Last week we were introduced to the absurd world of One Punch Man, with all its humor, action, and guitar solos. The premier was a surprising amount of fun and action, but I was left wondering how they were going to continue the series as a whole. This week, I got my answer as One Punch Man shows hints of its ensemble cast. I can honestly say it’s still amazing.
Terrorizing the city this week is a group of mutant mosquitos, or maybe they’re normal mosquitos who are under the spell of a large queen bee-like monster. Either way we know it’s bad news when the show gives us a graphic scene of how these insects operate, taking all the blood from the body of depositing it to their queen. It’s scenes like this were One Punch Man exhibits its potential as a “serious” action anime. The villains we’ve seen so far have been ridiculous but also leave a trail of gruesome deaths in their wake and this Mosquito monster is no exception.
It’s lucky that we know a hero who will stand up to her, who can take on anything with literally One Punch and… well, actually- Saitama isn’t the one who appears to fight her. Instead, we meet Genos, a cyborg boy who uses a built in incinerator to destroy a vast majority of the mosquitos. He gets pretty beaten up during the fight but also does a good deal of damage as well.
His fight is one of the first scenes of the episode and boy was it pretty. Between Genos’ flames and fast paced nature of the fight One Punch Man is doing an excellent job of reminding me that it is just as much a fighting anime as it is one centered on humor.
Speaking of humor, Saitama does eventually show up. But he seems pretty willing to sit back and not fight the Mosquito monster. I would like to think it’s because he sees another hero already working on it and Saitama is a pretty polite guy, but it might also be that he just hates mosquitos. Either way, the moment he enters the fray the audience can’t help but laugh. While the last episode placed its comedy on the absurdity of various situations, here it was a little more subtle. Using Saitama as the item of comedy instead of the environment around him. His faces alone this episode was a treasure trove of giggles.
Coming back to the fight, once Genos looks like he’s losing Saitama easily steps in and slaps (not punch) the Mosquito monster the way one would slap down a fly. In awe of this, Genos immediately asks Saitama to become his master and train him. At which point I almost look back at my original question of, “How do they make One Punch Man work as a series?” and say, “Duh! He’ll train the next generation!”.
It’s the perfect role for Saitama whose loneliness in the previous episode was palpable. Now he has the chance to be that master figure we’ve all seen in Shounen and classic action films. Already we’re starting to see a small change in Saitama, as he shows more animation when talking to Genos. It’s enough to make me feel hopeful for him, especially after the last episode painted his hero role in tints of gloom.
As for Genos, he is isn’t as humorous as Saitama but he still has his own robotic flare, and of course he comes with his very own tragic background story which he gives in a long winded explanation that leaves both the audience and Saitama side eyeing him. Saitama urges him to keep the explanation down to 20 words. Genos isn’t able to do this, but I sure can! Essentially, he became a cyborg to become strong and to hunt down the evil cyborg who killed his family.
There, 19 words! Damn, I’m good.
Now that Saitama has another character to play off I’m interested to see how their chemistry grows and how they work together. It isn’t long into their introduction of each other when the two are attacked by creatures similar to Mosquito Woman. They all resemble animals and seem to be the result of a mad scientist who has plans for Saitama.
Genos is immediately ready to assist his new master, but Saitama seems to have things under control as he faces down a giant lion and a mole. Genos’ spots a large cyborg creature and he wonders if it is the same cyborg he’s looking for. This tells us he either doesn’t know or doesn’t remember the cyborg who killed his family. Once again both fights are action packed and incredibly fun to watch.
When Genos defeats the cyborg it’s revealed to be just another animal in a robotic suit. Meanwhile, Saitama easily defeats the lion and mole with one punch each, but as we know his punches tend to leave his opponents in pieces. The episode ends with them bullying the Gorilla to tell them everything he knows. It’s a solid stopping point for the episode but it comes much too quickly for my liking and my adrenaline is still pumping from the last fight scene. I fear this will be an on-going problem with One Punch Man.
In the final moments of the episode, we get a glimpse of the scientist who made those creatures and his numerous clones. I like that his involvement points the show away from the direction of numerous smaller villains that we saw in the first episode and towards a more overarching story. While I could probably watch an entire series of strange weekly villains taking on Saitama, I’m also curious as to what kind of story the show will embark on, especially as the cast grows.