There is this show that does things like none other. It’s about a protagonist so strong, to the point he can beat any opponent with one punch. And the name of that show is… Dragon Ball, back when Goku was a kid. The reason Toriyama eventually dropped the parody and turned it into a fighting shonen was because he realized the joke of an unbeatable protagonist got old very fast.
So, fast forward a few decades and a satire of superheroes came out, in a way that had never been done before. It was about an unemployed and bored of his own life superhero, casually defeating any monster that attacked him. And the name of that anime was… Tentai Senshi Sunred, a very fun and self-aware plotless comedy that even bothered to make the main villains seem like sympathetic fellows, instead of generic monsters of the week that get blown up in a few seconds. And it managed to do all that with a low budget. Unfortunately, almost nobody knows of it and the rest don’t talk about it because it didn’t have pretty colors.
But fear not, since quite recently we had another show about superheroes and this one had lots of pretty colors. It was also a deconstruction of the western superhero formula, a thought-provoking masterpiece that was constantly subverting everything you knew about the genre and was presenting things in a way that had never been done before. The name of that show was… My Hero Academia, a generic fighting shonen that everybody overhyped because of the pretty colors.
I know what most of you will say. I am being an asshole because One Punch Man looks great. There is nothing wrong with pretty colors, if they are adding to the context. A deconstruction like One Punch Man needs it because it elevates the jokes to new levels. That’s nice and all, but a deconstruction is not defined by how it looks. If it was as good as so many claimed to be, the pretty colors wouldn’t be a defining factor. And look at that; the second season was announced to have not that pretty colors and everybody nags about not being good anymore. It’s almost as if everybody was hyping it only for the animation, while the endless analysis of its deconstructions were just bullshit for excusing their fondness of a typical satire.
And by the way, that’s what it is. Just a satire, not a deconstruction. It’s not doing something we have never seen before to count as though provoking, and it doesn’t lead to a permanent, meaningful change in-series to count as a deconstruction of something. I keep hearing how it never gets old because it’s self aware, and that means … absolutely nothing if they don’t do something with it. It also feels pretentious when it tries to sound serious without having consequences, such as the dramatic scenes when Mumen Rider cries about doing his best despite being weak, and everybody blaming the protagonist for not doing his job that well. As soon as the arc is over, everybody go on with their lives, as if nothing happened. If you are poking fun at something without trying to improve it, you are embracing the very thing you ridicule, and on top of that you make it self-indulgent. It’s like a clown who makes fun of other clowns. It’s funny but it’s not subverting anything.
The show is just making jokes about the stereotypes of superheroes, and it does it without even having much variety. The reason they often call the show “One Pun Man”, is because everyone keeps repeating the same one joke in every episode. It gets old and stops being funny very fast, because it becomes predictable. Just compare it to something like the recent version of Mahoujin Guruguru. A great satire of heroes in JRPGs, vast variety of jokes, many of which are plot related, and no attempt to sound serious by mentioning bullshit that are forgotten soon afterwards. Mahoujin Guruguru makes no attempt to be more than a satire, and thus does not come off as a pretentious pile of shit for overthinkers. Did I mention how it also has a plot?
One Punch Man does not have a plot. The only thing that changes is adding more characters in every arc, with each one repeating the same one joke in every episode. That’s not plot progression, in the same way Bleach did not have plot progression when it kept introducing more characters and bankais that didn’t matter in the longrun. Saitama’s journey to be an S rank hero is also not plot. If he showed his true power, he could instantly get to S rank. But he didn’t because he’s bored and stupid. Just like in Dragon Ball Super the only way for a broken hero to not achieve everything he wants in an instant, is through self-sabotage. Oh, I forgot to press the Zeno button, oh I forgot to keep my guard up, oh I’m so bored to do what I want to do. Better do nothing and then complain about the injustice of the hero association while sounding like a pretentious cunt.
How is it possible for so many people to be motivated by Saitama, a guy who is bored of his life and who can defeat everybody in a fraction of a second? How did he even get so strong with basic training? Not even his power makes any sense to be relatable. Many say he’s a brilliant deconstruction of superhero clichés because it proves heroic achievements or raw power do not make someone a hero. Okay, so Saitama has terrible social skills and makes everybody unable to take him seriously no matter how many times he saves them. The ranks heroes are getting do not have to do with how strong they are but rather how lovable they are in the eyes of the people. Going by this logic, he truly doesn’t deserve to be a top hero, so what’s so compelling about him when he goes against the very logic of the show?
