One Punch Man – 10

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Say this for Madhouse – they sure know how to do epic.

It occurred to me watching this week’s episode of One Punch Man that it would really, really suck if the anime were to end here.  It’s a truism for one-cour adaptations anyway, but rarely do I recall a series that so overpoweringly gives the impression that it’s just getting started.  I think there’s every reason to be optimistic – Stalker thinks the disc sales will be in the 8-9K range, and as popular as the manga is that ought to be good enough.  But you can’t make any assumptions until you get an announcement.

On the matter at hand, OPM has gotten gloriously epic in the past few episodes.  It’s a series full of larger than life characters and events, and it uses spectacle for ironic effect in a very clever way.  A show that can excel at being both grandiose and subtle is a rarity, and this is one of them – and even if the current events are weighted towards the former, there are still moments of the latter to be found.

It was obviously a huge milestone when all of the S-Class heroes (less two) were introduced this week – it had to happen sooner or later.  Some of them we’ve met before, most not.  I’m not even going to try and list all of the big-name seiyuu who surrounded that conference table, but a couple heroes who seem to stand out as major players are 7th-ranked King (Yasumoto Hirouki), the “world’s strongest man” who seems to have the respect of his colleagues (who generally don’t seem to respect each other) and 5th-ranked Child Emperor (Takayama Minami), a short-pants prodigy whose true power has ye to be revealed (unless it’s snark).

How seriously are we to take these rankings?  Well, as we’ve already seen that the rankings system weighs in a lot of factors irrelevant to actual strength, so I’ve no idea if the relative power of these S-Class heroes is in-line with the numbers.  The occasion for their meeting is a dire prediction by the psychic Shibabawa at the end of Episode 9 (just before she choked to death on a cough drop) that “The Earth is in trouble!”.  And it’s hugely significant that the B-Class Saitama is present – present because he happened to be with Genos and Bang (#3 ranked) at the latter’ dojo at the time of the summons.  If Saitama has allies among the S Class, it would be these two – Genos obviously, but Bang clearly recognizes Saitama’s true power and cares little for petty politics.  Bang is in the midst of his own troubles – his ex-student Garou has gone rogue and taken out most of his students.

Among the S-Class we also meet Atomic Samurai (Tsuda Kenjirou), who greets Saitama rather rudely but not, I would say, disrespectfully.  This meeting is interesting (there’s a hilarious moment when Genos fills Saitama’s impudent request for a cup of tea). Missing are the #1-ranked Blast and the #6-ranked Metal Knight (who we’ve met, and who designed the building the heroes are sitting in).  The S-Class heroes squabble like children, and most don’t seem to take the threat too seriously. That is, until the building comes under attack, and the city surrounding it is 99.8% percent destroyed in the blink of an eye.

It seems only fitting that the being who destroys it is played by Uchiyama Kouki, who very much brings his Meruem voice to play here.  I don’t know whether he and the massive ship he came from represent any kind of real big bad – this series is ultimately a series of anti-climaxes – or even whether they’re what Shbabawa was so freaked out about.  But he’s certainly trouble (this threat class may even leapfrog from “Dragon” to “Kami” level), and it’s no surprise that even as most of the other S-Class heroes are still bickering (bickering seems a given whenever Tornado is involved) Saitama has already blasted through the ceiling and infiltrated the ship.

It’s always interesting to speculate with OPM what the end-game is.  It’s a series that’s great at delivering big impacts, but ultimately the threats never amount to much unless you’re one of the unlucky civilians or zoku baddies on the casualty list.  It’s important to remember of course that even as the anime races to the finish line ONE’s manga (both of them) are still very much ongoing with no sign of slowing down.  In a series that’s all about defying shounen convention and delivering the anti-climax (both literally and narratively) what exactly does one do for an ending?

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  1. K

    I would say a second season is guaranteed but Madhouse never makes sequels.

  2. Except when they do, of course.

  3. o

    The end of the alien invasion arc is a perfectly acceptable stopping point for the anime. The arc that comes after that (which is about an episode's worth of content) would also suffice. Both provide plenty of closure to previous events. I think there is already enough content in the ONE original to do a second cour, however Murata still needs to adapt said content, which should take around 2 years (given the rate at which he produces chapters and the amount of filler he is adding).

  4. R

    You're right. ONE recently passed the second season threshold on his manga. There is enough material for a pretty fun season in there, but Murata is still far from reaching that point if he keeps adding filler, not that I hate that filler. Maybe we'll see a second season of it down the line but I don't have a lot of hope.

  5. u

    If I didn't know better, I'd say that Madhouse paced the series like this on purpose to stop at this particular arc. The one that comes after this would serve as a good "falling action" episode though, but that only assumes that we're getting 13 episodes rather than 12.

  6. I don't know why there wouldn't be a sequel, really. It's a myth that Madhouse doesn't do them, and if OPM sells as expected on disc, there's money to be made.

    As to material, they may choose to wait so as not to step on the Murata manga's sales. But they don't need to – they have the story and they know how to draw it.

