One Punch Man – Season 2 Overall Review

OPM Season 2

It’s (a reasonably late look at) the return of One Punch Man, a series parodying Shonen action shows that really took off a few years ago thanks to its sense of humour and frankly jaw-dropping animation. Season 2 continues… the humour, though some of it is getting old, but drops the ball with a new animation studio. Is it still worth a watch though?

Synopsis:

Saitama is still a low-ranked Hero, despite being the strongest among them, while his understudy Genos continues to raise in both the ranking and in popularity. Our hero isn’t bothered by this however, all he wants is an opponent that can actually give him a challenge…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

OPM Season 2 2

Another Mr. Satan rip-off: Bad. Funny computer game references: Good!

A few things we associate with One Punch Man are still here, though often in lesser forms. Some of the humour lands well with me, our protagonist Saitama being able to defeat anything with one punch but not being able to defeat his new friend King (more on him in a minute) at computer games, Saitama entering a martial arts tournament as someone else hoping that these fighting styles might provide a challenge, silly heroes like Metal Bat (who has a metal bat…) and Watchdog Man (who is just in a dog suit, but ends up being extremely powerful) still provide a chuckle. Some other parodies, like Death Gatling being a perfect send up of 80s violent “cool cyberpunk” anime, were good too.

The star of the season mind you, has to be Garou. He’s introduced as a new lead villain, a human who always felt sorry for and eventually looked up to the monsters instead of the heroes, and who wants to become the first human monster, in terms of threat level to the hero society. Several scenes of him defeating other heroes with his martial arts style were fun (as were him being taken down a few times by Saitama, often accidentally) but his big showdown at the end of the series, where he takes on a whole group of heroes while injured (and protecting a boy in a nearby building) really gave him an edge beyond “cool anti-hero”, as his archetype was. Him getting saved by the League of Villains despite his protests is also interesting, if we ever actually get a third series…

OPM Season 2 3

Garou takes out another goofy looking hero.

Despite the lesser animation, there was still some fun to be had with some of the fight scenes. Genos, the android understudy of Saitama, had quite a few fun battles, and the CG used for gigantic centipede monster … Elder Centipede was … fine, and lead to a good final scene of Saitama “Serious Punching” it to death.

The Bad:

One Punch Man has become very odd. It started off parodying Shonen action shows and having a laugh at the idea of the ultra-powered lead protagonist, but it has since slid into becoming a generic Shonen action show with brief bits of self-aware comedy. Powerful hero King turning out to be a coward who got lucky is a parody of the Mr. Satan archetype, but he’s so heavily featured in this story that it felt like a regular, if unoriginal, character in a Shonen show, rather than an intentional send up. Likewise, Saitama entering a martial arts tournament is obviously poking fun at the unoriginality of tournament arcs in the genre, but it introduces new character Suiryu who goes through an interesting bit of character development of starting off hating heroes and fighting for the thrill, then ends up idolizing Saitama, and it all just ends up feeling like a generic arc of a regular show…

OPM Season 2 4

Elder Centipede is actually massive, this screenshot doesn’t really do it justice…

Along with the bloom being off the rose in terms of the parody aspect, the animation, as I previously mentioned (and was all over the internet a few months ago) is an obvious step down, and while not bad by any means, its averageness just adds to the problem of making Season 2 feel far less special and unique like the original series. Even the now-classic Season 1 opening is replaced by a not particularly memorable new song by the same band…

Hell, even the main joke of Saitama being able to defeat all his foes with one punch becomes tired in this. I started to feel Saitama’s pain when he once again, when faced with a powerful foe, ends up defeating it in a single strike.

Overall Thoughts:

OPM Season 2 1

Why not end on a picture of Genos looking all cool, as he tends to do…

One Punch Man Season 2 went from cult hit to just another face in the crowd. While some moments were genuinely funny or exciting, they were far more spread out, and far worse animated, than the previous series. Ah well…

3 Star Watch

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