Is The New Season of One Punch Man Disappointing?

The Spring Anime season is upon us and over and over again I’ve been seeing blog posts discussing how this season is a slow season or a poor season in terms of anime. I don’t necessarily disagree but at the same time I’m actually having fun with the season even if a lot of what I’m watching is decidedly average. However, there’s one title in particular that I’ve seen being hammered because it is a ‘disappointment’ and it made me wonder whether or not One Punch Man Season 2 is actually disappointing?

Though, realistically, the answer is pretty evident. The vocal fans of the original season are disappointed. Whether the second season is objectively any worse than the first season is potentially something to be discussed, but the palpable feeling of being let down by a lacklustre second season is wide spread. Even the MAL score supports this with season one scoring 8.87 and season two coming it at 7.90 and likely to fall as more and more episodes come out and more people check out the second season.

As for my personal satisfaction levels, I’m enjoying season two of One Punch Man well enough. Then again, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original season. While I loved the music, found it on a first watch through amusing enough, and enjoyed some of the social observations it offered, there was little rewatch value and even by the end of season one it felt like the punch-line had worn a little thin.

Therefore, I wasn’t one of the fans hotly anticipating a season two. I was more the person who was wondering just why a second season was even needed.

The key to no disappointment is no expectations.

While that might seem like a simplistic view it really has had a strong impact on my viewing of One Punch Man so far this season.

However, taking my personal expectations out of the equation, what is better and what is worse about One Punch Man season two? Or what are people saying is better or worse and are the criticisms warranted?

Right from the news that One Punch Man was changing studios, from Madhouse to J.C. Staff there was criticism and concern. Admittedly, an anime changing studios isn’t the end of the world but the two studios are known for such vastly different types of stories that it seemed like an odd fit and the question of whether J.C. Staff could deliver what fans were demanding was opened before the first trailer even dropped.

When you couple that trepidation with promotional videos that do nothing to address the concerns, showing neither the bombastic animation or musical score that characterised the first season, and providing little else in place of it, the concerns and outright derision for an anime that hadn’t even aired yet got a lot louder.

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Throw in an OP that in no way lives up to the original and you have a recipe for disaster before a single minute of actual episode has even played. It is probably telling that actually finding a YouTube version of the new opening is actually kind of hard and then I realised I didn’t want to listen to it anyway. The OP of season 1 however is perfect in every way. From the dramatic visual of Saitama punching the screen to that initial “One Punch!”, it hits the perfect note for hyping you up for the series and the show you are about to watch. The new OP lacks impact in more or less every way. Whether it is visuals or sound it is a poor second at best and for an anime that is largely loved for those elements not spending the time to get them right is certainly a clear way to upset the fan-base.

Then we have the anime itself. Still just focusing on the visuals, we get tweets such as this one that remind us clearly how much better the animation was in season 1.

For a sensationalistic anime that built itself on its aesthetics, those explosive scenes where the sakuga took over and nearly took on a life of their own were key and 8 episodes in to season 2 we’ve nothing that even comes close.

Is the animation in One Punch Man season 2 bad?

No. It is perfectly adequate. And adequate would be fine if we’d never seen season one. Alas, this isn’t a matter of comparing apples and oranges. We aren’t comparing the biggest work of the season to some small project. We’re comparing the first part of the story with the second and the second has been found wanting.

And let’s not even discuss the actual soundtrack within the episodes. See, watching the scene in that tweet, outside of how good it looks is how well the sound contributes to the impact of the scene. This aspect has largely been ignored by season two and while again the sound direction is adequate it also isn’t in any way memorable or noteworthy.

In fact, the only element I’d possibly argue that One Punch Man Season Two is maybe at least on par with season one is the narrative itself and the occasional moments of comedy.

Now, if you read my blog regularly you already know I’m not a big fan of comedy, but I liked the sense of humour in One Punch Man. The repetition of the same central joke got a little tiring but Saitama’s laconic nature and blunt replies as well as the gap between his superhero prowess and his lifestyle was amusing.

Season two actually continues the humour pretty well and I really liked the introduction of King and listening to Metal Bat plan to kill the next person who returned a sushi plate to the train was pretty funny. And Saitama’s entry into the martial arts tournament has had plenty of comedic moments thrown in.

Additionally, the story feels like it has more direction this season with a building threat rather than just seeing Saitama go about his daily business before a large threat comes to the city seemingly out of nowhere.

Is a slightly more plot driven season enough to overcome the disappointments that season two has brought?

Most viewers would apparently say no if the online chatter is to be believed. It isn’t as though they were watching One Punch Man for the plot.

However, I’ll throw this one over to the readers and ask you: “Has season two of One Punch Man been disappointing?”


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Karandi James



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10 thoughts on “Is The New Season of One Punch Man Disappointing?

