One Punch Man Season 2 sees the return of Saitama and Genos as Earth continues to be threatened by monsters ranging from the absurd to the… well, absurd really.
Following the defeat of the alien invasion in season 1, Saitama and Genos continue to work their way through various monsters as part of their work with the Hero Association, with Saitama still unable to shake his unusually low grade. In One Punch Man Season 2 it’s not just the progressively sophisticated attacks from hordes of monsters they have to deal with, as a new enemy calling himself a Hero Hunter is focused on taking down heroes, including S ranked ones. Combined with the emergence of the mysterious Monster Association, Saitama, Genos and countless others have their work cut out for them trying to keep the city from exploding.
One Punch Man Season 2 had a pretty reasonable challenge ahead of it. The first season revelled spectacularly in the unassuming way it successfully undermined shounen action tropes, in many ways echoing Saitama’s role as an accidental action hero. The combination of a loveable nobody, hyperbolic parody of anime past and present and stunning production values resulted in a fantastic series.
On top of the humour, visuals and silly story, there’s also the challenge of how to up the stakes without creating a sense of meaningly stake management, a problem faced by various anime such as Digimon Tri.
But to its credit, One Punch Man Season 2 does a solid job of trying to weave a broader story with a few layers of conspiracy, puts some new characters into the mix (King is a champ) and the the new antogonist, Garou, really grows on you as the series continues.
It also has a lot of fun playing with shounen anime tropes – the martial arts tournament was hilariously brief (as opposed to Yu Yu Hakusho), and the ongoing dojo shenanigans with Bang and his brother Bomb do all of the awesome grizzled martial arts guru stuff you’d expect from a fighting anime.
It does seem to finish a little abruptly though, and the focus on trying to progress the Monster Association means there’s less time for Saitama to do funny hapless stuff, though his interactions with King are good fun. There’s more time spent on Genos which isn’t a bad thing I guess, and Garou unexpectedly adds some interesting parallel events to keep things fresh.
While it doesn’t quite match the surprising energy of the first season, and ends on a whiffed ending, One Punch Man Season 2 is still delightfully good fun. Thankfully the OVAs included in this release adds more of the silly Saitama daily grind so as a package it comes together really well.
One Punch Man Season 2 does a lot of things right – it maintains the self-aware humour, the cast is good, it manages to up the stakes while gently expanding the cast, but ultimately lacks the clean ending of season 1. None of this dents my enthusiasm for season 3 though – this remains highly recommended viewing, especially on the back of the first season.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.