One Punch Man 2nd Season

One Punch Man 2nd Season

One Punch Man 2nd Season anime series cover art
One Punch Man 2nd Season

Overview

One Punch Man 2nd Season (ワンパンマン), while being the sequel to the highly acclaimed One Punch Man anime, is a very different beast. In fact, I’d argue that it has almost nothing in common with the first season other than some recurring characters.

For many, the obvious difference between this season and the first is the change in animation studio from Madhouse to J.C.Staff. This definitely changes the series, and is something I’ll touch on later in its own section, but I’m not sure that’s even the biggest difference.

The story which is told and how it was told this time around are completely different from the first season. But let’s hold off on discussing how the storytelling in this series differs from what came before and first focus on how the story itself is inherently different.

Garou from the anime series One Punch Man 2nd Season
Garou

The first season was all about fighting against monsters, with everything leading up to the final battle against Boros. On the contrary, the second season’s main antagonist isn’t a monster, but rather a human. However, there are still monsters to be defeated, but they have now rallied together to form the Monster Association.

As for the main antagonist, Garou is a human who has always sympathized with monsters due to their status as the underdogs. As a child he always questioned why the heroes always had to win, and as an adult he’s set his sights on being the first human monster.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that he isn’t really doing this for the monsters. He’s not a member of the Monster Association, and it seems his real goal is simply to be labeled the “strongest.” And, since heroes are currently considered stronger than monsters, that’s who he fights against.

Shift in Focus

Along with the change in story direction comes a shift in focus. While Saitama is technically still the main character of the series, he doesn’t actually have all that much screen time. And, aside from the martial arts tournament, we don’t really see anything from his perspective.

Instead, Saitama is basically just around so that the other heroes, and villains, can be compared to him. For example, and this is going to get into spoiler territory, when we see Saitama destroy Garou without even realizing what he had done.

Throughout the season Garou is built up to be one of the strongest people in the series. He may not be on the same level as Boros from season one, but he’s able to take on both S-class heroes and groups of lower class heroes single-handedly. He’s even strong enough to hold his own against Genos.

However, despite how powerful Garou clearly is, Saitama sees him as no more than a fly when they cross paths. He doesn’t even realize that Garou is the so-called Hero Hunter, and instead thinks it was some random guy trying to pick a fight with King.

This is what I mean when I say Saitama is used simply as a comparison piece for other characters. Another character we see compared to Saitama in this way is Suiryu. But, the change in Saitama’s role isn’t the only shift from season one.

With Saitama taking more of a back seat, the other heroes get more time to shine. This season is less about the struggles of one man, Saitama learning what it means to be a hero, and more about the struggles of heroes as a whole. Why do they choose to be heroes despite being so (comparatively) weak?

J.C.Staff

Now it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room, the switch from Madhouse to J.C.Staff as the animation studio. Let me be up front about this by saying that J.C.Staff can’t stand up to the likes of Madhouse. Action anime have never been their strong suit, and they were doomed to fail from the start.

That’s not to say that J.C.Staff are a bad studio though. They make plenty of good anime, they just don’t do action anime or anime with excessive animation. And that’s the root of the problem. Not only is One Punch Man an action series, but what made the first season so good was the focus on high-quality animation.

But the vastly inferior animation quality of season 2 isn’t the only place J.C.Staff dropped the ball. In general the artwork itself is all around worse than it was in season one. Just look at the screenshot below of Genos. Characters’ faces are longer on average, and they used blurry-looking CG for anything metallic or large.

Genos from the anime series One Punch Man 2nd Season
Genos

I’ve also heard an interesting argument from people defending J.C.Staff’s work on this series. They say, “if J.C.Staff had done the first and second seasons, then nobody would be complaining.” This is just plain false. If J.C.Staff had done the first season as well, it would still be bad.

Sure, we wouldn’t have Madhouse’s work to compare it to, but even comparing the art and animation of this series to other anime, you can see that the quality here is sub par. If J.C.Staff had animated the first season, I can guarantee you that One Punch Man wouldn’t be as popular as it is today.

Conclusion

So after all that, what do I rate One Punch Man 2nd Season? It’s a 5/10 from me. The art and animation are passable at best, which isn’t something you should want people to say about your anime. Luckily, the story of the series still holds up.

It’s an engaging story and still has good jokes, though some of these jokes fall flat because of the art. I’ve only read three manga, and One Punch Man isn’t one of them, but honestly if you were disappointed by this season like I was, just go read the manga.

I hate to say that you should read a manga because the anime adaptation was bad, but sometimes that’s just how it is in this case. Preferably I’d tell you to go read the manga because the anime was great. In fact, that’s what I did with Attack on Titan after Season 3 Part 2 (review coming soon™).

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