I Went to the ‘Mob Psycho 100’ Graduation Event, and It Melted My Heart
Mob Psycho 100 had one of my favorite endings of anything I’ve ever seen. To be able to leave a series you love deeply on such a high note is a rare and precious thing, but still, it’s hard to say goodbye. Mob Psycho 100 is the kind of sincere, heartfelt, and moving series that has meant a lot of things to a lot of people, and so, the powers that be gave the series a proper goodbye event in Tokyo, Japan. But I was obscenely lucky enough to be there in person.
The goodbye event was framed as a Graduation Event. After all, at the end of the series, we leave Mob entering his third and final year of middle school (so it goes in Japanese schools). Mob grew up so much during the course of the series, and this event felt like fans, cast, and crew alike all got to see these characters off, together. If there were any anime series that could pull off such an emotional goodbye, it would be Mob. Tears were had. The event was subtitled “thank you Mob Psycho,” after all. And you can tell the people on stage felt just as genuinely grateful as the people in the audience.
Big events like this are an occurrence in the anime world: The cast of the show, alongside perhaps the director and some other key production crew members, will get on stage in front of fans to talk about the property in question. Granted, this is the first time I ever got to go to an event like this in person, but because it was an event to mark the end of a beloved series, it had a very singular feel to it. It was sad, but it was also one of the most heartwarming events I’ve ever attended.
What was the air around the Mob Psycho 100 Graduation Event like?
The Mob Psycho 100 Graduation Event was one of those times when I was so freaking glad that I am an anime fan. The fandom around this series is perhaps the warmest and kindest I’ve ever encountered. Multiple fans sent gorgeous (and very expensive-looking!) flower bouquets to the theater to celebrate Mob’s graduation. A fan approached my friend group and gave us all little goody-bags of candy, which she had wrapped with a lovely drawing she’d done of Mob, Reigen, and Ekubo. It seemed clear to me that the Mob Psycho fandom is very much about giving. It’s so nice.
The fans in attendance were also perhaps 94% women. Just … an interesting observation.
Japan has loosened their COVID-19 restrictions, but most people and events still take plenty of precautions. So, in order to offer an alternative to cheering, everyone got a free Ekubo squeaky ball—an Ekuball, please. Instead of cheering, we were encouraged to squeak our Ekuballs instead. Imagine an auditorium with four tiers of balcony that’s perhaps 2/3 full, all squeaking high-pitched toy balls at the same time. Yes. Yes. This clearly annoyed the hell out of the guy sitting next to me. But me? I lived to squeak my Ekuball.
If you want to know what it sounds like, I mean, it sounds like a squeaky ball you’d give your dog and soon regret doing so. But it’s the third slide in my little Instagram recap below. Listen closely, and you can hear the people in front of me start to giggle immediately.
The elephant in the room
The event was, unfortunately, not entirely able to escape the realm of real-world controversy. I regret to inform you that Reigen’s voice actor, Takahiro Sakurai, has been the subject of a major scandal involving a ten-year extramarital affair. The other party had no idea he was even married and was hospitalized from shock. Sakurai is in basically everything, by the way: He’s Cloud in Final Fantasy 7, Giyuu in Demon Slayer, Geto in Jujutsu Kaisen, etc etc. So this has been a major incident in the anime world since fall 2022.
You could tell that, when Sakurai showed up, the audience didn’t really know how to feel about it. We still love and thirst for Reigen, of course. It’s not Reigen’s fault Sakurai’s a butt, and Sakurai seemed very aware that he was in a room with thousands of his former fans who now thought he was a butt. Compared to the rest of the cast present, Sakurai’s statements were quite brief, and he didn’t really joke around with his fellow cast members (and vice versa). At the end, while everyone else was waving their arms off as they exited the stage, Sakurai seemed relieved it was over.
It was weird.
What happened during the Mob Psycho 100 Graduation Event?
Sakurai aside, the Mob Psycho 100 Graduation Event itself was adorable. (You can still rent the stream.) Mob’s voice actor and astoundingly adorable human Setsuo Ito rounded up the cast in a live-streamed backstage choreographed film. Everyone then came out and reminisced on the major events of the entirety of Mob Psycho 100. The very end, including Reigen’s tear-jerker of a run, was mercifully not discussed. Hell, at one point later on, they just showed the final image of Mob laughing, and an audibly emotional “AW”-type reaction echoed from the audience.
The voice actors—which included the actors behind Mob, Reigen, Ekubo, Ritsu, Serizawa, Tsubomi, Teruki, and Musashi (the lead Body Improvement Club guy)—then worked on finishing the Mob Psycho 100 memory board. Actors started commandeering cameras. Shenanigans and drawings of comically various qualities were had. It was adorable.
Then, Sana, the main force behind the Mob Choir, performed a set of music that would set any Mob fan’s heart aflame: all three OPs, followed by a number of ending and insert songs. My adoration for Mob Psycho’s OPs is on public record. It was the first time I had ever heard “99” live, and friends, I cried.
Also, everyone in the auditorium then joined in to sing a classic graduation-time song that literally everyone was familiar with—everyone, that is, except everyone in my section, which seemed to be entirely populated by foreigners who booked their tickets online.. We were confused, but we tried our best.
There was a point of anxiety to all this, though. Through the whole event, there was a graduation percentage counter. At first, I was merely thinking, “Oho, what a clever idea!” But as the number got closer to 100% after each segment, I found myself feeling genuinely emotional. Trepidatious, even! There came to be a heavy feeling of: “Oh god, when this hits 100, it’s really over.”
Fortunately, the final percentage was delayed. The actors all presented graduation words of wisdom, using dialogue from the show. And then, like the OP of the final season, that counter didn’t hit 100%—we celebrated the graduation and ending of the show with a reprise of “One.” Sniff, sniff.
So thank you, Mob Psycho 100. Thank you for being a rare thing of beauty and sincerity, and for melting my heart at every possible opportunity.
(featured image: ONE / Bones / Mob Psycho 100 Committee)
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