Final Thoughts: One-Punch Man

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One of the year’s most highly anticipated anime has come and gone, and if our Top Ten of 2015 is any indication, OPM‘s fists sure left a mark. Read ahead for our more concrete impressions looking back on the past 12 weeks of ONE PUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNCH.

Zigg’s Final Thoughts

It’s kind of rare that I get into pure action shows these days, which makes it all the more remarkable that One Punch Man captivated me the way it did. I think what attracted me to it was less the balls to the wall action (as impressive as it often was) and more the sly, subversive commentary on the superhero genre. OPM is as much comedy as it is action, but what really drew me was how the show manages to blend slapstick goofs with a more clever, cynical take on the action that unfurled before our eyes. What made the show so effective was the contrast of the mundanity and occasional comical grimness of Saitama’s life with the the ridiculously epic fight sequences. Speaking of those fight sequences, they’re truly some of the best we’ve seen on screen over the past couple of years. The show doesn’t always look fantastic but Madhouse really bring the A-game when it’s most needed and the result are some glorious visual pyrotechnics.

OPM isn’t perfect – its comical mundanity occasionally just becomes regular mundanity, and even by the end of these episodes it feels like they’re scrabbling a bit for material. But it’s such a smart idea married to such good execution it’s difficult not to thoroughly enjoy the experience of watching. It’s a rare ‘high-concept’ anime which nevertheless manages to be knockabout fun and slyly self deprecating, and undoubtedly a highlight of 2015.

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Marlin’s Final Thoughts

One Punch Man is a sight to behold. Just after everyone thought Space Dandy showed the best Madhouse had to offer a serial anime, One Punch Man exceeded all of my highest expectations to make one of the most entertaining shows of the entire year. Which isn’t to say action isn’t the only draw, One Punch Man started as a comedy webcomic, and while it doesn’t always find the mark, I always was a sucker for the dissonance between some of One Punch Man’s more dramatic scenes and the absolutely simple reaction faces Saitama would give in return. It’s a show that doesn’t shy away from lampooning some of the Shounen genre’s most ridiculous aspects while at the same time reveling in the intense action that comes from them.

I’ll admit I would have loved this show even more if it had taken an extra episode to compile some of Saitama’s regular hero adventures. Often times these side stories would be some of the best examples of Saitama showing what being a true hero is really about. They don’t tend to be quite as flashy as the mainline chapters, sometimes it’s as simple as saving a single life, but it’s what Saitama says and does that makes you cheer just as much as when he’s taking down vicious monstrosities. It’s understandable they may not have wanted a break in the action, but it was disappointing to not see them integrated anywhere. Still, the fight with Deep Sea King is a great moment in its own right, and I’m glad that that part of One Punch Man’s story was at least able to shine there.

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Iro’s Final Thoughts

From the day I read the One-Punch Man manga for our ancient Random Manga Theatre feature, I knew it’d end up with an anime some day. It was too good, and gaining too much of a fan following, for it to not. The question, then, was if it could hold up to Yusuke Murata’s incredible manga artwork. A quick search can show you his amazing, flipbook-inspired sequences that are more… well, animated than many actual anime (in fact, several chapters were delayed because Murata was busy with animator training). I’m happy to say that Madhouse succeeded, bringing in a medley of animator talent to make One-Punch Man one of the most impressive animation showcases in recent memory. I could look forward to every week, already knowing that the events onscreen would be cool, but curious to see how the staff could top themselves.

It was just fun to watch One-Punch Man and share it with others, the way a pulpy action show ought to be. I’ve been able to recommend it to multiple people who are unfamiliar with anime and see them actually enjoy it, and that is a rare thing indeed. It may not happen as often as I’d like, but it’s still nice to know that something genuinely good can become as popular as One-Punch Man.

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Gee’s Final Thoughts

In a time when fandoms grow increasingly attached to cheap power fantasies extolling the virtues and strengths of their chosen bland light novel champion, One-Punch Man is a glorious counterargument to it all. Seemingly designed to be the definitive end to any, “who would win” argument, One-Punch Man manages to blend its action spectacle with surprisingly biting satire. As a longtime fan of the manga, I was skeptical if Madhouse could bring the firepower to give it the adaptation it deserved. While it certainly stumbled in some places, One-Punch Man is for the most part, a fantastic adaptation. When running at full speed, the animation is some of the best I’ve seen all year, perfectly capturing the intensity and kinetics of a man who can end any fight in a single punch and the increasingly powerful individuals he hangs out with. Ending at a perfect point, One-Punch Man is the adaptation that knows when to stop and end at a high point. As Marlin mentioned, perhaps the only thing missing from the equation are the side chapters that focus on Saitama’s more mundane, but equally compelling acts of heroism. Still, in a world where nihilistic fantasies are considered the norm, to see something as wholly pure as One-Punch Man thrive is a reminder why I haven’t given up on the medium just yet.

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