In fact, it’s extra infuriating when the show keeps trying to victimize him by having the people accusing him of not doing his job, as if he did nothing wrong besides not giving a shit about his own job and defeating cosmic horrors anticlimactically with a single punch. Which even that is overthought too much, as they keep saying there are some enemies he does not defeat in a single punch. There, see, it’s subversion, you didn’t see that coming. At least until you realize he was holding back the whole time. He could defeat them with one punch as well, and didn’t for some bullshit philosophical debate, which just like everything else does not lead to something.
You just have to accept that about the show. There is not much thought put into its conception, since characters are one pun jokes, and cities are named with single letters. There is no world building, and there is no consistency, as monster factions keep appearing out of nowhere. How the hell was humanity fending them off before the hero association was formed? You get no answer because there is no answer. The author didn’t bother to think of one.
How about the concept of heroism, which just like in My Hero Academia, that other super original show which does things like none other, is all about popularity instead of good deeds? How is that thought-provoking when it’s also used for nothing more than cheap laughs? There is no in-series exploration on the topic of heroism, so where the hell is the deconstruction, besides in the minds of the pretentious overthinkers?
What I am trying to say all this time is that there is absolutely nothing special about this show. Everybody who watched it after the hype died, was completely disappointed with how unfunny and boring it was compared to what they expected from a show that was once in the top 10 of all major databases. One Punch Man is just another example of a bland show that got overrated by sakuga tards, before all of a sudden being considered awful because the second season will no longer have pretty colors. Just like a soap bubble, it came out, it flew high for a season, and then popped. Everybody afterwards jumped ship to the next craze that was the godawful Erased, and then to My Hero Academia, which is the exact same thing. It was the product of manchildren needing to circlejerk around something while it airs before completely abandoning it to go jerk around somewhere else. It is nowhere near as good as they made it up to be and I don’t even consider it above average.
Fall 2015 wasn't a fantastic season for anime, but this particular one shined out above them all. One Punch Man is a very enjoyable anime, and I loved every single moment of the show. It's an action-comedy anime that quickly became one of the most popular animes of this time. It's even recognized to people who have only watched a handful of anime.
Story: The story follows Saitama, a man who is so powerful, he can defeat his foes with one punch, hence the name. He doesn't do his "job" for the fame or fortune, he's just "a hero for fun." One day, he meets the cyborg warrior Genos after fighting a mosquito queen. They eventually team up and join the Hero Association, who recruit heros to protect the city from monsters. (Which is pretty common in the city.) It seems stupidly simple, and I almost dropped the anime due to it's predictable first few episodes, but after sticking around for the rest, I wasn't disappointed. The idea that Saitama can finish foes in one punch adds the charm to the show, having Genos or another hero fight the monster to show their potential, then Saitama come in and finish the job. It's an interesting idea, and I personally really like it.
Animation: This anime was brought to us by MadHouse, the same people who made animes like Death Parade, Hunter X Hunter, Hajime no Ippo, and more. The company did a fantastic job making intense fight scenes, beautiful backrounds, and nicely designed characters.
Sound: I absolutely LOVE the opening theme to One Punch Man, easily falling under the category of my favorite anime theme songs of all time. The soundtrack is really enjoyable to listen to, and the voice actors did a fantastic job as well. Miyana Mamoru, Sakurai Takahiro, and more are here, and they don't disappoint.
Characters: Easily the best part of One Punch Man is the characters themselves. Each having their own powers and personalities. The main character himself, Saitama was a very lovable and relatable character; his care-free and laid-back personality makes him more interesting to watch, and while I enjoyed other characters like Bang or Genos, Saitama was my favorite character of them all. The characters are quirky and unique in their own way, which made watching them all the more fun.
Final Verdict: One Punch Man is a fantastic anime that can be enjoyed by both avid anime fans and newer fans alike. Yes, Saitama was way too OP, but that combined with his quirky personality made him enjoyable to watch. I can't express how much I adore this anime with it's great visuals, fantastic characters, and an overall entertaining story. I WANT to see a 2nd season, but maybe in the future when the manga has material for a new season, maybe it'll be even better. But even in it's current state, One Punch Man is by far the 2nd best anime i've ever seen, and it shouldn't be overlooked.
One Punch Man gets a 10/10.
Madhouse has been showing that they are still sitting on top of the animation world. No Game No Life and Parasyte -the maxim- both ended up being hit shows in the past few seasons but I didn't hold them as high as some other critics. While I found both shows very entertaining they lacked the depth and substance that draw me back to so many of my favorite shows and movies. Now while on the surface One Punch Man seems like a mindless monster of the week type show it is anything but, in fact it's one of the most clever satire's I have seen in a very long time. I'm sure you know the backstory, it was a internet comic and then stuff happend and now it's an anime, yawn, boring, don't care. on to the review.
