In the final battle with Claw, we see that perhaps Mob isn't the only one that needed guidance.
Personally, I love whenever the concept of foils comes to play in a story. It’s a type of point where the viewer realizes that had things gone just a bit differently for the characters that they love, they could have ended up in a totally different place, for better or for worse. In this sense, Mob Psycho 100 is no exception, where the story’s large focus on empathy and finding yourself leads Mob to encounter many people who share his abilities but not his drive on what to do with them. Mob’s course in life was set when he encountered his mentor, Reigen, and as it turns out, Mob isn’t the only psychic out there with a mentor figure guiding him; but one on the other side as well, with Claw’s Suzuki and Serizawa.
While Reigen and Suzuki are on different sides, they share some similarities in being guiding figures. Like Reigen, Suzuki is able to gauge what abilities other people have and how that can further his personal cause, but he cares very little for the wellbeing of those who work under him. They both have a kind of magnetic charisma that draws people to them and lets people believe the subtle lies that they spin. Whether it is through coincidence or through design, both have amassed a following of fairly powerful espers. Due to their charisma, their presence has inspired their followers to change their ways of life. They are magnetic people, who have managed to stay where they are through wit and determination.
Although Reigen isn’t aiming for world supremacy, he also isn’t the cookie-cutter image of a good person. To be fair, Reigen is by no means a purely morally righteous person. He is a swindler and a conman, running a fake business while pretending to have psychic powers. At the core of things, he is manipulating Mob for his own gain. At the same time, Reigen is not an amoral person—far from it, he is quite attentive to other people’s needs. As an opportunist, he’s out for his own gain, but he’s also fully aware that people have wants and needs that extend beyond his personal desires. What drives him to help Mob when they first meet is him being moved by encountering a lost child who is so desperate for advice that he’d go and ask a total stranger. Reigen wants life to be better for Mob, and even though he ultimately uses Mob for his own ends, he doesn’t bluster his way through giving Mob genuine advice.
By contrast, Suzuki is wholly detached from all the people surrounding him. His family, his comrades, his subordinates; all are people beneath him. He even admits in it in the very end, where he tells Serizawa that he never considered anyone his comrades. As someone who only ever believed in himself, he has perfectly isolated himself away from people, and therefore doesn’t truly believe in them. As someone who has never believed in other people except for their capabilities as pawns, he has never trusted people to think for themselves, or know what’s best for themselves. Someone like that, despite having a lot of charisma, can’t form meaningful relationships with people, because fundamentally he doesn’t believe in anyone but himself.
This could not be made more clear in how they interact with people truly in desperate need of help, namely Mob and Serizawa. Both Mob and Serizawa are kind-hearted people with who originally fear of using their powers in case they end up hurting people. They are both distanced from society as they are socially inept, and are in need of guidance. Both figures extend their hands to these psychics in need, and in turn, both psychics come to depend on them. The similarities quickly end there, for both Mob and Serizawa encounter entirely different experience under their mentors. Both are being used to benefit their mentors in the long run, but are framed very differently in how these have shaped them as people.
Mob has found a way to use his psychic abilities safely through Reigin’s work, but Reigen has also made sure to take care of Mob throughout their partnership. He is constantly giving Mob advice, and is always aware of the fact that Mob has his own wants and his own life. A lot of Season 2 is Reigen coming to terms with Mob’s growth and how that growth distances him from Reigen—and being okay with that. Reigen’s self-priority may be money and expanding his business, but beyond that, he is always paying attention to Mob and seeing whether Mob is heading towards the right path. There’s a genuine sense of care in how Reigen treats Mob, and that has not waned over time.
As for Serizawa, what Suzuki has taught him is obedience. All of Suzuki’s advice to Serizawa is more him regurgitating his personal beliefs and expecting Serizawa to follow his lead. He fosters not a sense of trust in Serizawa but a sense of dependency, that his word is law and nothing else. Serizawa doesn’t think much of whether Claw’s actions are wrong or not because he’s so convinced that whatever Suzuki is doing is the right thing—and Suzuki himself shaped that. The umbrella he gives Serizawa is a perfect symbol of that; it was given to him as gift, but it’s also the only solace that Serizawa is allowed in the outside world. Without the umbrella, Serizawa loses all control, because Suzuki hasn’t taught him any other framework to live his life besides the one that he controls. Serizawa may have left his room and gone into the outside world, but he hasn’t really matured much since then. In that sense, even though Mob is still learning, he enters the fight a more complete person; able to think for himself, knowing what he wants, and having a personal moral compass to know what’s right and wrong.
Two people, lost and afraid to hurt others, were wandering around life afraid of themselves. Through chance, they managed to stumble upon two mentors that were willing to take them under their wing and guide them. Use your powers, not wildly, but for a cause. Yet at the same time, it's the kind of guidance that's offered to both Mob and Serizawa that turns one into a hero and the other into an obstacle. In the end, your life is your own, but only one mentor is truly willing to let his mentee walk on that path.
What do you think about the two dynamics? Let us know in the comments!
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