OP Sequence

OP: 「THE HERO !! ~Okoreru Kobushi ni Hi wo Tsukero~」 (THE HERO !! ~怒れる拳に火をつけろ~) by JAM Project

“The Strongest Man”

「最強の男」 (Saikyou no Otoko)

Meet the Hero – Saitama:

At last, the most anticipated anime of the season (and possibly of the entire year) is here. Expectations were high, but did it deliver? Hell yeah. Although I don’t read the source material on a regular basis, I’m already quite familiar with ONE’s webcomic origins and Murata Yusuke’s incredible artwork – the fusion between the two has created an acclaimed manga, and in turn an anime that’s bound to be even more popular.

At the centre of it all is our main character: Saitama (Furukawa Makoto). He’s an oddball, but given the odd world that he inhabits, he feels like the perfect protagonist. Whether he’s lacking detail in his regular look, channeling a more normal appearance in the past, or looking damn epic in his fighting form, Saitama is certainly a unique protagonist. Not only is he witty and relatable (how many felt a pang in their chest when he mentioned flunking a job interview?), but he’s also an unbelievable powerhouse.

As with any classic superhero, he’s got his own backstory. It may not be the most tragic or emotional tale, but it’s certainly amusing and helps flesh out his character – throughout this episode we see he has his incredible highs, terrible lows, and his mundane middles; seeing him in all those states shows that there is light and shade to his character, making him that much more likeable. Many may already pin One-Punch Man as the best of the season, but I’d also claim, with confidence, that Saitama is likely the best main character you’ll see from this upcoming fall.

He’s relatable but so beyond measurable parameters that it’s hard to compare him to anyone else – that being said, I suspect we may have to throw him into the Goku vs Superman debate. I think he may be able to trump them both; after all, as the title says, he is the One-Punch Man. One punch is all it takes for him to decimate his opponents, and as epic as that is for us as viewers, for Saitama it’s boring. Those mundane middles that I mentioned are what we saw for most of the episode, and whilst the incredible battles scenes were what will have most people talking, I found the ‘boring’ consequences to Saitama’s gift to be my favourite parts of the episode. At first I thought it would just be played for gags (which it is, and to great success), but there were moments where I felt sympathetic for this incredibly overpowered superhero and his strange predicament. I was totally fooled when the Subterranean battle was revealed to over-exaggerated, as it was all in Saitama’s head. The fact that he dreams about fighting an opponent that he could actually consider ‘strong’ is both amusing and depressing at the same time, and I loved the mix of emotions I was left with after that scene.

Various Ridiculous Opponents:

Without a doubt, the Subterranean battle was the most epic moment of the episode – one long, action-packed, constantly moving sequence of punches, kicks, leaps, and bloody eruptions. You couldn’t ask for a better fight to set the tone for the series, even if it all ended up a dream in the end. I did get a kick once the real threat was revealed (and easily quelled) at the end of the episode, but as I said above, the mixed emotions in me is something I didn’t expect from One-Punch Man, yet for that very reason I’m even more excited for future episodes.

In this episode alone we had the ridiculous crab villain from three years past, the DBZ-inspired alien set on exterminating humanity, and a mad scientist and his massively powerful brother. It was a mix of weird and wonderful, and I can’t wait to see what else waits around the corner.

Madhouse & Quality:

When it was announced that Madhouse would be the studio behind One-Punch Man, I think everything breathed a massive sigh of relief. After that initial announcement, expectations were high, and for very good reason. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed with what we got in this premiere, and I find it difficult to believe any others could/would be. What we got looked amazing – the fight choreography puts many other shounen battle anime to shame (though I understand this is a parody of the genre and for that reason it can get away with exaggeration and going that extra mile without worrying too much about ‘realism’). Saitama’s punches felt earth shattering, the destruction of the cities were brutal, and the explosions were seriously impressive; but in the imaginary fight with the Subterranean, I adored the use of scale in showing how small Saitama was in comparison, yet proving that he’s still powerful despite his size. The zooming in and out throughout the action was something we don’t see too often in action anime, but I suspect not many could do it as well as One-Punch Man did this episode.

Overview – First Impressions:

While the first episode was pre-aired almost a month ago now, I managed not to give into the temptation and waited for the official release to watch it in its full HD glory, and I’m glad I did! Everything looked amazing, and Saitama is already a brilliant main character that I feel everyone can (and will) get behind. I’m interested to see all the villains he has to face, as well as all the other characters that are yet to make an appearance. It must be lonely at the top, so I do hope Saitama finds others more at his level to push him as far as he can go. Count me hyped!.

