SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from the One-Punch Man webcomic and manga which may appear in the anime series adaptation. Proceed at your own risk.
After a two-and-a-half-year break, the spectacular, genre-shattering anime One-Punch Man will return for a second season. Once again, fans of the hilarious, action-packed series will be able to watch Saitama and his cyborg sidekick, Genos, battle horrific monsters and get home in time to catch hot deals at their local supermarket.
While there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical going into One-Punch Man’s second season — the animation studio, director, and sound director from Season 1 will not return for Season 2 — there are plenty of reasons to be excited too. The upcoming arcs — which are based on webcomic and manga — are some of the best in the series. Here’s what fans of the One-Punch Man can expect to see in Season 2.
While the end of One-Punch Man’s first season was incredibly climatic, it’s recently introduced S-Class heroes received little screen time. We only got to see bits of their personalities. But, the abilities they displayed while fighting off the Dark Matter Thieves invasion clearly shows this elite brigade has much more to offer. Thankfully, their quirky personalities and deadly fighting styles will be explored further in Season 2.
In Season 1, we saw a decent amount of the adorably bratty Tornado of Terror and the fun — if somewhat problematic — Puri-Puri Prisoner, but that’s about it. There are over a dozen of these super powerful heroes, and each is as intriguing as the last. While none of these characters is set to make waves in the upcoming season, we should at least get some wonderful insights into Bang, Metal Bat, and unrivaled King. The episodes featuring these characters are guaranteed to be as entertaining as they are action packed.
Zany Side Characters
One-Punch Man‘s first season introduced us to nearly all of the S-Class heroes. This upcoming season, we can expect to meet scores of lower-ranked heroes. The wacky characters in One-Punch Man are a big part of its appeal and humor. Its side and one-off characters are some of the most bizarre in the series. It’s refreshing to see One-Punch Man successfully introduce so many captivating characters without wearing out their welcome — something that many popular anime and manga struggle with.
Season 2 will bring us unique characters like the mafia-inspired Blizzard Group and a variety of (slightly) superhuman A-Class heroes. If you thought the first season was full of silly, over-the-top characters, then brace yourself for the bizarre tidal wave of new characters.
The Monster Association
The Monster Association, the foil to the Hero Association, will debut in Season 2 of One-Punch Man. It’s possible they’ll bring with them the great calamity prophesied at the end of the first season. The devious organization is comprised of monstrous creatures and detestable villains hellbent on destroying society and slaughtering innocents. The clash between this group and the Hero Association will make up the bulk of the conflict in Season 2. Expect some intense encounters.
Their appearance will also lead the anime to explore the dangers and flaws associated with tying your identity to that of a larger group. The antagonist, Garu, and protagonist, Saitama, both quickly realize they are unable to do the things they find personally fulfilling, or act in ways they feel appropriate, once they join their respective organizations and have to conform to their ideologies. It’s a pretty heavy concept for a series about a guy who worked out a bunch to become impossibly strong. But, the series explores these themes with the depth and nuance necessary to pull it off. Hopefully, the anime will explore these ideas with as much care as the author, ONE.
A Tournament Arc
Sure, One-Punch Man never gets old. But, that doesn’t mean the show shouldn’t spice things up with a tournament arc ripped straight from the manga. This arc follows Saitama’s relatively brief journey to discover the true meaning of martial arts and see if it can add meaning to his melancholy life. Spoiler alert: he thinks it’s beating people up while looking cool, and it doesn’t improve his glum outlook on life.
Much like the rest of the series, this story arc takes a common trope in anime and manga and turns it on its head. It’s obvious that Saitama is the strongest fighter in the tournament, but he enters the tournament with a fake identity. So, instead of focusing on how mercilessly he destroys his opponents, the drama centers on whether or not he can keep his identity a secret. If his deception becomes known, he risks earning a reputation unbecoming of a hero. To avoid detection, Saitama will need to keep up the charade around the other contestants — and keep that cheap wig from falling off.
The Darkness of Superhero Society
The first season of One-Punch Man hinted at some of the shortcomings of a society where heroes are ranked and rewarded based on their popularity. Season 2 dials this message up several notches, highlighting the difference between something being genuinely just and only popular. Feeling the pressure of societal expectations, both Garu and Saitama struggle to conform to their own ideals and beliefs on how they fit into society.
This is another substantial topic for the series to tackle, and it does so exceptionally well. Unfortunately, this storyline has yet to wrap up in the manga, so it’s unlikely we’ll see every aspect of this idea play out in the second season of the anime. Thankfully, though, this idea is pretty ingrained in the later parts of the series. It will surely show up in Season 3 if Season 2 can’t cover it all.