Anime Spotlight: One-Punch Man

One-Punch Man is an anime series based on a manga written by ONE and illustrated by Yusuke Murata. The anime is produced by Madhouse and is directed by Shingo Natsume. The series aired on Japanese television from October 5-December 21, 2015. As of this writing, VIZ Media holds the North American license for One-Punch Man.

The main character of One-Punch Man is Saitama, a bald and rather unassuming man who’s extremely strong and is a superhero for the fun of it. He trained so hard to become strong that he lost his hair and has lost his ability to feel most emotions. But Saitama is rather frustrated, because he can easily defeat enemies with just one punch.

Saitama meets a cyborg named Genos, who’s out for justice after another cyborg killed his family. When Saitama defeats an enemy and saves Genos, he’s so impressed that he wants to become Saitama’s disciple. Surprisingly, Saitama agrees to this.

Saitama also encounters Speed-o’-Sound Sonic when he stumbles into his fight with the leader of a group wanting to create a utopia where they don’t have to work. Unfortunately, this leads to Saitama getting into a fight with Sonic, and results in Sonic becoming an adversary for our hero.

Genos and Saitama also take the test to become part of the Hero Association, where Genos ends up with a higher ranking than his master. The rest of the series sees the politics at play in the Hero Association, as well as Saitama taking on more powerful enemies.

Before watching the anime, I had read the first two volumes of the manga series, as well as some of the later chapters in Weekly Shonen Jump. While I knew a lot of what would appear, the anime did fill in the gap of manga material that I hadn’t already seen.

Overall, I thought that the One-Punch Man anime was a rather faithful adaptation of the manga source material that I was already familiar with. This adaptation also retains much of the humor that characterizes the original manga.

The art style also stays rather faithful to Murata’s drawings for the manga, which gives some shots an interesting look to them. There were occasional times in Saitama’s fights where the movements seemed to be exaggerated, but the exaggeration worked for the tone the director was going for in this anime adaptation.

Even though the anime doesn’t truly end, since the manga is ongoing, the anime’s production staff found just the right balance of choosing a good place to stop the anime for now, yet having an ending scene that still feels like an ending but also leaves open the possibility for new episodes to be produced in the future in order to adapt more of the manga.

One-Punch Man is a great shonen series that features just the right mix of action and humor. It’ll probably be best appreciated by viewers who are fans of the shonen genre and enjoy stories that feature comedic superheroes.

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