In other news: I posted an Anime Summer 2015 Review on my personal blog. Feel free to check it out and see what I thought of the past season – I even ranked all 24 shows I watched in order from worst to best.

ED Sequence

ED: 「Hoshi Yori Saki ni Mitsukete Ageru」 (星より先に見つけてあげる) by Moriguchi Hiroko


    1. Ah, Mari Okada. I respect what she’s accomplished as a writer for anime- but I absolutely cannot stomach her style of melodrama. Something about how she tends to throw all notions of probabilistic plausibility out of the window and induces drama through piling up one unlikely heart-wrenching event/element after another. What she does is an art, and she’s really good at it. But I have an acute sense of awareness for probabilistic plausibility, I guess, and so her style of writing is completely immersion breaking for me. Instead of feeling sympathy for the misfortune of her characters it makes me go, “Really? This is ridiculous and contrived. It would never have happened this way irl!” I like Gundam in general and did watch the first episode of this season’s new series, but I’m wondering if I should bail before my allergy to Okada’s style of writing almost inevitably forcibly ejects me…

      1. Huh? I always thought that there’s always have some sort of drama (queen) in every single Gundam series…


        This looks kind of fun to watch (from a distance). I would have watched it if I wasn’t following (at least) three other series already (jam-packed Saturdays are jam-packed, seeing how WT is only going to continue instead of stop and then start again)

      2. Yeah, Gundam’s always got some drama, but not Mari-style drama. I don’t mind drama in general, just her particular way of doing it. At this point it’s too early to tell, but once bitten twice shy, you know? I’m thinking there’s like a 95% chance of this season’s Gundam turning out to be something I don’t like, and wondering if with that in mind it’s still worth sticking around for long enough to see if I strike the 5% lottery…

    2. I didn’t like this or Gundam.

      One Punch Man had nice animation but a repetitive series of gags and no characters with any real development. Nice closing theme, I guess? But this was so massively over-hyped…

      Gundam had no characters of interest at all, fights that lacked interest, and mustache-swirling baddies with no charisma. I guess it might appeal if you like muscular shirtless boys, which is fine … but at least Gundam Wing’s had personality and great music.

      1. If only they can build King a robot as strong as a fighting game protagonist that is controlled by a gamepad, King would wipe the floor of everything for real.

        But he will have to call himself King (of Videogames).

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

  1. “It must be lonely at the top, so I do hope Saitama finds others more at his level to push him as far as he can go. Count me hyped!.”

    Did you miss the message behind this episode? Villains that can give Saitama a hard time? In your dreams.

  2. Man, what a nutty, crazy show!
    (Don’t spoil, please) but I wonder how much of this is just in his head!
    Tell ya, the artwork gets a little 5th grade-ish is some spots, but it
    manages to pull it off. Outro theme is pretty nice, too.

    I’m not quite sure how to place this Anime – am I going to follow it?


  3. So sad I saw this episode a few week’s back, have to wait another week now for new material now.

    Will say though the Piccolo cameo won me over before the show even got started though 😛

  4. One punch is all it takes for him to decimate his opponents, and as epic as that is for us as viewers, for Saitama it’s boring.

    And that plus a well-executed, tried and true, traditional, randomness invoking, distinctly Japanese style of comedy common to older series such as Kinnikuman and Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is all there is to this series. It’s good, on the basis of the strength of those elements alone, but then what else? Looking back at those previously mentioned older works, I think a repetitive plotline is a problem inherent to this style of comedy, though not an unsolvable one, mind you- all three of these battle-comedies are basically just “Fight silly enemy, rinse and repeat”- over the backdrop of a paper-thin plot. Comedic-mechanically strong stories with a weak plot in the style of OPM have been around forever- OPM, aside from its hook of Saitama being Uber-OP does nothing to distinguish itself from its predecessors. It doesn’t innovate and makes no attempts to remedy the flaws inherent to its style.

    This is where something like Gintama shines over OPMGintama’s a comedy, and I think lots of folks would agree that it’s a pretty funny one too. So is OPM. But where OPM just goes through its motions every arc over the backdrop of its weak, simplistic plot, Gintama’s comedy is backed up by an epic tale of dramatic political intrigue. And Gintama makes it work. You’d think such serious themes would ruin the comedy but it really doesn’t and the series is still highly popular to this day (Although it seems to be winding down, in preparations to end).

