One Punch Man is Absurd, Out-of-this-World Fun! | Hero Week Review

A brief review of the 12-episode fall 2015 anime “One Punch Man,” produced by Madhouse, based on the web manga by ONE (story) and Yusuke Murata (manga art).

Travel back one season from ERASED and you have the anime that etched 2015 in history: One Punch Man. Its grossly over-popular yet dorky concept captivated web manga fans, and when an anime adaptation by THE Madhouse was announced people went hysterical; cosplay, fan art, and “OK.” memes circulated like no other. But what gives OPM a fiery kick like no other, and why do fans gloriously rave about this bald athlete?

In a world under siege by gigantically wacky monsters and bizarre extraterrestrials, Saitama wanted to be a hero. So, he trained ruthlessly for three years, got abs, but lost his hair. Now he has arguably become the world’s strongest hero. Unequivocal strength comes with a price, however, as now all it takes is a single punch—ONE PUNCH—to knock is opponent into next Tuesday. What was thought to be a thrilling and rewarding hobby became tedious and unsatisfactory. Because he defeats his foes in an unbelievably swift manner, people and the media are also unable to credit him properly.

To keep the story fresh, life must change for Saitama. And it does. A cold, brutal, 19-year-old cyborg by the name of Genos stumbles upon the one-hit-wonder’s performance, and urges Saitama to take him as his disciple, admitting he has much to learn from him. Genos then leads his master to the Hero Association, where the two can become certified heroes and *fingers crossed* be officially recognized (and rewarded) for their work saving City Z. As anticipation reignites in odd Saitama’s eyes, he clings to the hope that tougher enemies will head his way, and that one day soon, the people might actually turn to him for help in this chaotic world.

One Punch Man is simple; a tough guy follows his all-powerful master in hopes that the two find excitement in experience, challenge, and fame. While most of the intent is on the explosive battles, much of what people took away from this experience was the comedy, in that it doesn’t try too hard to make us laugh because it’s inherently goofy. The whole scenario of a bald, self-proclaimed hero in a mustard-colored onesie running through the streets yet managing to obliterate any target in one punch is satire in itself. Saitama is an unapproachable fool who defies the typical superhero because he’s an egg-head who exercised a sh*t ton—not receiving any supernatural/monetary help as we know it—to become strong. Since battles are nothing for him, where we see Saitama struggle is against the public eye and the Hero Association’s ranking system itself.

But with the crudely drawn monsters and frankly disgusting defeats, I was turned off by the extreme ends of the repetitive earlier fights. I admit, I thought the anime would run out of steam quite early on, making it just another shounen series out there (but epic-er). Then episode 5 came around—the bout between Genos and Saitama—and I fully realized that this was going to be a good show.

I should applaud Makoto Furukawa’s performance as Saitama because holy crud, how can anyone sound so bland and ordinary yet make me sh*t bricks whenever he opens his dumb mouth?? He really did capture our Egg-head’s nonchalant dialogue, yet appropriately ramped it up for intense battles. I ended up enjoying Saitama as a character much more than I thought I did, for even though he’s clearly the world’s strongest man, he grows as a human in seeking attention and ‘raise’ Genos at the same time. Like the seemingly basic plot, much more development boiled within each emotional scene.

Genos is your typical knight in shining armor (literally, hah!), needing little introduction to sway the crowd in his favor. He’s a straight-up badass cyborg, after all, though he too knows his flaws and overly criticizes himself for the few things he couldn’t do rather than celebrating his accomplishments—there’s always room for improvement. I sympathize with Tin-can on this one. Good thing Genos has a buddy to support him.

We also get to see the variety of heroes, low and high rankings, which are part of the Hero Association. Most A Class top dogs tend to do it for the fame and luxury life, while the C Class underdogs usually put the good of the cause before themselves. Such is the instance of MUMEN RIDER, a “catch-my-flying-balloon” hero who cycles all across the atomically-wrecked City Z to fight evil (even though he’s typically too little, too late). More than that, he represents the “man at the bottom of the totem pole,” and though his arms are weak, his heart burns passionately like a fool trying to stop the rain by yelling at it.