  7. G

    You can always tell a great anime when that 22 minutes go by in the blink of an eye. This and Noragami have that blink and its over vibe that great animes do so effortlessly (it seems).

  8. J

    I think the seiyuu highlight came when I heard friggin DETECTIVE CONAN in Child Emperor. Such a great choice! My ears were so happy.

    As for King, it's too bad the ship is out of his reach, since it would have been quite the spectacle to see him break it down in a flash was it on ground. Hopefully the second season, if it comes, will open with his arc.

  9. T

    This episode was so much fun as usual and since we are this is reaching the finale I'm excited to see this fight come alive on screen. Its interesting to see almost all the S-Class folks there and they are so uninterested in what is happening unless its a God Level crisis. There better be a second season because they teased way too many characters to not be able to see them fully realized in the future. I'm tired of everything that I like not get more seasons (looking at you AnY).

    Oh Enzo the OPM OVA 1 came out already just an FYI in case you missed it and crave for more OPM.

  10. m

    Loving Uchiyama Kouki as the villain and we finally got to see Zombieman! It would be unjust to not have a season 2 after prepping the stage for more. The way I look at it, it should be similar to Noragami's case where season 2 was already the plan.
    Tornado was a little annoying, but those chibi faces are epic, a lot like One's original drawing.

  11. C

    Yeeesss!!! I love Zombieman! Definitely my favorite S-class hero after #cyborgprince.

  12. m

    Zombieman is also Makoto Furukawa's favourite OPM character :3

  13. C

    Zombieman made it to the top ten in the popularity poll in spite of only having one appearance in the Murata redraw thus far, lol.

  14. J

    ITT – How to save budget while acknowledging the humble roots of the story. I wonder what the key animator/tweeners were thinking when they had to "flesh out" Tatsumaki in ONE's distinctive style? Who got the better deal; the animators of those scenes or whoever had to fulfil the fanservice quota when Tornado was falling from the plane?

    This episode marks the only disappointment I have with the adaptation so far. To go much further would be a spoiler for the arc immediately after this (which will be first up in the sequel judging by Stalker) but I will say that it shouldn't have sounded like that, it was too obvious even to the non-readers I was watching with. I've seen some consternation about it in Japan but I can't tell if it's the usual moaners or that a significant number of viewers were unhappy with it.

    Speaking of voices I was hoping to hear Wataru Takagi voice Metal Bat but I accept that you can't have every role voiced by a Hall-of-Famer. I'll take Wataru Hatano (I think it was?) in exchange for the seiyuus you have mentioned as well as Takahiko Sakurai (Zombieman) and Kosuke Toriumi (Flashy Flash). And the legendary roll-call continues – you can look forward to hearing Toshiyuki Morikawa in the next episode.

  15. o

    I totally agree with that second paragraph. I guess to say more really would be spoilery (sorry about that Enzo).

  16. S

    From what I understand, the bit about Garou was actually foreshadowing for an arc to come. So I take that as Season 2 confirmed XD.

  17. N

    Was is Genos who poured Saitama a cup of tea? It looked more like some kind of mobile robot waiter thing to me..

  18. m

    I saw a little automated robot too. And speaking of that scene, Saitama sitting in the front of conference table like a boss XD

  19. G

    The fact that Bang and Genos seem to show much respect for Saitama should be a wake up call for the other S class heroes that there is more to him then just being B rank #62.

  20. h

    props to murata for discovering one,it would have been a waste for such a talent to pass un-noticed,cant wait for one's other manga to be animated

    my favourie anime of the year
    love u madhouse

  21. o

    As awesome as this adaptation has been, there have been small moments that have made me a little sad. Specifically, there have been scenes in the Murata redraw that were absolutely insane, but the awesomeness wasn't very well captured in the anime adaptation. Readers will know what I'm talking about, but to be specific:

    Sonic vs. Saitama #1: The Murata redraw did some really awesome things with perspective here. Basically, the GIF moment was not included 🙁

    The flight of Metal Knight: A whole full color chapter was dedicated to this in the Murata redraw. It was freaking awesome. Another GIF moment that wasn't included.

    Saitama Punching the Meteor: The panels of the meteor disintegrating as Saitama passes through it were crazy good.

    Saitama vs Genos: The anime did a fair job of capturing this. Yet another GIF moment was not included.

    Alien Invasion: The panel in which the alien ship was introduced was great! It wasn't quite as cool in the anime.

    Basically, all the scenes from the manga that were turned into awesome GIF's weren't quite as well done in the anime. That being said, the anime adaptation has been awesome, and I love it so much, it's just that I wish that they added that extra cherry on top (though that would cost lost of money in animation budget).

  22. S

    You do realize that the anime goes by the physical volume version of Murata's redraw, and not by the online version which contain the animated gifs, right?

    Besides – I thought they did capture Metal Knight's flight scene as it had been. As opposed to being a full chapter, though – it was around 5 seconds in the show.

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