The world’s most unassuming superhero and his cyborg student have returned in One Punch Man! In “Return of the Hero”, Saitama thinks he has found a kindred spirit, Genos continues to aim to be stronger, and we get our first glimpse of Garou, the big bad of season 2.
“Return of the Hero” starts with Saitama and Genos out running errands before stumbling across a monster attack. They witness a giant robot confront King, the “hero of heroes”, and demand combat. Turns out King is a fraud – a man who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time and somehow manages to be given credit for other heroes defeating the monsters. In fact, often, he is given credit for Saitama’s work. Saitama follows King home and talks to him about his lies while Genos takes down the giant robot and goes to his maker for an upgrade using the AI’s parts. Meanwhile, with the Earthdoom prophecy a definite possibility, the government attempts to recruit criminals to be heroes.
There was concern about the animation after the PV was released, but it looks as though quite a few issues were fixed in the actual episode. The animation isn’t bad per se, but when you compare it to season 1, there are noticeable differences in quality. The fight sequences especially could use some work. It was very flashy, but it looked like they avoided animating key parts of it, so it comes across as very messy. This was probably down to a pacing issue, as there was a lot of exposition to get through with the whole King story, but also because the frequent back-and-forth between Genos fighting and Saitama talking to King threw everything out of whack.
That said, the humor is still very much One Punch Man, and I can deal with average animation for a story and a script like what we got here. Saitama just leaving Genos to deal with a giant killer robot, or casually breaking into King’s apartment, or offering to come by again and play video games – and then actually doing it. Plus that meta moment where King said he’d been waiting three years for the game he just bought. Yup, sounds about right!
I love how chill Saitama is about everything. He was completely nonjudgmental about King taking credit for other’s work, even when he found out a lot of them were his own fights – and he has such issues getting credit for any of the work that he does. He and King had a really great dynamic that I’m excited to see more of.
I do not like the not-so-subtle hints that Genos is going down a dark path. I need my cyborg baby to be okay. It was nice to see him win a fight on his own, even if he got the crap kicked out of him. Also, I’d entirely forgotten that he had an actual mission at the beginning – had he forgotten that as well?
I agree with what Farid said in his reaction video that this episode lacked some punch in that it seemed to be mostly about setting up the arc for the season, and that would be fine if there hadn’t been such a huge gap between seasons. I am happy that the series is back because I love it (and my little cyborg baby), and I’m here for the story anyway.
Have you seen “Return of the Hero”? What did you think?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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