The show takes a satirical approach at the whole monster of the week type of show and pulls it off so masterfully. The contrasting characters all stood out and I really want to get to know more about them, personally Saitama is my least favorite. While I absoultly love his look, with the old school anime superhero suit and cape he seems more like the kill switch than a person. He is the fully relized hero, so he doesn't have anyway to progress or grow or change the same way Genos did. I also thought the predictable ending of every fight would ruin it for me since, we all know how the show got it's name. But honestly I was excited to jump into every episode to see what happens next. I also felt the show was very funny. Anime and comidy don't usually mix, Otaku humor is just awful and it results in meme level jokes forced into a script that would work better without a not funny joke ham-fisted in. But One Punch Man never breaks up the flow of the show it just sneaks it's way in and reminds you at the best moment HEY, YOUR WATCHING A SATIRE!
I feel like my only few beefs with this show are that they don't flush the cast out enough, one of my favorite elements of the show is the wide supporting cast. Each hero has their own personality and reasons for being a hero. Even some of the ones who suck like Licenseless Rider or Stinger are hard not to love. Also the power scale seemed to jump kind of fast at the end, the Deep Sea King was strong but I feel like with more time there could have been 4 to 6 bad guys and a few more episodes between that and the final battle. I never looked up the comic/manga or whatever but I just think some extra content would have helped flush out the story and help better captavate the viewer.
Still with that being said I had a blast watching One-Punch Man, the animation was stunning. I loved every single fight and all the little touches like the way they run or jump added alot of flavor to the show.
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
SYNOPSIS: Saitama was once a down-on-his-luck slaryman, looking for the next job to hold him over. A chance encounter with a monster shows Saitama what he truly wants in life: to be a hero. A few years later, he has become the eponymous One-Punch Man, the strongest man in the world. But with that strength comes ennui; with nothing and noone able to provide a challenge for him, Saitama is bored with life. Will our hero finally find the challenge he needs to be happy?
SUMMARY: We begin in media res, with a swift and brutal demonstration of Saitama's powers, then a flashback to his first meeting with a monster. Back in the present day, Saitama faces a continuous barrage of strange villains and monsters, time and time again defeating them, often with vicious efficiency. He soon finds a sidekick, the cyborg Genos, who pledges himself to learning Saitama's power. The two continue the pattern established early: monster of the week appears, Genos and Saitama (pretty much only the latter at times) defeat the monster, vague link to a larger arc seen, rinse and repeat. In episode five, Saitama and Genos become registered heroes, and must deal with the Hero Association on top of their battles. Genos fits right in, becoming an S-class hero, while Saitama, despite surpassing every physical test, nearly fails his written test, becoming a C-class instead. Saitama also generates a nemesis during this time, a ninja named Sonic who seeks to prove himself as the strongest fighter.
The arc with The Deep Sea King is the first time the story actually matters, taking a dark turn. A new monster appears, easily defeating the over half-dozen heroes who stand up to it, including an S-class. Genos arrives right when the Deep Sea King was going to kill some civilians, sacrificing himself to save a little girl and nearly dying for it. The top ranked C-class hero, Licenseless Rider arrives, and despite having no powers or notable skills, stands up the monster. In a heartwarming crowning monent of awesome, the civilians cheer him on, only for him to get smashed...right into Saitama's arms. The monster and Saitama exchance some words, and the latter eventually defeats him in one punch.
The final three episodes deal with an extinction-level event: an alien mercenary band has come to Earth in a devastatingly powerful battleship, it's leader looking for someone of his immense skill and power to fight. Upon arrival, the ship's cannons almost completely destroy City A. Many of the S-class heroes band together to fight, but are stymied by a nigh invulnerable elite fighter. Saitama, not one to reservation, immediately throws himself into the enemy ship, destroying anything and anyone that gets in his way. An epic fight is had with Boros, the leader of the mercs and who bemoans the lack of challenge in his life, while Tornado helps damage the ship, a group of other S-class heroes work on the ground to defeat the elite villain, and Licenseless Rider and the Hero Association evacuate surviving civilians from the destroyed City. It seems that Saitama has finally met his match; Boros is enormously powerful, and shrugs off even the loss of his arm. Saitama eventually ends the fight with the series' first "Serious Punch," devastating Boros. Saitama attempts to comfort the dying warlord, but Boros will not listen: he accepts that Saitama used only a small fraction of his power in the fight and that Boros never stood a chance. Later, Saitama tells Genos that Boros truly was powerful; a kind of understanding only those who know the loneliness of being the strongest in the world, shared by Saitama and the alien leader.
