“The Obsessive Scientist”
The One-Punch Man Formula:
One-Punch Man knows what type of series it is. It’s fun, over the top, completely unbelievable, and thoroughly entertaining; but it’s comfortable in its own skin to the point where a formula is emerging. I found myself predicting how everything would turn out a few minutes before it actually happened. There aren’t any big twists or revelations to keep me surprised: after three episodes I’m already familiar with the routine, which is both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, it’s good because the series itself is entertaining, and you know what to expect from it. Some of my favourite series are fairly predictable and have recurring characters/storylines (like Bleach or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure).
These types of shows end up favouring style more than substance. Thankfully, One-Punch Man has an abundance of style, and the animation is consistently impressive. But this One-Punch Man formula can also be seen as a bad thing because, frankly, it feels tired (for me at least). I have to be honest and say that this episode didn’t inspire much out of me. I got a chuckle at the very end, but that’s because it delivered the one moment of the episode I couldn’t have predicted (Saitama not knowing the supermarket sale was on saturday, not sunday). We get introduced to a villain, there’s some boasting and showing off – perhaps a little backstory to flesh out the situation – Genos fights, but can’t quite win by himself, and then Saitama comes along to save the day. Perhaps it flirts with the possibility that maybe this will be the one time where Saitama will lose, but it’s always bound to end with a single punch, decimating the foe with little effort.
I feel like I’ve just explained every episode of One-Punch Man before I’ve even watched them.
Training vs Evolution:
I thought Doctor Genus (Namikawa Daisuke) was going to be a long-term villain, but it appears all his tricks have been shown in this one episode. He’s still alive, so he may make a comeback, but his story feels complete as is. His backstory at the start of the episode was quite amusing, mainly because of Saitama interrupting it before we could learn the whole story. As I mentioned last week, Saitama’s lack of interest in the background exposition works well here. It means that we get to learn more about the characters in a manner that seems forced and deliberate, before being cut off because our hero doesn’t give a damn. It’s just as amusing this week as it was last.
As expected, the fight sequence with Asura Rhino was fantastic. Genos provides a fair amount of blitz and glory before Saitama steps in, and I appreciate that we get to see two sides of combat. Genos does seem destined to lose his battles, but if that gives us plenty of brilliantly animated choreographed fights like this, then I can’t complain. Of course, everything builds up to Saitama’s final punch. He’s got the intimidation factor (which gave me Hunter x Hunter flashbacks) and we were teased right up until the last moment. His punches are satisfying, but it’s hard to look past the fact that it’s all part of the emerging formula.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Not to be a Debby Downer, but I didn’t love this episode. It’s entertaining and still one of the better shows this season (though it’s not the best, and not quite a masterpiece), but it’s difficult to discuss what happens without getting critical of the routine. A villain is introduced, we get some backstory, Genos loses his fight, Saitama finishes it off. I hope I’m proven wrong and there’s more to come in future episodes; there’s plenty of faces still to show up, so perhaps they will provide some variety.