In 2015 an anime seemingly based more on the remake by Murata began airing. Produced by big time studio Madhouse and licensed by Viz Media in America One-Punch Man was actually simulcast in the US as it was debuting in Japan, which is something that has become more and more common in the last three years. I accidentally came across it on Hulu last Fall and nearly lost my mind, as I had no idea watching this show legally in this country was an option.
I’ll get more into this in the review itself but it’s important to note that One-Punch Man is a parody and there’s a lot of jokes and puns involved. But since I’m a dumb American (as are a lot of you, according to this blog’s stats) a lot of these go right over my head. One outstanding example we should all be aware of is that the name “One-Punch Man” is itself a pun based off the long running children’s picture book series Anpanman. This is apparently hilarious. If nothing else it automatically tells you exactly what tone you should expect when going into this one.
|Anpanman's head is filled with bean paste or something?|
I'm not sure because I'm not a Japanese child
|He'll save you because there's nothing good on TV right now|
As I mentioned in the intro we all must remember when watching this anime that it is a satire. It’s parodying both superheroes and shonen fighting series. Saitama’s character being unbeatable is basically making fun of characters like Superman and Son Goku from Dragon Ball. The show is a comedy and any issue with the lack of tension due to the main character’s unbeatable nature doesn’t bother me. This is not a drama nor is it an action cartoon, despite that it indeed has a lot of action. It’s supposed to make you laugh and the joke is the ridiculousness of jacked up monsters and aliens, capable of destroying whole cities, being punched into oblivion by a plain looking bald dude who mostly just looks bored. And it works.
|This show is very aware how hot you think Genos is|
The animation looks good, especially when a serious fight starts. Clearly a lot of budget went into making those fight scenes look crisp. There are dips of quality outside of those fights here and there but overall it’s decent. This likely has a lot to do with the episode count of twelve compared to the twenty-six I’m used to seeing from when I was a kid. There’s less a need to spread that money out. It being shorter also helps with the pacing of the show. The show never feels like its dragging or trying to fill time, which is very different from the genre it’s parodying. Also, despite the fact the comic it’s based on is still ongoing, I found the ending to be fairly satisfying. Not everything was answered but if they never made another episode of the series I wouldn’t feel as betrayed as I did when I reached the end of some other shows (Black Blood Brothers, Kaze no Stigma, The Sacred Blacksmith, among others).
|"Saitama punching shit" is about 84% of the series|
I liked One-Punch Man though I think it would be difficult for me to say I “loved it”. It was a fun and I would be really interested in seeing more but I think I ultimately was underwhelmed by it compared to what I had been picturing in my head for the last two years or so. Also, not helping matters, I was watching this at the exact same time as the first half of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and I have been loving that show so far; it’s probably made me a little harder on this sow as a result. Still I recommend it for fans of superheroes and shonen style anime and manga who also understand the ridiculousness associate with those genres. Just remember that at the end of the day One-Punch Man exists to make you laugh and should not be taken very seriously.
|Watchdog-man is pretty much the best superhero in the history of time|
I give One-Punch Man 4 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.
-Animation mostly good
-Good character designs
-All characters are flat
-The show ultimately lacks substance