One Punch Man Review
A smart and delightful parody with real heart
I’ve seen my fair share of anime. I’m not a hardcore anime fan or someone who has seen all of the classics or anything of the sort. No, I just watch whatever anime peaks my interest and that has been strongly recommended to me and I actually found the time to watch.
One Punch Man I stumbled into because I heard great things about it and knew it was a ‘parody’ of sort that made fun of tons of other anime shows that I probably hadn’t seen but that I understood out of my genre awareness. I tried it out on a whim and I’m so lucky that I did.
This show is over the top, engaging, and hilarious all at the same point.
Okay, maybe I should explain what One Punch Man is about. One Punch Man is about a guy named Saitama.
After training really hard to be a hero, he lost his hair and became so powerful he can kill anyone with a single punch. Because of this, battling monsters is boring as there’s no excitement. He can beat anyone and anything. There’s no value to anything anymore. He just does what he does, trying apathetically to find something that will give him a spark. Something being an enemy that doesn’t go down in one hit.
So that’s where Saitama is at in the beginning of the story.
And then Genos crashes into his life and is determined to become his disciple. Genos is a cyborg who is hunting the (evil) cyborg that killed his family. In his long hunt, he has become a bit of a wandering vigilante/hero, fighting monsters and villains to get stronger and spend the time. This is where he meets Saitama and because of Saitama’s OP strength, he determines that he will become Saitama’s disciple. And he does.
Saitama is thrust into the role of a ‘sensei’ and his pretending his way through it. They find some monsters and eventually, because Saitama realizes no one knows who he is, to join the Hero Association. The official hero group that is broken out into different classes and in those classes the heroes are ranked.
The heroes in the Hero Association are a splattering of bizarre characters that feel like are snatched from different manga/anime. You have Samurais, genius kids, ESPers, other cyborgs, guys who ride bicycles, and strong guys in tank tops. A sampling of hero-names: Pig God, Metal Bat, Child Emperor, Mumen Rider, and Tanktop Master.
And it is with the contrast of the heroes and Saitama that the show is the most dramatic and the most hilarious. You have these heroes fighting some great foe. They are getting slaughtered and beaten down brutally in beautiful animation. They are losing and they are giving it their all, but you know that Saitama is only going to take one punch to win.
But you still feel for these not-over powered characters. On one hand, it’s super intense to watch these other heroes (sometimes including Genos) be in mortal terror fighting real threats, but on the other hand…it’s hilarious because you know Saitama is going wander over, say something a bit obtuse, and win.
This fight breakdown analyzes a critical battle and goes into more of the above contrast:
This blinding contrast between bleak drama and droll comedy is quite simply awesome. It’s a thrill to watch. There’s genuine mysteries even when the result of a battle is definite. That a show can pull that off is fantastic and shows how high quality it is. One Punch Man is a simply top-notch anime. Good production quality coupled with excellent material. A no-brainer recommendation to even those without a strong familiarity in anime.