    Gintama’s style of comedy is admittedly slightly different from OPM’s in the sense that it doesn’t rely on silly battles with silly enemies to be funny, but the contrast is still striking. One manages to be absolutely hilarious while also having an interesting plot- but the other, while also absolutely hilarious doesn’t even try with its plot. Battle comedy or not, clearly, it is completely possible and viable to have your cake and eat it, you don’t have to forgo having a plot to be funny- and when you don’t even try, ala OPM, especially with an abundance of extant older series in the same style like Kinnikuman and Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo to learn from, I as a critic hold that against you as a writer. You could have tried harder- but chose not to. What you came up with may have been good in spite of taking the easy road, but still, you lose points. And that is why I feel in spite of the strength if its comedy OPM is far from anime’s comedic second coming- it’s just a thoroughbred one trick pwny that does one thing really well (Comedy) in the same way over and over and over again- at the expense of most all other elements.

    Incidentally, I think reading OPM’s writer ONE’s other serialized work Mob 100 Psycho cements my point, and should allay any concerns about Gintama’s style of comedy allowing it more leeway to work with its plot than OPM’s style allows. It started serialization some time after OPM and features the same hook- an invincible protagonist (Only due to psychic powers rather than physical superiority this time around) fighting silly enemies. And there are whole arcs dedicated to things like character development in this one, for the protagonist Mob and even side characters like Reigen. Overall, I’d say that Mob 100 Psycho is, from a critical perspective, actually a significantly better series than OPM– but less popular as the novelty of the hook had been mostly spent on OPM by the time Mob 100 Psycho was released. It has more well-developed characters, and rests upon the foundation of a real, solid plot (Mob’s coming of age story [Maybe not the best plot, but leaps and bounds ahead of OPM– lots of points for effort!])- on top of being just as strong as OPM in the comedic-mechanical department…

      1. “Bug” is slang for the white text a lot of networks use to identify which channel you’re on (used to cause burn-in on old plasma TVs). The version of OPM I saw had the distributor’s name in the upper right corner for the whole time, and it was too bright, so I noticed it the whole time. Maybe it was just where I was watching it, but it was annoying as hell. -_-

  5. Honestly, I started reading this manga on the recommendation of a friend and found it a bit bland. It made me laugh at first, but the main issue I had is that at least as far as I got (which was 50 chapters or something, I don’t remember exactly) it’s one joke. It’s a funny joke, but it still gets a bit old.

  6. Looking for OP main character? Look no further! Baldness has never looked so epic!
    And with the heavy metal accompanying earth shattering fight scenes, this is bound to be the anime of the year!
    And yes, I loled hard XD

      1. Just that fact that he say’s what part of the audience is feeling when watching those shows with OP MCs makes him an infinitely better character ;3 I wonder if One Punch Man’s gonna be taking shots at Stu characters every now & then.

        Manly Tear
    1. SHAFT would like to speak to you.

      (In all seriousness, the screen shots look glorious *still yet to watch the episode!* but no doubt it will blow me away, no pun intended!)

  7. alin
  8. Yeah, this premiere didn’t really sell me that well. It was kinda funny how he’d defeat a villain in a single blow, but the premise got old faster than expected. I’m going to assume that it was because he was facing no-name villains who couldn’t even hold a candle to him. Since I greatly enjoyed the dream sequence, I think once some notable villains will decent powers shows up, it’ll start to get good, even if he can beat them in a single blow(if said villain doesn’t play keep-away first).

    1. It gets a lot more interesting. I think the first volume was really shaky in terms of writing, as we saw with the first three fights at how paper thin the set up was, and the anime ended up fleshing parts out to fill it in a bit. They extended the subterranean dream sequence battle a whole bunch too.

      though not sure how I felt about the filler parts, Show Spoiler ▼

      Frog? No. Hippo!
    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      1. And here I am wondering how much will be left of Japan when the anime ends. Several cities have been wrecked in episode 1 alone. So many collateral damage and loss of life.

        He is bored looking for some stronger enemy, but couldn’t immediately stop the monster of the week a sequence from rampaging and wreaking havoc.

  9. Interesting, I was wondering how they were going to translate the first vol. into 1 episode – they didn’t. I’m not surprised they had to flesh it out and add a bit of filler to it. Though after the first vol. it picks up quite a bit.

    Frog? No. Hippo!
  10. Ah, so he is here at last! Great way to start.

    For those who are afraid that this will be a one-joke style of comedy, I can assure you: fear not. True, Saitama is a “one-joke” kind of character, and if he was all the series is about, it would certainly be boring after a couple of episodes. However, the real strength from this series comes from its large cast of characters, especially the heroes, that give life to the setting.

