Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Anime RE-Claimed: One Punch Man

So this is one of those animes that I've heard about here and there. While it looked interesting I was SUPER concerned that it's extremely simple premise was going to be convoluted in "animeness". If you haven't read my previous post, this is the definition of "Animeness" What is "animeness"? Animeness as I define it, is taking a simple and interesting concept and needlessly convoluting it to the point where the concept isn't interesting anymore. So what is "One Punch Man" about? "One Punch Man" follows the story of Saitama, a chrome domed guy who's a superhero as a hobby. Saitama has the ability to defeat enemies in (eponymously) one punch and it's awesome.

So let's back up a sec and talk about the concept as a whole. "One Punch Man" is not an action cartoon, not exactly anyway. Rather, it's a parody of action cartoons and that's made PAINFULLY obviously in the 1st episode. We have the setting, Z City getting attacked by a namekian looking creature who calls himself Vaccine Man. Upon meeting Saitama who states that he's a superhero merely as a hobby, Vaccine Man is INSANELY indignante stating how half-assed it is that Saitama's origins as a superhero is vastly inferior to his own origins as a super villain. Vaccine Man was created by the pollution created by man and works to rid the world of humanity which ne deems as a disease. He's showing at Saitama all the while increasing in size, becoming this spiked out behemoth of a monster, and unimpressed, Saitama casually punches Vaccine Man and instantly kills him.

What follows then is the series' actual premise, which follows the tale of Saitama, a man so freaking powerful that he's effectively bored with just how powerful he is. The extremely difficult becomes mundane and the mundane becomes extremely difficult. This is made evident when we see him using his super speed and incredible strength to...kill a mosquito, juxtaposed with a bad ass cyborg named Genos (who by all accounts WOULD be the main character for such a tale) struggling to defeat a humanoid female mosquito mutant. Effectively, the story of "One Punch Man" isn't entirely about Saitama but rather the events that happen around him that he's just unimpressed by simply because of his (quite literal) mind blowing strength.

Saitama fails to recognize the trouble he finds himself in simply because it's all so mundane to him. The series continues to throw the strongest of the strong or random otherworldly invaders and Saitama effortlessly defeats them all without even thinking about it. Genos is the supposed main character and it's his story the drives the plot, he searching for a cyborg that killed his family and after meeting Saitama, agrees to be his disciple (trainee) much to Saitama's confusion. The thing is, Genos has stumbled unto an even greater conspiracy that would alarm most people, especially when Saitama's home is attacked. Once again, Genos is trying to get to get information from a Cyborg gorilla about his origins (The House Of Evolution) and Saitama fighting the enemies simply because he wants them to pay for his roof which they destroyed.

And that's what makes "One Punch Man" so cool. He's the classic bad-ass character without the cheesy one-liners, the recognition of his own bad assery, the intense charisma, impressive appearance and massive confidence. Saitama is everything BUT impressive with his yellow and red combination, white cape, bald head, his average build and height and completely unimpressive origin story. Saitama is above all that and simply just a guy who's super powerful just trying to go through life surrounded by monsters, mutants and other things that the heroes in his location are just incapable of handling. Thus, Saitama is more or less "forced" to go when his services are needed. In the case of Vaccine Man, Saitama, watching the news simply stated "I guess I'll go.". And that's what it's like for him, "I guess I'll go."

"One Punch Man" is GREAT! It's hilarious and Saitama's lack of caring about the massive behemoths he faces in battle is played with all the seriousness it's needs. Saitama's so powerful that he effortlessly and lazily dodges the most intense attack and his expression is so bored that it really captures the series as a whole. I'd greatly recommend "One Punch Man". It's a fun watch, great characters with a great understanding of what it's supposed to be. Check it out! For one modern anime, this one gets a thumbs up for me!

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