Mob Psycho 100 Season 3 has ranked significantly lower than Seasons 1 and 2 despite receiving a respectable 8.65 on MAL. It's debatable whether the rankings accurately reflect the caliber of the seasons, but they do unquestionably demonstrate a decline in viewership: Season 3 has 401 thousand members compared to 1.3 million in Season 2, indicating a lower trend in viewership. It appears that Mob Psycho 100 lost its allure if the data is indicative of the audience's overall reaction to the program.
Similar to Seasons 1 and 2, Season 3 began with a delightful episodic story; this time, Reigen, Mob, and Serizawa went to see a client who thought he was being haunted by an evil spirit. The episode successfully demonstrated Mob's character growth while also advancing his relationship with his psychic abilities, his mentor, and clever parallels. It seemed like a good beginning, which was only strengthened by the dramatic plot twist of Dimple's apparent death in Episode 6. Unfortunately, this momentum couldn't last for the remainder of the season.
The Mob Psycho 100 Formula No Longer Functions
When examining the episodic structure of Mob Psycho 100, it becomes clear that the various clients' strange circumstances in Season 1 served the dual purpose of introducing the characters and introducing the setting of the show. Fans learned to respect Mob and Reigen's personalities and morals as they fought each new evil spirit while also learning about the psychic world of Mob Psycho 100. After making sure that the audience was well informed, the plot advanced and presented Mob with difficult obstacles to overcome and dangerous foes to face. Due to the story's inherent progression, while Season 2's formula was successful, it couldn't be repeated for the third time. The audience can't be asked to start over after becoming accustomed to high-stakes and action-packed battles; they have high expectations.
Season 3 failed to live up to expectations, perhaps because it had the unfortunate task of adapting only about ten manga chapters as opposed to the 90+ of the previous seasons. The episodes, though always quite endearing in their oddness, rarely offered character insight or advanced an engaging overarching plot. As an example, the hilarious Episode 8's 'encounter with the aliens' side story was entertaining but fell flat as a part of the overall series, giving the impression that they were disjointed and random.
It was also lacking a significant source of conflict. While Mob's relationship with his younger brother Ritsu, who was resentful and insecure due to Mob's overwhelming powers, presented a compelling personal conflict for the protagonist and the audience in Season 1, Season 3 fell short of doing so. The conflict between Mob and Dimple came close, but neither the lead-up to it nor its resolution—though it was quite moving—was satisfactory. Additionally, Dimple's surrender and admission of guilt were hurried and ill-justified. It was actually a missed opportunity because Mob is not himself, so their fight is only physical. Consequently, Mob's awakening and the subsequent confrontation with Hanazawa could have been a good source of conflict and growth.
There Are No Significant Threats or Surprises in the Near Future
Another problem with the season is that there doesn't seem to be a significant threat after ten episodes have already aired. The enigma surrounding the "Divine Tree" suggested the existence of a secret enemy force that was stealthily occupying the city. And so it was, if only for a moment. The 'Divine Tree's' power became dormant again after Dimple was vanquished. Even if it were to return in the final few episodes, it wouldn't have the same impact as if the season had been gradually leading up to it. Instead, it opted to jump from one pointless incident to another, wasting time on unimportant details.
Although Mob's awakening in Episode 10 may have the potential to alter events, it is already too late. The final few episodes of this season will have a very difficult time matching the visually stunning scenes of Season 2's final battle because viewers have already seen Mob's terrifying 100% power. Particularly if the enemy is the same, as Episode 10's ending would seem to imply. How can the fight be any different if Toichiro Suzuki is Mob's opponent once more? Even if Mob and Toichiro's powers grow, the final episodes' significance may be lost due to the absence of an ideological conflict.
The Evolution of Tsubomi's Character Opens Up New Possibilities
One could argue that Tsubomi's inclusion in Mob Psycho Season 3 is the only significant fact at all. Her character this season had a little bit more room after always being in the background. Perhaps she will hold the key to the season's ultimate resolution if it was the news of her moving away that motivated Mob to prepare a love confession and unintentionally awaken his most terrifying power yet. It would be intriguing to see how Tsubomi and Mob's relationship evolved, especially if it affected Mob's psychic abilities and how he used them. Tsubomi might hold the key to Mob Psycho 100's intractable conundrum: whether Mob's abilities are a blessing or a curse.
Mob Psycho Season 3 unquestionably appears to be a step down from its predecessors, whether that is because of a lack of source material or the inability of a tried-and-true formula to sustain a series for too long. Its inability to maintain the level of the show's quality demonstrates that anime's insistence on adapting works whose stories aren't complete may be a risky course. Whenever this occurs, the series is eventually picked up years later for a much more successful reboot; for example, it happened with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The audience can always hope for a reboot of the series in the unlikely event that Mob Psycho 100 Season 3's finale completely fails to live up to expectations; unfortunately, this will be a few years from now.