Imagine you live in a world where superheroes roam to protect the peace from your average everyday criminals, a world where humongous and powerful creatures appear to cause mayhem among the streets to enact their vengeance or dominance so that they can rule with an iron fist! Welcome to the world of One Punch Man. One Punch Man, the action-comedy and parody web comic written by One, then later redrawn by Yusuke Murata to become a Manga, was rising in popularity even before its anime adaptation. The web comic being redrawn and then getting an anime certainly did raise the popularity, but it’s not popular just because it has a lot of hype; the series is actually good! Let’s go ahead into it, shall we!
(Warning: Review will contain spoilers, so read at your own discretion! Warning has been issued!)
One Punch Man is an action-based series with comedy and parody elements that make fun of your typical, standard shonen and superhero stereotypes, cliches, tropes, and habits. As for parodies, it’s obvious that Superman is one of the main heroes being parodied here, but it does parody other tropes of shonen that we all see very often as well. An example would be when Genos is giving his information dump of a backstory and we can clearly see Saitama, representing us, the viewer, become agitated by the on-going speech, clearly a poke at the way some series tends to deliver their information or backstory of a character. With comedy, not every joke will be funny to all viewers, since comedy is very subjective. But with One Punch Man, I felt the comedy was very entertaining, enjoyable, and humorous. Whenever this series tries to be funny, it makes sure that you’re in on the joke. Besides the parodies, you don’t have to know Japanese humor to get the jokes, whereas in another anime comedy series, you might need to know some humor that is common in Japan.
Again, comedy is subjective, but the one joke that got me laughing is when Saitama is fighting Carnage Kabuto and he realizes that he missed the special bargain sale at his supermarket, causing him to obliterate Carnage Kabuto in just, you guessed it, one punch! The story may seem repetitive in the sense of a “Oh, monster shows up, defeat it. Oh. another one? Let’s fight it!” setting, but that’s just the beginning of appeal for the series. There is a story as it moves very smoothly and patiently by, following our characters and showing conflict, chaos, and interaction throughout the series. We see our two main characters, Saitama and Genos, move up and become heroes, which does show some progression, even if it is slight. We get to know our two main characters along with other characters that play roles throughout the plot. As One Punch Man moves along with each episode, there is conflict happening, ranging from internal (Saitama and his hero status) to external (monsters causing chaos).
I feel One Punch Man is strongest story-wise when internal conflicts are happening. For example, the incident with the Tank Top brothers berating Saitama after the meteor incident for not saving the city. The way Saitama handled that was incredible and should give the viewer respect for him. That story tells “Do not blame me for the destruction that was caused. I am a hero because that is what I want to do and instead of berating the hero, you should thank him” and that is something I respect. Another moment was the Sea King incident; the citizens reactions after witnessing the fallen heroes and how Saitama stood up for them by taking the fall.
With external conflict, when a dangerous monster appears, we are even given the chance to see some good action from other characters, which gives them an opportunity to flesh them out by seeing their powers and how they do battle. Also, we are given this amazing view of the monster itself; you can see the gruesome aura around it. Finally, the issue of Saitama destroying everything in one punch is a great opportunity to see how Saitama is conflicted with it. We can see that he knows he is too powerful and wants to fight a battle that will thrill and excite him, but unfortunately, the monsters causing chaos do not satisfy him since they are too weak for him. At the same time, we get to see how powerful and shocking it was to see a monster he destroyed go out in epic fashion, which I enjoyed oh-so much.
To anyone who enjoys story more than anything else, know that there is story and it progresses patiently and steadily and given that One Punch Man is an action-based series, I respect it for trying to build a basis of a story.
Our characters consist of a wide range of cast members that each get their own screen time. Our main character, Saitama and the other, Genos, are pretty much the stars of this show as they get the most screen time, but that doesn’t mean any other character gets left out from the fun. From the mischievous “Speed-o’-Sound” Sonic, to the wise Silverfang, and even the childish Tornado, One Punch Man has a variety of characters that bring a versatile set of personalities to the table. Although not every character gets their own moment to shine for development and such, they do get some minor battle time, which adds to the intensity of the conflict that occurs.
I feel that Saitama’s character is the one of the most simplistic ones, but it works for this series. He’s basically your average man that just wants to be a hero, but his problem is that he can beat everything in one punch, which is a good inner conflict he has; he even has a dream about going all out against ground monsters! The question surrounding on how he obtained his strength is still a mystery, even in the manga. The theories on that flood the internet, so look up some of them because they are interesting to look into. Genos has that handsome pretty boy feature girls love to gush over in superhero or shonen series, so we can pretty much assume what they are parodying, but, despite that, there’s more to him than meets the eye. He’s looking for a certain cyborg that destroyed his hometown and family, but I believe he is slowly learning that his search isn’t the priority and that he has a trustworthy sensei (Saitama) that he looks up to and respects and that was development I liked. Also, he cleaned his toilet and pays rent, so that’s gotta be one heck of a friend right there!
Other characters are nice too, for example, Sonic showing up and always wanting to beat Saitama, Silverfang being that strong wise elder that has a lot of wisdom to offer, and Tornado, who is voiced by the popular Seiyuu, Aoi Yuki (Madoka Magica seiyuu), who has a childish and Tsundere attitude that will either make you love her or hate her, and even License-less Rider (Mumen Rider), who is pretty much a parody of Kamen Rider, has a strong sense of justice or is the embodiment of justice itself. I also can’t forget the S through C class heroes as well. Although they don’t get enough screen time on their own, their designs look interesting and I would like to see them get their own episode! Every character has something to offer in One Punch Man and that is something I respect with this series.
Art & Animation
The art and animation being done by Madhouse is just, oh, how can I put this…it is just pure excellence in its own right and I feel other anime studios could learn from their work. Now, not everything is perfect, but even so, the work done on One Punch Man looks fantastic. Ever since hearing about Madhouses’ claim that only average budget went into this series and that the production quality was due the drive of pure passion for the series the staff has, I have come to learn that if you have a team of skilled workers who are passionate about what they are doing, you can produce great material with average budget and that is something I feel went into One Punch Man.
The art and character designs look amazing. If you take a look at the manga that was redrawn by Yusuke Murata, one would be amazed by the art. At points it almost, if not exactly, looks like key animation. That being said, with the anime, I would say it looks almost the same as it does in the manga. I am wondering if they just scanned it liked that or redrew it; the latter most likely. The animation quality is well done. I feel it is at its strongest when we are watching the battle scenes. If you do not believe me, then I refer you to episode 12 as proof! You can tell Madhouse did a great job when the quality of the art is still solid while the animation is running wild, yet, staying fluid all at the same time.
The art is strongest when it is either introducing a character, making them stronger, or showing them at a close-up angle with the cameras to focus in on the character. Again, not everything is perfect, so there were a few minor errors I would see every now and then, but those minor errors could be fixed with Blu Rays and DVD’s and it is understandable due to how fragile animation can be with the art. The production that went into this is well done and I respect Madhouse for their quality and the hard work they put into it!
As for music, while it isn’t anything amazing you would hear in a classical or orchestrated performance, I feel it fits the situation every time. When things are out of control, so is the music. When things are calm, so is the music. When the setting or atmosphere feels dark and suspenseful, again, so is the music. I feel the composer did a good job with it and I am looking forward to buying the soundtrack when I can. Oh, and the opening is just pure testosterone; it’s catchy, heart-pumping, and I love it! THE HERO!!
In summary, One Punch Man is definitely an A-rank manga and anime, and I highly…..HIGHLY recommend you check it out because it truly is a fantastic series! In my frank opinion, I believe this series appeals to most, if not, all audiences. The story is simple, yet, it has progression, so it is something you can enjoy. The art and animation is top notch and out of this world, and the quality is great. To sum it all up, if you like action, comedy, parodies, and a well animated series, then One Punch Man is for you!
- Superb Art and Animation
- Outstanding Action Scenes
- Parodies and Comedy Are Fun
- Some Characters Don't Get Fleshed Out As Much
- Only 12 Episodes
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