One Punch Man (Season Two) Review

OPM2

Good things don’t always come to those who wait. After a three-year hiatus One Punch Man has returned to Japanese television and the reception I have seen online is mixed. Many viewers have been quick to condemn season two’s visual downgrade. The consensus is that, in terms of animation and artwork, J.C. Staff have failed to meet the high standards set by their predecessors Madhouse..

Judging a piece of entertainment solely on aesthetics is a bit shallow though. Take video games for example. How many big budget releases have come out recently that boast stellar graphics, but lack the enjoyment of a more modest looking indie game? The second season of One Punch Man may look rougher, but I can get over that. I watch this series more for the comedy than the spectacle, and in that regard it succeeds. Depending on your sense of humour there’s even a case to be made that season two is funnier than series one.

I would also have to say that season two has a better antagonist. The big bad of this instalment is a martial artist named Garo. He uses his fighting techniques to challenge any heroes who cross his path. Apart from wanting to test his strength against worthy opponents, Garo’s motivation for beating up heroes comes from the belief that he identifies himself as a monster. That mindset originates from his youth. Back then Garo’s classmates would always force him to roleplay a monster, whenever the group played superheroes. Maybe they should have played Cowboys and Indians instead? Had the kids picked Garo to play a Native American, all the time, the worst thing that could happen is that he would learn archery and how to do a funky rain dance.

Garo also admires villains, as in fiction they often hold their own against multiple do-gooders. If you think about it, he has a point. What’s so heroic about a team ganging up on one bad guy? He’s the type of person who left the cinema with nothing but respect for Thanos, after witnessing how well the mad titan fared versus the entire Avengers roster.

One thing that surprised me about season two was Saitama’s lack of screen time. He spends a big chunk of the series competing in a DBZ style fighting tournament. That keeps him away from the main storyline, which in retrospect is a good idea. Twelve episodes of Saitama knocking out foes in one hit would get stale. One Punch Man has a great supporting cast of quirky characters, so I didn’t mind seeing them get a moment in the spotlight. I was especially impressed by the action scenes featuring Metal Bat who, as his name implies, kicks ass using a piece of baseball equipment.

Another minor character who is worth mentioning is King. He is finally revealed this season and turns out to be the complete opposite of Saitama. King is a weakling who through serendipity has managed to earn the reputation of being the strongest man on Earth. That is in contrast to mighty Saitama whose feats of strength never get acknowledged by the public. Early on in the season the pair become friends. Despite being a joke character, King occasionally utters lines so inspirational that they even manage to motivate apathetic Saitama. King is also the only person able to defeat Saitama in combat… granted that is only in video games!

My rating for this season of One Punch Man is three and a half stars. I am giving the series a slightly lower grade than season one, but not due to the lower production values most people have crucified it for. In terms of gags and characters this season matches the series that came before it. My beef with season two is with its finale. The fate of Garo is left up in the air, as is the plot about a monster organization recruiting superhumans into its fold. Unresolved plot threads really irk me in anime. I understand that the manga is still ongoing, so this sort of thing is inevitable, but it must be said that season one concluded better. The first series holds up as a standalone piece, whilst season two doesn’t. Fingers crossed that we get a third season to see what happens next. One Punch Man is popular enough to get a follow up, but then again so was Haruhi Suzumiya. We all saw how that property vanished without a trace, after the sequel we waited years for didn’t quite meet expectations.

27 thoughts on “One Punch Man (Season Two) Review

  1. One Punch Man is one of the shows that people keep saying to me I must watch. Well, you know me, and my way too big anime watch list, so it’s there to be sure, but it’s not yet on one of the number one spots😅
    Seems the second season wasn’t as good as season 1, but still 3 and a half stars is a good grade. Your review for this did make me move thse show up a few spots, but it will probably still be a while before I get to it😅. Great post though! Good to see you back at writing posts! 😊

    • When you have time you should give One Punch Man a shot. It’s a funny show. I liked season two a lot and was going to give it a 4/5 (the same as season one). The non-ending is what spoiled the season for me a little. It won’t matter if we get a third season I guess. Hopefully we don’t have to wait three years for that. Guess it depends on how much manga material there is to adapt.

      • Yeah, time is always the biggest issue for me (then again I guess for everyone 😅), so yeah I hope to give this a chance when as soons as I can (so many people have recommended it to me, can’t disappoint them now can I😊)

  2. I recently picked up the One Punch Man manga, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of it so far. It certainly has a unique spin on shōnen anime/manga tropes. What did you think of the first season of the anime, by the way?

  3. I don’t know if this will work better as a marathon watch but this season felt disjointed, not to mention shifting away from the main character for most of its run. Plus, as I opined on another site, the slicker animation took away some of the show’s inherent quirkiness.

