Rather than posting week-by-week episode reviews of seasonal anime, I’ve decided to try doing them three episodes at a time– at episode 3, at episode 6, at episode 9, etc. I’m watching nine spring ’19 anime and one of those is One Punch Man season 2. Web comic artist “One” created the story, which was later remade into a digital comic, and then into an anime in 2015. The latter version was animated by Madhouse for its first season. Now, a sequel season is finally airing, though it’s done by a different director, and animated by J.C. Staff.
My History with One Punch Man
Before jumping into my review of the series so far, it’s best if I explained my history with widely popular One Punch Man. Frist of all, I’ve never been the biggest fan of super heroes, so I wasn’t excited about another super hero series. (That’s also part of why Hero Academia is definitely not “the best shounen”). Shortly after OPM finished airing in December 2015, I missed the chance to watch it with my friends (mostly due to an unexpected panic attack). So I didn’t watch the show until spring 2017. I thought it was decent, but not great.
There are several reaons why I didn’t really like OPM at first, besides just not being into super-heroes. 1) When I watched OPM, I was stoned for most of it. As a result, I wasn’t able to clearly see or analyze the merits of the series. 2) I knew even less about art and animation 2 years ago than I do now, so I overlooked the visuals being so high-quality. 3) I hadn’t yet seen many of the classic shounen series which OPM so often parodies. I couldn’t appreciate the significance, either, of a main character who could easily defeat every villain, because I hadn’t grown up with the shounen shows where main characters spend long arcs on just on training and getting stronger.
After re-watching One Punch Man just recently, I understood and liked it much more than previously. Let’s see, I’d probably give the show an overall score of 7.8/10 now, compared to the 7.2/10 I would have given it on my first watch. Anyway, all that aside, we’ll now begin reviewing the story, art, sound, characters, and enjoyment in the first 3 episodes of OPM season 2.
Story: 7/10 Good
Saitama is the strongest superhero in existence, one who can take down any enemy with one punch– or in extremely rare cases, a series of punches. This basic premise of One Punch Man isn’t one that struck me as very innovative or intriguing. However, I’ve now seen parts of many classic shounen series from the 90s or early 2000s, so I appreciate the OPM as a good satire/ parody of that kind of anime. I also have to give the story a good score if I’m including the humor, which makes me smile or laugh consistently. With outstanding comedy included in the calculation, I can give the story a good score. It also helps that the show feels well-planned and structured.
For the second season, the over-arching plot is that a threat to the earth will attack in six months. It turns out that threat is a man calling himself a monster, Garou. While Garou makes his introduction and slaughters a crowd at a Hero Association meeting, Saitama continues helping Genos train as a hero, intervening in fights when necessary.
In episode 1, the funny character King was introduced as the S-class hero who has unwittingly taken the credit for most of Saitama’s victories. With Saitama being the good person he is, he befriends King. Before long, B-class hero Blizzard tries to intimidate Saitama, only to be overwhelmingly defeated. (Blizzard is Tatsumaki’s sister.) At the same time, the world’s best ninja Sonic locates Saitama and tries to fight him again. He’s knocked out quickly, much to the amazement of Blizzard.
The strucure of the episodes is playing out well so far. Episode one served to set the stage, reminding viewers of the premise, as well as presenting the fact that a great threat will descend in half a year. In the next episode, villain Garo is introduced, and there are the beginnings of character development for Blizzard and Sonic. Finally, episode three showed us a lot of good action and proved that Saitama is strong enough to defeat Garou in his current state.
Art: 8/10 Excellent
As several bloggers have pointed out, the animation and art in season 2 are not quite as impressive as those from the first series. That’s not something I’m going to give the show a hard time about, because the visuals are still great. If they were 9/10 before, they’re still 8/10 now. Characters and backgrounds are detailed. Action scenes are creative and fun. Shots and camera angles are a little different than in normal anime. Less centered, for one thing. It looks to me like a higher number of frames per second is used here compared to average action anime– things look smoother, anyway.
As I watched episode 3, the fight scenes were still excellent, but the overall quality of the art definitely is much worse than the in OPM first season. The lines are fewer and simpler. The shading doesn’t look quite as good. It looks less like comic book style art now and more like, well, anime. I kind of expected JC Staff to put more effort and time into this. But maybe episode 3 is just a particularly cheap episode. I still think the art is worth 8/10.
Sound: 8/10 Excellent
In terms of both music and voice-acting, I consider the auditory aspects of OPM to be 8/10 Excellent, and that’s only so far. The instrumental music was exciting. Opening theme “Seijaku no Aspostle” by JAM was fun, silly, and in terms of vocals, astounding. The ending song, which means something like “Returning Without A Map,” is sung by Makoto Furukawa, voice of Saitama. It’s not really my style, but it’s pretty in its own way. I noticed some good instrumental music during the fights in episode 3. Now let’s look at the seiyuu!
Kaji Yuki plays my favorite character Sonic; he played Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan, Johnny Joestar in JoJo, and Shu from Guilty Crown. Midorikawa Hikaru joins the cast as Garou, and I recognize him as Xingke from Code Geass, Lancer from Fate/Zero, and Sakamoto from Sakatomo Desuga? Also new to the cast is the incredible recent talent Hayami Saori, famous for being able to play scary, crazy girls (Jabami Yumeko of Kakegurui) and cute, sweet-natured girls too (Shirayuki of Snow White with Red Hair). Hayami plays Blizzard.
Returning cast also includes Ishikawa Kaito and Yuuki Aoi, who play Genos and Tatsumaki, respectively. Yuuki Aoi is one of my top five favorite female seiyuu, and if you look her up, you’ll be amazed by the number of roles she’s had and the voice variation she is capable of. For a few favorite examples, she played Boogiepop in Boogipop and Others, Tanya in Youjo Senki, Froppy in Hero Academia, Madoka from Madoka Magica, Sunako in Shiki, and Krul Tepes in Seraph of the End. Ishikawa Kaito is known for playing Iida in Hero Academia, Kageyama in Haikyuu, and Sakuta (main character) of Bunny Girl Senpai/ Rascal Doesn’t Dream.
Characters: 7/10 Good
It’s so good to see the characters coming back from last season. I thought the characters deserved an 8/10 in OPM first season, but we’ll have to wait and see if this season continues the giving details and showing the development of characters. Any new characters need to be pretty charismatic and/or original to live up to those introduced in season one. As of episode 3, the characters are fine, but they just feel a little stagnant somehow.
Enjoyment and Overall Score
What I enjoyed most was the humor, and of course the personality of Saitama, which makes up half the comedy. My enjoyment score is 7/10 so far, but it may go higher. With its excellent art and sound, its good story and characters, and its nonstop silly humor, One Punch Man Season 2 earns a solid 7.4/10 “Good,” so far.
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