Why Every Superhero Story Fan Should Watch One-Punch Man

Japanese anime aren’t for everyone. That’s not to say the medium adheres to some strict set of rules that might not appeal to a particular demographic; anime accommodate a wider variety of genres and tastes than most sources of entertainment. The common denominator here is the artstyle, the unconventional storytelling and derivatives of the Japanese culture.

Note: This little piece covers the first season of the One-Punch Man anime.

It’s a superhero story, one that feeds both the child and the intellectual in you.

One show that, in this casual anime fan’s humble opinion, deserves a wider viewer-base despite staying true to these core conventions is One-Punch Man. That’s because at its core, the show is a superhero story, one that feeds both the child and the intellectual in you. For the child, it offers an overpowered protagonist coupled with fight sequences that’ll give you goosebumps and have you shouting at the screen in excitement. For your inner philosopher, there are themes exploring the effects of unlimited power on a man’s psyche and what it means to be a hero.

The best thing about the show is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The best thing about the show, however, is the same thing known to have made certain Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises so popular; it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The show doesn’t try to break away from cliches; it embraces them, making light of them along the way.

The protagonist – who appears to be vying for Goku’s spot at the top of the genre – is shown to be the epitome of raw physical power, so much so that he yearns to find a foe he can’t beat with a single punch. If this were an ordinary superhero story, he would have been made to look like a menacing brute, the sight of whom would make enemies scatter in every direction is search of fresh underwear, or a graceful, strong-jawed demigod capable of winning hearts with a simple smile. Instead, Saitama is a bald, relatively lean man who fights crime in red and yellow latex and perpetual indifference.Saitama is Superman, if Superman were bald and had a way more interesting personality. The explanation for Saitama’s casual demeanor lies in his boundless power. Because he has yet to find an enemy he couldn’t beat easily, his battles lack the thrill he set out to experience when he aspired to become a hero. In short, Saitama is bored and unimpressed. Basically, he’s Superman, if Superman were bald and had a way more interesting personality.

Saitama’s legendary response to a dramatic interjection by one of his most powerful foes has become its own meme.

The hero seems to be very aware of his internal plight as he is seen admitting that his immense power and the lack of challenge in his part-time superhero gig has left him without much emotion. This is why Saitama is often seen ignoring his enemies completely as they prattle on about their dastardly plans, only to end them with a single blow moments later. Even though these moments are designed to give the viewer a nice laugh, they double as quite the power-trips despite their abrupt and somewhat anti-climactic endings.

It’s not like such themes haven’t been explored before, but this show does it seamlessly.You’d think this odd dynamic would get old quite quickly, and it would, if the series didn’t evolve it. One-Punch Man is like a silly joke that gets better every time you hear it. It starts off with a goofy premise and slapstick-riddled action sequences, luring you in using fantasies of unbridled power as bait. Then it grows to explore Saitama’s existential crisis, why he continues to fight despite it, and ultimately, what it means to be a true hero. It’s not like such themes haven’t been explored before, but this show does it seamlessly while maintaining that coveted light-hearted tone.

If you consider yourself a big fan of superhero stories, this isn’t one to be missed.

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