One Punch Man Season 3 release date coming: MAPPA or Studio Bones production rumored

One Punch Man manga artwork
One Punch Man Season 3 will animate some of the best battles from the manga/webcomic series. Pic credit: Yusuke Murata

A One Punch Man Season 3 anime TV show is confirmed to be in production. But the big question is whether animation Studio MAPPA or Studio Bones will produce the the 3rd season.

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. But when will One Punch Man Season 3 come out?

Anime Geek is predicting that the One Punch Man Season 3 release date will be in late 2023 or in early 2024 at the earliest, although the latter seems more likely depending on which studio is producing the TV show. (Please see the predictions section below for more details.)

As such, 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 made the excellent first season only to be replaced by Studio J.C. Staff for the second season. Thus far, anime news leakers have been consistently saying that Studio J.C. Staff will not be returning for making One Punch Man Season 3.

Anime and manga news leaker Shonenleaks is claiming that One Punch Man 3 will be animated by Studio MAPPA! The company is producing many popular anime including Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, Attack on Titan Season 4 Part 3, Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku, Chainsaw Man Season 2, Vinland Saga Season 2, Campfire Cooking in Another World with my Absurd Skill, Alice and Therese’s Illusion Factory, and the much-delayed Yuri on Ice movie.

Like with any anime news leak, this info should be considered a rumor and taken with a huge grain of salt. But the One Punch Man Season 3 MAPPA rumor has spread so much that even the official Twitter responded to the controversy that started.

“This is the only official Twitter account for the anime ‘One-Punch Man’,” the official OPM Twitter stated on December 23, 2022. They even went out of their way to issue the warning in both English and Japanese. “Please don’t be misled by unofficial information from other accounts. Accurate information will be announced from this account when it is time.”

Coincidentally, the Shonenleaks account was suspended for violating Twitter Rules that very same day. There are multiple ways to interpret this action. It’s possible the suspension was unrelated to the One Punch Man Season 3 rumor, but if Shonenleaks was suspended for making the claim the next question is whether Shonleaks was taken down for being correct or for spreading misinformation.

It’s possible that Shonenleaks was wrong. After all, this One Punch Man Season 3 MAPPA rumor also conflicts with an older leak that claimed that Studio Bones was taking over the anime series.

On July 21, 2022, a purported Japanese leaker from NHK claimed there was going to be a One Punch Man Season 3 production announcement tied to manga Chapter 169 or 170. That part turned out to be true. Furthermore, the rumor claimed that Studio Bones will be taking over the anime series from Studio J.C. Staff, which animated the second season. Studio Bones is currently working on My Hero Academia Season 6 and Mob Psycho 100 Season 3.

This rumor was given an air of validity since the copyright holder apparently responded and deleted the linked content that allegedly confirmed the details. Ever since then, rumors have continued to swirl about the potential Studio Bones One Punch Man Season 3 project.

On August 12, 2022, anime news leaker Spanku seemed to tease a One Punch Man Season 3 announcement by tweeting an animation and claiming, “No official announcement yet.” In response, Jaymes Hanson replied, “Now you can annoy Spanku about OPM instead of me. Anyway, just another leaked affirmed.” Later on, Spanku also claimed that Studio Bones is producing the third season.

On August 17, 2022, news leaker Shonenleaks claimed that OPM Season 3 is in production and that there will indeed be a studio change.

“It’s for sure not J.C. Staff. But can’t reveal who’s actually working on it yet,” Shonenleaks claimed.

That same day, leaker SPY also claimed, “One Punch Man S3 in production.”

One Punch Man 3
The key visual for One Punch Man Season 3 features Saitama vs Garou. The character designer for the first and second seasons, Chikashi Kubota, is confirmed to be returning for making the third season. Pic credit: Chikashi Kubota

The announcement of the third season coincided with the One Punch Man Chapter 170 release date, which was at noon JST on August 18, 2022 (or 11 PM EST on August 17, 2022).

In the afternoon of August 17, 2022, One Punch Man manga artist Yusuke Murata tweeted, “We also have a big announcement,” in reference to the pending OPM 170 release. This big announcement turned out to be the production decision for OPM Season 3. More details will be announced at a later date.

One Punch Man 169 was the second to the last manga chapter of the long Monster Association Arc since it adapted only part of web comic Chapter 94. One Punch Man 170 finished the Human Monster Saga while OPM Chapter 171 began adapting the Psychic Sisters arc of the Neo Heroes Saga.

READ: One Punch Man’s Saitama VS Garou battle animated by M Studio in epic 5-min video

One Punch Man Season 3 was also featured when the OPM manga returned from hiatus on September 22, 2022. Pic credit: Yusuke Murata

The announcement of One Punch Man Season 3 was rumored for a long time. The leaks may give us a hint as to the progress rate of the production.

On March 8, 2022, anime news leaker Jaymes Hanson wrote a mysterious tweet that showed Fire Force shaking hands with One Punch Man Season 3. Since Fire Force Season 3 is confirmed to be in production, others quickly jumped to the conclusion that he was claiming that OPM Season 3 was in production.