The story begins on an average note; it seems to be a standard "super-powerful fighter fights bad guys who are ever-increasing in power" story shared by a large amount of shounen titles. This continues along a predictable path until the final defeat of Boros. What saves the story from mediocrity is the emotional content found in the latter half. Saitama is beginning to open up, and is slowly becoming a true hero, one who fights to serve and protect others rather than for self-aggrandizement. This is in stark contrast to some of the top heroes, who seem to fight only because it serves them. It is truly the development of the main characters as heroes, rather than a railway path from one fight to another, that defines this story and makes it stand above so many others like it.
ART & ANIMATION: 7/10
The art style is—for the most part—decently sophisticated. It's clearly meant to evoke the styles used by most shounen titles, which typically feature moderately detailed models, with strong lines and heavy shading. Saitama himself is often drawn in an overly simplistic style; this is relevant to his lackadaisical and bored nature. When he is drawn in the series' high-detail, heavily-shaded fashion, however, you know he means business. The animation is also reminiscent of most shounen action titles: fast and dramatic, and often shown with "speed lines/trails." The show likes to maintain it's decently high level of detail even during fights, though, which is a refreshing and mature take on what is often seen.
MUSIC & SOUND: 6/10
Once again, basic music similar to the types of shows One-Punch Man parodies is present. Soaring rock songs form the majority of the music in the show, with smaller, sillier tunes for the more lighthearted moments, and some sad, melancholy moments for some of the emotional scenes. The opening theme, "The Hero!" by JAM Project, is a fun song, but makes for better background music than an opening theme. When it cuts in near the end of Saitama's fight with Boros, you know the action is going to step up a notch. The closing song, "I'll Find You Before the Stars Do" by Hiroko Moriguchi, has little to do with the story, but is a nice listen. General sound is as can be expected; while there are very few stock sound effects, the effects present are of a similar vein to others in the genre.
Characters are where this show really begins to shine. The characters present are superficially generic; a cyborg pretty-boy, an average (save for the hair) hero, many other heroes with bulging muscles, and the like. Where these characters begin to matter is in their personalities though. Saitama is outright bored of being the strongest there is. With nothing to challenge him, life holds no meaning. He tries his best, but we see in the fight with the Deep Sea King what Saitama is truly made of. He cares for those around him, often more than he cares about himself. He is willing to take a fall so that the heores who sacrificed themselves and nearly died (Stinger, Lightning Max, Puri-Puri-Prisoner, All-Back Man, Jet Nice Guy, Buzz-Buzz Man, Sneck, Genos, and Licenseless Rider) would get the recognition they so rightly deserved. One really begins to feel for Saitama by the end. Genos, too, is worthy of note. Starting from a generic character bent on revenge, to a crowning moment of awesome when he steps in front of a civilian girl to take an acid gob for her, thus saving her life, Genos' development into a true hero is a great pleasure to watch.
PERSONAL CHOICE: 9/10
Despite some cliche storytelling and secondary/tertiary characters, I quite liked the show. The comedy is top-notch, and Saitama's plight is endearing. This was somewhat surprising, as while I understood it to be a parody of shounen mediocrity, I wasn't prepared for just how attached I would be to the show.
TOTAL: 38/50 (76%)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A loving pastiche of more generic shounen stories, One-Punch Man could have used a more substantial plot...then again, the show seemed to want to focus on character development rather than setting or event development. I can respect it for that. I only hope the hinted-at season two develops this even further.
So, I've decided to write my first review for this series, which is kind of weird, but there's a reason for that. Since One-Punch Man is probably the most famous series of this season and all reviews lean towards the same direction, I'd like to write a different one for those who're thinking about whether they should watch it or not. I mean, different opinions are useful to me when I find myself in the same dilemma. Also I thought this is not going to be hard for a non-native English speaker like me...
Well, let me start by saying that at first I was not quite sure if One-Punch Man aims to be a pure comedy or not, and all those that I asked confused me even more. That's why I decided to watch it and see for myself. My conclusion is that this series' purpose is not not be a pure comedy/parody after all. It's a normal action anime with lots of comedic elements thrown in. The show itself doesn't try to make many jokes or create lots of funny moments in one episode but there are still plenty here and there (whether they are of your taste or not). Some would say that this is a style on it's own, and this opinion is totally valid. Others would say that this is a resort for a writer who doesn't know how to make his story not seem rediculous. So when he draws himself into a corner and doesn't know how to make a moment look decently serious, he instead turns it into a comedy on his own, thus saving himself the trouble. And that would also be a valid opinion. I'm not sure myself which of the two is true for this one, that's up to you to decide.
