I don’t believe that ending. I just don’t. But let’s save this discussion for the end of the post. This week, I don’t have one primary topic to focus on, so I’ll just offer up a bunch of minor observations.
— The first 90% of this episode is all about how much progress Mob has made. He used to be a wimpy boy who would cry over a scratched-up knee. Nowadays, he’ll push for the finish line no matter what. It’s nice to see, I guess.
— There’s also the fact that he inadvertently started a cult that he wants nothing to do with. Ichi is always trying to convince him to seize the reins, but her efforts are fruitless. Until she can give him a good reason, she’s just wasting her time. Still, I find her rather amusing.
— So there’s a marathon coming up, and Mob wants to use it as a benchmark. If he can finish in the top ten, then he’ll definitely confess to Tsubomi! Our boy now has guts! Too bad he’s kinda setting himself up for disappointment, but maybe he knows this. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and there’s no way he’s going to finish in the top ten with such a short amount of time to train.
— Naturally, Ichi wants him to use his psychic abilities to finish on top, because this would help propel him towards becoming a cult leader. But our hero is determined to accomplish this on his own… kinda. I mean, it’s kinda silly, isn’t it? His psychic abilities are his own. From a certain point of view, there’s nothing wrong with using your own talents to achieve what you want. But at the same time, it’s explicitly unfair, because he has a rare gift that most people don’t have. Plus, Tsubomi don’t seem to care about this sort of thing, so Mob feels the need to impress her in other ways. Maybe pushing himself to finish the marathon without his psychic abilities will do the trick.
— On the surface, it’s hard to see why Tsubomi is such a big deal, but grade school crushes are often inexplicable. I had a crush in grade school as well, and I guess I never really knew her as a person either. And yet, the feelings were there. I suppose we can all relate to Mob. Maybe Tsubomi’s a good person, but maybe she’s not.
— And I guess you could argue that Mob’s crush on Tsubomi isn’t about her at all. It’s about him. It’s an innocent yearning that shapes him as a person. It motivates him to achieve greater things. It pushes him forward. Whether she ever likes him back or not, he has something precious.
— So everyone’s rooting for Mob. To show that he hasn’t regressed since… well, last week’s episode, Arataka is even telling the kid not to come to work. He claims that he doesn’t have that many clients, but we can clearly see that he’s telling a white lie. Again, Arataka is always about half-truths. Luckily, he usually has good intentions.
— Hell, he even volunteers to train with the kid. Again, all this hard work won’t really matter. Kinda. Mob isn’t going to finish in the top ten, but that doesn’t mean that all this training is useless. Even if he doesn’t become an Olympian in a day, he’s making hard work a habit. He’s teaching himself not to give up even if his goals are pretty much impossible at this given moment.
— Ritsu actually lends Arataka a hand just to help his brother out. Then all of a sudden, Tsubomi also shows up with her friend. The other girl is looking for relationship advice, and I guess Arataka takes all sorts of consulting work now. While her friend is busy chatting with Arataka, Tsubomi’s eyes wander and she eventually spots a picture of Mob on the board. As a result, she decides to test Arataka, and in the end, she ultimately determines that he’s not such a bad guy. The story goes to such lengths to tease us about her, huh? On the surface, she seems like a normal girl, but then she acts in ways to make you wonder and scratch your head. It’s like she’s keeping an eye on him at all times even though they rarely interact. In the end, however, I really hope it turns out that she’s just a normal girl who’s keeping her distance from Mob for relatively mundane reasons.
— The day of the marathon has come, and Mob’s parents aren’t too optimistic about his performance. Geez, guys. To be fair, they do change their tune pretty quick.
— To show how much Mob has changed, he quickly trips early on in the race and roughs up his knee. This is a direct mirror of the show’s cold opening. Back then, he cried and activated his powers in the process. This time, however, Mob gets up and keeps on running. Even though he’s now way behind the back, he still refuses to give in and rely on his psychic powers. He doesn’t even give Dimple’s offer any consideration. I guess that’s commendable.
— At one point, Tsubomi spots Mob, and she’s about to cheer him on when she suddenly cuts herself off. She then just stares at him as he runs by. What’s up with that?
— Arataka even shows up partway to give Mob extra motivation.
— Eventually, the kid collapses and wakes up in the school infirmary, but it does sound as though he at least managed to feel as though he’s accomplish something. What’s really commendable about Mob is that he is never bitter. When he hears that his brother finished in the top ten, he can’t help but smile.
— Well, this is when things suddenly go wrong. Maybe even tragically wrong. Mob’s family is waiting for him to come home when Sho suddenly shows up at the door. We all remember him, right? He and Ritsu proceed to have an uneasy exchange.
— On his way back home, Mob suddenly sees smoke in the distance. When he quickly runs back to his house, he finds it engulfed in flames. The kid tries to remain optimistic, telling himself that as long as his family still has each other, losing their home is just a temporary setback.
— But behind a door, he finds charred corpses in the flames. Did his entire family just get murdered? Are his parents and brother really dead? Like I said at the top of the post, I don’t believe it. I don’t have any evidence to support that belief, but I just don’t. It doesn’t feel right. More importantly, it just doesn’t feel like Mob Psycho 100. In a little over one and a half seasons, the show has never even tried to give me a gut punch on this level, so I expect to find out immediately in next week’s episode that this is all somehow fake or an illusion. Maybe Sho is trying to get a rise out of Mob, but I can’t see him resorting to murder.