The leaker then clarified that he never said if One Punch Man Season 3 was in production or not, but still claimed that he has “industry” sources and that the third season is “confirmed on my end, could be greenlit stage, could be in production, time will tell I guess. … I just tweet what I hear.” He also asked people to, “stop tweeting ‘in-production’ please.” As for when the announcement will be official, he tweeted, “Your guess is as good as mine. … I don’t know what stage it’s in, so chances are it’s not in production for me to know.”

A similar incident happened in regards to Mushoku Tensei Season 3. In May 2021, anime news leaker Sugoi LITE claimed that both Mushoku Tensei Season 2 and 3 are “currently in production”. Fast-forward to March 2022 when the Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Season 2 anime was actually confirmed to be in production and Sugoi LITE clarified that he had mistakenly “used the two terms interchangeably” when he really meant that they were simply “greenlit” back then.

The difference is that being greenlit for production means that OPM producer Nobuyuki Hosoya has put the project in the pipeline and that actual animation production work at a studio will be scheduled for a later date. To be in production means the beginning of the actual pre-production phase. (Sakuga Blog has an excellent article explaining what pre-production entails.)

As for the possibility of a studio change for One Punch Man Season 3, Jaymes Hason tweeted, “I’ll update if I hear anything.”

Needless to say, while the One Punch Man Season 3 production is officially confirmed the information concerning the studio change is not verified by any official source so it should be treated as a rumor and taken with a huge grain of salt.

On the other hand, the One Punch Man series continues to be popular. In 2020, Sony’s Columbia Pictures announced that a One Punch Man live-action movie was in development and in July 2022 the filming finished. So it’s very likely that One Punch Man Season 3 could be animated by a different studio.

The reason for the studio change is that some anime critics were leery of the way J.C. Staff handled the second season because they claimed that animation quality suffered. 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.

Anime fans praised the main animator Kenichi Aoki for his work on certain cuts of 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.

“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.”

Regardless of how OPM Season 2 dinged their reputation, J.C. Staff is best known for the original Sorcerous Stabber Orphen anime, the KonoSuba movieIs It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, A Certain Scientific Railgun, and Netflix’s EDENS ZERO anime series.

In 2022, Studio J.C. Staff was working on the Date A Live Season 4 anime, How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Part 2, Requiem of the Rose King, The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest, The Executioner and Her Way of Life, and The Demon Girl Next Door Season 2. The DanMachi Season 4 release date was also in 2022.

In addition, The Duke of Death and His Maid Season 2 anime and EDENS ZERO Season 2 are both already in production. KonoSuba Season 3 in addition to the KonoSuba Bakuen prequel anime about Megumin’s past is confirmed to be in production, but both anime projects are being handled by Studio Drive, not J.C. Staff.

Besides the studio change rumors, the main staff making One Punch Man Season 3 hasn’t been announced yet.

As previously noted, it’s already confirmed that character designer Chikashi Kubota is returning for making One Punch Man Season 3. But that information can’t be used to determine the studio since he’s an independent contractor who has worked with Madhouse, J.C. Staff, and other studios.

The most important position influencing the success of One Punch Man Season 3 is the director. For the second season, director Shingo Natsume (Sonny Boy, ACCA 13, Space Dandy, Boogiepop And Others) was replaced by Chikara Sakurai (Shenmue the Animation). The new director also was an episode director and worked on storyboards.

Sound director Yoshikazu Iwanami was also replaced by Shoji Hata.

However, the main staff wasn’t all new people for the second season. Character designer Chikashi Kubota (FLCL Progressive, key animation for Dragon Ball Super: Broly), series composition writer Tomohiro Suzuki (ACCA 13, Boogiepop And Others), and composer Makoto Miyazaki (Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans) all returned after their 2015 success on the first season.

The One Punch Man Season 3 OP (opening) and ED (ending) theme song music hasn’t been announced yet.

For the second season, the One Punch Man OP “Uncrowned Greatest Hero (Seijaki no Apostle)” was performed by JAM Project, while the ED “Even Without a Map, I’ll Return (Chizu ga Nakutemo Modoru kara)” was performed by Makoto Furukawa.

Uncrowned Great Hero music video by JAM Project.

The second season was streaming in Spring 2019 on Crunchyroll and Hulu (not Netflix, Funimation, VRV, or Amazon Prime Video). It was also released on Toonami in Fall 2019.

The second season’s finale, One Punch Man Season 2 Episode 12, was released on July 3, 2019.

The 12 episodes were released as five Blu-Ray/DVD volumes from October 2019 through February 2020. Each BD volume came bundled with a new One Punch Man OVA episode.

One Punch Man OVA trailer.
  • Updated December 23, 2022: Updated MAPPA rumor with Shonenleaks suspension and official misinformation warning.
  • Updated December 7, 2022: Added One Punch Man Season 3 MAPPA rumor.
  • Updated August 17, 2022: One Punch Man Season 3 confirmed by key visual. Character designer return confirmed. Added even more studio change rumors. Updated the rest of the article based on the announcement.
  • Updated August 12, 2022: Updated One Punch Man Season 3 rumors.

