Last week, we discussed the different shows airing in the new Spring season. In that post, I discussed the disappointment that is One Punch Man’s second season. But the real question is: why? Why is it that this show’s follow-up is disappointing to the point that it should be discussed, while the other follow-up shows this season has given us are allowed to pass?
Well… when the standard for this series was set so damn high before, how can you not be disappointed?
The first season of this show took the world by storm. It made One a household name in any anime fan’s house. It quickly shot up the charts to become many people’s favorite anime of the season, if not their favorite anime ever. But how did it get that popular so quickly?
Everything in this first season is basically perfect. From the drop dead gorgeous animation to the fantastic writing, everything here can only be described as flawless. It makes you laugh, cry, and builds excitement without a single issue. It is, without a doubt, one of the best shows in it’s genre.
God, where do I even start?
Plot: Absolute Power Meets Absolute Emptiness
One Punch Man’s premise, even all these years after it’s premier, is still refreshingly original.
Saitama is a simple man: he lives in a cheap apartment, buys cheap food, dresses up in a weird costume all the time, and he can kill anything in one punch. He is a hero for fun, but his unstoppable power keeps him from feeling any joy in doing it. His life goes by in boring, effortless droves.
But then, Saitama makes friends with the cyborg Genos, who begs the unstoppable hero to teach him. Thus, Saitama’s life begins to change, as he makes new friends and faces increasingly massive challenges. In his new life, he begins to find joy once again. But will he find it in a worthy foe? Or in something else?
The story of the first season is absolutely perfect. Each and every character is likable and hilarious, and they all interact with one another flawlessly. Every event leads into the next very nicely, all building up perfectly to the excellent finale. It’s perfectly paced from start to end.
Luckily, the second season is still coming up to at least par in this category. Granted, it’s not very hard. So long as they stay faithful to the source material, they can’t really screw up.
The same cannot be said for the next part.
Visuals: Visual Comedy at it’s Best
Ah. I’ve found the problem.
One Punch Man’s first season has some of the strongest visuals in all of anime. Each character looks great, the action choreography is incredible, and everything looks spectacular in motion. It’s a treat to look at from start to end.
The action is the stronger aspect of the visuals, in my opinion. Every punch, every character movement, and every exploding building is so lovingly crafted that it takes my breath away. The camera flows around the battle brilliantly, showing off the coolest possible angles to get you right into the fight.
Not to say the slice-of-life segments aren’t good. Often, these are where the show’s strong visual comedy scenes come to life. This show does what very few series can do anymore: make the show funny without needing any dialogue.
This is where the second season falls on it’s face. The visuals are so poor that it physically hurts me. The few action scenes we’ve gotten thus far have been incredibly lackluster. The visual comedy is even worse off, as those only get cheap lip flaps, completely still characters and simple camera movements. All of it’s charm is completely gone.
This is where the biggest issues are. The whole point in an animated adaptation of a manga is to give the story more visual flare. It brings what you imagine while reading the manga to life. But when the visuals are as poor as they are in the second season, then you may as well just be reading the manga.
Reading that doesn’t even require a Hulu account, like it does now. So… that’s a plus.
Looking back at the first season with today’s landscape is just depressing. The show had such an incredible opening season, and now it’s just… empty. But in a way, that’s a good thing. Now, we can appreciate the first season all the more.
Today’s recommendation is an oddly specific one. But stick with me. I’d recommend the following plan: watch the first season of One Punch Man, then just read the manga. Or you could just read the manga from the beginning. Either one is a better alternative than watching the second season.
Which was sort of the real point of this post. I must confess: I just wanted to complain about the second season some more. The pain I feel is just too great not to.