It’s time to finally review one of the most legendary anime titles out there. It got very popular and mainstream in a short amount of time.The concept is easy for people to get behind and the execution of it was on point. There’s a lot to like about the show and it is certainly one of the best in the biz. It’s managed to grab 5th place on the all time anime list for me and future seasons/series should help to cement its position although I just have a hard time imagining season 1 being surpassed.
The plot revolves around a guy named Saitama. He wanted to be a hero all his life so he underwent a tough training regimen. The problem was that this worked a little too well and now he can defeat any opponent in a single punch. Being a hero is just boring now. One day, he saves an android named Genos, who convinces Saitama to tutor him. The two heroes then join the hero association and this gives Saitama a goal to work towards. He can rise up the ranks of the hero league and get paid for his efforts. It’s a win-win situation.
As the show is only around 12-13 episodes there hasn’t been much of a plot yet. Plus, keep in mind that this show is basically a parody of the superhero genre. Saitama is portrayed as being completely invincible because he’s an exaggerated version of Superman. You’re not watching this for the tension or the threat of a villain winning. It’s a comedy first and an action second, but it manages to pull off both genres spectacularly. There are also a lot of plot lines which are set up for future arcs and the show is gradually turning into one of those shows with a large cast and a lot of fights. After all, Saitama can’t lose, but his friends sure can! The flip side is that Saitama is one of the most interesting characters and some of the supporting fighters aren’t nearly as good.
The main reason why One Punch Man is great is because it is a technical masterpiece. The animation is stellar and is some of the best in the business. The fight scenes are all very flashy and are movie level. Most of the action scenes are fairly short, but I imagine that it’s why they can all look so good. Genos vs Saitama is certainly one of the best fights in the series and you can’t forget Genos vs the Ultimate Monster either. Finally, the show ends with Saitama vs Boros so you can imagine how good that fight is. You’re always at the edge of your seat for the battles.
Even when there isn’t a fight going on, the animation is very good. The transitions from hardcore Saitama to normal Saitama are handled very well. The visual gags are thrown in seamlessly and all of the humor is done very well. The show can shift from its happy tone to a very serious one with ease. It almost goes without saying that the music keeps up as well. There’s a very excellent danger theme, battle theme, Genos theme, etc. The soundtrack isn’t very large, but each theme is flawless. They really take you into the heat of the moment. Genos has the best theme which isn’t a coincidence, but they are all awesome. I hope to see them return next time, but of course I want some more new tunes as well. The only song that I didn’t care for much was the opening. Surprisingly, I just couldn’t get into it. The lyrics just didn’t work too well with the music. The ending was fun though, it was surprisingly happy/sad for the show. It’s a mix of emotions which made the piece more complex than I would have expected. No complaints here though, it was just a bit unexpected.
One Punch Man also does a really good job of setting up the universe and making it very intricate from the get go. Having the rankings system for all of the heroes was a very good idea since it makes for a lot of fun matchups. You can wonder how characters like Sonic would fare against Genos or the mysterious S ranked fighters. It’s the kind of show where there are so many fighters that the speculations will never really end. It has its strongest impact at the beginning though as its exciting to see them all start showing up. The hero meetings are always fun to see and the show knows how to introduce a character well. You’ll never be bored during the show as the pacing stays nice and fast. Even when nothing is technically happening, the show’s still awesome. Just about every other show could take a few lessons from this title. Few shows are able to constantly keep you entertained like this one.
As mentioned earlier, Saitama’s a great main character. He may not be the most heroic of guys as he only helps out when he feels like it, but he’s a lot of fun. Saitama also does get serious when he has too and he doesn’t take the villains seriously at all. It can be fun to see him just walk in and wreck all of his opponents. There is just something satisfying about him not having to break a sweat. Maybe it’s because usually villains deal a lot of damage and the heroes eventually stop them. This is probably the first show where there’s never any doubt that the good guys will triumph. Sure, there is a lot of collateral damage due to how extreme it all is, but the heroes win in the end. Saitama also has his moments where he gains a lot of insight and imparts wisdom over to Genos. It’s not too often though as Saitama doesn’t like to be so serious.
The best character in the series is easily Genos. The English Dub got the perfect voice actor for him. He has the best action scenes and takes things very seriously all the time. It’s the perfect contrast to Saitama and it’s also good to have a rival who isn’t jealous of the main character all the time. Genos just wants to avenge his family so he doesn’t care about being the best. He’s already S Rank and I like to think that he could beat most of the other top ranked fighters at this point. Another character who is fairly close to Genos, but not to the point where I had any trouble picking my favorite is Speed o Sound Sonic. He’s an assassin who really wants to defeat Saitama. He is incredibly fast like Genos, but his attack power is a little lower. The two of them are fairly evenly matched and it is a bout that I am really looking forward to in season 2. Trust me, that’s going to be the highlight. Sonic’s overconfidence is a perfect trait for a villain. He doesn’t get too many action scenes yet, but always brings the hype with him.
