Ever wanted to be a superhero so bad that one day you just ended up becoming one? Well that has happened to one individual and because as such he has become a superhero for fun! Get ready to throw up your devil horns when the opening song hits because it’s time for One Punch Man!
Let’s GET THE POWER!
The overall story for One Punch Man is actually quite shallow. It’s about a man named Saitama who woke up one day and ended up getting super strength to the point where he could defeat anything with just one punch. He decides to become a superhero for fun because of his newfound power, but he soon falls into depression because he can’t find anyone strong enough to fight. He becomes very emotionless and bored since no matter how strong the enemy, he just beats them with a single punch. This is the story of Saitama looking for that one true challenge.
Of course, to keep things interesting, they introduce a sub-plot in the form of Genos… and android who is seeking another android who took everything away from him. He ends up becoming Saitama’s disciple. Outside of the straight-forward plot, the show is very episodic and it follows a formula of introducing a monster and then having Saitama beat it. Sometimes it takes two episodes for it to get to that point, but for the most part, the conflicts are generally resolved in an episode. Sometimes multiple conflicts are settled in a single episode.
What the show relies heavily on is its humor and there is plenty of it, but there isn’t really much variety to Saitama’s humor. Most of the time, the humor ends up with Saitama just going “Oh” with a blank look on his face while the flavor of the week monster goes on an evil domination spiel which is usually followed by the monster’s rather quick defeat. They do mix it up, however, when Saitama has to register to become a hero and the cast of heroes we are introduced to are all humorous in their own right. These scenarios keep the show interesting because without them, the show would actually become very stale, very fast.
Speaking of those characters, let’s take a look at them.
As outlined above, he just woke up one day with super strength and agility and decided to become a superhero for fun. His attitude is very lax to the point of not caring at all. You can attribute that to the boredom he suffers from due to beating all monsters with a single punch. Although he is quite emotionless, somethings to get him riled up… such as no matter how many situations he dissolves, nobody even knows who he is!
Saitama is the kind of character that heavily relies on a supporting cast to keep himself interesting. Simply muttering “Oh” every five seconds and then beating a monster makes him very one-dimensional. It’s through the Hero Association, Sonic, Genos, and the other cast of characters that he interacts with, that keeps him fresh throughout the series. Without them, Saitama wouldn’t be very interesting at all, to be honest.
Genos is an android who meets Saitama and becomes his disciple after witnessing his inhuman strength. Genos is a serious character, but he uses that seriousness to bring about humor in his own way… such as going on a near five-minute spiel about his backstory while Saitama sat there and became more and more agitated, or how he constantly pesters Saitama to train him. Just being serious and invoking emotion out of Saitama is the humor aspect of the character. Not many characters can pull off indirect humor like that, but Genos does so magnificently! He was, actually, my favorite character in this show!
Believe it or not.. outside of these two, there are no other main characters. The show is riddled with support characters that show up from time to time and are very inconsistent, but the nice thing about these characters is that they are given just enough screen time, just enough backstory, and just enough exposure to where you actually know who they are when they show back up! If it’s one thing One Punch Man does right, it treats their characters very well. Let’s take a look at some of the more significant support characters.
He’s a C Class Hero who rides a bike. He’s that common man who has no superpowers, but he wants to be a hero. He is extremely weak and usually gets beaten within seconds. He’s the kind of character that you cheer for when he shows up, but laugh at when he gets the crap kicked out of him. In fact, he’s probably the best supporting character of the entire bunch and he proves that you can do so much with so little.
Another hero, but he is A Rank 01. He’s a pop idol and a very arrogant prick who likes to verbally flaunt his abilities and talk down to others. He claims he stays at A Rank so that he can allow weaker heroes to advance up to S Rank. Isn’t that just nice of him? He doesn’t appear too often, but he does interact with Genos early on and then conveniently shows up at the end of the series for some more smarmy arrogance.
