One-Punch Man – Anime Review
Synopsis: The most powerful superhero in the world can kill anyone with one blow. But nothing can challenge him, so he struggles with ennui and depression. (Official Netflix Synopsis.)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: One-Punch Man is one of the few anime/manga to begin life as a small time webcomic before jumping into the big leagues. The story’s focus on lampooning the shonen hero genre, and telling a more comedic spin on typical super heroes was impressive. So much so that it was turned into a proper manga with art from Yusuke Murata, whose sheer artistic quality matched the simplistic, yet engaging nature of the story. I can safely say that One-Punch Man’s anime is a solid adaptation, bringing so much of the Manga’s visual quality into the world of animation, while ensuring the story is translated to screen without major concessions. It captures and breaths life into the simple, yet creative characters of One’s (The author of the original Webcomic) imagination.
Linny: For an action packed series, One-Punch Man definitely displays solid character work with even minor one off villains. Often these one episode characters get such fleshed out and amusing backstories they remain memorable components to the series even years later. This adds flavour to the show, spouting from their ridiculous designs and uniquely bizarre personalities. The show has fun with its side characters, often turning them into stars in their own right by offering viewers unique and rare glimpses into their lives. Examples include Hammerhead, leader of a group of young men who simply don’t want to hold down day to day jobs, or the evil scientist Dr. Genus, obsessed with crafting the ultimate evolution. Characterization like this highlights One-Punch Man’s parodying of popular and overdone tropes, giving the series a wonderful tinge of underlying coemdy. All of this is further boosted by solid animation that sells the insane showdowns, holding up well against the incessant demands of showcasing the series’ most eye-popping fights.
Tom: The fight sequences are truly animated with a flair rarely seen in the seasonal anime industry of today. Every moment, every attack, every punch is brought to life with such incredible detail and fluidity you can’t help but be impressed. It’s one of those few adaptations that actually matches the manga’s incredibly detailed artwork, breathing life into the painstakingly drawn images without losing any detail or love for the characters. The animation is aided by Japanese VA’s that were cast so perfectly for each and every character, bringing One-Punch Man’s ever expanding cast further to life.
Linny: Unsurprisingly, as most anime adaptations of ongoing manga go, the first season of One Punch Man does some selecting, adapting major story lines while cutting out smaller parts. It also concludes with a few loose ends as a result of adapting an ongoing story. These aren’t show ruining issues though and overall, the story feels well paced with engaging progression. This is especially true with One-Punch Man Season 2 just around the corner. On a smaller note, Manga readers may notice that the show interprets Saitama as a bit more intense, macho and suave as compared to the original manga. Again though, this is not a huge gripe as people may interpret him differently and feel like there’s no discernible difference at all.
Tom: While loose ends do dangle here and there, Season 1’s ending wraps up One-Punch Man thematically to the point that it makes a perfect stopping point for anyone uninterested in diving into the Manga’s spotty release schedule. Though with a Season 2 (finally) just around the corner that’s less of a bonus. Perhaps my favorite aspect of One Punch Man is its ability to be thoroughly over the top and comedic, while possessing a heart. The moments when things get serious, dark, or sad and we delve into who our characters truly are make for the high points and the brief instances where you can see a deeper element to an otherwise action-packed, balls to the wall shonen manga. Ultimately the One-Punch Man anime is what so many other manga to anime adaptations need to strive for. This is one of the few that I’d label as completely equal to the manga. With Season 2 just around the corner I do want to note that the series gradually moves from parodying to emulating the very material it pokes fun at early on. There’s a fine line that One-Punch Man eventually crosses over, but still remains a fun, light-hearted, yet intense action series regardless.
Linny: One-Punch Man is one of the few anime that managed to really break out, even wooing audiences less familiar or fond of anime and that says a lot about just how appealing this series is. It balances being an action packed show while also lovingly mocking the most popular tropes and presenting some of the most unique and amusing characters and side characters. Yes, it has its flaws and the hype it generated will potentially raise unmatchable expectations but for the most part, there’s a reason this series managed to garner such a large following. If you haven’t had the chance to try this series out and like the sound of a show that offers humour and action that are both equally over the top, you should most definitely give One-Punch Man a try. And if you are a fan, with the upcoming second season, it might be the perfect time to sit down for a rewatch.