One Punch Man Season 3 has anime fans all revved up for the next part of
Saitama’s Garou’s story. The human monster continues to evolve in power as his limiter is tested and there’s still the lurking threat posed by the Monster Association.
The real question is which animation studio will be given the chance to produce One Punch Man Season 3. Most anime fans are already aware of how studio Madhouse was replaced by J.C. Staff for the second season.
What’s more, even some of the main staff changed. Director Shingo Natsume (know for Space Dandy, Boogiepop And Others) was replaced by Yoshikazu Iwanami. However, character designer Chikashi Kubota, series composition writer Tomohiro Suzuki, and composer Makoto Miyazaki all returned after their 2015 success on the first season.
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Some anime critics were leery of the studio change because it was believed that animation quality might suffer. They praised the main animator Kenichi Aoki for his work on OPM Season 2 while still claiming, “It’s collapsing and even Aoki can’t save us from bad production.”
The production was so difficult that the staff delayed the release of the second season’s Blu-ray Disc and DVD box sets by two months (the OPM Season 2 OVA episode will now ship on October 25, 2019).
“Apropos of nothing, but if your production crashes hard enough that you have to delay every disc release for months, maybe you should have postponed the broadcast rather than jumping off a cliff unprepared just to be timely (which you weren’t anyway),” wrote kVin of Sakuga Blog. “Delays are good but this rubs me the wrong way.”
At the same time, everyone agrees that the animation quality went up a considerable notch for the last several episodes focused on Garou. Still, it’s pretty bad when the cat version of OPM is considered to be better animated by some fans.
Regardless of online criticism of the animation and production issues, anime fans have still been giving OPM Season 2 good reviews. But did J.C. Staff leave enough source material for creating One Punch Man Season 3 quickly?
— 久保田誓 11日(日曜)西A-62a (@kubo_chika) April 16, 2019
Updated July 2, 2019: Finalized Season 2/manga comparison and other analysis. Added official announcements and fans discussing the desire for One Punch Man Season 3.
Updated June 25, 2019: Added news of Blu-Ray/DVD/OVA production delay. Rewrote manga comparison and added extra spoilers.
This article provides everything that is known about One Punch Man Season 3 and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.
History of the One Punch Man manga
The story for the anime is based on the One Punch Man manga series by writer ONE and illustrator Yusuke Murata. As of April 2019, the manga was up to Volume 19. Historically, a new manga volume has released every April, August, and December of each year, so One Punch Man Volume 20 should (assuming no delays) be coming out in August 2019, Volume 21 in December 2019, Volume 22 in April 2020, and so on.
Viz Media licensed the official English translation of the One Punch Man manga series. As of May 2019, the English version was up to Volume 16. The release date for Volume 17 is scheduled for August 6, 2019, and Volume 18 for December 3, 2019.
The story of the manga itself is a little unusual in comparison to the average manga since it began in July 2009 as a work self-published on a website called Nitosha. Released as the One Punch Man webcomic, it was written and illustrated entirely by ONE. The mangaka is also well-known for producing the Mob Psycho 100 manga series (please see our article on Mob Psycho 100 Season 3).
In an interview with Sugoi Japan, ONE said he started his career by uploading pictures of his manuscripts on to free websites using his phone camera. This often led to blurry shots and then a friend recommended Nitosha, which seemed a much easier way of freely publishing his work. ONE bought a computer, tablet, and Comic Studio (a manga drawing program) and began working on One Punch Man.
“Apparently there were a lot of comments [on Nitosha] about One Punch Man,” said ONE. “Until then, I haven’t even shown my manga to my close friends so getting feedback from other people, in general, was a new experience for me. Not only that, people were telling me, ‘I want to read more,’ and, ‘When’s the next update?’ so I got excited and kept on drawing.”
ONE’s early work attracted the attention of Akiman, the character designer for famous video games like Street Fighter II and Darkstalkers. Akiman simply tweeted out, “One Punch Man is really good,” but that one tweet was enough to catch the attention of Yusuke Murata, an accomplished artist who has worked on a variety of manga series including Eyeshield 21 and even a poster for the Spider-Man comic series. As a teenager, Murata was even credited for designing Dust Man and Crystal Man in Capcom’s Mega Man video game series.
Murata was finishing his work on Eyeshield 21 when he saw Akiman’s tweet. He pulled an all-nighter reading the entire OPM webcomic available at the time. He remembers thinking, “Webcomics are really great!” and while he read a whole bunch of them he still found One Punch Man the most enjoyable to read since it subverted the stereotypical shonen dynamic in a way not seen before.
“It was just simply how strong of an impact Saitama leaves on you. It’s hard to relate when the setting is about ‘the main character who’s too strong that he became bored.’ But Saitama is not only a superhero, he also embodies the common man, so readers can relate to him. Plus, there’s this slight cuteness to him. All the other characters are also appealing, and they’re all placed efficiently to draw out Saitama’s appeal. But they’re not there only for that purpose, and each character has their own soul. Although the big reason for webcomic readers to read these series is that they’re free and easily accessible, you can’t get absorbed in every free comic. It’s hard for even professional artists to write a comic that makes you read it all the way through in one sitting. When I pulled that all-nighter, I realized that this work has enough power to rival the best of the pros.”
Meanwhile, ONE realized Murata was following his OPM webcomic since Murata tweeted, “One Punch Man got updated.” ONE had already decided in his mind to go pro as a manga artist but he was facing backlash from his friends and family so he tweeted, “I’m thinking of quitting my job to become a manga artist, but my peers are stopping me.”
Murata was already secretly hoping he could work with ONE, but since he was already under contract with Shonen Jump he thought it’d sound bad to just flat-out ask ONE if they could work together. But when Murata saw ONE’s tweet he feared ONE might stop drawing manga so he took action immediately and contacted ONE directly.
“Around that time, I was actually really sick,” Murata explained. “I broke out in a hive, my inner organs were infected, and I couldn’t breathe well with my windpipes swelling. I was in the hospital when I thought, ‘Ah, I guess people die just like that.’ If I’m going to die, I want to do something I really love to do. I want to draw manga with Mr. ONE. That’s what I thought. If I was going to do it, I wanted to create a manga that didn’t change Mr. ONE’s original manga. I just tried to contact as many publishers that would fulfill my wish, regardless of my contract. It was thanks to my editor who contacted Young Jump that my dream came true. The deciding point was that I had already previously contacted Mr. ONE about working together and that we were going to write with published books already in mind.”
Before jumping into One Punch Man, ONE and Murata actually produced two one-shot manga in 2012. The first, Angry Warriors (Doto no Yushatachi), parodied fantasy tropes by introducing readers to not-so-heroic heroes trying to rescue a princess from a not-so-demonic demon king. The second, Bullet Angel Fan Club (Dangan Tenshi Fan Club), is about a bunch of high school guys who form a secret fan club after they discover a female classmate is a demon-fighting magical girl.
One Punch Man manga/webcomic compared to the anime
When Weekly Shonen Jump magazine picked up the OPM webcomic in 2012 they commissioned Murata to remake the illustrations. The two versions of the story are like night and day in some ways. Murata is known for highly polished art while ONE’s art style is about as quirky as his stories.
“Just trying not to lose any of the characters’ appeal,” Murata said. “I basically revamp the artwork of the original One Punch Man, so the only thing I have to think about is emphasizing the characters’ appeal. In reality, an artist’s job starts before he even starts drawing. It’s important to know what are the character’s good parts. If you don’t understand that to the core, there’s no point in drawing the character in the first place. On the flip side, as long as you understand the character’s appeal, there are so many scenes that come into your mind to draw that appeal out. So the only thing I care for is if I can accurately grasp Mr. ONE’s characters’ appeal.”
But the differences go beyond just the artwork style. The official manga greatly extended the plot of the webcomic with whole new story arcs, characters, and plot points. Although ONE still does all the storyboarding, Murata also supplies suggestions for dialogue and certain fight scenes.
The first addition was manga Chapter 20, which was adapted as part of Season 1 Episode 6. The biggest divergence started after webcomic Chapter 52 when manga Chapter 47 (ending of Season 2 Episode 3) introduced the martial arts tournament where Saitama entered disguised as Bang’s disciple (what’s his name… Chumpy? Charanko?).
The Monster Association was also expanded greatly by the manga, going from only 17 monsters to 500 members. The boss character Lord Orochi and the concept of limiters and monsters cells transforming humans into powerful monsters were also introduced by the manga. The entire HQ raid introduced so many new elements that the differences are almost too many to list.
It wasn’t until Chapter 79 that the manga started to partially resynchronize with webcomic Chapter 53. But the manga has quite a way to go before it catches up with the webcomic. When the anime’s second season finished airing in 2019 the manga had adapted and extended only about half of the available webcomic chapters.
