Anime Review: One-Punch Man
Saitama used to be an unemployed salaryman (white-collar worker) whose life was going nowhere. When a (relatively weak) monster attacked, Saitama remembered his boyhood dream of becoming a hero who could defeat any opponent with a single punch. He trained really hard, and became that hero…but if you can defeat any opponent in a single punch, your victories become hollow.
There is now an anime series based on the manga I have reviewed before, streaming on Hulu as of this writing. In twelve fast-paced episodes, it covers all the way up to the Boros Saga.
It’s a comedic series that parodies superhero comic book conventions, but also touches upon deeper themes. The best example of this is the Sea King Saga, which asks (and partially answers) the question of what it truly means to be a hero. (The Boros Saga is more about how the world’s most powerful hero group, the S-Class heroes, haven’t grasped this concept yet–they’re a collection of loners, many with dubious motives, not a team.)
Good animation and some excellent voice work make this series a good adaptation of the manga. Also appreciated is some expansion of minor character roles, foreshadowing of things in future plotlines and cameos of characters from previous storylines, letting us know how they’re getting on.
Content issues: There’s quite a lot of violence, some of it gory–these heroes and villains mostly use physical attacks to deal with their problems. The Mosquito Woman is, as one viewer described it “proof that ‘Sexy Halloween Costumes’ have gone too far”, but there’s quite a bit more male nudity. Speaking of which, one hero, Puripuri Prisoner, does all his fights in the nude…and he’s a gay stereotype that may make some viewers very uncomfortable. I’d recommend parents of younger viewers skip this one.
The season finale provides lots of sequel hooks, to the point that it raises more questions than it answers.
A fun view for grown-up superhero fans.