- Create your superhero.
- Give them a disgustingly tragic back story to ensure your audience cry hot, messy tears when rooting for said superhero.
- Give them flaws, weaknesses or some form of phobia at least. Anything! Your superhero can't be invincible!
- Give them a rocking hot body, a super cool super suit and perfect hair that any man or woman alike would be jealous of.
- It is preferable to give them a super sidekick for comic relief. Your superhero can't be saving the day and be funny.
Now that you've created your superhero it is as easy as one, two, three to surround them with a story worthy of the Marvel Universe. Personal, emotional struggles, a considerably attractive love interest and several knock downs before the Ultimate Final Showdown.
Knowing all of this, you'd assume that the extremely popular superhero anime One Punch Man would be following these rules to some extent right? Wrong!
Subverting The Stereotypes
One Punch Man flawlessly executes the reverse format of anything remotely super-powered and yet, manages to exceed all expectations with an anime surpassing the enjoyment I've felt with any super induced film before.
The very bald and very average looking protagonist and 'Hero For Fun' Saitama, has been suited up for three years and he is to put it bluntly; invincible. There is no hundred year journey of meticulously gaining power. There is no hardened Sensei from which Saitama trains under. It is simply him and his marathon runner-esque training regime. Not only that, but as the title of the anime suggests he has the ability to take down any foe with a single punch. There's no exaggeration and as far as we know there is no Achilles' heel flaw in his left eyebrow or the knuckle of the thumb on his right hand.
The unmistakable look, the unwavering expression...there is no denying that this superhero is one of a kind. His design and facial expressions however, are not the singular key to One Punch Man's genius hilarity. As important as it is for him to save the day, this superhero does it with an almost idle nonchalance that is oddly but brilliantly refreshing. Saitama doesn't return home to a penthouse suite or a super superhero laboratory. He lives a very average, mundane life that many of us can relate to.
So let's say our hero, is returning home to his one room apartment, shopping in hand when another of a seemingly endless cycle of monsters appears. Saitama places his shopping down, with one punch disintegrates said monster, picks up his shopping and continues on home.
How is this entertaining? Why don't you get bored within the first five minutes?
Despite Saitama being an anime anomaly, that world still continues to go on without him. It is that world's response and how Saitama deals with conventional anime tropes that creates a wonderful burst of satire. He does not want to know his more attractive sidekick Genos' tragic back story. He tells him anyway. He doesn't care nor let the villainous monsters spiel into their ego boosting plans and is constantly late to the saving the day party.
FUN FACT: Under the pseudonym One, author of One Punch Man started out with just an ongoing web-comic. After going viral his success turned into a popular manga and now an even more popular anime series!
One Punch Man would be the average anime if Genos was to lead the series. As endearing and lovable as he is, he falls under the general superhero category complete with the makings of an emotional journey ahead and if Saitama were his sidekick he'd fall perfectly under the guidelines. Except, that is not how this anime works.
The plot lines are not unique in structure therefore are still recognisable and entertaining as many an anime would be. Most of the characters are typical trope following personalities that vary from the old master to randomly placed over powered children but Saitama's presentation and interaction with the world and it's people make this an anime that can't be missed. One that places it in the Top 30 Best Rated TV Shows on IMDb. Enough of my chit-chat and well deserved praise, there's only twelve episodes of this fantastic anime out in the world and you need to go catch up! Immediately! You won't regret it.
How would you rate this anime against all the ones you've seen? What are you looking forward to in the second season? What other anime series should I be watching? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading.