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One Punch Man Season 3: Everything We Know So Far

If you're a fan of superheroes or anime, chances are you're already well familiar with One-Punch Man. Created by webcomic artist ONE and later drawn by artist Yusuke Murata, One-Punch Man tells the story of Saitama, the strongest superhero in the world. Saitama's got the strength to defeat any enemy in a single punch, but that's left him adrift and bored in an existence where fighting has become utterly mundane. All that — along with a vengeful cyborg, telekinetic sisters, alien invasions, a talking dog, and plenty of other bizarre characters — has made One-Punch Man as action-packed and hilarious as any of your favorite MCU movies.

The manga was nearly an instant success, and the anime adaptation that followed was just as well-received. But if you've been checking your streaming services weekly to see when (or if) a third season is on the way, worry not. We've worked so hard that we've gone bald finding out everything you need to know.

One-Punch Man is an adaptation of a remake

Technically, the One-Punch Man anime isn't really an adaptation of the original work — it's an adaptation of Murata's remake of ONE's webcomic. While much of the bare-bones story is the same (owing largely to ONE continuing to work in an ongoing capacity with both Murata and the anime staff), Murata's remake extends scenes and action set pieces to better align with his own inimitable art style. The anime adaptation has followed ONE and Murata's collaboration instead of ONE's webcomic, and for good reason. 

Murata, known to many fans as the artist behind Eyeshield 21, is a ludicrously talented artist. Under his pen, the comic's underlying comedy can shine while also providing genuinely beautiful action sequences. While that means that the anime staff has stronger starting materials to work with in animating different scenes, it also means that the anime is far behind the original story. ONE's webcomic recently returned from a two-year hiatus, but even before that, it was a full couple of story arcs ahead of Murata's remake.

One-Punch Man's first season debuted to rave reviews

When an anime adaption for One-Punch Man was first announced in 2015, fans had high hopes. Overseeing the adaptation was the production studio Madhouse, known for classic anime series like Hunter x Hunter, Hajime No Ippo, and plenty more. Even better, Shingo Natsume was named as the director for the first season. Natsume had worked as the director for the well-received Space Dandy series, as well as working in other roles for classic series like Gurren Lagann. In short, there was some serious talent behind the camera for Saitama's anime debut.

As it turned out, the series smashed through all those expectations like a super-powered punch. One-Punch Man premiered to rave reviews and a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Nearly every critical response praised the fluid animation and pitch-perfect comedic timing. It seemed like the future of One-Punch Man was as bright as the sun reflecting off of Saitama's bald head.

A studio switch for One-Punch Man season 2

Considering the rave reviews that greeted Madhouse's release of One-Punch Man, you might expect the studio to be on board for the second season. Instead, the reins of the show changed hands over to J.C. Staff. Shingo Natsume also left as series director, leaving Chikara Sakurai to take over. Unfortunately, the second season premiered to slightly worse reviews and a minor fan backlash over the studio shifting.

Worse, a two-month delay for the Japanese release of the second season DVD further incensed fans who felt that the studio wasn't giving the series the attention and care they felt it deserved. With flagging reviews and possible behind-the-scenes drama, it seemed like a third season of One-Punch Man was in doubt. Still, the official One-Punch Man anime twitter account tweeted in July that the season 2 finale wasn't the end of the series. There's at least an intent to make a third, even though there's no official word as of yet about who will be animating it or when it would come out.

What would Once-Punch Man season 3 look like?

Season 2 of One-Punch Man focused in on some of the long-running plot threads of the comic, particularly Garo's ongoing evolution into a kind of supervillain mirror to Saitama's unbeatable superhero. While some fans criticized how quickly the second season moved through multiple comic book storylines, it's brought the anime up to a very significant point in the story. After Garo is saved by the Monster Association, the Hero Association begins its assault on the evil organization. All of the Class-S heroes descend into the tunnels (including not-yet-Class-S hero Saitama) before facing off against various superpowered villains in a series of wide-screen action set pieces.

In short, it's nearly the perfect storyline to encompass a whole season of animation. There's just one problem: that storyline isn't finished yet, and looks to be at least a couple of months before fully wrapping up. As a result, we shouldn't expect a third season of One-Punch Man any earlier than at least summer of 2020 — if not later, depending on when the current comic storyline wraps up.

Who will be animating One-Punch Man season 3?

Considering the rave reviews that greeted Madhouse's first season and the fan backlash that accompanied J.C. Staff's second season, there's no doubt that Viz Media is carefully considering who to commission for a potential third season. Which production studio handles which project is dependent on a huge number of variables, from overall cost to the animators' interest. For example, a huge reason behind One-Punch Man's high-quality animation in its first season was credited to Shingo Natsume's long-time connections in the anime industry, which enabled him to entice a number of extremely talented freelancers to work on the project. 

While it's not all that likely that Natsume will return to direct a third season of One-Punch Man, it is undeniable that fans are paying close attention to who gets named as series director. With all that scrutiny, there's no doubt that Viz Media will be looking for someone truly great to bring the anime back to the rave reviews that greeted Madhouse's version of the show.