One Punch Man was a fairly popular anime from the tail end of last year. It was based off of a webcomic by One, which has also been adapted into a manga. The anime came from Madhouse, which could be good or bad and there’s no real way to ascertain which it is just because it has a lot of fans. After all, some of the worst anime I’ve seen have had pretty substantive fan bases. Then again, just last week I reviewed Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig, which was both popular and really good. So, let’s take a look and I’ll see if it lives up to the hype.
Saitama is a hero for fun. When major trouble threatens people, he shows up and dispatches the threat with a single punch. There’s just one problem, he’s so strong that it’s all become rather boring for him. The series follows Saitama as he faces various menaces, the most threatening of which is his own melancholy.
Honestly, the biggest flaw with the comedy of the series is that it gets repetitive pretty quickly. Most of it follows the same pattern. A menace shows up, gets built up as a grave and pressing threat, fighting against and beating other heroes, Saitama shows up and one shots it. In between fights we get some other jokes, a lot of which are about Saitama being bored and disinterested with what he’s doing. Then we have a character who exists entirely as an unfunny gay stereotype, Puripuri Prisoner. Thankfully, he’s a minor character and only shows up in a few episodes but his scenes can be pretty cringe-worthy.
On the positive side, the main repeated joke of the series can be funny a few times and there are some pretty amusing scenes betwixt the action sequences. Some of which are actually quite clever in the ways they tackle shounen action series tropes.
Most of the characters in One Punch Man are pretty stock action tropes with a comedic twist. They aren’t particularly complex but most of them are perfectly good for a parody work. I actually do quite like the contrasting dynamic with Saitama’s more jaded and frivolous outlook with Genos’ more youthful and serious outlook. The best moments in the series come from these two playing off of one another. There are other characters with potential but, due to the short length of the series, a lot of them end up getting used for a single joke and don’t really get any interactions or dynamics to play off of their potential.
The artwork and animation are both really good in this series. The action sequences, at least before Saitama shows up, can be really interesting to see, even though you know how they’re going to end. There are also some really nice and detailed villain designs in this. The one major flaw is that the action scenes get boring and repetitive when Saitama is involved. They either end really quickly or he lets the villain knock him around for a bit without any concern before ending it.
The voice acting is okay. There are some strong actors in this and they give perfectly passable performances. They’re just not particularly good or memorable. The music is pretty standard. It’s not bad nor is it good. It’s just functional.
Aside from our stereotype running around and frightening guys he finds attractive, there isn’t any. So, this is a series that would be better with less ho-yay.
When it comes right down to it, whether or not One Punch Man is going to work for you really depends on whether or not you’re the type of person who can keep laughing at the same joke, even when you know it’s coming. If you can see slightly different versions of the same joke and keep laughing, this one may have the punch for your funny bone. If, on the other hand, you’re a person who needs humour to be surprising in order to get a laugh out of it, you should definitely skip it. If you’re like me and you can gain amusement from the same joke under certain circumstances but you need time between the versions, I would recommend seeing it, but giving it around ten days between episodes so that it doesn’t get overly repetitive for you. In the end, in spite of its short comings, it’s a decent parody series. I give it a 6/10. Next week, I’m looking at Ginga Ojousama Densetsu Yuna: Shin’en no Fairy.