One punch man began as a webcomic in 2009. Written and Illustrated by an artist simply known as One. One-Punch Man is a story about Saitama, a seemingly normal guy who wants to try his hand at becoming a rookie superhero. Seemingly normal, because Saitama is so cataclysmically powerful that he can blow his enemies out of existence with just one punch.
The drawings are extremely crude, especially for Japanese manga standards. But something resonated with people. By 2012 One Punch Man had over 7.9 million hits. Later that year the comic was reillustrated by the spectacularly talented Yusuke Murata and in 2015 it was turned into a 12 episode anime. But why? How did this seemingly satire webcomic attract a talent such as Yusuke Murata and how did it get picked up by a high-profile studio called Madhouse?
Have you ever tried to recommend One Punch Man to a person who has never heard of it? It is extremely hard to convince them to watch it. It is difficult to get across how funny or daring the show can be. How is anyone meant to relate to a hero who never really struggled to achieve his goals? If there is no risk or a villain to push a hero to his limits, the show should get boring. And yet, with One Punch Man this isn’t the case.
Main Character of One Punch Man
Early on, the show establishes two rules: this is a world of superheroes and supervillains and no one comes close to Saitama’s powers. He crushes all competition with little to no effort to the point that it’s actually comical. The concept of an overpowered main character isn’t new or interesting. It is the way the show grounds Saitama that separates him from other heroes. The world doesn’t care about him or acknowledge his good deeds. The viewer is aware of Saitama’s greatness, but the people around Saitama aren’t. From that comes sympathy for the main character.
One punch man fights are different. They are not tactical or subtle in the way most battle animes are. There are little to no mind games going on throughout any fights. That is because One Punch Man isn’t about long battles. It is an explosion of intense action. The animation in fights is one of the best in the industry and they end with brutal finality. All of the characters got their unique traits and approaches to combat which keeps things feeling fresh and interesting.
Animation of One Punch Man
One of the best things about One Punch man is how it lets Studio Madhouse let loose with the animation. In particular with the action scenes. The show is chaotic with characters having insane powers which lets the animators go wild. Skys split, buildings fall, cities explode and all of it is gloriously animated. The camera angle changes a lot both in the anime and in the manga. Saitama in different situations is drawn very differently. In some, he’s a glorious superhero with big muscles, and in the other, he is drawn almost exactly like in the webcomic. It gives the show a comic feel and depicts how Saitama is feeling and what he thinks of himself in that given moment.
Saitama’s struggle for acceptance mirrors the one of One’s. Neither one of them ever stopped believing in themselves. This story comes from a very real place. One Punch Man aside from all of the jokes, bombastic action, and colossal fight scenes has real depth to it. Together with the amazing animation and soundtrack, it creates a staple masterpiece of the anime industry that is definitely worth watching,