Now, the anime is adapting the official manga, not the webcomic. The critically lauded first season by animation studio Madhouse averaged three manga chapters per episode, adapting up through Chapter 36.
Note: This article was updated with new analysis after One Punch Man Season 2 Episode 12 aired in Japan.
Taking over from Madhouse, studio J.C. Staff accelerated the pacing considerably for the second season, ranging between two to seven chapters adapted per episode. Up through Episode 9, the second season averaged about five chapters per episode.
The way the pacing kept accelerating, at one point it almost seemed like J.C. Staff planned on racing to the Lord Orochi vs Saitama fight (One Punch Man Chapter 108) by accelerating the pacing even further by averaging over eight chapters per episode. Thank goodness that didn’t happen since the result would have been a disaster; an abridged version of the Monster Association HQ raid which probably would have cut out certain fights and ended all character development entirely.
Unfortunately, the actual outcome still has manga fans complaining. In order to pull off this fast pacing, many scenes were shortened and some dialogue, scenes, and even character actions were cut out completely. Large chunks of manga chapters were slapped to the cutting room floor as if they’d been hit by Saitama’s Keijo!!!!!!!!-like hips (can’t forget those eight exclamation points).
Some manga fans would probably have preferred for J.C. Staff to have slowed down the pacing considerably and ended with the Super Fight tournament story arc. While it sounds impossible for extended fight scenes to fill up an entire season, keep in mind that some OPM Season 1 episodes adapted only one manga chapter.
What’s more, the story events of Episode 9 (Chapter 77 of Volume 15) arguably could have provided a halfway decent ending point that foreshadowed the events of a One Punch Man Season 3 that was entirely focused on the Monster Association, which is the longest story arc by far.
At the same time, finishing off Episode 12 with just the Super Fight tournament would have been such a tease since the anime would have introduced the Monster Association’s existence only to leave that plot thread hanging completely unresolved. It also would have meant not seeing Garou in action against the Class A heroes, which was probably the best part of the second season (why J.C. Staff cut Garou’s tree-lifting attack, who knows).
Following the end of the Super Fight tournament arc, the pacing of the anime was thankfully forced to slow down to two chapters adapted per episode. While the Monster Association arc has plenty of action, there are several dialogue-heavy chapters near the beginning that are critical to developing the character and motivation of both Saitama and Hero Hunter Garou. Rushing through these chapters would have been a disservice to One Punch Man’s story.
For manga readers who want to read ahead of the anime, the ending of the second season corresponded to the last panel of Chapter 84. It’s a decent stopping point because Chapter 85 immediately jumps into detailing how the raid on the Monster Association HQ will commence, which is best reserved for the first episode of One Punch Man Season 3.
The only problem is that Monster Association story arc is currently unfinished in the manga. If One Punch Man Season 3 is produced quickly the anime could get ahead of the manga series, which could upset fans if there are any major divergences from the source material.
To summarize, let’s just be thankful J.C. Staff didn’t go the Tokyo Ghoul: re route.
One Punch Man Season 3 release date
As of the last update, Shueisha, J.C. Staff, or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the One Punch Man Season 3 release date. Nor has the production of a sequel been announced.
Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the One Punch Man Season 3 premiere date will occur in the future.
The ending of OPM Season 2 Episode 12 kind of teased One Punch Man Season 3 by leaving off with Garou about to visit with Lord Orochi. Unfortunately, the credits and the end card did not give a direct hint about the anime’s fate by saying, “To be continued,” or something similar.
So, what is being said about OPM Season 3? When the finale aired the official OPM Twitter page did say, “Thank you for watching the TV anime One Punch Man Episode 24: The Wiping Of The Disciple’s Butt! This is the final round of the second season, but One Punch Man is not over! We will do our best to deliver the anime again!” Unfortunately, that tweet was only a reference to a planned re-broadcast of the current anime episodes on Japanese TV stations. That didn’t stop anime fans from demanding more information about the third season.
Besides official sources, there are still plenty of reasons to think the third season will be greenlit for production. From a financial perspective, the first season was a breakout hit that sold many DVD/Blu-Ray box sets and was successful on streaming platforms and Toonami. For the second season, the first Blu-Ray/DVD volume will be released on October 25, 2019. There are six volumes in all, with other five box sets shipping out once a month from November 2019 through March 2020.
