4 CommentsTwelve Days / By Scamp /

12 Days of Anime #4: Mob Psycho’s bodybuilding club

img_0446Bodybuilders have always struck me as weird. It’s not about being fit and healthy, which I could understand. It’s the strange desire to achieve an unnatural image of ripped muscles so they can feel more attractive. Maybe it has something to do with body building magazine covers featuring frankly unhealthy amounts of veins ready to burst. Or the body building forums I stumbled in that felt one step away from pick up artist forums, as though you could get those dumb bitches in the sack by flexing those biceps like it’s some kind of stat you build until you’re able to cross that magic attractiveness threshold. Thanks to Mob Psycho 100, I now see things differently.

In Mob Psycho, Mob’s desire to start body building is part of his desire to feel more confident in himself. Not some power he was born with. He want to achieve something within his own power and be confident in his ability to work towards that. He admires the people who have these abilities he doesn’t. Yes personal attractiveness to the opposite sex comes into it, but it’s less about appearing attractive and more about being confident in his own body and self to move forward.

The body building club in Mob Psycho were great because they were not interested in showing off, but in merely being stronger for their own benefit. So they could feel good in themselves because it is what they achieved. To Mob, this is far more important than showing the world his power. His psychic powers bring him very little confidence in himself. His happiness comes from him achieving something himself. That was at the core of what elevated Mob Psycho 100 as a character story and it’s a huge part of why I ended up really loving that show.

Now if you don’t mind me, I’ve got some protein shakes to down and some benches to press…wait, is that how you say it? Pressing benches? Sorry, I’m very new at this…

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4 Comments

  1. Posted December 23, 2016 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Being attractive has to start with yourself. It’s why my husband pushes me to dress better and happily pays for my hairdresser. I don’t have to do it for him as he already likes me, but apparently I’m visibly more confident when I look good.
    This also reminds me – I wonder if my coworker already bought those 50 eggs his bodybuilder brother requested for the time he visits him for Christmas?…

  2. Gan_HOPE326
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I can get the general idea, but it’s still something that I don’t really understand because “strength you can achieve yourself” applies to anything we can learn or improve and there’s literally a bajillion things I find more interesting to improve than the mass of my muscles. Even in sports there’s a bunch of activities that involve a far more harmonious effort of body and mind – that require strategy, cunning, ability to read your opponent or even artistic sense (hello Yuri!). So while I understand the general sentiment I still find utterly mysterious the wish to express it in this particular way. It’s not like it’s the best way to attract the opposite sex either. I think you have much better chances with a decent looking physique and some slick music skills than when every your limb looks like a sack stuffed full with walnuts. But whatever.

    • Sap
      Posted January 1, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think the show has ever tried push the idea that physical sports or muscle training in particular is the only valid form of self-improvement, it’s just one example out of many. It’s all a matter of different strokes for different folks, really: while you seem to value certain qualities over others -namely those related to the mind-, other people will find this harmony you speak of in focusing exclusively on improving their bodies (Ancient Greeks themselves were all about fitness and athleticism, yo).

      As for the attractiveness thingy, I think it’s important to keep in mind that not just in the show but IRL as well, the people who seriously engage in those activities and fully dedicate themselves to them do it for themselves before doing for other people. Plus, the only reason Mob thinks getting swole is gonna get his crush to notice him because he’s an unassuming 14 year-old boy with 0 romantic experience nor social awareness and as such will draw the most straightforward and simplistic conclusions on what’s supposed to make him attractive to the other gender. And even then, “finding some other potential within [himself]” was his main motivation.

  3. BwackNinja
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    In bodybuilding, the result is a clear indication of your hard work and dedication over an extended period of time that others can see from afar and can’t be replicated by someone else doing the work for you. Other pursuits — both related to improving your appearance and otherwise — don’t quite capture that.

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