If you believe that Superman is the most powerful person in the world, I regret to inform you that you are mistaken. The one who persists in asserting such a claim is also mistaken. Neither Hulk, nor Superman, nor Thanos can lay claim to this title. Do not succumb to such distortions and falsehoods; do not be deceived. The indisputable fact is that the most powerful being in the world is One-Puch Man Saitama San. Ok?
In 2009, a mediocre artist named ONE designed One-Punch Man, inspired by Anpanman, and it quickly went viral, garnering 8 million clicks. In 2012, the web series was adapted into a manga by Yusuke Murata, eventually evolving into a massive phenomenon. This meteoric rise paved the way for its anime adaptation in 2015, produced by Madhouse. Over time, it became one of the most beloved anime series for millions of people almost instantly.
Despite the abundance of beloved anime series in today’s world, what sets One-Punch Man apart is its protagonist and the adventures he embarks upon. To delve into the plot briefly: Saitama, tired of the 9-to-5 grind, has dreamt of becoming a superhero since childhood. He embarks on a rigorous training regimen, wondering why he isn’t achieving his dream if he desires it so much. In just three years, Saitama transforms into an overwhelmingly powerful superhero thanks to his disciplined routine. He becomes so powerful, in fact, that he grows bored of heroism. Having defeated all his opponents with a single punch, he has longed for a rival who can challenge him and go beyond the one-punch limit.
The initial episodes, even the first 10-15 minutes, of an anime are crucial. They often provide the action and story summary that can captivate viewers throughout the series. One-Punch Man excels in this regard. It starts with a colossal monster invasion and builds excitement with Saitama’s arrival. After the classic showdown of good vs. evil banter, you might expect an epic battle to ensue, but that’s not the case at all. Because Saitama once again defeats his adversary with a single punch, and he’s frustrated with himself for it.
Saitama’s essence is not just his punch. His lifestyle, outlook on life, carefree attitude, curiosity about shopping, and irritation at the monologues of villains make him unique among anime characters. He can’t stand villains who talk for more than 20 seconds or listening to hero backstories; it bores him. Moreover, his appearance breaks many stereotypes. Superheroes are typically handsome, well-dressed, and deliver grandiose speeches. Saitama, on the other hand, is bald, wears an orange jumpsuit, and rarely talks. When he does speak, it’s usually about discounts at the grocery store. Yet, no one is stronger than him, creating a contrast that allows the anime to mock superhero clichés.
Many anime series are loved for their action sequences, and One-Punch Man delivers the action that anime enthusiasts crave. However, as I mentioned, Saitama is more than just his punch. Unlike many other anime series, One-Punch Man allows us to get to know its character on a personal level by focusing on his absurd life.
While not in every episode, Saitama encounters many villains, and despite his apparent indifference, he believes he must eventually intervene in the chaos and fulfill his role as a superhero. In other words, even though he may not desire to save the world, he views superheroism as a profession and dutifully carries out his tasks, albeit with a sense of boredom at times. The humorous twist lies in the fact that, despite effortlessly ending every battle with a single punch, he occasionally finds himself annoyed by the mere seconds he spends on that punch. Especially when there’s a sale at the market, and a city-wide attack occurs, he is often torn between getting involved or not.
The anime begins with Saitama’s personal adventures. It then continues with the experiences he embarks upon with Genos, who challenges him and roams around as his disciple after suffering defeat. However, the most exhilarating episodes of the anime begin in the middle of the season. These are the episodes where superheroes are categorized, and everyone fights monsters according to their category. When cities are invaded by creatures, the government determines which level of superheroes can handle the situation based on the severity of the threat. The ironic aspect is that, despite Saitama’s ability to defeat everyone with a single punch, he is classified as a low-level hero due to his lack of charisma. Consequently, he never receives the missions he hopes for.
Following its initial 12-episode season in 2015, One-Punch Man unfortunately left its viewers waiting for a long time for its second season. At one point, there seemed to be no hope of it ever returning. In 2019, another 12 episodes were finally released, but the fate of the anime’s continuation remains uncertain.
As someone who has watched many anime series before, I can confidently say that One-Punch Man is unquestionably a different breed. With its unending action sequences, sometimes instantly resolved conflicts, and a plethora of good and evil heroes, this anime is a delightful spectacle. If you haven’t watched it, heard of it, or haven’t started it yet, your first order of business should be to breeze through the 12 episodes of One-Punch Man.
Cast & Crew
writers: One, Tomohiro Suzuki
starring: Max Mittelman, Zach Aguilar (English Version) Makoto Furukawa, Kaito Ishikawa (Japanese Version)
JAPAN | 2015-2019 | 24 EPISODES |