While streaming revenue is now the major deciding factor in anime production committees greenlighting anime sequels, disc box sets and other merchandise still do play a role. So let’s hope the second season’s Blu-Ray/DVD box sets do well.
(Hulu licensed the exclusive OPM Season 2 streaming rights and it’s currently unknown if Toonami will broadcast an English dub in the future.)
Otherwise, the future of One Punch Man Season 3 is largely dependent on how the second season was handled in 2019. Since J.C. Staff rushed through the currently available manga chapters it’s likely audiences may end up waiting at least a year for the manga to provide enough source material.
When the second season finished there were 26 chapters unadapted. With the exception of a hiatus when Murata’s father passed away in May 2019, Murata has been keeping up with bi-weekly updates to the manga. That means there should be enough new chapters for OPM Season 3 by the middle of 2020.
However, it’s possible the anime production could proceed with the webcomic and storyboards from ONE as reference points. That way the anime could proceed ahead of the manga without diverging too much.
One Punch Man Season 3 spoilers (plot summary/synopsis)
Note: Since the anime is catching up with the manga this article will be providing a brief summary of highlights from the webcomic version of the story. As the manga is updated this article will be updated over time. The manga could introduce entirely new story arcs.
The last time we watched One Punch Man, the heroes were about to go marching down into the headquarters of the Monster Association, which just happens to be directly underneath Saitama’s home. Average citizens are starting to panic and some are organizing protests.
Child Emperor is leading up the op in order to rescue Waganma, the child of the Hero Association bigwig Narinki, but the rich man ends up sending in his own private rescue squad. As might be expected, that doesn’t go well.
Saitama, Genos, and Fubuki may be the most popular hero characters, but the Hero Hunter Garou is probably the most popular villain (anti-hero?) with the exception of Speed-o-Sound Sonic. It’s no wonder since the complicated character has a sympathetic backstory that almost makes you want to root for the bad guy.
After being rescued in the last season, Garou awakens to find himself in Monster HQ. He’s released on the condition that he prove his loyalty to the Monster Association by bringing back the head of a hero.
It’s not long before Saitama and Garou accidentally cross paths again when they both attend the same restaurant. Saitama is freaking out because he forgot his wallet and couldn’t pay the bill, but when he notices Garou dine-and-dashing the Caped Baldy uses the “criminal incident” as an excuse to dash himself and leave Fubuki to pay up.
Garou happens to run into his kid friend Tareo and scares off some bullies. When Saitama catches up with Garou he lectures the Hero Hunter to the point that he wants to take Saitama’s head. When Saitama accidentally punches Garou and knocks him out, Garou once again can’t remember which hero beat him (third time and counting).
The monsters didn’t trust Garou so they sent Bug God and Royal Ripper to follow him. The two monsters don’t think Garou is acting monster-like and when Royal Ripper decides he wants to murder Tareo, Garou steps in for the rescue.
The entire fight was orchestrated by Gyoro Gyoro, who introduces the concept of the limiter. The idea is that God put a limit on every creature’s development because too much power can create mindless monsters. Gyoro Gyoro has been experimenting for years on how to push humans past their limiters.
The monster leader considers Garou to be a new specimen who might rival Orochi if cultivated correctly. Gyoro Gyoro desires to accelerate the process by repeatedly pushing specimens to the point of death, but so far there’s been only one success: Orochi.
Garou’s fight doesn’t go well when Tareo is captured by a sludge monster and the distraction allows his monster opponents to slash him deeply, leaving him to die in a pool of blood. Gyoro Gyoro figures that if Garou couldn’t survive the low-level monsters then he wasn’t worth the time.
While that’s a bit dark, the story turns humorous quickly when Saitama returns home sans wallet and cabbage. He’s very frustrated because he wants to make a hot pot. An annoyed Fubuki comes to the rescue with cabbage and Genos’ mentor Dr. Kuseno shows up with high-quality meat.
This hot pot turns into a high-powered fight over the hot pot as everyone uses a combination of telekinesis, martial arts, technology, and sheer power to make a grab for the meat. King is promptly knocked out cold.
Fortunately, Garou is not dead. In fact, the near-death experience caused Garou’s body to evolve in a miraculous fashion as he pushes past his limiter. The Hero Hunter behaves rather heroically by rushing to rescue the child Tareo from Royal Ripper. But their escape is short-lived when they run into multiple monsters including the Dragon-level Overgrown Rover, a demonic-looking dog creature that towers over the humans.
