only Sekko boy who gets to debut as an actor, in a drama, during the series.

GOODS-00056053_02Hermes: Hermes (the Greek God of thieves, travelers, athletes, and a psycho pomp) is the ‘smart’ one of the group. He is the only bust to be shown to also own the rest of his sculpture. Behind the back of the group, he is shown to be scamming people into buying useless items. He is the rational one in the group.

GOODS-00056053_03Mars: Mars (Roman God of War) is the bad boy of the group. He is tough, ‘muscle brained’ one that had a history of getting into fights and being with many women. He is the one that gets caught in a scandal by mistake. Mars is my personal favorite (with his horrible catchphrase: I’m not needy, just passionate), and TheBetterCup’s favorite is St. Giorgio.

SCa3BXqMiki is a recent graduate from art school who ends up working as a manager for the Sekko Boys. She is hardworking and willing to go with the flow (even though the whole thing seems to ridiculous at first). I love her personality, which is super funny at points.

-How do I feel?

I loved the anime. It is funny, interesting, and pretty unique. I loved the characters and the jokes thrown in. Lots of the jokes allude to mythology and sometimes its so ridiculous. I loved that Miki has a sculpture complex at the beginning (took me by surprise). I also really like how the actual sculptures are done in a different media and look like 3d objects in an anime world. The anime has mostly famous voice actors, and (even though so many people seem to be complaining online about this anime) I feel like the creators purposefully made this anime weird and mixed in witty jokes and different story so that it can be funny. I liked it, and am grateful to have watched it. Also the end theme is great!

-Blog Barista

S.E.K.K.O B.O.Y.S. Sekko!

S.E.K.K.O B.O.Y.S. Sekko!