Madhouse. Ah, Madhouse. I’ve seen very little by them, and honestly, the first couple episodes made me cringe more than anything . . . until that episode 5, man, I’m telling you that’s the crazy action I was anticipating from the beginning. Each match just tries to absurdly 1-Up the one that came before it. After that, I was pretty much glued to the screen, appreciating the contrast between Genos and Saitama’s menial routine (hilarious faces and gestures, oh god) and the ridiculously high-octane fight sequences.

A musical score rides side-by-side with the energetic animation. Makoto Miyazaki combines fierce electric guitar rifts with overpowering strings and techno beats to form the definition of “action film music.” Personal favorites include the eerie “Kowa,” the epic “Crisis,” and of course, the “Theme of ONE PUNCH MAN” and its many acoustic and piano renditions. It’s enough to make you want to jump out of your bed each morning, shout a bloodcurdling cry, then proceed with air punches and a billion push-ups.

Where would I be without mentioning the show’s anthem OP “THE HERO!!” by JAM Project? While it alone contains enough awesomeness to serve as a substitute for your morning coffee, I also speak for the ending, “Hoshi yori Saki ni Mitsukete Ageru” by Hiroko Moriguchi. It was just such a nice balance between “GOOD FREAKIN’ MORNING, NOW GO GET ‘EM” and “Welcome back ~ it’s been a long day. Rest.”

HERO WEEK SEGMENT: Archetypical Hero qualities represented by Saitama

(Why not Genos? Because that cyborg fits the formula all too well. With One Punch Man also being an adaption of a longer-running series, we do not know how the overarching story ends. I have taken those bullets out to accommodate this cut-short adaptation.)

I’ve taken a quick trip to Google to provide qualities of the typical hero. Let’s briefly exercise each prompt:

  • Unusual circumstances of birth; sometimes in danger or born into royalty
    • We assume that Saitama is as average as middle-aged upstanding Japanese citizen as you can get.
  • Comes from humble origins
    • Saitama is about as humble as you can get. You’d frequently encounter him at the local convenient store.
  • Leaves family or land and lives with others
    • Again, we don’t know about his family background, but we can guess he lives alone and has bent his life’s goal on becoming a hero for the fun of it.
  • An event, sometimes traumatic, leads to adventure
    • No trauma here. Just a monster-invaded world that needs a hero to combat evil. I guess he trained daily with “100 PUSH-UPS, 100 SIT-UPS, 100 . . .” yeah, enough of that.
  • Hero has a special weapon only he can wield/always has supernatural help
    • Actually, no. This is just a normal dude who exercised like a maniac to be fit.
  • The Hero must prove himself many times while on adventure
    • It’s quite hard for Saitama to prove himself if every challenge just isn’t challenging. Instead, he must be deemed heroic by the public, and as frustrating as that often is, he somehow manages to push through if even just by a tiny margin. He must also prove a worthy master to Genos and a notable hero for the Association, which though humorous at times, it’s all ultimately not enough to bring about complete development (that is mostly due to it being a mere adaptation).

Notice the lack of similarities between typical heroes? Unlike ERASED’s Satoru Fujinuma, who received supernatural help, fought on to improve himself and save others, and even challenged fate, Saitama is a laughing stock, and his anime, the “proclaimed satire of hero genre” is more just for action and comedy than anything. HOWEVER, Saitama still manages to mangle himself into the hero mold—especially by the end—and I only wish we got more. I’m sure much deeper and emotional struggles await ALL of the cast, but based on these 12 episodes, you’ll walk away giggling rather than contemplating heroism and life as we know it, that blah-blah stuff. We like Saitama because he’s different—because he’s a dork.

Watch One Punch Man for the grotesque, energetic, explosive, out-of-this-world action scenes and the natural hilarity and fun that is Saitama. Should neither of those things intrigue you, then it wouldn’t be a crime to skip it (Genos might say otherwise). I had an epic time with the show, and I’ll leave you with an inspiring quote to contrast the nonsense the anime is more infamously known for. One Punch Man is A-“OK.”