A large blast from Overgrown Rover drills a hole into the ground and Garou finds himself confronted by Gyoro Gyoro, who explains in more detail how Orochi was created. The next “experiment” is having Garou fight Orochi and the Hero Hunter is surprised when the misshapen creature is able to copy his martial arts fighting stance.
Eventually, the Hero Association invades the Monster HQ with all of their forces. There are so many individual battles it’s almost hard to keep track, but the highlights include Zombieman taking on a real-life elder vampire named Pureblood (the only “true” monster in the bunch). A high-speed battle between multiple ninja speedsters. Child Emperor’s gadget attacks culminate in a giant mecha suit battle with Phoenix Man, who dies and then is reborn as an ultra-powerful monster which can reanimate the corpses of other monsters.
As might be expected, all this underground commotion attracts the attention of Saitama, who hears sounds coming from a manhole. Overgrown Rover attempts to attack Saitama, but when he punches back the big doggie quickly learns that’s a very bad idea.
Monster King Orochi is excited for a challenge when Saitama eventually makes his way to the monster’s lair, but all Saitama cares about is that they’re being noisy neighbors. Orochi is all revved up when he realizes Overgrown Rover is actually scared of Saitama, but Caped Baldy is resigned to yet another ho-hum fight where the villain monologues him to boredom.
The Monster Association story arc has been building up to the moment when Garou finally pushes past his limiter and evolves into a demonic form. Similar to how the Monster King Orochi evolved horns when he first became a monster, this awakened Garou begins a multi-stage transformation.
Back in 2016, ONE was asked whether Boros or Garou would win a fight. The OPM creator 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 in the 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.”
Needless to say, Saitama vs Garou after the latter is fully awakened will be the major highlight of One Punch Man Season 3. In fact, depending on how ONE and Murata extend that portion of the story it might be better off as a One Punch Man movie.
Warning: Depending on how the third season adapts the manga, the following could be spoilers for One Punch Man Season 4 or 5.
In the aftermath of the big fight, Saitama is finally promoted to an A-Class hero. Unfortunately, Saitama’s home was destroyed during the previous battle so he ends up moving into an apartment complex built by Metal Knight that has built-in defenses.
Dragon-level monsters like Overgrown Rover (which was told to sit and then punched by Saitama) and Black Sperm end up essentially becoming pets for Saitama. Of course, trying to bring these monsters to Saitama’s new home results in comedic chaos since the apartment complex is part of the Hero Association headquarters. The incident causes Metal Knight to take note of Saitama.
One of the biggest revelations discovered during the destruction of the Monster Association was that the multi-handed eyeball monster Gyoro Gyoro was actually a remotely controlled meat puppet for the human woman Psykos (or Psykos transformed into a monster; the manga isn’t clear on this point yet although recent chapters show a human-like body being forcibly yanked out from Gyoro Gyoro’s form). Psykos is also an ESPer and was friends with Blizzard aka Fubuki when they were both in high school.
Responsible for horrible experiments and turning the human Orochi into a powerful monster, Psykos was the brains behind the monster uprising. So when the Monster Association is taken down Psykos is imprisoned along with the other monsters in City A.
In the secret prison, Fubuki interrogates Psykos, demanding to know why her former friend built the Monster Association. In the past, Psykos had a horrible vision of the future that drove her mad and Fubuki now wants to know what visions Psykos sees now with her Third Eye ability. Saitama is present and also wants to know why Psykos attacked his hometown Z-City.
The interrogation is interrupted by Fubuki’s sister, Terrible Tornado Tatsumaki, who intends on killing Psykos. This confrontation turns into a whirlwind of destruction as the Psychic Sisters go on a rampage within the Hero Association facility. And then Saitama enters the fray, challenging Tatsumaki to a fight.
This is where the anime will get a little crazy, perhaps surpassing the fight scenes in Mob Psycho 100. The worldwide battle of Saitama vs Tatsumaki literally bounces from city to city as they exchange blows and verbal barbs. Along the way, they end up running into gangs, a Dragon-level monster, and even Speed-O-Sound Sonic.
One Punch Man Season 3 should also include more revelations about Blast, the first human hero. It turns out Tatsumaki has a connection to the mysterious hero. Like Saitama, Blast is a hero for fun. Hopefully, the manga will expand on the webcomic for Blast’s origins.
Unfortunately, anime fans will need to wait until the One Punch Man Season 3 release date to watch how the story plays out. Stay tuned!