REVIEW: One Punch Man
One Punch Man was one of the first programs that showed me anime was bigger than Dragon Ball and Pokémon. A single look at the opening title and I knew I was going to love it. An episode later I was more than in love, I was inspired. The only reason it wasn't in my last YouTube video was because I was trying to keep things around 10 minutes long.
So what’s it about?
Well, OPM follows Saitama. A balding guy who’s so powerful he can destroy just about anything with a single punch. Being this skilled, he naturally falls into a state of pure boredom.
When you can subvert all your obstacles with a nonchalant knuckle sandwich, what’s the point?
Luckily his newfound cyborg apprentice and a few deals at the supermarket are here to bring some motivation to the plot.
Aesthetically, One Punch Man is in a league of its own. The visual design cascades like a Norse river god as the music explodes into fiery wonder. The animation dances an acrobatic salsa between realism and surrealism, never favoring a single partner, but treating each with respect and dignity. The colors are a boxing glove of gorgeous connecting at just the right moment to KO the match. Its excellent, suburb, splendid, and a bunch of other words for really freakin’ good.
But One Punch is more than pretty pictures set to metal music.
The themes writer One brings to the table are fresh, universal, and for me, often poignant. OPM acknowledges the drudgery of life and meets that lethargy with hope for a fulfilling future.
Feeling like you’ll never live up to the people you respect? This show is for you. Feeling like your social system doesn’t reward honesty or true talent? This show is for you. Feeling generally low, tuckered out, or sick of the malaise that comes with living day to day existence? This show is for you. We all need a reminder that life is special sometimes, and with this show, you get that and more.
The jokes don’t always land, the character development isn’t always earned, and (like with most anime) a focus on worldbuilding makes for a muddled plot that could have paid off better. But even with its flaws, the good is so blindingly good, I barely even noticed the bad.
This show is a joy. A beautiful, smart, amazing joy, that was 100% created with its audience in mind.
Check it out when you get the chance.