In any case, the story of One-Punch Man tends to be somewhat plotless, but there is a plot, a really vague but existent one. The plot revolves around constant threats that certain heroes must face. We see how heroes gain reputation and recognition through their acts, and how our main character deals with his unfairly lack of acknowledgement.
That being said, the story really gives off a "monster of the week" feeling with all those threats and monsters showing up each day only to disappear in the same episode. There's no great purpose behind the villains' plans and we don't get to know any of them as characters or their backstory. They are just there for the single purpose of being defeated, more often that not, in a single punch by Saitama, the main character. Of course, the story doesn't touch any strong themes and there are no ethics in question, big ideals, or any lesson/message behind anything that happens nor is there any great meaning in them happening. The story is just there for fun and to demonstrate how Saitama enters the "official" world of heroes.
According to many, including myself, this is where One-Punch Man truly shines. The animation is smooth and beautiful despite all the visual effects and high speed scenes that constantly go on. Well designed characters and backgrounds, and the expressions of the characters and how their face change when there's a shift in the mood is just epic. Sure, the same quality had been achieved even years before 2015 but there are also shows of 2015 which have much lower quality in their animation, the high budget did not go to waste.
However, it still suffers from some common problems for all anime. The background people, even when they do have a line or two to say, are still as generic as it gets, while the characters that have a place in the story can be detected from miles away with their eccentric looks and weird physique.
Yes, I've seen better animations that give off strange, great feelings just by staring at them, and create very unique atmospheres, but I still enjoyed the animation of One-Punch Man quite a lot.
Nothing special or memorable about the sound section. Most of the characters annoyed me with their constant screams (I don't even want to talk about the villains) and when they were not screaming, the voice acting was just fine. Same goes for the soundtrack. It was just fine, with no great music or anything. Well, that's only natural though. I mean, sound goes hand to hand with emotions. Whenever there are no strong and complex emotions in a story, the sound section (voice acting and music alike) is bound to be just mediocre.
The characters of One-Punch Man are more or less similar to its story: nothing big happens but they're still fun to watch. I think this is where the comedic part of the series kicks in and as a result we have most of the characters being filled up with classic anime stereotypes. Most of the heroes are stereotypical on first look, plus in what they say, how they act and how they fight. Their appearance gives out everything about them and I'm going to guess that this is the reason why we didn't get to know any of their backstories or reasons for fighting.
Most of the characters have an impact about how we or the universe of One-Punch Man itself sees the main character, Saitama. Other than that, there was no purpose for them in existing in the story, since Saitama is the one who always takes care of the main villain and he never built up a relation with most of them.
There are some characters though who are worth mentioning. Saitama himself is an emotionless and expressionless bald guy who's always completely calm and totally selfless. He would make a perfect main character for a comedy but since One-Punch Man does not aim at being simply a comedy, I wouldn't say that he's the best main character out there... Genos on the other hand, who decided that he wants Saitama as his Sensei, actually has a backstory and a reason for fighting. He's not dull despite not being very original. He's the typical analytical guy that has a solid goal on his mind and will try his best to correct his flaws. But hey, he's still quite fun to watch, especially because he makes a very nice pair with Saitama.
Sonic and Mask were also two characters that looked somewhat interesting to me. Although we didn't have the chance to know them any better, they give off the feeling that there's actually something on their mind and that they must have some backstory. Bang (or Silverfang) is another character that I didn't think as completely boring, even though he's also the typical Japanese martial artist - wise old man. Lastly, there's Metal Knight who might have something interesting about him but we only saw him two times in the entire series.
(P.S. The total lack of female characters couldn't annoy me more...)
Sorry for making this long but I wanted to give to anyone who may read this review a picture of what you're going to see, instead of just stating my personal meaningless opinion, because I didn't encounter many reviews of this kind while searching. All in all, I think I would have never watched One-Punch Man were it not for all this hype around it. However, I can't say I didn't enjoy it at any single point. Yes, I do believe that this show being overrated, very overrated, is a fact, but I can see how it can still be appealing for some people. It's just that, personally speaking, I would only watch it if I had nothing better to do, much like taking a break even from watching anime.