At a first glance OnePunch Man may seem like the type of anime that will focus solely on telling its one titular joke over and over again until it becomes stale. But Fortunately this is not the case this show is an excellent action comedic parody that explores the themes of depression and fulfillment in modernday life. If we are going to talk about OPM we might as well start with arguably the best aspect of the show the characters. The cast members of OPM are quite the diverse bunch composed by a little bit of everything from giants to cyborgs to samurai to kungfu masters to delinquents to dinosaurs to aliens to sea creatures to mosquitos to espers and everything in between. all of their designs are striking chockfull of personality and very distinct which characterize all of perfectly and make them very memorable. The way they are written is just as great especially the heroes and the villains. A common thing in superhero fiction is that the confrontations and the moral compasses of the good guys and the bad guys are normally portrayed in a very black and white manner with the heroes always being bastions of good values and morals and the villains as just evildoers who are evil because they have nothing else better to do which typically doesnt make for the most engaging or substantial story. OPM doesnt slump in this pitfall showing us a society filled with corruption jealousy and excessive ambition caused by the industrialization of the hero occupation where most heroes only care about raising in the ranks and acquiring fame and recognition by any means necessary with the idea of actually saving people always being treated as an afterthought. But amid this corruption true heroism still exists in a few people who convey very important heroic values to the audience which is something I always appreciate anime. From these true heroes the most noteworthy of all of them would be the MC Mr. Caped Baldy himself Saitama. The hero for fun and profit is a pretty unique character in the way that most action shounen protagonists dont start as unemployed and depressed salarymen who have lost all of their drive passion and interest in the world around them. but this passion is rekindled in an instinctive moment of heroism triggered by his heroic values where Saitama saves a young boy from certain death and after the fact decides to follow his childhood dream of being the greatest hero. he trains like crazy for 3 years straight under a grueling training regime. so grueling in fact that it led to him becoming the worlds strongest hero gaining absurd amounts of strength durability stamina speed and reflexes. he also kinda lost all of his hair. but to gain such a godlike physique another godlike feature must be sacrificed. R.I.P Saitamas hair. But even after becoming the worlds strongest human ever Saitama continues to be depressed feeling as though his emotions are distancing themselves from him. this connects to 2 of the most important themes of the show depression and fulfillment. Why am I saying this you ask? let me explain. even though Saitama reached his dream of becoming the strongest hero it didnt solve his problem that being his unfulfilling existence. he still lives his life without giving much of fck about anything since his try at being a superhero which he tried to see if he could cure his emotional state still left him feeling empty inside because of inability to struggle in a fight due to his overwhelming power which leads to him not being able to feel that sense of accomplishment for surpassing a very difficult obstacle or for winning a fair fight. These aspects of his character are used to make fun of cliched action shounen tropes like the prebattle speech where a villain will build himself up by announcing all of his powers titles and feats of strength while becoming even stronger in the process and because Saitama doesnt really care he just wants his opponent to get on with it so he can see if they can bring him some type of challenge. And as the fight starts it immediately ends resulting in a pretty hilarious moment for us and a very disappointing moment for Saitama This starts to change however when a young cyborg called Genos comes into his life. Genos is more like your traditional action shounen MC. He has your typical tragic back story which is told in a very comedic manner the will to punish all evildoers and the desire to become stronger. After an altercation with a villain Genos asks Saitama to become his master to help him become stronger. After this they start interacting more with each other which triggers a change in both of them. Genos learns Saitamas heroic values like if the heroes run who is left to help? which both show that Saitama his a genuine hero and change Genos attitude for the better helping him become a better hero. Another thing that their interactions bring is happiness and fulfillment to Saitama. which promotes what the show is trying to communicate which is that what brings us the most joy in our lives isnt our personal achievements but the connections we make with other people getting to know them spending time with them etc.. I personally love this message because it tries to encourage us the audience to do the same as Saitama and spend time with the people that we care the most about or even form new relationships. This behavior is further encouraged by the various scenes that have our characters just spending time together and chilling. I have been talking about the heroes for a while now but dont think that the villains get any less attention. Most of the villains are well written in the way that they are more than just obstacles for Saitama to crush they have their ambitions wishes they develop through the course of the series and further explore the themes of the series. The biggest example of this is the main villain of the season Boros who in terms of his goals is quite similar to Saitama in the sense that he is also looking for something or someone that can end his monotonous and boring life and give him the fulfillment that he so desires but the way that each of them approaches the problem is quite different since Saitama waits for an opportunity to fill the gap while Boros goes looking for it at the expense of everything else making them foils of one another. This subplot is even used to comment on the nature of prophecies in literature more specifically anime where the protagonist and the antagonist are destined to fight each other in a battle for the ages which gives Boros hope that someday his existence will feel complete but the fight ends with Saitama unsurprisingly defeating Boros in an impossible match where even though Boros was able to use the full extent of his powers and give his all satisfying himself at the moment he ended the fight feeling unsatisfied since he never had a chance of achieving success which made the fight completely void of any tension or that feeling of accomplishment that Boros desired so much. The same can be said of Saitama who also left the fight feeling unsatisfied and to add insult to injury was unable to use a big part of his power feeling even less accomplished. This plotline did an amazing job of humanizing Boros which I enjoyed. Some of the other villains were also very interesting because of the way they interact with Saitama. Villains like Sonic Hammerhead and Genus The scientist try to justify their actions with your typical shounen antagonist motivation like fighting for just causes social injustice evolution and honor but when these come in contact with Saitama who is relatively pure with his intentions sees right through these charades and brings out their true feelings which turn out to be as pure as Saitamas which I found to be very interesting since it also has to do with the theme of fulfillment. I think that is enough discussion about characters. Lets talk about the story. The story in terms of complexity is quite simple so far with not that many things happening as of now but it does do a great job of planting the seeds for coming character arcs and plotlines some in a pretty obvious way and others in a more subtle manner. But what I liked most was the social critique aspect of the narrative which does a great job of condemning various parts of Japanese society like its mentality of work exist only as a cog in the machine and forsake any personal interest or dream. These thoughts are expressed in a scene where a newsreader asks an expert as to the why the amount of unmotivated young people has been rising and the expert states that it is because of the influence of irresponsible song lyrics that motivate the populous to follow their dream instead of its unhealthy mentality of only acting for the whole. This shows the disconnect between the old generation and the young generation. Another aspect that OPM criticizes is the ungrateful nature of the population towards heroes who are unable to perfectly fulfill their roles due to hardship focusing only on the bad side of their results and immediately calling them useless and incompetent. This is probably one of the aspects I admire most about One Punch Man since these kind of problems are ones that should be treated with utmost importance and making more people realize these problems is essential to the process of resolving them. Ok that is it for the story now let us talk about the animation and the visuals. Without a doubt one of this shows best aspects is the animation. Every episode is filled with expertly drawn and animated action set pieces and character animation which gives the show an extreme amount of entertainment value for everyone who enjoys a good fight or something that is just a pleasure to look at. The backgrounds may not be super original but all of them are detailed and without any noticeable mistakes. The sonic aspect of this anime is also great with a bombastic soundtrack created by Makoto Miyazaki having a great variety of rock electronica and orchestral tracks that fantastically elevate the hype and emotional moments. The sound design is great with it feeling very punchy massive and impactful. The voice cast also did a great job with solid performances by everyone be it the main or support cast. To conclude I would say that a greatly enjoyed OPM from start to finish and that from now on Im gonna start reading the manga. Just dont watch season 2.
97 /100
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