‘One Punch Man’ Season 2 Director Shingo Natsume Talks About ‘OPM’ Anime, Saitama, And English Fans

The One Punch Man Season 2 release date is just over the horizon and studio Madhouse director Shingo Natsume has started talking about the anime. Unfortunately, he did not give any spoilers about Saitama, Genos, or Garou related to OPM Season 2, but if fans really want to know what happens next they can always read the English translation of the manga or the One Punch Man webcomic. (There’s also spoilers in the second half of this article.)

Update: This article was published before it was announced that J.C. Staff was taking over from Madhouse for the production of the second season. That means Natsume will no longer be the director. This article otherwise remains as originally published.

The Madhouse director talked about how his work is being spread all around the world due to the accessibility of the internet. Fans from all over the world can overcome natural barriers.

“It’s crossed my mind before that while I’m working on a project in Japan, there could be someone all the way in Brazil watching my work,” he said.

Madhouse aired the first season of the One Punch Man anime during the 2015 fall anime season in Japan, while Viz Media and Daisuke were responsible for launching the anime show to the rest of the world. Natsume says a lot of the inspiration for OPM’s design and art came from Space Dandy, an anime comedy that aired in 2014.

“After all, I did experience the reaction of Space Dandy, and that almost definitely influenced the image of One Punch Man,” he explained. “When I first took Space Dandy overseas and found out how popular it was, I quickly learned what I’d need to do to excite them even more. I also realized, at least in my perspective, that the Japanese and international audiences aren’t that different. I try to focus on methods for entertaining the audience.”

The story of One Punch Man has always been a parody of shonen manga series that simultaneously exemplifies what makes those manga series great in the first place. The director believes it is a mistake to simply highlight the series as just a parody. Instead, he tries to look at OPM “from a different angle. I’m just kind of like that.”

“I tried to play it out straight while carefully timing the cuts,” he said.

Natsume is happy that the international response towards the One Punch Man anime has been great. The director says he purposefully tried to target the needs of the international audience.

“When we took Space Dandy overseas, I had the opportunity to watch it with the local audience in real-time. So I was able to see what parts of the script they would react to. I realized that they enjoyed watching anime together among a crowd; it’s just that kind of culture,” the One Punch Man director said. “It was also my intention to make One Punch Man an anime that people could enjoy watching together as they cheer and make a lot of noise. I don’t want this to be conveyed incorrectly, but getting such a reaction from the audience made me extremely happy.”

OPM Season 2 Rumors Run Amuck

Warning: This section of the article contains major spoilers.

Some websites have been flat-out generating false rumors related to OPM Season 2 (can I get a big “fake news” from Trump?). For example, the latest spin is that the ninja Speed o’ Sound Sonic will somehow become powerful enough to defeat Saitama by eating monster cells. In fact, the OPM manga just has Sonic getting the runs from that misadventure because he cooked the monster cell in wine, which rendered it useless since they apparently need to be consumed raw.

All in all, these rumors about One Punch Man Season 2 seem to ignore the OPM manga and webcomic entirely. The whole point of Saitama’s existence is a running gag in a serious world, so if he is ever “defeated” it will probably be by a goofy technicality created by ONE as a joke. To put things into perspective, later in the OPM anime, there should be Dragon Threat Level monsters choosing to live as Saitama’s pets rather than die.

The one thing that can be safely predicted about OPM Season 2 is that the anime story will draw inspiration from the manga. The OPM webcomic by ONE started it all, but the manga version by artist Murata Yuusuke enhanced the artwork and extended the plot with ONE’s input. As such, Madhouse director Shingo Natsume will probably adapt the Monster Association arc from the webcomic. In addition, Saitama enters a martial arts tournament under the name of Bang’s former disciple Charanko, a story that takes place only in the manga version but is considered canon by ONE.

Otherwise, the next big story arc for One Punch Man Season 2 is the fight with Garou, who is like the evil mirror image of the main One Punch Man character. Just like Saitama is a hero as a hobby, Garou only fights heroes as a monster as a hobby. They both maintain a sense of morality since Garou doesn’t purposefully kill heroes and he even goes out his way to protect a child from the Monster Association at the risk of his own life. Saitama wishes to feel the adrenaline rush associated with fighting a worthy opponent, while Garou enjoys the feeling of losing a battle if he can improve himself.

Garou has the ability to copy other people’s fighting styles, which is similar to Marvel’s Taskmaster character. He’ll figure out an opponent’s weakness to give himself an upper advantage, although he has difficulty combating beastly tactics like those used by Watchdog Man. But it’s Garou’s ability to evolve and surpass his humanity by transforming into a demonic form that makes him a worthy opponent. Saitama is almost forced to take the fight semi-seriously!

When ONE was asked if Boros or Garou would win in a fight, he indicated that the fully awakened Garou was similar in power.

“Although Boros was absolutely stronger until now, the current Garou is almost like a near-perfect monster. I do not know,” ONE said during a Niconico interview. “I think that Boros is stronger than Garou, but it’d be a close fight where Garou could win in close range combat with a punch or a kick or something. That kind of thing can be avoided, almost.”

And that was before Garou grew even stronger!

It is currently unknown how many episodes One Punch Man Season 2 will be. The manga adaptation has not yet caught up with the webcomic, so it’s possible Madhouse will finish off the second season with the martial arts tournament rather than the big fight with the awakened Garou. Anime fans will just have to wait and see what the OPM Season 2 release date will bring to the table!

[Featured Image by Viz Media/One Punch Man]