Voice actor Setsuo Ito has done a fantastic job of bringing the character of Mob to life in Mob Psycho 100 anime. We asked him about his journey as a voice actor, what he’s looking forward to in season 3, and his thoughts on a certain internet sex symbol.
ANN: Mob was one of your first major roles, and even over five years later, you’re still voicing this character. How much have you grown or changed as a voice actor since taking on the role?
SETSUO ITO: When I started, I was so unsure of myself. Of all the people for the role, was I really the most suitable? More than anything, I think what I gained over time was confidence.
What was it like to play alongside Takahiro Sakurai at the time? Do you have any anecdotes to share?
ITO: I was very scared at first. I had grown up listening to Sakurai’s voice in anime, and he was one of the people I tried to emulate when I first learned to voice. Not to say “teacher” like Reigen is to Mob, but I really looked up to him. He is such a great person to work with. He is so friendly and will give me tips. Over time, I have come to see him as a kind of big brother figure.
This is the first Mob Psycho season since the pandemic started. Has the atmosphere of the afureko studio changed since last season?
ITO: Before we would all record together, but even though there are some recordings we have to do separately, it’s lucky that they made me record with other casts together. Coming back to this series feels like a homecoming.
Throughout the history of Mob Psycho 100, Mob gradually becomes a more confident person. How does it feel to return to his character in the middle of the story? How difficult is it to ensure that Mob’s growth is expressed consistently through your voice performance?
ITO: It’s true that Mob gets more confident over time, but I don’t think he’s much different at his core. Instead, I think it’s the way others see the Mob that’s going through the most change. So, instead of myself, other voice actors feel and reflect such changes in their characters. When voicing Mob, I always try to keep his current relationship with the character he’s talking to in mind.
Was it difficult to record alone?
ITO: I wasn’t completely alone on the recording, but when I get opportunities to ad lib, they’re always difficult. Bullies are not the type to speak up to others. You have to imagine, like, “If I say what, how would other people react?” It’s kind of challenging. There are times when if you have others on the scene, you’d better have the ad-lib rolling.
Looking back at the first two seasons, what is your favorite scene?
ITO: There are so many scenes that it’s so hard to mention them all! But I really like the last episode of Season 1 and how Mob addresses the conflict within himself about whether to use his powers.
What are you most looking forward to in Season 3?
ITO: It’s hard to talk about specific scenes without going into spoilers, but something I always look forward to is seeing how the audience reacts to episodes when they come out. My work is pre-broadcast, so I can’t see the live reaction while I’m performing, but there are many times where I think, “This is going to confuse everyone!”
Recently, ANN had an interview with Bone’s president Masahiko Minami on Crunchyroll Expo. We asked him if he knew about Reigen’s enormous popularity abroad. Apparently, in the English-speaking world, he is referred to as an “internet sex symbol.” Are you aware of this yourself?
ITO: I didn’t know at all. I only found out right before this interview. I have seen that from events and social media Mob Psycho 100 is very popular abroad, but this makes me realize, “Wow! Reigen really is that popular!”
Do you think Mob has the potential to become an “internet sex symbol” in Season 3?
ITO: (laughs) I don’t know about that. He is still a secondary school student; maybe when he grows up he’ll have more of that grown-up appeal. Oh, but in season 3 there are parts of the animation that really show a cool and mature side of him, so maybe…?
Do you have a message for foreign viewers?
ITO: Thank you so much for your passion for this series! I put my all into this role and I hope that you can continue to enjoy this very special show.