I hadn’t thought I would start watching anime again before someone recommended One Punch Man to me. Some of my friends were raving about it and I was simply curious to know why. But once I watched the first episode, I was hooked! And now I feel that I should recommend it to all of you. Young or old, there is something to enjoy in it for everyone.
Welcome to a new earth! Here monsters roam around freely, vying with the human civilization to rule the world. Responding to the monster threat, some humans have come together to form a superhero organization whose main objective is to segregate the heroes according to class and rank and to send them in according to the level of threat reported.
Enter Saitama. A guy in his mid-20s living an average life. He tries to save money and is always on the lookout for the next bargain sale. He washes his own clothes and cooks his own dinner. When he is free, he loves watching tv in his pyjamas. Basically, he is the quintessential bachelor.
But there is one thing which separates him from the rest. He is a superhero for fun!
Yes, that is how he introduces himself.
Life became so monotonous for him that he decided to work out. He decided to become so strong that he would be able to kill monsters with one punch.
Hence the title of the anime – One Punch Man.
Along with his cyborg disciple Genos – who Saitama took in grudgingly – he goes around killing monsters, just for kicks.
This was the premise. But here is where One Punch Man really stands out:
- The Action Sequences:
Rocket launchers, flame throwers, sword fighting, martial arts; One Punch Man has it all. And it not just a lot of flash and “bang-bang” (move over Michael Bay). The animation may be light and minimalistic, but still you can feel the blow each time a punch is thrown. You wince each time the hero gets injured. And wait till you see the season finale. That episode really raises the bar for any action sequence.
Even the background score builds up the tension and then simply explodes into a frenetic beat which perfectly complements the action each time our hero faces off against a new adversary. As buildings get destroyed and turned to rubble, the electric guitar in the background takes on a whole new level. Instead of just staying there in the background, the music actually enhances the effect a scene has on you.
- The realistic portrayal of characters:
While it is an anime and has its light-hearted moments, it also shows that people have shades of gray.
There is Amai Mask, a class A superhero who uses his popularity for his own selfish purposes. There is Mumen Rider, a class C hero with no powers of his own except his will and dedication to help the society.
There are heroes whose rank matters more to them than their service to the society. And there are some whose ego blinds them to the needs of the society.
The characters are not shallow, one-dimensional people driven only by a single motive in life. The creators need to be applauded for giving depth to each character so that they stick even after you stop watching the show. That attribute is commendable for any storyline.
Saitama’s character itself deserves a special mention. A hero who wanted to fight monsters for fun, his anguish is understandable when he can end the fight with one punch.
During an episode, he confesses his desire to have a fan base of his own and joins the superhero organisation to register himself. But when, during a particular incident, the society itself ridicules the heroes for their failure, he takes the blame on himself to keep the reputation of the others untarnished.
It doesn’t matter that the world he lives in doesn’t like him. Because he has surely won me over completely.
One Punch Man makes me live every moment during its run time. It makes me feel exhilarated when our hero wins and it saddens me when he fails in getting what he wanted. Every time I wait in anticipation for the showdown between Saitama and his enemy, I feel my heartbeat racing. There are very few shows which enthrall you as One Punch Man does.
ED’s rating: 4.5/5
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.