This article provides everything that is known about One Punch Man Season 3 (OPM 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.

One Punch Man Season 3 release date predictions: Is 2023 or 2024 likely?

As of the last update, Shueisha, Bandai, or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the One Punch Man Season 3 release date. However, the production of a One Punch Man 3 sequel was announced on August 17, 2022.

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 the One Punch Man 3 release 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, the last sentence of 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 One Punch Man Season 3… For several long years of silence! But why the long wait?

From a financial perspective, the first season was a breakout hit that sold around 6,500 DVD/Blu-Ray box sets in its first week. It was also successful on streaming platforms and Toonami.

The same could not be said for the second season. When the first Blu-Ray/DVD volume was released in Japan on October 25, 2019, it sold only 1,265 copies in the first week. To put that low number in comparison, the well-reviewed Astra Lost In Space anime BD volume sold 1,222 copies in the same time frame.

But those poor sales were probably the result of the backlash against the reduced animation quality of the second season. The anime production committee is paying attention to those numbers, which is why the Studio Bones One Punch Man Season 3 rumors make sense.

While streaming revenue is now the major deciding factor in anime production committees greenlighting anime sequels, disc box sets, and other merchandise still does play a role. While the second season’s Blu-Ray/DVD box sets did not do well, the anime production committee probably realized that the lower numbers shouldn’t reflect on the strength of the franchise as a whole.

Otherwise, the turnaround time on making One Punch Man Season 3 was largely dependent on how the second season was handled in 2019. Since J.C. Staff rushed through the source material it was inevitable that anime fans would need to wait for years until more manga chapters were produced.

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, and the month long hiatus announced in August 2022, original creator ONE and manga artist Murata has been keeping up with bi-weekly updates to the manga.

By Summer 2022, the manga was up to One Punch Man 170, which finished the very long Monster Association story arc on August 18, 2022. In fact, since the web comic is the rough draft template for the new expanded manga rewrite, the manga was only up to web comic Chapter 94!

It’s possible that the anime producer was purposefully holding back until the Monster Association story arc was completed in August 2022 so now there are 86 new chapters available as source material. Based on this progress, One Punch Man Season 3 would need to be at least two cours to finish adapting the first two-thirds of the Monster Association Arc.

But it seems more likely that anime fans will be waiting for One Punch Man Season 4 to finish the story arc, which includes the epic Saitama vs Garou final form battle. Or… perhaps that battle could be adapted into a One Punch Man movie?

In any case, since the third season was confirmed to be in production in August 2022 it’s predicted that the One Punch Man Season 3 release date could be in late 2023 or 2024 at the earliest. If the very busy Studio MAPPA is animating the project then 2024 seems more likely while Studio Bones seems more likely to pull off 2023.

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 June 4, 2022, the manga was up to Volume 26, which includes up through Chapter 131.

Viz Media licensed the official English translation of the One Punch Man manga series. As of November 1, 2022, the English version will be up to Volume 24.

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 (the Mob Psycho 100 Season 3 release date is confirmed to be coming up soon).

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.

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 art style. The One Punch Man manga is not a simple project since the reboot greatly extended the plot of the webcomic with whole new story arcs, characters, and plot points. ONE is involved in editing and storyboarding all of the new story arcs. Murata isn’t simply drawing the art, he also makes suggestions for certain dialogue and 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 ways to go before it catches up with the webcomic.

In February 2022, manga Chapter 154: Divine Punishment was based on part of webcomic Chapter 81. To put that number in perspective, the Monster Association Arc finishes in webcomic Chapter 94. And from there the webcomic launches into the Nero Heroes Saga, which is subdivided into multiple story arcs of its own that finishes in webcomic Chapter 141.

One Punch Man Saitama Eh Face
The face of manga fans as they watched the second season. Pic credit: Yusuke Murata

One Punch Man manga compared to the anime

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.

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.

To summarize, let’s just be thankful J.C. Staff didn’t go the Tokyo Ghoul: re route.

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 the Monster Association story arc is only was recently finished by the manga on August 18, 2022. If One Punch Man Season 3 has similar adapting pacing issues it could catch up to the manga again, which means the wait for One Punch Man Season 4 will be several years once again.

One Punch Man Manga Saitama vs Orochi
Saitama vs Orochi as first depicted in the One Punch Man manga. This fight will be interesting simply because of the sheer craziness of the villain, but the final “real” fight against Garou is what everyone is waiting to watch animated. Pic credit: Yusuke Murata

One Punch Man Season 3 anime TV spoilers (plot summary/synopsis)

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.

One Punch Manga Manga Garou vs Orochi
Attempting to mimic the insane level of detail in Murata’s work should make any anime animator sweat. Pic credit: Yusuke Murata

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 of, 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 that 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.

OPM Blast
It’s possible that One Punch Man Season 3 could fully debut the S-Class Rank 1 hero Blast since he first fully appears in manga Chapter 139. Pic credit: Murata

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, that portion of the story might be better off as a One Punch Man movie since the manga overhauled the fight and made it way more epic than the web comic… well, in most ways except for one major exception.

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!

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