What They Say:
Saitama only became a hero for fun, but after three years of special training, he finds that he can beat even the mightiest opponents with a single punch. Though he faces new ene-mies every day, it turns out being devastatingly powerful is actually kind of a bore. Can a hero be too strong?
Reviewing the DVD version which was set up in Stereo 2.0 in both Japanese and English instead of a 5.1 release is still an acceptable quality but a bit of tinkering of the volume was needed to make it of an acceptable quality, though there weren’t any issues in terms of the sound being out on sync with the subtitles or the video. A good dub combined with no issues with the subtitles synching also helped out a lot as this is good in both languages, as both are quite fun to listen to.
The video is of a decent quality, with no noticeable issues with lag or video in poor resolution during viewing – it actually considering the series is fairly recent feels like a Blu-Ray release, being very colourful combining CGI and traditional animation plus the high intense action and the changes of art style (especially with Saitama), there are no delays with timing with subtitles with animation in either language or slowdown with normal rates or via pausing where the animation can become fuzzy. (Very good considering the fight animation)
There was no packing for this test release.
Animation of Saitama punching the screen, turns into a drawing of him (disc 1), Genos (2) and Borus (3) – clips of the show on the top right with sign below – Play All, Episodes, Audio, Extra. The selections are fast and whilst not Blu-Ray level transition well, combined with that high energy opening song literally punching you in, it is a solid and eye-opening menu. All choices are easily made and selectable and you can return to the main menu swiftly from the show.
Extras are varied and spread out over the three discs. Each one has 2 of the OVAs (6 in total) revolving around something that happened after one of the episodes – the first one is Genos trying to figure out how Saitama gets so strong (leading to a hilarious and serious grudge over a particular French fry), a mob war that coincides with a sale at the supermarket (trust me, Sales are SERIOUS BUSINESS in OPM), an episode with Sonic training after his loss to Saitama, Bang trying to convince Saitama to train at his dojo, Fubuki’s group getting a day in the limelight with them never getting any publicity, and a murder mystery of Zombieman (who cannot die) which of course have a rather comical ending. They are about half the length of a regular episode and whilst not plot worthy, are comical and do delve into the insides of characters that aren’t Saitama.
Disc 1 has the clean opening, and also an interview with Chikashi Kubota, a.k.a the character designer and animation supervisor – talking about his work on all the episodes, his background/past, , reproducing the manga-ka’s drawings into animation/3D without changing his style whilst you see some clips of his drawings. These interviews are short (about 8 to 12 minutes) but are fun and surprising extras considering we don’t get much in terms of Japanese content with extras.
Disc 2 has the clean ending, and here we have a cast interview with people who worked on both the English dub and the Japanese – it is basically a Q&A, like was it difficult to do the voice of Saitama was asked to Makoto Furukawa (voice of Saitama) and Max Mittelman (English voice of Saitama), and similar VA questions to Robbie Daymond (voice of Mumen Rider) Zack Aguilar (Voice of Genos) and Erik Scott-Kimerer (voice of Speed-o-Sound Sonic), whilst what was the hardest part in directing and producing the show to Shingo Natsume (Director) and David Casipit (English Dub Producer) with everyone asked about what is the core to Saitama’s character and who is he…which is something no mortal person I think could answer…
Disc 3’s final extra is an interview with Jam Project, who made that kick-ass opening theme song. They talk about what Jam means, (both literally and how it represents them) creating the theme song, composing for anime, influence to make anime theme tunes from growing up, and generally being very fun in an informal setting. I’ve heard many JAM Project songs over the years (considering how many friends I know who love the Super Robot Wars franchise I pretty much have to, but for me, it’s always the Scrapped Princess opening ^^).
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It is near impossible to have not heard about this series in the anime community. It was like on the level of Naruto, Bleach, Full Metal Alchemist in popularity, a popular shonen style series with an ongoing manga. I actually avoided watching it because my mentality is if it is popular, chances are I’m going to nit-pick with it, but eventually of course it would get a licence, and the UK also notices the popular ones, so it gets a licence.
What I was surprised when looking into it though was whilst the manga is ongoing, this really popular series only has one season as of this writing so means for the moment, this is it for the anime. So…with this in mind, does it warrant the hype?
