I started hearing a stir about this new anime called One Punch Man right around when I went to Anime Weekend Atlanta. While there, I witnessed a few trailers that looked not only made the anime look interesting, but impressive as well. Recently my friend has also been telling me good things about the anime, so I finally got around to taking a look myself.
I have to say that so far this has been one of my favorite viewing experiences in a while and it’s just getting started. Let’s begin with episode 1:
Episode 1 – The Strongest Man
To start things off, we’re in a modern world where super heroes and super villains are a thing. There is even something called the Heroes Association. Currently, a powerful villain is terrorizing the city and causing serious destruction, but don’t worry, there are super heroes on the way to save the day, like Smile Man and Lightning Max. Yes, I can already tell that this anime doesn’t take itself too seriously, but I can’t wait to see what happens next. Things aren’t looking good for the city as the Heroes Associate scrambles to rise against the threat.
Enter our hero, who arrives on the scene in spectacular form:
“Just a guy who’s a hero for fun.”
The monstrous villain goes into a rant of rage, appalled that such a person should challenge him, who is the epitome of furious destructive power. And what does this so called hero do in response? A single punch that utterly destroys the super monstrosity, yet the hero doesn’t seem very pleased.
The scenarios and situations hilariously poke fun at super hero stories and tropes and so far it’s genius. While somehow managing to raise the tension with epic fight scenes, One Punch Man also throws such comedic twists in that I can’t help but laugh out loud as I watched this.
So the story is that Saitama decided to become a hero three years ago and somehow became this overpowered superhero that he is today.
Apparently the training he underwent was so difficult and arduous that it made him go bald and become the most plain looking guy on the planet. After achieving his dream of becoming a hero, Saitama finds himself in a lackluster state–because all it takes to defeat his enemies now is just one punch.
He reflects on himself:
“There’s no sign that the evils of the world are disappearing. It’s still the same as before I became a hero. In other words, you could say that I haven’t made a difference. I’m not necessarily sad about that. But something’s been bothering me lately.”
“As the days pass, my emotions grow more distant. Fear, tension, joy, anger.. I don’t feel any of them anymore. In exchange for power, have I maybe given up something essential to being human?”
With such thoughts brooding in his head, he goes to sleep. Suddenly he is awoken by an attack on himself and his home. The enemies are strong and fierce which takes Saitama by surprise. As he realizes his enemies are the real deal we see a bit of his old self come through as a light fires in his eyes.
“This rush! This tension! It’s been so long, I’d forgotten… the exhilaration of a real fight!” The excitement and thrill of a real challenge is just what he needs.
Unfortunately he can’t sleep forever…
…and has to wake up as the strongest man, where one punch is all it takes to defeat his enemies.