    I didn’t hate it but it won’t be in my top 10 for the year like the first season was.

    • In my experience animation doesn’t tend to improve, as a show goes along. If anything it may get worse as the studio has to make deadlines or starts to run out of budget. Oh well, regardless of the studio the source material is still the same, so it was an enjoyable season.

  4. I agree with you on “stay tuned!” endings. If you’re not sure the series is going to get renewed, come up with some sort of conclusion, even if it’s more like a typical episode than an ending. Just a wink and a nod to the audience that things aren’t over but enough that isn’t a cliffhanger.

    • Lack of closure is the thing I hate most about anime. I wish more shows would be anime originals or based on books that have finished. Alas, studios have to snap up what is currently popular to make a buck. If they don’t pick up an on-going manga/novel someone else will before the series finishes.

  5. I agree that Garo was a good antagonist, but he didn’t get to really progress enough, despite all of his screen time. Saitama getting put to the side was expected for me, but that tournament was rough watching, felt like such a huge waste of time for almost nothing. What I came to season 1 for, there was almost none here and that was disappointing.

    • I thought the fighting tournament was a funny distraction, but for someone who wanted the plot to progress I can see why it would not go down well. They sort of tried to re-create the Mumen Rider moment, using that martial arts guy, but it didn’t work as well.

      • Unfortunately, a lot of what happens in this season feels like filler. I know stuff happens, and the Garo stuff is good, but a majority of this season’s plots was really meandering.

        I agree that they tried the Mumen Rider deal again, but as you mention, it was not to the same effect. This time I just didn’t care that much, and the character wasn’t somebody I liked anyway, the show didn’t make me want to like him.

  6. I’m definitely looking forward to checking this one out once it is dubbed soon. It definitely looks real solid and even if I may not put it in my top 5 of all time like season 1, I definitely expect to enjoy it quite a lot. Garou’s one of my favorite characters in the manga and he gets quite a lot to do here. Hopefully the wait for season 3 isn’t too long this time

    • I imagine you will have less of an issue with the non-ending of the show, as you are following what happens next in the manga. Is there enough material out already to make another season or do you think we would have to wait several years?

      • I feel like there is definitely enough for another 12 episode run, although the ending would likely be even more open than this one. If the anime wants to do more of a full 24 episode saga to end the arc for next time then I guess it probably would need to wait an extra year or 2. At least the manga’s been coming out every 2 weeks lately instead of monthly so hopefully that helps. I think it’s worth cranking out 12 episode seasons consistently instead of waiting so long each time

  7. Hello The Otaku Judge,

    Your review is the third that I have seen so far and the most positive, the other two reviewers were disappointed with this season.

    I wonder will Toonami get this season?

    I saw season one and I liked it, and so hopefully I will like this season as well.

    Thank you,
    -John Jr

    • Yup, most of the reviews I have seen aren’t positive. I guess I am more forgiving on the visual downgrade. Some of season two’s faults cannot be avoided. The manga is ongoing and setting up various plot threads for the future. The anime has to follow the source material, but with only 12 episodes it cannot pay off what is being introduced.

  8. To be fair about the visuals, there’s not that many studios that can match Madhouse in terms of production quality, at least from the limited amounts I’ve seen. May have been a point against switching studios, sure, but it’s not like it’s gone so noticably worse than average after the switch.

    • Following up Madhouse is an unenviable task. Season two is less pretty than season one, but other anime shows look about the same quality wise and don’t seem to get the flack J.C Staff have gotten.

  9. I feel like One Punch Man is a really interesting study in storytelling, since it’s premise runs so contrary to dominant storytelling conventions, and because seasons 1 and 2 represent (in my opinion) a very pronounced and interesting contrast in execution. I feel that season 1 works very well, while season 2 struggles. In some ways it reminds me of the Matrix trilogy, which also faced the challenge of a protagonist who is stronger than the vast majority of his peers and adversaries.

  10. Pingback: July 2019 in Summary: Another Arduous Month | Extra Life
  11. Pingback: July 2019 in Summary: Another Arduous Month | Extra Life
  12. You have a very good point villains do seem to hold their own well against a gang of do-gooders and it really isn’t fair that most end up having to fight a bunch of super hero at once. The numbers aren’t in their favour, no wonder they rarely win 🤣🤣
    One Punch Man is an anime I keep meaning to watch but never get around to. It sounds like it’d be a lot of fun to watch. Although I hate up-in-the-air endings too, so it’s probably best to just watch season 1 and wait and see if they ever make a season 3 that brings season 2 to a satisfying conclusion 😀
    Great Review 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s