The show starts as I expected – a monster is wrecking havoc in a city and before he kills a young girl, a bald headed man in yellow with a cape comes up and saves her…by obliterating the monster with one punch. This is Saitama, who as you can guess from the title can beat anything with just one punch, basically being Superman and Goku in one package…
…and is bored because it is way too easy. We see a flashback where he wanted to become a hero after saving a boy from another monster and training afterwards, and now is too strong for anyone. He dreams of challenge, and yet never comes. For some reason though monsters seems to always visit his city and neighbouring cities, so there are other ‘heroes’ around (we later learn there is a hero association). One of these is Genos, a cybernetic man is fighting against a monster named Mosquito Girl, whilst Saitama is just getting annoyed by one particular mosquito. Genos is very strong but Mosquito Girl is able to inhale a lot of blood drained from her children so nearly kills Genos…
…so of course Saitama beats her in one punch. I do enjoy the fact it seems to parody and mock general superhero or shounen tropes with Genos wanting to become his disciple, and when explaining his back-story, Saitama gets bored instead of being invested or saddened by it. He does agree but seems very disinterested – however more monsters from somewhere called the House of Evolution become interested in Saitama’s power, leading to what appears to be a plot arc involving a Doctor named Genus, who wanted to artificially evolve humans, but became annoyed with how the world was coming, so instead uses his research to find the secret to live forever, and in Rei Ayanami syndrome, clones himself multiple times and then uses the same tech to create the monsters of his group (hilariously, Saitama again gets bored when one of the monsters explains this to him) and wants to capture Saitama for his experiments – so he and Genos fight into his tower, where he is forced to use his strongest monster who he can’t control – who in turn senses Saitama’s power and is afraid.
This leads to the running joke/mystery of the series which is how is Saitama so strong. He says it is simply training daily of sit ups, running, press ups, etc which is definitely gruelling for so long…but considering some of the stuff Saitama does later, this seems very illogical. Even Genos calls him out at holding the secret but it is never truly explained hence why you wonder if there is far more due to come out of the show. Anyway, Saitama as expected defeats Kabuto which causes Genus to basically go away, quickly ending this mini-arc.
We get an episode where some bald villains are about basically trying to harp about wanting free stuff because they are unemployed but Saitama is annoyed because they give bald people a bad name, and here we see other heroes involved like Mumen Raider (a weak hero who cycles) and a hired ninja named Speed-o-Sound Sonic, who later thinks he is Saitama’s rival (Saitama couldn’t care less). Saitama of course defeats the Paradisers, but Mumen gets the credit as Saitama realises his ‘being a hero’ for fun thing isn’t really working as he isn’t getting credit for the monsters he slays (but does for the damage he causes – poor guy…) so Genos suggests they register themselves for the Hero Association. Hilariously, they make it in and Genos’ skills make him an S class hero right off the back, but Saitama is a C class as despite clearing the physical part with a perfect score, he isn’t exactly the smartest so nearly fails due to the combined scores being 1 point above the requirement – so he is in the lowest of the low despite his power. And his sempai aren’t happy that he doesn’t really pay attention, so one of them decided to give him some rough love…
Yeah, it goes as well as it expects.
So Saitama is still trying to be a master for Genos, he realises if he doesn’t do good deeds as a C class, he’ll be fired – it leads him to fighting Sonic again, but other C class heroes try to make him look bad (which Saitama actually will use to his advantage as he becomes more into his fellow heroes) – when A Class heroes fail against some more mysterious monsters and call for reinforcements, Saitama just happens to be there after a market sale (another running joke is Saitama takes market sales way more seriously than monsters) and defeats it, but no-one knows it was him.
So then the second half of the series begins to try and bring more plot and things with more characters – the meteorite episode does introduce us to Bang, an S-class hero who is the oldest among the entire heroes but a hugely skilled martial artist, and he and Genos are the only ones who try to stop it as the city evacuates, when others don’t want to work with them (Metal Knight and Amai Mask seemingly the two jerks of the powerful heroes, whilst the 2nd most powerful, a young woman named Tatsumaki is unavailable). What happens in the end is that Saitama is able to destroy the meteorite, but because the shards of it still destroy the city, he is actually blamed for this and people thought Genos/Metal Knight did it so other heroes convince the populace that Saitama is stealing credit for the meteorite destruction as he is a weak C class. Saitama calls everyone out on this saying he just wants to be a hero for the fun of it and doesn’t care about appreciation, with Genos respecting Saitama even more and will step in if it goes too far. And others definitely notice Saitama’s power…
Sea-Folk monsters are next, with the powerful Deep Sea King actually able to defeat several Class A and even an S class hero – Saitama eventually finds out when he finds Mumen King’s phone as he heads over there even though he has no chance, and the association do recognise Saitama’s power so allow him to go help. Genos also holds his own but his weakness (letting his guard down when he thinks victory is assured) bites him again, but before he can get killed, Mumen Rider saves him, though he is quickly defeated. Saitama however sees his bravery and saves him, and then defeats the Deep Sea King easily. What does happen from this is that the crowd sees him, but some of them get snarky and think the other heroes were simply too weak if someone could win in a punch. Saitama actually defends them and pretend that they weakened the King so he could finish it off and take all the credit, taking one for the team. Mumen Rider acknowledges this and is the one person to send Saitama a thank you letter, who also treats Saitama to some food, before the final few episodes do have a plot arc when the Hero Association are informed from a respected fortune teller than the Earth is doomed…
So the last arc is basically an alien invasion – we get to see more heroes as well (Tatsumaki stands out immediately as a psychic and her running gag of looking like a kid), but Saitama is a rare occurrence in being invited to a big meeting with the S class heroes, then the aliens attack right there and then. We get to see a lot of the heroes in action, including Bang, Metal Bat, Atomic Samurai and Puri Puri Prisoner (who had been attacked by Sea King previously, in not the most flattering way). It basically leads to a big fight with the aliens whilst Saitama gets on the ship to find their boss. The boss, Borus, is actually very similar to Saitama as he was also incredibly powerful and getting bored with life so Saitama…hits with one punch….
