Mob Psycho 100 III #08
On rare occasions, an episode will release that isn't just well-produced, but truly special. Hakuyu Go is a creator with the rare ability to capture that feeling in each of his works, and this episode is no different. Let's analyze!
The simple presence of Go's name on a production is enough to turn heads, having handled some of the biggest action spectacles of recent years. Since his first directorial work in MHA season 1, he has somehow managed to one-up himself with every new appearance.
His ability to create striking imagery and large-scale set pieces is truly unique, on top of speed and skill that constantly draws praise from his peers. Naturally, his participation often brings a long list of talented animators along with it. This rings true for Mob 3x8.
With a history of directing dramatic action climaxes, taking on an episode with no fighting whatsoever may have come as a surprise to some. Go's first foray into more low-key content (with a healthy amount of chaos) is proof enough that he's more than capable of handling it.
Just as he was for season 2 episode 5, Go was solely in charge of all 3 main roles; Direction, storyboarding, and animation direction. While chief director Yuzuru Tachikawa did handle the script, the episode is otherwise purely Go's uninhibited vision.
As animation director, Go's blobby approach to Mob's designs is heavily felt throughout the episode, as well as the uncorrected artwork of some other participating animators. It's largely characterized by rounded hair, loose feature placement, and minimal shading.
Any deviation from the norm tends to raise questions for those not aware of the production side of things. Loose approaches like Go's don't necessarily appeal to everyone, but it's important to understand that this is no "lack of budget." It's entirely intentional, and a direct-
-result of the artistic freedom Mob has always provided to its staff, especially a team as talented as this one. In my eyes, the varied styles visible within this episode make the passion and intent of those who created it all the more evident.
From its first moment, this episode legitimately does not stop moving. In fact, it actually moves more than any prior episode of Mob Psycho, and is among the most animated episodes in the medium. Over 19 of its 23 minutes are uploaded to sakugabooru, which is unprecedented.
Numbers alone mean nothing, as a well-animated product without writing, direction, and artistic intent to back it up is worth little. Fortunately, Mob 3x8 lacks none of these. The car sequence is filled with charming drawings and mannerisms which make everything feel alive.
While a good portion of the KA list has been credited to a sequence, a number of interesting scenes still remain without an attached artist. This is one of them, with particularly unique drawings and a well-executed walk cycle, especially for such a difficult angle.
Julian Bentley's work is the highlight in a 1st half filled with great animation. His contributions to anime are rare, but always have an incredible sense of weight and realism. The amount of personality given to each individual character in these short cuts is highly impressive.
Kai Ikarashi, appearing for the 3rd time in the same week across 3 different shows, noted that he handled just 1 cut of genga. It seems like it was this one considering the artwork. He worked with Go a lot in the past, so it's good to see him here despite how busy he surely was.
While this zoom appears to make use of a 3D background at first glance, it actually seems to have been done by applying advanced compositing techniques to multiple layers of the same 2D background. Ayaka Minoshima's art also stands out in a good way, looking notably sharper than-
-the majority of the episode. The sunset brings one of the most visually pleasing sections. The simple but appealing gradient backgrounds synergize perfectly with the illuminated lineart, creating appealing highlights without actually adding any additional shading.
Yen BM's part is really nice, and the POV shot with the extended hand is one of the best in the episode. kViN explained it better than I could, but it's a beautiful way of symbolizing the progression of the relationship between these characters.
Few can match Toshiyuki Sato when it comes to frantic/panicked character acting, and as a consistent participant in both Mob and Go's works, he just had to be here. As always, a master of comedic expressions.
Various well-animated alien shenanigans later, what could potentially be Weilin Zhang's cut appears. Zhang hasn't been credited on TV anime since Nakaya Onsen's FGO episode in early 2020, so even for a small part, it's a blessing to see him work with Go again.
Reigen removing his shirt is alarmingly well-animated, but of course, it had to be. The way the faces are drawn is entirely different from the rest of the episode, so I do hope to see these cuts credited before long.
Tomohiro Shinoda was credited, thus completing his streak of working on all 3 seasons. As of recently, his presence in the anime industry has dwindled to almost nothing, making this a bit of a surprise. Timing-wise and in the proportions of the hands, this resembles his work.
As the episode reaches the end of the actual manga chapter, the true flex begins with the adaptation of Inukawa's omake adventure(?) in another world. Immediately, the viewer is transported somewhere otherworldly by an abrupt shift in post-processing and aspect ratio.
Despite being a glorified shitpost, this is quite possibly the hardest any Mob episode has ever gone when it comes to art direction. There are so many interesting creature designs and concepts in such a short time span, and so many stories being told.
Considering how well-developed this world feels in under 4 minutes, I can only imagine what Go could create given a blank slate, time, and funding. The visuals are so intriguing and give the staff a perfect excuse to go full-power despite the low stakes of the episode.
Based on a few different factors I believe this first part to be Itsuki Tsuchigami's animation, though we have no confirmation on that as of now. There's so much to unpack in each establishing shot, and honestly, I could probably watch them for hours.
Yuki Hayashi, always a welcome sight, took quite a few cuts in this ending sequence. I didn't expect more from him after #06 considering his heavier involvement in the current MHA season, but evidently, he had the time. Love the chaotic morphing of the blue creature.
Some of the best cuts in the episode also happen to be the most mysterious. While the smoke does resemble Tomohiro Shinoda's to an extent, I haven't seen him employ this intense and angular approach to shading in the past. I just hope it's not an uncredited animator.
Vincent Chansard brought this world to life beautifully as well. The movement of the sky in the 1st cut is yet another detail that immediately pulls the viewer in. Each wide shot is filled with little details and numerous layers, I'm once again blown away that all of this was-
-created for an elaborate bit. Much of the final part looks to me like Go's own animation, although the cut of the planets is confirmed to be Ken Yamamoto.
With that, the fever dream comes to an end.
As Mob episodes go, this one is understandably a bit more divisive than usual. The content itself isn't universally loved, and with the addition of idiosyncratic visuals, it's no surprise that some don't vibe with it. To me, this is a heartfelt artistic showcase and an episode I-
-will remember for a long time. It's impossible to know whether Go will direct more episodes in the future, but either way, his work has already impacted me more than enough, just as Mob has.
As for next week, the final arc of Mob Psycho begins. Whether or not we're ready to say goodbye, the time has almost arrived. It has been quite a ride, and it's not quite over yet!