“The true power of us human beings is that we can change ourselves on our own.” – Saitama

ZOOM-BANG-POW! These are my thoughts on 9/10 “Caffé Mocha” One Punch Man. As you can tell, I was pretty darn satisfied with what I signed up for. Most people were. Did OPM satisfy your craving for brutal bashing, or did the quirky facial expressions fuel your smiles? You really ought to let me know! Also, do you have any Saitama or Genos-like figures in your life? I’ve known this guy who’s always trying to do the right thing, but his clunky demeanor and unsuspected heroic deeds hardly ever get credited. Haha, the whole situation just makes me laugh, but should I? ‘Till next time everyone,

– Takuto, your host

This is why people are awesome. See? I’m not crazy. He does look like an egg.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Bring it on, 2016

Helloooo everyone, so it’s like 4 AM and the only other person awake in the blogosphere right now is freakin’ mirrorpurple. Figures, right? Anyway, it’s been a long festive day, but the party never stops because HAPPY NEW YEAR, minna!!! If this post doesn’t show my dedication to blogging then I don’t know what will.

I thought I’d keep this short and sweet because ultimately I’ll be another “2015 Year In” post cluttering your reader, and you’ll be like “Dammit Takuto, I can’t even close the lid on this stupid reader.” We’re all thinking it, no need to sugarcoat it (even though that’s all I do in this café).

I just wanna shout THANK YOU from the top of my lungs to all of my café-goers, those quiet and those constantly keeping my mouth running!! I honestly can’t write. I have no experience with it, and I doubt my future occupation (whatever it may be) will involve writing. All I can do, and have been doing, is utilizing the skills I’ve learned through school, working and coping with what I’ve got in hopes that my façade as a “brilliant blogger” holds up and I can contribute to the anime community and chat with all you wonderful people. Also, a café isn’t very fun without visitors, is it? YOU have all been my spark for blogging, and though it’s only been what, a year and a half, my friendships with you (Especially you, yeah, you. You know whom I’m talking about) is priceless.

So why the late post? Well, I didn’t want to wish everyone a happy new year just in case the apocalypse came early, because I got lazy, and because I wanted to be the last aniblogger you heard from. With that, “Happy New Year!”

I have no New Year’s resolution because I think I swallowed it when I downed a dozen mini-red-velvet and buttercream-frosted cupcakes and Oreo truffles that I made with my sister. If that didn’t do it, then the five glasses of sparkling grape juice certainly did.

It’s been a rough year for finding my writing voice, particularly with my reviews, and the hunt is still ongoing. This year, I’d like to find it, so I suppose that would be one resolution. Please excuse the different formats and such. Your feedback fuels my drive, you know?

I don’t want to compile a list of all of my active followers because YOU ALL drop in quite often, and I yearn for every new conversation I can have with all of my dearest friends. To my newest followers and viewers, I am delighted and gracious that you have decided to stick around (I must be doing something right)!! To you, I am Takuto, your host at my anime café. It’s just another tiny nook in the interwebs where I can serve you digital drinks and cakes as my thoughts for what we love – Anime. I would cry, but then I wouldn’t be able to differentiate the cause: My overflowing emotions for all of you or the damn brightness of this laptop screen. Probably both.

Have the Happiest of New Years! I have a strong feeling that 2016 will be a good ‘un!! Let’s aim for a year full of hearty conversations and memorable moments in this little café of mine 🙂 AS ALWAYS, happy Friday, and until next time, I cherish you all more than words can express!! Good night!

– Takuto, your host

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys have apparently prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. Check out my stats if you would like! They may be small compared to others, but I don’t care. I’m hella proud of what we’ve done here 😀 CELEBRATE ~!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Takuto’s 2015 RightStuf Holiday Haul #1

Konnichiwa minna-san! If you purchase anime or manga from RightStuf.com, you’ll probably know that their annual holiday sale cuts the prices of thousands of products just for us fans! Let’s just say I spent way too much . . . Today I have one of possibly two or even three anime/manga hauls, so let’s get to it (I’ll even leave you guys links in case you want to pick up these great titles yourself)!

ef – a tale of memories and ef – a tale of melodies on Blu-ray

First is the hit drama and its sequel that’ll bring you to tears. Ef was one of the first ten or so anime I ever watched, so you can only imagine how long I’ve been waiting to pick this up for a decent price. Being licensed and dubbed by Sentai Filmworks, both halves are normally $35-$45. In this exclusive sale, both halves can be purchased for just $14 each (DVD $12)! That’s $28 for two seasons on Blu-ray! If you don’t like having two collections, however, the recently released complete collection is $35 (DVD $28). Go get ef – You’ll only have emotional breakdowns for weeks after 🙂

2

http://www.rightstufanime.com/ef-A-Tale-of-Melodies-Blu-ray-Complete-Collection-Hyb

http://www.rightstufanime.com/ef-A-Tale-of-Memories-Blu-ray-Complete-Collection-Hyb

Fate/stay night on DVD

I honestly never thought that I’d be purchasing stay night – EVER. I thought it was pretty boring, not bad, just boring. When I noticed that the complete DVD collection was selling for just $10 (Blu-ray $35), I JUMPED ON IT. Licensed and dubbed by Sentai Filmworks, you can own the beloved yet infamous 2006 anime for just $10!

