When it comes to hotly anticipated anime concerning a comedically overpowered superhero, season 2 of the acclaimed One-Punch Man ticks all the boxes. Starting as a webcomic by One (author of the equally excellent Mob Psycho 100) in 2009, an anime adaptation came to fruition in 2015. Animated by Madhouse (Trigun, Death Note), and directed by Shingo Natsume, it was a big hit due to its stellar animation and marvelous mix of eye-popping action and laugh out loud comedy.
Four years later, the long awaited season 2 trailer has landed. But is something amiss?
In 2017, both Madhouse and Shingo Natsume walked away from One-Punch Man. Stepping in to fill their huge shoes were J.C.Staff (A Certain Magical Index, Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma), and director Chikara Sakurai. Fans became rife with worry, comparing J.C.Staff’s mediocre animation backlog with the hefty helping of fluidly frantic animation Madhouse poured upon season 1.
With a debut trailer arriving in December, it showcased (and told) very little, but a follow-up went live recently, and the concerns of many were sadly confirmed. J.C.Staff’s clunky animation doesn’t hold a candle to Madhouse’s sexy myriad of motion. Take a glimpse below.
The good: the music sounds as goofily epic as one would wish for, and there’s no doubt the story will kick ass. The bad: from Genos dodging lasers with all the energy of a paralyzed grandmother, to Saitama ‘floating’ out of a building, eyebrows have been raised. Whilst I’ll personally reserve complete judgment for when the first episode hits screens (next month!), One-Punch Man season 2’s trailer had a chance to quell the concerns of fans, and it failed.
But are affairs as simple as ‘Madhouse good, J.C.Staff bad’, or do behind the scenes factors play a greater role than studio skill? I, along with some others, am inclined to lean towards the latter. Many animation studios are awash with technical prowess, but are hampered by unreasonable deadlines and a lack of resources.
Toei Animation serve as a perfect example to this theory. The iconic anime behemoth has proven on multiple occasions to boast animation quality that can compete with the best of them (One Piece: Episode of Sabo: Bond of Three Brothers – A Miraculous Reunion and an Inherited Will, and last year’s Dragon Ball Super: Broly). But with much of their output being tethered to a weekly deadline (standard episodes of One Piece and Dragon Ball Super), animation quality naturally takes a hit.
To further expand on this, here’s a peek of an upcoming Madhouse anime, Shoumetsu Toshi (Where I End and You Begin). Visually, it’s hardly their magnum opus.
With studios frequently boasting temperamental outputs, it can only make sense that it’s the fault of unreasonable demands forced upon hardworking and talented animators. It doesn’t take a genius to know that animation is outrageously challenging and time consuming, and it’s illogical that J.C.Staff haven’t tried their hardest with the time and resources available to them. It’s just a shame that said time and resources weren’t enough.
But all worries aside, here’s to hoping that One-Punch Man season 2 will pleasantly surprise us next month.