If My Hero Academia is an example of a superhero show that takes itself very seriously, One Punch Man is a superhero anime that is the thing furthest from. Irreverent, super meta, and deliberately ridiculous, One Punch Man stands at the opposite end of the super hero spectrum as it’s own weird little masterpiece.
Be advised, the show is violent, the humor can be suggestive, and is often dark. Like most anime it’s not meant for children. It’s most definitely an adult show with adult humor so if you’re shocked or disgusted by viscera or suggestive sweatshirts worn by our bald protagonist you should stick to safer, less edgy anime.
The story centers around the day-to-day life of Saitama, the world’s most powerful superhero for fun, able to beat any foe with one simple punch. You’d think being the most powerful superhero would make any one confident, and enthusiastic about their job, however Saitama is gripped by a deepening existential crisis about his purpose. Now that he is the most powerful, defeating run of the mill villains just holds no interest for him anymore. He’s desperate for a challenge, wanting to rediscover the passion he had that led him to become a super hero in the first place and yet is continually disappointed by the caliber of the baddies constantly invading the cities he roams.
One Punch Man knowingly and repeatedly jabs at both the hackneyed super hero and fighting anime tropes that come with with the genre. The characters are glorious caricatures that would be well appreciated by any viewer even mildly familiar with anime classics like Dragon Ball Z, Fairy Tale, Naruto, and other overly long melodramatic action anime. Visual gags, and understatement are where this show truly shines, and where the vast majority of it’s laughs come from.
In between the laughs it asks some truly deep questions about the what it means to get exactly what you desire, and the resulting ennui that follows. It also follows the line of most action anime to it’s logical conclusion and asks it’s contemporaries in the genre if perhaps there should be a greater goal for a protagonist than discovering the next ultra-mega powerful power attack to defeat the next biggest baddest baddie that follows the last. The end result being a hilarious, entertaining comedy that will keep you laughing from the beginning of the first episode through the very end of the last episode of season 1.
The show’s almost instantaneous success has made talk of a season 2 a reality. The release date as of right now is still unknown.
If One Punch Man sounds entertaining to you, it can be streamed on Netflix.