Posted by Lenlo on 25 April 2019 with categories: One Punch Man S2

Alright OPM, credit where it’s due, you managed to recover a little this week.  Garou gets more screen time, the animation is a little less shit and ONEs writing is starting to shine through. Lets jump in!

Starting off, as fun as it would be to rag on OPM for another week, it’s improved. This is a great step up from last week, with legitimately good looking sequences. Yeah there are still issues, the terrible fade effects and direction are still there. For some reason JC Staff is unable or unwilling to animate faces. Cutting them off at their chins, or at terrible angles for the sake of not animating them. Saitama’s face is also still… weird, and the gradient still pisses me off. But credit where it’s due, this is a large improvement over episode 2. If OPM keeps this upwards trajectory in quality, it might actually not be an embarrassment by the end. One can hope, because this episode Garou actually got the treatment he deserves. Most of it, at least.

For instance, take his fights against Tank Top Master and Golden Ball. Both of these were much better done than anything last episode. With smooth movement, flashy sequences and lots of impact. Of course part of this was that JC Staff pretty much took Murata’s fights verbatim. From camera angles to the actual choreography, you could follow this fight panel by panel. If that’s what it takes though, I am A-OK with this. The fight with Golden Ball in particular was actually elevated, as its use of sound and slow motion really sold the speed of the shots. OPM’s weird metallic shine was also useful for once, giving the projectiles a more bullet like sheen. I have no idea how this will work out for the rest of the season, but I reeeeeally want it to work out.

We also saw ONE’s writing start to shine through this week for Garou. In his first introduction last week, he came off as a generic “I am the strongest” bad guy. He had no personality and really just existed to hit stuff. This week however we get to see him beyond that. He has a mocking personality, joking at the expense of the Heroes, and yet has a soft spot for kids. So long as the person he is talking to isn’t a Hero, Garou is shown to be pretty personable. Havin fun with his time. He is shown not to be anything near the monster he claims to be, as he gushes over a hero book with a child, revealing his inner nerd. A villain sure, but a monster? Nowhere near.

Now what do I mean by Hero Nerd? Well, I want to avoid any major spoilers for the series, but it should be obvious with this episode. Garou loved that hero book, monsters and all. We saw with Golden Ball that he truly did read it, learning habits and their special attacks. You could sell that as planning ahead, a strategy. However we saw with Tank Top Master that he enjoys making a game of it. Holding back and seeing what the Heroes can do. I don’t think he would make the fights any easier for himself if he could avoid it. Garou also clearly enjoyed chatting with the kid, having a back and forth with him and cracking jokes. Connecting over a shared interest like guys at Comic-con.

My favorite thing JC Staff and OPM manages to do this week though, is make him threatening. OPM sets him against a legitimate S-Class Hero, and doesn’t go over the top with it. He win’s, but not instantly. On top of that, he doesn’t discriminate between Heroes. Garou isn’t looking just for the top, the S-Class. He hunts anyone with the title, whatever their rank, and shows no mercy. His smashing Mumen Rider’s face into the concrete, his dark expression, was fantastic. One of the most brutal parts of the manga, done well. Of course, when put up against Saitama Garou falls short, but Saitama is outside the power scale. He is the brick wall upon which all gags are bounced off of, so he doesn’t really count. To all of our other characters, OPM successfully established Garou as a legitimate threat this episode.

Your weekly manga panel to know why you should read it

Lastly, the comedy and dialogue was better this episode. The actual delivery was still a mess of course. Burning through lines, with no spacing or pause/timing between them. But the words themselves worked out. Take the comedy for example. Saitama’s banana gag was, in my opinion, fantastic. If it was just a one off, I don’t think it would have worked as well. But when repeated 3 times, with 3 different people, slightly different each time? I don’t know why, I am not comedic expert, but I enjoyed it. Each of their reactions were unique to their character while Saitama just munches down in front of them. The focus is only on the banana for a second as well, never taking over the scene. This is similar to the first arrival of Charanko at the apartment, with all the heroes. There, but not dominant. Much better this way.

So all in all, how was this episode? A serious improvement to say the least. I actually enjoyed this episode on some level. Instead of infuriating me every second like last week, this one actually had some good bits. Some of the comedy worked, some of the action was good and the general quality was much better. Is there room for improvement? Yes. Is part of it just that I am getting used to it, and my expectations have fallen? Also yes. But there comes a point where I can either A) Wallow in disappointment and hate this season. Or B) Try to find a modicum of enjoyment out of what little OPM has to offer. If JC Staff can meet me halfway, can stay at this level of quality, I think I can ripping into them every week. Suppose we will have to see.

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