Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: One Punch Man Season 1

What's it about?

In a world full of Shonen series and Marvel blockbuster movies, there's One Punch Man.  He's a hero so over powered he can defeat everything with one punch - which you would think is the perfect power.  But this isn't the story about how he became this powerful - no, this is the story about what it's like to have that much power and no real challenge.  Saitama can beat anything, so the fight has really lost all appeal.  He's honestly more concerned about the next sale at the grocery store, then the monsters that might stumble into his path.  He's really not even that excited about Genos - a cyborg who comes into his life and wishes to learn how he gained all that power.  But who knows, maybe Genos and the League of Superheroes can change his mind.  Of course - they'd have to acknowledge his impressive power first.  


One Punch Man is not usually my type of anime series.  I'm more for the serious, the dark, the pretty and the action that tugs at your heart strings and leaves an impression.  Upon watching the first episode of this series and seeing Saitama go up against a main that is half lobster to save a kid with a butt for a chin I was tempted to write it off as another zany comedy that wouldn't hold my attention.  However, through the prodding of my partner and several of our friends, I kept watching and was pleasantly surprised. 

So those things I said I tend to watch?  Dark, action and impression leaving?  One Punch Man is actually all of those things, just wrapped up in a package I wasn't expecting.  The character of Saitama grew on me with his monotone lack of care for the world now that it really held no interest for him anymore.  The character of Genos struck me as seriously enduring considering how in awe he is of Saitama's powers and him as a person.  Saitama just needs motivation, and Genos provides that in a very innocent and sincere way.  I was also struck by the character of Sonic, who is just crazy enough to make me giggle because he's so committed to his insanity.

The background plot and storytelling also doesn't leave anything to be desired.  Sure, the monsters are weird and the creatures they go up against are strange, but the variety of heroes and how 'down to earth' they are was obviously put together with care.  For example, like Genos' sincere innocence, there are other characters such as Mumen Rider who immediately strike you as useless because they're so underpowered.  Yet their characterization and the care put into this story and world give them a very important place.  As the viewer you end up rooting for all of them, even when you know there's no chance, and seeing Saitama take the hit for them all makes you invested that much more.  Normally oddly grotesque anime styles like this turn me off because I'm such a visual viewer, but the characters in this series and the care put into the story have made me look past that and admire the show as a whole package of great storytelling.

Every hero is unique, and not in a 'we all have different powers' way.  Instead they're all fully fleshed out and it results in Saitama being only a small piece of this really interesting world that I could seriously enjoy many more seasons out of. 

It's hard to admit this, but I really can't come up with any flaws at this point or things I didn't like.  The show has a great balance of characters, plot and yes, even the art style grew on me as the episodes went on.  I have to say I'm impressed and I think that this will actually become a great gateway anime in the future to introduce people to the world of anime and what sort of stories and art you can expect that are so wildly different from the US.... just as long as the good writing holds up throughout the whole story.  (I'm looking at you Naruto.)

Watched on?

Streaming on Hulu, subtitled.


Thanks to our new found love of this show, the wifey and I are planning One Punch Man themed dresses which will hopefully be done this year.  She wants to be Saitama and I want to cosplay Genos, so here's what we designed.  Hopefully you'll see these soon on our pages and at conventions!

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