“The Ultimate Mentor”
One-Punch Man has finally done it! It has proven my expectations wrong. Sure, there’s still a formula to it all, but when it’s executed like it is in this episode, it doesn’t matter one little bit. Perhaps my own attitude towards the series has changed over the weeks, and I was expecting something different from what was going to be given. But finally, after five episodes, I can say that I loved what I got. Upon first glance it may seem like there wasn’t that much difference with last week’s episode and this one, but for me, everything was an improvement. And I think I’ve finally figured out the key components of the successful One-Punch Man formula:
The first thing that stood out this episode was how great it was to have some solid worldbuilding. Before now it’s mainly just been Saitama, Genos, and a few villains here and there. There’s been no in-world structure to what’s happened, even if it’s been predictable as a viewer. With the introduction of the Heroes Association, we get some much appreciated clarification on how things work and how Saitama and Genos fit into this bizarre world. Whether it be the various fitness tests, the ranking system, the fan popularity polls (which I hope are brought up in future episodes), or the set-up for a somewhat sinister B-plot with the introduction of Sweet Mask (Miyano Mamoru), everything we learned about this world and the characters that inhabit it has me keen for more. That’s how you do it, One-Punch Man!
Amazingly Animated Fights:
Some people complained that last week’s fight wasn’t near as exciting as the previous few. I never focused on it in my post, but I’d have to agree with that. It was nice enough, but nothing to blow your socks off. This week, however, had the best fight sequence so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing else tops this one, in fact. If that’s the case, I’m fine with that, because this practice match between Saitama and Genos was out of this world. Genos’s abilities and design lends to this sort of firey, epic action, and clearly the hands behind this work know how to get the most out of him. It’s not going to be the exact same every episode, but the animation throughout this battle was just… incredible. I could have easily screencapped every moment of it, but I refrained myself from doing so. If the talented staff at Madhouse are capable of creating something even more exhilarating that this… then count me excited. The close-ups were detailed, the scale of the damage felt real, and when Saitama got serious the whole world seemed to stop. In short, it was awesome.
Plenty of Funny Moments:
Worldbuilding, amazing fights, and the final piece of the puzzle: gags! I have to admit, many of the jokes that One-Punch Man has provided haven’t done anything for me. Some of them have got a chuckle here or there, but nothing that lives up to the ‘Comedy’ genre tag. Until now. Now that we’re getting all these exciting moments that I’ve been waiting for, I’m finding the humour a lot easier to enjoy. There were a few parts that had me laughing this time around: the reveal of Saitama’s rank, Snek’s silly pose and Saitama’s bubblegum, Snek’s immediate defeat, Saitama’s moments of amusement during the epic battle, and the funniest of all… when Genos bid him a heartfelt farewell, as if they were going separate ways, until he turned up with his bags packed and a wad of rent money on the table. What a way to end the series’ best episode yet.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Awesome and funny when it needed to be, One-Punch Man definitely delivered this time around. I’m excited to see more of the Heroes Association and see who the other S and A-rank heroes compare. Of course, Saitama’s a little lower than he ought to be, so I imagine we’ll see him rise in the ranks and overtake some C and B-ranks in the next few episodes. Also, I noticed that the founder of the Heroes Association has the same butt chin as the boy Saitama saved in the first episode. It’s been three years since then and the story Genos told matches it, which is a neat little tidbit that adds to all we learned this week. Going forward, I can only hope future episodes are as good or better than this one.
*The first person to spell out the OPM formula wins 10 anime points.