3

http://www.rightstufanime.com/Fate-Stay-Night-DVD-Complete-Collection-Hyb

Fate/ kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA on DVD

WHAT? More Fate for just $10?!? Apparently, and it, too, is complete with an English dub (Blu-ray $25)! I didn’t see myself wanting to own this wacky first-season spinoff either, but for the mere cost of two Starbucks drinks, it’s all yours. I’m starting to realize that coffee is incredibly expensive . . . good thing my digital coffee is FREE, haha!

http://www.rightstufanime.com/Fate-kaleid-liner-Prisma-Illya-DVD-Complete-Collection-Hyb

Girls und Panzer on DVD

While we’ve got the $10-DVD train rolling, here’s the famous “girls x giant-a$$ tanks” anime, or so I’ve heard. Anyway, it’s released by Sentai with an English dub (Blu-ray $25) and the $10-OVA collection is also on sale (Blu-ray $14)! I haven’t picked it up yet, but I probably will here soon. Go get yer some high school girls in a tank. A FREAKIN’ TANK.

4

http://www.rightstufanime.com/Girls-und-Panzer-DVD-Complete-TV-Series-Hyb

Diamond Daydreams on DVD

I’m not really too into romance/dramas unless they have other elements to them, but here’s a little title that I know nothing about. Why’d I pick it up then? IT WAS $5. It was limited edition (well, it’s in a hard thin pack box), English dubbed, and only $5. GUYS – 5 freakin’ dollars! It also had a decent rating on MAL if that counts for anything. Whether it sucks or not, I still think it’s worth the ridiculously cheap price. I hardly ever blind-buy anime, especially one this obscure, but I’ve paid less on a burger than what I just paid here. Check it out before it’s gone!

5I’m a guy . . . Don’t judge . . . Pretty box

http://www.rightstufanime.com/Diamond-Daydreams-Complete-Collection-DVD-Hyb-Thinpak

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That’s all I’ve got for now. Pretty darn good deals, am I right? Whenever my next package arrives, I’ll post another haul post. I hope you enjoyed seeing what I picked up! Do you like anime hauls? Have you picked up any of the things I talked about? Let me know in them comments below, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Cafe Talk #3: Sacrificing My Soul to Simulcasts

Ahh, konnichiwa, it has been a while since I last sat and talked with you guys ~

Everyone in the aniblogger community has been spreading the good cheer about all of the fantastic new 2015 summer shows, yet Takuto hasn’t peeped a word. Why isn’t he speaking to us???

The answer is simple. This season, I wish not to sacrifice my soul to simulcasts. Let me fill you in.

Last spring included the largest amount of simulcasted anime that I have ever followed at one time. I’ve only been watching anime like this for two years now, my first technical simulcasts being A Certain Scientific Railgun S and Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club (two fine anime, might I add), but when you up the count to +7 anime, it can be a bit hard to juggle your thoughts.

Who is this? What is that? WHAT IS GOING ON NOW!?

The season started off phenomenally! There were too many shows with interesting concepts and superb animation that I couldn’t resist myself! It was a free cake eating contest and I was the judge, who could blame me.

But that’s when I made my first mistake.

Best not to mess around with cake . . .

You see, the more shows you add to a watch list, the greater amount of stories you’ll have to keep track of. While it was all fine and dandy for the first five or so episodes, I found myself eventually caring less and less as the season went on. Dan Machi made me ‘hoop and holler’ for more SAO-quality fantasy, but I was sighing more and more by the end. Plastic Memories ripped out my coal-black heart with intense robot x human drama, only to spend all of its remaining tickets, despite the other thriller rides it could have ventured through, on one boring-ass unmemorable Ferris wheel ride.

LITARALLY.