    Those who know names such as King or License-less Rider will understand what I’m talking about.

  11. From a manga reader’s point of view, I’m surprised that the anime gave more emphasis on
    Show Spoiler ▼

    ..since the manga made it feel more like his punches were all from brute strength
    Show Spoiler ▼

    ..so I’m surprised that they are pushing this assumption for anime-only viewers. But I guess with 12 eps, they may be doing this for plot’s sake since the manga’s focuses on a lot of monster battles
    Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Yeah his detachment is one thing quite different since I believe that among all characters, readers get the least bit of monologue insight from Saitama himself. Most of the time it’s the other characters that push the story forward with Saitama usually being in the back seat until the battles itself where spotlight is on him. So the manga lacks in this development for the protagonist. So I guess one way to push that focus besides the fights, is to give him a voice in these situations.

    1. Really? I always found the manga to have a subtle but constant message of Saitama’s rather melancholy state over his power.
      He does state more then once that he doesn’t get the same thrill out of being a hero as he did in the past. He became too strong to even enjoy his hobby, which has led him to an existential crisis of sorts.
      He even compares doing his super hero work to be about as exciting as going Grocery shopping, and we see that even this comparison is flawed seeing how seriously he treats special sales.

      1. While true, they certainly don’t focus on it the way this episode does, which is my point, as they give it very little attention in comparison. I wonder if they’ll expand upon it in future episodes.

        Frog? No. Hippo!
  12. I get the sense that the manga is a bit more… surreal. Like jokes pop out of nowhere and it looks like it takes place in an alien world, yet it all makes sense within that world. Here, it just seems like the jokes happen more awkwardly and out of place because everything looks a tad more real with the colors and rendering. Overall though, I will follow this show for a while! Not sure if I’ll continue.

  13. “Okay Vegeta… this is how you should train to become the strongest man in the world. No not that pretentious Adlet, but the absolute strongest of them all. Train your damn hardest until you get bald. So hurry up with your 500G training so I can kill my boredom.”

    Get a hint Vegeta. You’ve training ever since you settle on Earth while OPM simply needed 3 years to be that ridicilously strong.

  14. I feel so blessed having watched this show!!! I never even heard of it til checking this blog (since I don’t really read Manga).

    Yes, as the blog has stated, the protagonist feels very unique and refreshing. Loved every minute of this show. After watching that terrible “The Asterisk War” show I was actually contemplating quitting anime for a bit and taking a break. But this show, along with “Comet Lucifer”, has maintained my interest. Looks like it will be a strong season! For those us not into high school settings we usually have very slim pickings but this season is looking fun. Just need to checkout “Heavy Object” next

    Thanks! Great blog

    Rick Anime
    1. If you didn’t like Asterix, you should watch Rakudai Kishi no Chivalry to wash the taste out. Pretty much identical premise (for first episode, at least), but MUCH better execution (though animation quality is a tad bit less).

  15. Holy shit, now I haven’t read the manga so was just somehow excited about this show based on what I heard about it but it didn’t just met all my expectations, it surpassed them!

    The visuals are impressive, the soundtrack is great, some of the villains seem ridiculously hilarious(dat crab man in underwear) and while I can’t say this for sure after just one episode, but I kind of took part of it as an anime that takes a few shots at those Stu characters or generally overpowered ones. Saitama basically say’s what a good portion of the audience feel’s when watching those: “Fear, tension, joy, anger…I don’t feel them anymore.”

    I’m so fcking hyped for the next ep!

    Manly Tear
  16. … Don’t ask me why, but I couldn’t help but imagine how it would be if Madarame Ikkaku’s bankai turned him into Saitama… cue Aizen and Yhwach getting pwned IN ONE PUNCH!

    Weird D
  17. Have to next time I have to read a “insert name” is over powered complaint refer them to this show. No the hero is not overpowered in a story they are at the power level needed for the story to work. Why the terms Mary Sue and Gary Stu only really work with fan fiction where the character is actually inserted into a story in fan fiction more powerful than story needs.

    Liked it but not that much.

  18. Overlord? Ainz-sama is also OP.. It become boring if there are no nearly equal Enemys, or at last ones that let the Hero sweet a little

    So Ainz-sama must fight an Guardian of his own Castle, to find entertainment

  19. I think people will end up seeing this is more a comedy-action show as opposed to straight action, with the side characters driving a lot of the plot more than Saitama, unless they really try to fill in his characterization, which I sort of hope they don’t, as they don’t need to do it either.

    Frog? No. Hippo!

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