As my regular readers will already know, I’m pretty across the board when it comes to interests and knowledge. Heck, I studied Ninjitsu (like legit wanted to find a dojo and read up every book I could find by Steven K. Hayes on the subject…still own the books too). And later in life (and somewhat still) want(ed) to learn Aikido. My dad was a third degree Black Belt in Karate and I was dragged to no few competitions. So the actual art of fighting is no stranger to me. I know that it is usually a fictional situation but I appreciate when actual research is applied even in fantastical situations. Though, I do love it when a writer pokes well thought out fun of some of the fighter manga’s and animes with their fantastical claims.
In the realm of anime though there are so many that it almost makes it impossible to choose. But If I HAD to I think I’d have to go with One Punch Man.
Yes it’s a new one from this past season. But it hit all the right points for me. Honestly I was torn between Ranma 1/2 and this one. However the lack of harem elements and the, strangely, relatable Saitama, made it a winner.
For those of you who are somehow not clear on what this ‘One Punch Man’ is about it’s actually pretty simple. An out of work salary man decides to become a Hero instead. He lives in an alternate world in the immediate future where monsters attack constantly. After about a three years of simple at home strength training we return to a now bald Saitama who is OP as crap. Some how, with the simple workout, Saitama has the ability to punch strong enough to change the weather patterns across half the globe.
Yeah you read that right.
Ridiculous? Yes, absolutely.
Hilarious? Oh yes.
But Saitama is a wonderful protagonist. He’s crazy powerful but balances out, in a wonderful display of character creation, by being VERY normal. Though the normalcy pops up at the strangest times to artfully contrast the present events. So how does this work? He makes a point of emphasizing that he’s “human.”
Genos, his foil and ‘pupil’ in this series actually makes a comment saying: “I didn’t think we’d be running the whole way.”
Saitama: “How else are we going to get there?”
Genos: “I was sure you could fly or something.”
Saitama: “Human’s can’t fly, you know.”
And if he’s OP and kills just about anything with “One Punch” how could this be considered a “fighting” anime? Because actually, many of the fights occur with other characters that are intentionally placed around him allowing action to remain constant and the ‘joy of the struggle’ in a battle and not a chain of one hit kills.
For example Genos his “pupil,” usually has extremely intense battles, often getting nearly destroyed in the process.
He’s drawn like a typical ‘hero’ and has all the struggles of one:
- He has a life mission
- The tragic past which spawned the life mission
- the drive to better himself to obtain that life mission
- He is intelligent (book-wise at least) and capable in a fight
- He has the ‘looks’ as polls state
- And he’s a ‘student’ under a ‘master’ attempting to become stronger.
- He gets his butt handed to him on a regular basis…and usually in spectacular style, but still gets back up. Willing to risk his life for the greater good.
He’s like a walking Cliche. A lovable one though. He’s even drawn like you’d think a “hero” should look…mean while our real hero…well contrast them your self:
The contrasts between the two main characters continue constantly. Though it’s Saitama who is the One Punch Man. He’s very much bored with being so over powered. Fights are not a challenge anymore and it’s very clear as he often worries about very mundane things even in the midst of bothersome issues. In this case someone wants to Kidnap Saitama to use him as a test subject. They kind of destroyed his house…he punished them immediately for that move and said exactly what I would say in such a situation…
Then after they deal with the immediate situation find out WHY they were attacked Genos says that the best tactically sound thing to do is:
*Saitama agrees and starts to walk off.*
Genos: “Wait you mean now?”
Very…human and mundane concerns.
That’s not all he’s apparently not very good at written tests and might have a bit of a black thumb as his only plant is a cactus which he regularly OVER waters. About the ONLY time he gets riled up was when he thinks an opponent might actually give him the good fight he has been denied since his new-found strength.
But he still makes mistakes..very mundane ones that we all do. And, well due to the fact that no fight is really worth his while the mundane things are of a much bigger issue to him.
There are many more reasons why I love this series but Saitama himself is my MAIN reason for loving this series. He is surrounded by colorful characters that are each funny and quirky in their own right but without Saitama, this series wouldn’t really shine.