An S Class hero who recognizes Satiama’s strength and becomes curious. He has the old wise man persona where he’s always calm, cool, and collected like a true martial arts master. He is an exceptionally powerful hero as well, but it is Saitama’s strength that rejuvenates his interest in fighting once again. You see a lot of him towards the end of the series and he’s an all-around great character!
He’s a ninja who is faster than the speed of sound. After mistaking Saitama for one of Hammerhead’s gang members, the two do battle. Sonic’s ego is broken when Saitama effortlessly defeats him. Sonic vows to train in order to beat Saitama and becomes his official rival. Although we see Sonic later on, it’s only briefly and there is one point where Sonic appears to be joining the final battle, but he never shows up. I wish we got to see more of him as he was a great character.
He’s a delinquent who doesn’t like to work. He forms a gang in order to carry out his mission of liberating Japan from the average work week. He wants to see every job abolished to the point where everyone gets to stay at home and do nothing. Hammerhead ends up getting chased off by Sonic and then defeated by Saitama, but not killed thanks to his unusually thick skull. In fact, Saitama only wanted to fight Hammerhead because the news said that anyone who is bald is to be considered part of Hammerhead’s gang. Hands down, Hammerhead is the greatest villain of this show from a comedic standpoint. To say that he is a complete and total idiot would be just scratching the surface. I could watch this guy all day.
I won’t say too much due to spoilers, but let’s just say he’s the final boss of the first season and Saitama’s first true test. The fight between the two was incredible.
There are many other characters.. mainly from the Hero’s Association and I’m sure I forgot a few, but there is a HUGE cast for this show. How huge you ask? Try over SIXTY characters all crammed into a 12-episode series. It’s pretty impossible to cover them all.. well.. not impossible, but do you really want me to sit here and go over sixty+ people?
Didn’t think so.
Art, Animation, & Sound
Okay… Madhouse and Bandai Visual knocked it out of the park with this show. The regular animation is good on its own, but when we get to the fight scenes.. you could just tell money was thrown at this.. and lots of it. Everything from the hand-drawn art to the CG was just BEAUTIFUL and it all meshed together so well. Some of the fight scenes I had to watch over and over again because I missed a good portion of it the first time around due to just staring at my screen with my jaw in my lap. Either that or the fight was just so amazing that I just had to rewatch it.
Iron Man Has Nothing on This
The character designs ranged from absolutely sick and detailed.. like Genos.. to just.. well….
But no matter how awesome or how goofy they look, they gave the characters a lot of detail and their facial expressions also sold their personalities perfectly. Even Saitama was well done and his design was about as basic as it gets. Yellow jump suit, belt, and a cape is very simplistic and his face is also really easy to draw as well. Even when he transitions from stupid face to epic seriousness face, it’s still rather easy to draw but it’s this simplistic design that makes his stand out so much. It’s a minimalistic approach and, again, it just works so well.
The OST is absolutely AMAZING. This is a must-have OST filled with rock, orchestra, techno, you name it. Every song fits every situation perfectly and we can’t get through this section without mentioning the opening theme song “THE HERO” by JAM Project. When it comes to Japanese power rock.. JAM Project is God-tier. They even made The Soultaker watchable just because of it’s opening theme and The Soultaker was a terrible anime!! The is the true power of JAM Project! When I heard that they were going to be doing the opening theme, I already knew that it was going to be off the charts and I was right! Because of this opening theme, I’ve wanted to just walk around and scream ONE PUNCH on occasion. In fact, I could do an entire column just on JAM Project because I love them so much.
All in all, when the OST is available.. drop the money to import it. It’s a must-have!
A HUGE cast of characters.. none are meaningless.. great humor, AMAZING action… this is just a non-serious action series that is worth everyone’s time. The best part is that they are setting themselves up for a second season and I truly hope it comes in 2016. There are already some juggernaut animes from the past making their return like D.Gray-man, Durarara!!, Assassination Classroom, and Berserk… adding a second season of One Punch Man could make 2016 the most epic anime season in recent time. Let’s hope it happens.
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