Incredible Animation, Adrenaline-Pumping Fights:
That was nothing short of incredible. Really, I could end this review there, and that would just about cover it. But since I’ve already begun I might as well untangle this awesomeness. First off, the obvious: the animation. I did not think it could get any better than what we’ve seen before, but damn, the first half of this episode was non-stop adrenaline-pumping kicks, punches, explosions, impact shots, and devastating blows. At this point, Genos is destined to be One-Punch Man’s punching bag – since he exists purely to show how strong his opponents are, before Saitama comes in and saves the day. It’s a shame seeing him lose yet again, but his back and forth with the Sea King was beyond amazing. Way past spectacular. Earth-shattering. Breathtaking. Mind-blowing. Sensational. All of those words and more. God, it was good.
Not only were the intense action sequences beyond my already high expectations, but near every other shot in this episode was tonally perfect. Whether it be Genos seeming to defeat his opponent early on, with the intense shadows giving a sense of uncertainty. Or the rough lines of Mumen Rider when he delivers that emotional speech. Or how about the shift in art style when it switched over to the reactions of the public, that look to be Ghibli inspired. Truly, the whole episode stood out to me. Visually, it was a feast for the eyes and I can’t see how they could top this. Yet, I’ve thought that before, and I’ve been proven wrong… so time will tell.
What It Means to be a Hero:
Aside from how awesome this episode was visually, it was also the best thematically. I brought it up last week, but the focus once again is on what it means to be a hero in the One-Punch Man universe, and how each of them embrace that role. You’ve got the ever shady Sweet Mask who is more interested in his public image than fighting on the field. But then there’s the likes of Genos, who is striving for his goals and getting all the popularity from the public (which still amuses me), but is still rooted to his superhero sensei.
And then you’ve got the hero himself, Saitama, who is in a bit of a predicament. He may be the one who yet again saves the day, but he is still not getting the credit he is due. This time around he was only bumped up one place (with the opportunity to head into the B rank), and part of that comes down to him playing the ‘bad guy’. Like we saw a couple of episodes back, he ranted at the overlooking public, this time making himself seem like he only got the finishing blow because of the hard work of the previous heroes. Of course, we know that to be incorrect, but if we’re to stick with the premise behind the series then simply put, Saitama cannot get the recognition that he deserves, even if he still strives to reach S-Class.
The stand-out of this episode, however, is none other than C-rank Mumen Rider. After not getting much of an impression of him in earlier episodes, last week he caught my eye and had me rooting for him. That carried over here, giving him the most emotional and satisfying moments we’ve seen from the whole show. We all knew he wasn’t going to do anything to the Sea King, but that didn’t matter, because seeing him throw everything he could was all he needed to prove that he’s the most genuine hero of them all. He may not be inherently gifted like those around him, but there’s always something to love about the underdog doing his absolute best, even if it results in failure. Not only that, but I actually teared up when the little boy started cheering him on from the arena, as everyone else joined in with him. One-Punch Man may be an epic action parody, but that moment alone proved that it’s capable of tugging the heartstrings when it wants to.
Overview – What’s Next?:
This episode was A+, 10/10, would recommend to everyone, anime fan or not. Not only the best episode of the show to date, but a serious contender for one of the best of the entire year (so long as I ignore He Who Shall Not Be Named But Rather Image Linked To Show Who I Am Talking About If You Couldn’t Already Tell). Phew. I’m exhausted after experiencing this episode. Simple put, it was fan-fucking-tastic.