Another solid character is Mumen Rider. You’ll feel bad for the guy since he is one of the weakest heroes in the series. He doesn’t have any special powers and the only way he can attack is to throw his bike at villains. He never stands a chance against anyone, but has a lot of determination. It’s fun to see him try to help out and he is certainly earnest. Maybe he’ll find an opponent that he can actually defeat someday. The number 1 A rank fighter, Sweet Mask, also gets a role. He shows up to hurl threats at Genos and Saitama. The guy’s got a lot of confidence, but I like to think that he wouldn’t be able to beat either one of those two. Still, his scenes are always intense and the final episode reminds us that he shows no mercy. The mask hides how much he despises the villains.
The array of S rank fighters show up briefly, but most of them haven’t had much of a role yet. Atomic Samurai got to show off his sword skills and he’s useful to have around. Metal Bat will remind you of characters from the Yu Yu Hakusho series with his classic 90’s design and straight forward method of battling. These two characters are good. The best S rank member is probably Tatsumaki. She gets a lot of hype and would certainly be able to give Saitama a better fight than the others. A rivalry is already brewing between the two of them although it is rather one sided at the moment. Bang wants Saitama as a student, but that’ll never happen. He’s a reasonable guy and I do like the fact that he acknowledged how Saitama is stronger than him. Drive Knight is fairly mysterious and hasn’t done anything yet, but he did offer some foreshadowing to Genos. Metal Knight definitely seems suspicious and certainly isn’t trust worthy. Unfortunately, I didn’t find him to be that interesting. Along with Prisoner, he is the only unlikable character. Prisoner is just pretty bad and all of his scenes are tough to watch. He’s another exaggerated character all right, but not in a good way. King is pretty hype so far and I look forward to him appearing more in season 2…heh.
As for the villains, we got a nice array of monsters of the week. The Attack on Titan homage was certainly awesome and I do like that the Dub did its best to make the tributes even greater with its choice of voice actors. The Vampire lady who fought Genos was a fun monster as well and episode 2 showed you just how high tier the show would get. The first fight was already at a high level. Carnage Kabuto continued to up the ante as he could actually sense Saitama’s presence and was able to land a lot of good hits. He was actually a pretty good villain although you may feel bad for the scientists. Kabuto certainly got rid of a lot of them.
The Deep Sea King is one of the really big villains and the only one to get more than one episode aside from Boros. I’ll admit that his fight with Saitama was probably the only disappointing fight in the whole series. It makes sense that it would be quick since Saitama was serious, but I had still been hoping for more. Despite that, Deep Sea King lived up to expectations as he took on and overwhelmed Genos and Sonic. Both cases were very circumstantial though. The King also beat a lot of random heroes along the way and solidified himself as a real threat. He was certainly a fun villain to have around.
Finally, we get to the aliens. Melzalgald had the biggest role from the three generals and was able to take on several S ranked fighters at once. His overconfidence is what ultimately held him back as his abilities were very impressive otherwise. Having instant regeneration is just such a handy ability to have and one good hit could take out even the most durable S rank fighters. Of course, Boros would be the highlight. He’s a villain who also grew too strong and now he wants a real challenge. His fight with Saitama keeps escalating over and over and over to the point where you have to wonder what his limit is. He’s also the first villain to keep on going even after Saitama punches him a few times. It’d be awesome to see him return and I honestly think it could be possible. It probably wouldn’t happen for a very long time, but it would be really awesome to see. After Sonic, Boros is definitely my favorite villain in the series.
There’s really nothing to dislike about the show. It manages to go on without any real fanservice which is very impressive in this day and age. There are some scenes where the violence can get pretty crazy, but it’s used in a comedy way. I still question how it ever became funny to see blood splatter everywhere in crazy amounts, but the show is mostly tame aside from a few moments like that. It’s actually a more kid friendly show than most of the Shonen titles alongside it. That also gets back to its light hearted nature. It’s the kind of series that you can basically have anyone watch. As mentioned before, the only thing is has to be careful of is giving the supporting characters too much screen time and not enough to Saitama. I don’t believe that will be a problem though and I do want some of them to get their own fights because there are a lot of awesome potential match ups that I want to see.
Overall, One Punch Man is a superb show. It does an awesome job of adapting the manga. They really spared no expense for this show as all of its technical aspects were top of the line. You’ll definitely be left craving more content so the wait for season 2 will feel like a very long time. At least it is confirmed though so it’ll be coming soon. It’s hard to describe just how awesome the show is in words. It easily has some of the best comedy moments of all time along with some of the best action scenes of all time. Even the tension scenes are some of the best. Mix that in with a great universe and a lot of foreshadowing and it’s a ticket to success. It’s easy to see why this series took the world by storm. Hopefully the franchise keeps on going for a very long time.