I’m fairly outspoken about not liking superhero movies. I just find if I know for certain which side will win with little to no times I’ve been wrong (spoiler alter: It’s the one who has their name in the title that fights for justice) to be bored, especially when they still try pulling “oh no Superman is trapped with Lex about to kill him! Worry guys!” stunts. Heroes also become way too powerful as the villains needs to get more powerful or the show will be boring. One Punch Man is probably the biggest anime this year with even people who generally don’t talk about anime talking about it. Was One Punch Man able to win me over or did I feel like it was just another superhero flick?
Our story follows Saitama who as the title implies, can defeat anyone or anything in one punch or less. Despite the title Saitama never refers to himself (nor does anyone else that I remember) as “One Punch Man” always just using “Saitama”. As a hero who literally wins as soon as he even considers trying wouldn’t that reinforce my issue of the ending being incredibly predictable? Well, aside from being based off a still running manga meaning to is no end, the point is to build up tension making us worry about if Saitama can defeat whoever he is fighting or not, instead choosing a few other points of focus. The main is probably what drew me to the manga in the first place, what happens to a hero when he reaches the point of being too strong? Multiple times we see Saitama with 0 motivation, only intervening when it suits him such as a bunch of bald men made a cult and everyone thinks all bald men are evil or he realizes he is missing a sale. While a lot of this is played up for comedy this is undoubtedly how a hero would act when they’re at the point of never losing. The other is worry about every other character, either until Saitama gets to the monster or starts to care. The other heroes get enough development to the point you care about them but not to the point you know they are safe from dying. With over 300 heroes you know this won’t be the case for all but enough fit and more could be added at any time.
Describing story and characters is quite hard as One Punch Man follows a “freak or the week” format (since battles obviously don’t take very long) and there are so many reoccurring characters. Some more important ones are Genos, a cyborg who starts off fighting Saitama before being won over by his strength and joining as his sidekick. Genos really looks up to Saitama and pretty much never misses a chance to praise him to others. Sonic is a ninja who considers himself a rival of Saitama. He’s helped the Hero Association a few times despite hating them. Mumen Rider is a C Class hero who rides a bike. Of the lower class heroes he seems to most intent on actually being a hero as he constantly risks his life on monsters S Class heroes are having trouble with to save people.
My only real issue is actually just how many heroes there are that we see for a considerable amount of time. A lot of them are really interesting but due to the amount of them as well as time a lot get a lot less screen time than I would have liked with some really interesting ones showing up near the end. Reading the manga does alleviate this issue a bit but I’m reviewing the anime not series.
Madhouse knocked this out of the park. It looks so good people were wondering how big the budget was before the annimation director said “they are working with average figures.” and “we are seeing is the product of passionate artists doing their best.” which is super impressive! The show looks like an 80’s or 90’s western superhero cartoon with some anime influence and more fluid annimation which really works for the show. The character designs are also really good. None of the named heroes look alike nor do any villains (unless the point is to like the previously mentioned bald cult) and with the sheer amount of background characters its perfectly fine they do.
Yet another home run. The opening song again, seems like something from the 90’s with its high action rock and the ending is a nice slow change of pace. The soundtrack is great too. There’s a song that plays during the few emotional scenes that I really like. I’ve been listening to fan recreations while writing this and when a new songs starts I can almost always think of a scene it plays or (or more) it’s that good! The voice actors are also great which pretty much every character sounding how I imagined them from the manga.