One-Punch Man is easily one of the best names in action-comedy anime and manga. Produced by the fittingly-named mangaka ONE, the anime and manga smash sensation takes many of the conventions of Western superhero comics and Japanese kaiju movies and turns them entirely on their heads.
The first season of the show catapulted the franchise’s already massive success even higher, but on its second season, it definitely took a dive.
The apparent decrease in animation quality was one of the main critiques of the less well-received second season.
Here’s a look at why the show had a shift in studios and how it dramatically made the animation of the show worse.
They Changed Studio between Seasons 1 & 2
The first season of the show was directed by Shingo Natsume and animated with Chikashi Kubota as the chief animator at Madhouse.
For many prominent and esteemed anime series, such as Paranoia Agent, Black Lagoon, Death Note, High School of the Dead and Hunter x Hunter, Madhouse was responsible.
Even by the generally high standards of the studio, their work on One-Punch Guy was exceptional. The artistry of the Season 1 team did wonders selling all the humor and action for gusto with a plot so dependent on top-notch execution of a few jokes.
As a result, the highly awaited Season 2, though, will not come without adjustments, but the first season was very well-received.
Natsume was replaced as director by Chikara Sakurai, while the production studio moved from Madhouse to J.C. Employees.
In the past, J.C. Staff has also made some hit shows, including Food Wars! And Bakuman, so it was anticipated that the standard would be preserved at the very least.
The explanation behind this move was that Natsume was busy with other projects, and since so many had entered the series to work with him, it was appropriate to fill the void with a full animation overhaul.
The Animation Quality Dipped In Season 2
One-Punch Man’s Season 2 still has completely appropriate art and animation, but the first season’s crisp, flowing, lively animation is replaced by something much more stoic, bland, and boring.
It was also much more widespread to use 3D computer-generated animation, something that is almost never well-received in anime.
In contrast with Flash animation, the still frames were also unfavorable. Deaths of monsters and main battle scenes were performed off-screen.
The less-than-stellar visuals were ultimately due to the hurried development of the season. Work began practically from the ground up on a highly awaited series, with Natsume and most of those who wanted to work under him quitting.
And with veterans of anime like J.C. Staff at the helm, in the truncated timeline there was only so much that could be done. It is a testimony to the consistency behind it that the animation is as serviceable as it is and not significantly worse.
The actual plot elements of Season 2 were received more warmly than its animation, but despite this, many regarded the animation modifications of the show as a dip in the quality of the series as a whole.
Hopefully, Season 3 will return to the thrilling, well-animated heights the anime was once known for, with a less hurried and beleaguered development.