One Punch Man
Imagine if you had the ability to absolutely destroy any obstacle that dared stand in your way with just one single punch. Sounds awesome right? Well, no… apparently not.
Originating from a crudely drawn (but totally awesome) web comic, One Punch Man is an anime that explores how this totally overpowered ability isn’t quite as awesome as it’s cracked up to be. The story follows Saitama, who as the result of basic strength and endurance training has gained the ability to kill all of his opponents with simply one punch. To Saitama, it seems there’s nothing more frustrating. In a world where heroes are commonplace and organisations of heroes guard the general public from potential threats, Saitama’s one goal is to find one enemy who can at least offer a challenge, all the while dealing with fellow heroes and their organisations.
A lot of shows try to trick you into doubting the protagonist’s victory in battle, but in reality… you know they’re going to win. One Punch Man basically skips the point where the show tries to convince you that the hero has got it tough and just gives you the result, not to mention the satisfaction, of watching the protagonist absolutely decimate their opponent. Okay, so he’s pretty tough, but that’s not to say that Saitama is a Mary Sue or a Gary Stu in any sense of the word. There are other places where he falls short; at one point a skewed ranking system deems his mental prowess poor which then is detrimental to his social rank. This becomes one of the major obstacles for him as he constantly has to fight against his reputation, so I suppose we can’t say that every battle is truly an effortless experience for him.
The anime does a good job of laughing in the face of common tropes and clichés by embracing them in an over-the-top comedic way, which is where the show gets most of its charm. Saitama acts as a differential among an array of interesting and amusing characters as they build up the suspense, tension and story while he often calmly enters the scene and deflates the atmosphere with his total indifference.
Overall, the show does not disappoint. It’s a good mix of comedy and action, and isn’t afraid to use overcooked themes and have a poke at them while doing so. I recommend it to anyone who’s sick of long, multiple-episode-length battles with too much talking, as this anime is good at just getting it done quickly, satisfactorily, and isn’t afraid to have a laugh while doing so.
Personally I’d give the show 4.5/5
Review by Rochelle Jardine