Hello again! I know this is a day late, but my time after work went a lot differently yesterday than I expected, so this is just going to have to do. I’ve been doing well with my 30 Day Anime Challenge posts, so I’ll give myself a pass on this. I still wanted to get this post out, though.
I don’t think I’ve ever written such a lengthy title before, and you’re probably wondering why I’m smushing two shows into one post. I’ve never done that before, and I never thought I would.
But I was going to write a post just on The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (which I’ll just call Saiki K. for short) over a month ago, but when I writing it I realized it was horribly difficult to describe the show well. And that’s because it’s almost purely comedic, and as my English comp professor told us, “you can’t review a comedy, because you’d be giving away all the jokes just explaining it.” He was right, of course. I wrote about 400 words before thinking, “this doesn’t make any sense” and scrapped it. But then I thought of this, so I still get to talk about it!
This post will be focused on the psychic aspect of both shows, and how they handle the topic of a main character having immense power compared to the other characters. Which is more similar than I expected.
In Mob Psycho 100, the main character is middle-schooler, Shigeo Kageyama, also known as Mob. He was born with powerful psychic powers. With these powers, people become envious of him. But in his view, he sees them as being not all that impressive, and he’d prefer living without them. He says they don’t serve much of a practical purpose in his daily life, so why should he need them? He can do without them, and function normally. But to other people, they think having the powers would be the coolest thing ever. They can do things with much more ease and be able to show off a skill to their peers.
Throughout the show, Mob suffers from a lack of self-confidence. He isn’t popular or good-looking. He has powers, but like I said, he doesn’t see them as being something he should be proud of possessing. He envies his younger brother for having the traits he doesn’t, and in return, his brother envies the power Mob has.
Mob’s brother, Ritsu, ends up being consumed by the envy he has for his brother, and goes to some lengths that are questionable to gain attention and powers of his own. Mob isn’t initially aware of this, and when he learns of it, he’s confused as to why Ritsu would be so set on being like Mob. The value of such powers is different depending on the side of the issue. The one with them, sees them as being pointless, and the ones without them, see them as being so valuable and convenient.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is not as popular as Mob Psycho 100, I’m aware. It’s probable you’ve never heard of it, as well. So, I’ll give a little more background with this one.
This show is almost purely a comedy. But even for a comedy, the way the psychic powers are handled is almost sad to hear about. It’s actually more severe than Mob’s.
Kusuo Saiki is the main character, also born with psychic powers, but in this case, he has every form of psychic power ever known: telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance, the list goes on. He has so much power, he can change the course of history, and does multiple times throughout the show. He’s practically a god at this point. He has to wear special glasses and antennae to keep his powers under control, or he could seriously hurt someone else.
In Saiki’s case, he doesn’t use his powers to fight off spirits, just fixes his idiotic friends’ messes. And they have no idea he’s a psychic. He just swoops in, fixes whatever it is that’s wrong, and they never suspect a thing.
But he hates his powers. He says that other people would tell him he should think he’s the boy born with everything, and he should be the happiest boy on earth, but really he’s the unhappiest boy, and that he was born with nothing. He is burdened to be different and take special precautions to keep himself seeming normal. He has to force himself to do things averagely. He could get 100% on all of his tests, but that would seem too suspicious, so he purposefully marks the wrong answer on some questions to blend in. He has to work so hard to seem like he puts in only average effort.
In the world of Mob Psycho 100, psychic powers are valued, and are not as uncommon as in the Saiki K. world. And Mob doesn’t exactly hate his powers, he just doesn’t see them as something to be proud of. He’s more indifferent to them than anything. Saiki seems to loathe his powers, they cause him more trouble than any sort of help. This is probably due to his powers being so much more intense than Mob’s.
It’s interesting to see two characters who are each deemed to be incredibly powerful view themselves and have others view them in very different ways. I think both deal with the envy of others, and both experience major negative affects when they’ve used their powers. Mob ends up becoming unconscious during the use of his power at 100%, and he has no control over what he’s doing. That has to be horribly frustrating, especially since he’s told himself he won’t hurt other people with those powers, and without control, there’s no knowing what will happen.
Saiki has his equipment to keep his powers in check, but there are a few episodes where something happens to that technology, and he must take extreme precautions so he doesn’t end up hurting anybody.
They both have that risk that something major could happen to another person without them being able to stop it. And yet others will still always see them as superior beings, because they have something others do not. The others don’t pay attention to the downsides of having power, so they are blind to what having it means.
In our lives, we often see others with more superiority than us. We envy those people often. Almost everyone at some point has said, “I want to be rich and famous, so everybody knows my name.” But when we say that, we don’t think about what being rich and famous means. There are consequences to that, just as there are consequences to having psychic powers like Mob and Saiki.
Wow, I didn’t mean to get all serious at the end, but I felt like I needed more of a point to my post than just: these guys have psychic powers, how are they different?
This post was fun to do, though more rushed than some of my others. I still hope you enjoyed it! Also, this was my first time including a thumbnail I made myself, where I used Adobe Spark. It was nice to have that for once, and I think I’ll try to make more in the future.
Thanks for reading!