It has been confirmed that Madhouse is no longer working on the One Punch Man series. J.C. Staff will replace Madhouse as the production studio and the relatively new director, Chikara Sakurai (Magimoji Rurumo), will replace Shingo Natsume (Space Dandy, ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept., Hori-san to Miyamura-kun).
Season 1’s character designer, soundtrack composer, and script composer will return for Season 2. The main voice cast will also reprise their roles.
This is a big announcement considering how popular One Punch Man has become. It’s possible to get that Madhouse quality and feel if J.C. Staff hires the same freelancers that Madhouse took on to animate Season 1, but that might be difficult. Season 1 Director Natsume was credited as One Punch Man‘s soul and his connections were key in drawing in big name freelancers like Gosei Oda, Norifumi Kugai, and Yoshimichi Kameda.
But J.C. Staff is no lightweight. This studio has been around since 1986 and has had the resources to pull off top-selling shows like Food Wars!, Toradora!, Bakuman, and Revolutionary Girl Utena. Even without the same freelancers, it’s possible J.C. Staff could deliver an action-packed season, especially since this is such a high-profile project.
It’s not clear why the studio and director switch was made but Madhouse often passes on Season 2 projects, no matter how popular the anime. Optimistically, the Production Committee didn’t get booted from Madhouse and instead chose to make these changes to push One Punch Man Season 2 out sometime in the 24 to 36 months.
We’ll have to wait to see if J.C. Staff and Director Sakurai can pull off the same level of animation that made this show a hit. One Punch Man Season 2 still has no release window.