Story & Art by ONE
Translated by Kumar Sivasubramanian
Lettering & Retouch by John Clark
Edited by Carl Gustave Horn
The adventures of Mob and his friends continue to escalate in Volume 3 of Mob Psycho 100. The battle between Mob and Teru has entered its climax, and Mob’s psychic powers have reached the ominous “???” percent. For Mob though, this is not a fight against Teru, but a struggle against himself.
Mob was capable of overpowering Teru from the beginning, but he held back, afraid of his own powers. Mob is still traumatized by injuring his younger brother with his powers when he was young, and he now refuses to use them for violence. When Teru made Mob lose consciousness, Mob could no longer suppress his own powers and they were unleashed against his will. In his “???” percent state, Mob’s powers reach unimaginable heights, and he is able to take down Teru in an instant. Mob may have defeated Teru, but he went against his moral code in the process. Both sides have lost in some way, and neither fighter feels any sense of accomplishment.
While Mob couldn’t stay true to his personal ideals, he was still able to have an effect on his opponent. Teru believed that the only way he’d be accepted by other people was if he used his powers to control those around him. Seeing the Body Improvement Club look out for Mob’s well being after their battle helped show Teru that his perception is false. He is not defined by his powers and he is capable of finding genuine acceptance without them.
The remainder of the volume shifts its focus to Mob’s younger brother Ritsu. While Ritsu is considered the more talented of the two brothers, he’s envious of Mob’s psychic powers and feels insignificant in comparison. His jealousy causes him to join the Awakening Lab in hopes of gaining psychic powers, and become more heavily involved in the devious “Big Cleanup” plan of Salt’s student council president. Ritsu is at a cross-road internally, where he wishes to have the same power as Mob, but also prove to himself that he is better than Mob. When his drive eventually culminates in him framing Onigawara for the student council, he becomes disgusted in himself and decides to give up on his attempts to “compete” with Mob. As the volume ends with Ritsu leaving Awakening Lab, the shocking truth is revealed: Ritsu is an esper.
While ONE is often criticized for his artwork, the first chapter of Volume 3 showcases his talent as an artist. Mob’s “???” percent mode is showcased in a series of dynamic panels that establish the scale of the destruction caused by Mob’s rampage. Additionally, when Mob regains consciousness, the two-page spread of him breaking down in tears provides the reader with a somber emotional impact. While ONE’s artwork is less elaborate in the remainder of the volume, the paneling and composition is as solid as ever, keeping you engaged in the story. ONE’s artwork may not provide him the wide-appeal of other manga, but he understands how to capitalize on the strengths of his artistic abilities.
The end of Volume 3 leaves Mob Psycho 100 on a tough cliffhanger that makes you immediately want more. With Teru’s psychic powers finally awakened, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes aware of them. What he will choose to do with them is up in the air as well as how Mob will react to it, but that makes the upcoming events all the more exciting. Mob Psycho 100 only continues to get better, and it will be interesting to see how ONE tops himself in the next volume.