Mob Psycho 100

In short, Mob Psycho 100 is absolutely amazing, everyone should watch it. This show accomplishes a lot. The animation is simplistic yet beautiful. The story is exciting and well-paced. The characters are well-balanced, relatable, and hilarious.

Mob Psycho 100 explores what it means to live a fulfilled life through a coming of age story. In a decomposition of shounen tropes, the protagonist Mob starts out the show as an all-powerful character. Despite being all-powerful, Mob is not fulfilled. Mob recognizes that his powers can’t solve all of his problems. Rather than relying on his psychic abilities to solve all his problems, Mob seeks activities like the body improvement club to better himself. This all amplifies the message that happiness comes from hard work bringing success. In other words, natural talents can only get you so far in life.

It is common for people in this show that are blessed with psychic abilities to have a serious ego complex and believe that they are the “protagonist of the entire world.” When Mob defeated other Psychics called vespers, he often instilled the message that they are not special and reminds them of their own insignificance. Although we are each the protagonist of our own lives and responsible for our own happiness, we are all but little pieces of society in the grand scope of things.


Bo Burnham’s special Inside is a masterpiece. It holds a mirror to our society from these past few months and makes us ponder a cacophony of social and political issues? What has the pandemic done to our mental states? How has comedy changed? Is technology a force of good or evil? What does it mean to be canceled? How do people change over time?

The special gives a left-leaning point of view, but at the same time, it never feels like Burnham is trying to cajole your opinions. Inside paints a desultory picture of both social isolation during the pandemic and the vanity of the internet. Burnham manages to do all this while using comedy, a unique set, lighting, and camera angles to portray his opinions.

Inside resonates because everyone can relate to it with their own covid experiences. It gives the message that it’s okay to not be okay during these distressing times. The pandemic is coming to an end, but the transition back to routine life will not be easy.

The Great Pretender

This was a good anime. Don’t want to call it a masterpiece, but, it is definitely a solid crime thriller to watch. The Great Pretender is about a group of individuals who call themselves “confidence men”, and are essentially people who swindle the rich and corrupt to serve their own self-interests. The show is known for having elaborate schemes and only revealing the plot twist that uncovers the trick at the last minute.

The animation style is also distinctly unique. The colors are saturated and the background is filled with unrealistic shading which gives the world a beautiful dream-like feeling.

And the Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed is yet another excellent book by Khaled Hosseini, chronicling the story of an Afghan family. As a whole, it isn’t as cohesive or moving as Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner, but it is nonetheless a compelling story.

The book was a little confusing to follow at first since it time skips and jumps perspectives each chapter; however, the payoff for this is significant since it gave us a holistic view of the family through three generations, three continents, and seven decades. At the same time, it is hard to really resonate with one character because there are scores of characters introduced. But, it is a moving story since it illustrates the struggles of a family. At the start of the book, the story was heartwrenching because the family went through so much in Afghanistan. As the story moved to France and America, the story became heartwrenching for different reasons. The family’s struggles became more relatable to me, specifically the pain of losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s.

The meta metaphor in the book that resonated with me was: “A story is a lot like a train, it doesn’t matter where you get on, the destination is always the same”. In the book, Saboor told this to Abdullah and Pari while telling stories, but it is also true of this novel. There are a million ways to tell the story of this family; each version would focus on different characters and themes. But, at the end of the day, we are still telling the same story.

Devilman Crybaby

Sex and violence. Devilman crybaby is a thrilling anime to watch with its simplistic yet beautiful animation style with pastel color pallets and well-defined line work. Also, did I mention sex and violence? Devilman crybaby indulges in the taboo as it explores themes of puberty, violence, human nature, and self-identification. This show is not afraid to include graphic scenes with sex and gore.

Overall, the show did a good job with the limited number of episodes that it had. The conclusion was very nihilistic, yet at the same time, the ending left me feeling satisfied with the show overall.

Code Geass

Code Geass did a lot of things right for a mecha shounen anime. It had excellent battles, well-developed characters, and character conflicts. But, most of all, I enjoyed this anime because it brazenly presented philosophical questions. What is justice? What is national identity? How does nationalism turn into racism? Should the powerful rule over the weak? Is it possible to end world conflict? Do the ends justify the means?

It isn’t even necessary to read too deep into the plot to pull out these themes because the characters flat out discuss these things. The opening commonly asks us to ponder these more philosophical questions about time, consequences, etc.

There is a lot to be said about the show. However, I felt like the development of the “F.L.E.I.J.A” super weapon is the most interesting. This isn’t the only technological advancement made during the show. The mechas are constantly getting new upgrades. This could be a cleaver plot device to level their power system, or it could be a illustration of how war typically speeds up technical advancements. This, leading to one of my favorite quotes in the show:

Well, you know what they say… war is the mother of invention.

– Lloyd Asplund

The introduction of the super-weapon changed the dichotomy of war drastically. No longer was it just people who were willing to fight that died in the war, but, millions of people as entire cities got erased. Both the power of the FLEIJA, and of the power of Geass could bend people into absolute submission. Which of these weapons is more unethical to use? Who shoulders the burden of responsibility for using such a weapon? The story later sabotaged the importance of the FLEIJA, by then creating a anti-FLEIJA weapon. But, the devastating effects of the weapon were already felt by that part of the story with two cities being destroyed– reminiscent of Japan during WWII.

If this type of plot development with the FLEIJA sounds familiar, it is because it is all over the place in anime. Think about how Netero Killed Meruem with the Miniature Rose [nuclear] bomb in Hunter X Hunter. Or, consider the Colossal titan in Attack on Titan. Or the N2 mine in Neon Genesis Evangelion.