  1. Hmm, that’s interesting. I was wondering why there was no hype like season 1. I don’t like superhero shows but heard such good things about the series. Shame it went downhill in a needless expansion on the story.

  2. As someone who’s casually watching it: I agree with you on many points.

    My biggest gripe is its pacing. Especially in-between episodes 4-7.
    “Hey, let’s stretch 5 minutes of material into a 22 minute episode!”

    In the first season, I couldn’t really get into Saitama’s unrivaled OP comedy status. The series made that up with visuals, audio and, in my opinion, a better narrative. We did still have Genos’ batles to look forward to and so, there was at least a bit of tension. Saitama’s sub-plot about being seen as a fraud was also awesome.
    I mean, the narrative focus in OPM-S1 is on coolness and comedy, rather than innovative story-telling and it knew how to work with that.

    The narrative in season 2 not only has a bad pacing. The majority of an episode’s time is wasted away in useless monologues or scene-switches to other characters. The focus on monsters doesn’t work that well because we’ve already begun to drift into stereotypical shonen territory for most of them. We can’t care about characters like Genos because they’re only on-screen to talk most of the time. We barely ever see anyone struggle and when they do, it feels like the impact is missing (visual, audio, direction).

    However what kinda kills it for me is the lack of creativity with all combat tactics boiling down to:
    “OMG HE’S FAST”
    “OMG HE’S STRONG”

    BUT I do prefer the opening Song itself. I couldn’t really care less about the opening animation (generic stuff) but the track itself is awesome. 😀
    I’m still going to finish the second season, but my interest in a third season has gone down significantly.
    Despite what I said, I do enjoy the second season.
    Right now though, I would merely call it “average”.

    1. Thanks for such a detailed response. I hadn’t notice that with combat tactics but reading that I have to agree they aren’t exactly being creative with the fights which is a little bit sad because creativity was another aspect that people really appreciated in season one. Thanks again for commenting.

  3. i was a huge fan of season 1.

    I’m a huge fan of season 2.

    I an’t argue that the animation is different, but for the most part, I’m finding the second season to be as effective as the first.

    The only thing I can point to and say, “First season was better!” was the OP. Not saying the new one is bad, but come on: It’s competing with “Onnnnne Puuuunchhhhh!”

    The first season’s OP was so iconic and catchy that even today, I finding myself humming it from time to time.

    I think the humor is in the same spirit as the first season. And we get to meet Fubuki, Tatsumaki’s younger sister! And Mumen Rider is back!

    Of course, it all comes down to what you like. For me, season 2 is a great successor to season 1.

    1. Glad to hear someone is enjoying it. There’s a lot of negativity around this sequel (has been since the early announcements) so it is great to see that some fans have stayed on board. And yeah, it wouldn’t matter what the OP was there’s no way it was going to live up to the first season.

  4. I like this season compared to the previous one since there is a definitve group of antagonists (monster association) with a major goal which gives us a longer plot to follow unlike some random villain who makes an appearance and gets destroyed after just 2 episodes. The only thing I don’t like about season 2 is the opening into since it’s really bad.

    1. The opening is really bad. But I’m with you in that I like that there’s a clear goal and plot. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by that this season.

  5. Honestly, this arc of the manga was disappointing compared to what had come before. Season one covered several mini-arcs from seven volumes of manga – lots of short action-packed stories that were wrapped up neatly. Season two, on the other hand, covers one longer arc (nine volumes in, and it still hasn’t finished), with three interwoven plot threads, so there hasn’t been any point to stop and breathe in an arc that feels overly long. It also moves the focus away from Saitama and Genos, introduces a boat-load of new one-note characters who are more plot-devices than people worth caring about, and has a villain who is annoyingly overpowered compared to Saitama being amusingly overpowered.

    Hopefully things should pick up from the next episode when Sonic returns, but I think the anime has been doing as much as it can with the source material. I agree with you about the animation being acceptable and only a let-down because of what came before it, and frankly I think some fans focus so much on things like animation style and what the fight sequences look like, as though the show is nothing but a string of fight-sequences, forgetting what the story is actually about – Saitama’s search for something to make him feel alive again when nothing is a challenge any more. Seeing him fail to kill a mosquito or getting beaten at video games is as much a part of the story as any of the fight sequences, and season two still keeps those intact.

    1. Still, if the animation is what they enjoyed about season one, I do understand why they’d find this season a let down. I think this being more of a single arc rather than lots of little ones is probably something I like about this more than the first season. Admittedly, I’d really like to spend more time with Genos and Saitama, okay more Genos than Saitama, but I kind of like a clear plot line and the sense that we’re going somewhere which I kind of felt was lacking in season one. But again, that’s a personal preference.

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