…and he survives. This is the only fight in the series that Saitama actually takes semi seriously (he wins with a ‘Serious Punch’ instead of a normal one ^^) but it brings us how Saitama is this strong (he gets punched to the moon and survives for crying out loud) and it does bring some things that set up future episodes (Amai is clearly not a good guy as is Metal Knight) but again, yep, it ends there and it feels like…that’s it?
It is the definition of a shounen series, with the fact the hero in question is a tad different due to being ridiculously over powered that the joke is basically everyone gets their licks in, he turns up and wins – and is annoyed because it was so easy. Combined with the fact that we don’t know how he got so powerful (and the show never gives us any other indication apart from his training regime) and it does feel like a parody of superhero types, especially with the hero association and their classes.
Saitama in this case is a rather interesting character because he does not tick the usual tropes, he struggles for money, is insanely powerful, and is clearly not caring for a lot of the clichés, asking people to basically get on with it. He is quite funny as well, and his worries do make for a lot of comedy, especially with the much more serious Genos when discussing his back-story. Add to that the creativity of the monsters, this is almost a glorified monster movie or sentai show with it’s over the top ness.
So do I like it?
Is it a good show?
It is basically a guilty pleasure. Being honest, the show itself has a ton of flaws. There is little explanation on a lot of stuff, not just Saitama’s power, but also why the monsters are there in the first place – it feels like the city and neighbouring ones are magnets for monsters, hence the Hero Association set up. The problem is it doesn’t really give us any hints of why it was set up and why they turn up. Also they clearly set up a character like Amai Mask as being an anti-villain and give him air time, yet he literally brings nothing to the plot, apart from the un-needed execution of some aliens later, and the fact so many interesting looking heroes do appear, and we do get to see some of them in action, it does feel like not enough. Add to that the obvious conclusion of Saitama winning easily (bar the final battle and even then it wasn’t really close, even admitted to by the villain) – though Saitama ironically doesn’t like it hence why he is a bit more interesting as he wants challenges, and he even gets to respect other heroes hence why he almost dumbs down his strength so they save face, whilst Amai is the reverse, an A rank who spits on his S rankers. Genos’ back-story whilst tragic, is almost hand waved after his introduction and whilst he has his moments, he is pretty much just Saitama’s foil in the end. And some of the really interesting characters like Tatsumaki and her sister are footnotes at the moment so it really needs more…
Am aware the manga is ongoing but for such a popular series, it felt like there needed to be more and the fact there isn’t is a bitter pill to swallow. It is such a brain mush of a series I have to love it – action, comedy and a unique lead make this definitely a must watch form shonen fans and even anyone a fan of superhero movies just because of the parody element, I just really hope there is more coming…
One Punch Man – if you are looking for a well thought out series in terms of character and plot development, forget it – so many questions to be answered, so many plot holes and not enough time to fit in all the interesting characters that show up. As a series to just sit back and enjoy, hell yes. It’s stupid, but fun. It’s parodying, but exciting. It is obvious, but that is part of the charm of Saitama. You just wish there is more coming because for now, it feels way too short. *onto the manga purchases*
Exclusive Rigid Box containing 84-page booklet
Includes 6 Uncut OVA Episodes
Special Interviews with the Director, Character Designer and US and Japanese Voice Cast
Interview with JAM Project – The band responsible for the Opening Theme Song, The Hero
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B-
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: A-
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: July 17th, 2017
Running Time: 288 minutes
Video Encoding: 480 i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.