“The Modern Ninja”
Much of the Same:
One-Punch Man continues to do what its good at, but I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a disconnect here. It pains me to say this, but One-Punch Man hasn’t lived up to my expectations so far. The first episode was probably the most enjoyable, delivering what I thought we’d get; we were introduced to Saitama and learned about his history. It was funny, the action was awesome, and there were hints of where the story could go from there. Back then I said that Saitama was a contender for the strongest main character this season, but I may have to take that back now, because in all honesty, his character arc feels complete. Because there is no serious overarching story here, it doesn’t feel like we’re on much a journey with these characters. I’ve seen everything I can from Saitama, as amusing as he is to watch. Each episode has the same checkpoints, the same gags, the same everything. It’s all becoming very predictable, and while that may be why so many like it, it’s just not connecting with me. It was great the first time, funny the second, questionable the third, and just… boring the fourth time around.
The last thing I want to do is slate a popular series that I expected to love, but I can’t be dishonest and say that this episode impressed me all the much. Maybe this episode itself wasn’t as good as the previous three, but I don’t know if that’s the case. It seems, to me, that One-Punch Man is still doing the same thing as before, it’s just that I’ve grown tired of the formula already. Still, there were a few worthwhile moments in this episode.
Sonic the Ninja:
Sonic (Kaji Yuuki) is a fun introduction – I really dig his design, and his fight sequences were wonderfully animated. There’s not much else to discuss about his character for now, but his back-and-forth with Saitama was probably the most amusing part of the episode. While I didn’t laugh – I had a straight face throughout the whole episode, I’m afraid to say – the moment where Saitama punched him in the balls is what we’re all bound to remember. His quaking body and weak-sounding voice after the punch was cute in a vulnerable sort of way. If anything, this episode makes me want to see more of Saitama and Sonic together.
Other than that, there’s not much else left to discuss. We are introduced the License-Less Rider (Nakamura Yuuichi), who fails to make much of an impression. All we know is he’s getting the recognition for Saitama’s hard work. Talking about hard work, it was somewhat interesting that the villains this week were basically freeloaders who didn’t want to conform to the system and get stuck in a dead-end job. In a way, there’s something to sympathise with there (especially if you’re stuck in one of those jobs yourself) and it seems like intentional commentary on what’s currently going on in Japan. It’s possible that this issue stirs up something in the Japanese viewers more so than it does with us Westerners, but it’s a noteworthy backdrop to these otherwise mediocre villains. Even Saitama finds himself identifying with them a little, though by the end of the episode he seems relieved that he’s managed not to fall into that trap.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Not a great episode, I have to say. I really don’t want to come here and trash-talk a series that is loved by many, but I can only be honest with how I’m feeling. One-Punch Man is great at what it does – it’s consistent in its delivery, the characters have their individual charms, and the animation is brilliant – but it’s just not clicking with me. I need something different week-in-week-out, and I’m not getting that right now. However, Saitama and Genos officially signing up as heroes could be that opportunity to go against my expectations. This could be the chance for One-Punch Man to prove its not a One Trick Pony. *fingers crossed*
Full-length images: 09.