Really? I didn’t even know it had started! AHAHAHA [Gendo Ikari abridged voice]

On top of it all, I feel inclined to not only finish the shows (damn you, completionist me) but to write a review containing all of my thoughts just to feel closure. And unless it’s a rant, it’s quite frustrating to write about a show that was just ‘meh.’ Do you ever feel this way?

Though I had my fair share of disappointment, there were stand out shows like the rather vulgar Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, the enduring Sound! Euphonium, and occasionally more twisted Fate deliciousness. *drooling mouth at production quality*

With all of the confusion stacking up on my plate, I didn’t dare start an already-completed show that had been chillin’ in my dusty backlog. So I stuck it through, thank heavens, and have emerged enlightened! After clawing my way out of the pits of weekly trials, it occurred to me that, and hold your seat folks, here it comes, OH GAWD:

Why don’t I just wait the season out, in the meanwhile start hacking at my back log, and see which shows came out on top from you guys?

*gasps* This might actually WORK!

Sure, I’ll be sad not to chase after new sights with all of you, but I have my own personal nightmares that, in due time, need to be faced head on. As they say, “The list of anime only grows longer, not shorter.” So that’s the scoop. Takuto will ‘man the battlestations’ while you lot are off fighting in the summer simulcast war, and upon your return, shall present your finest treasures to the café king!

I will keep my soul thank you very much and hope for the best that this summer turns out great! I already keep eying Charlotte, Snow White with the Red Hair, and God Eater among several others, so hopefully they yield bountiful fruit. But regardless, how are you? Do you ever feel the weight of many simulcasts just crushing your soul at times? What’s piqued your interest this 2015 summer? We are well into the introductions for shows, and your guys’ reactions are enjoyable to read, so the judging can commence! Comment below – let’s chat!

And just watch: I’ll more than likely buckle in and hit up the first episode of Gate or Prisma Illya. 🙂

Because ” By the Gods, you are one sexy beast”

For now, however, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more Code Geass to watch *mischievous hehehe* Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

TCTX Aniblogger Club: Spring 2015 Anime Picks

Hello all! This afternoon I return with the TCTX Aniblogger Club to give you my anime picks of this lovely spring season. The club agreed to pick a show that either started and ended this spring or a show that had been previously running, but finished during the 2015 spring season. 2-cour shows that have not concluded yet can be selected, however, it’s up to the member to determine if their comfortable picking a  show that, yes, could still flop later down the line. If you’ve glanced over a few of my recent reviews, there were a lot of shows this spring that started off without flaw but then ended up floppin’ around to the end. Today, I bring my picks of the season – the best of the best simulcasts this spring – and we’ll see what sets them fantastically apart from the rest!

First, here’s a quick list of the anime I followed this season:

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (season two)

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Plastic Memories

Sound! Euphonium

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma

The Heroic Legend of Arslan

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign (season one)

And for the runner ups:

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma

Hell YEAH! Food Wars! claims the first runner up spot for being the most enjoyable show this season, and many can agree. With incredible amounts of five-star food, unnecessarily high degrees of tension, and FAN SERVICE OUT THE WAZOO, Shokugeki constantly arrives with waves of entertainment each week, making Saturdays all the more tasty! The anime centers on Soma, a kid practically raised in his father’s local Japanese restaurant so that he’ll one day take over the family business. He loves cooking and dreams that nothing will ever change, but when his sly father suddenly closes down shop for a bit to play chef in America, Soma is challenged by his old man to attend Totsuki Culinary Academy, which is basically hell itself! As Soma dives into delicious, daily tests and mouthwatering missions, he makes new friends and even more enemies, but will his luck soon run out?

Food Wars! is about half way done with much more to come, so I can’t completely pick this series without hesitation. So far, it’s hilariously addicting, and if you can get past the first four or so wacky episodes of solid fan service, you’ll definitely be hooked and helpless to drool at the sight of heavenly food porn.

The second runner up is:

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV)

That’s right, F/sn:UBW takes the silver for not only successfully remaking a beloved series/film for fans, but also for standing as one of the most gorgeously animated shows I’ve ever come across. Designed to be a sequel to the masterpiece Fate/Zero, this anime takes place during the next Holy Grail War ten years later. Rather than viewing through the eyes of each servant and master pairing, however, we follow the idiot Shirou Emiya as he chases after his late father’s dream of becoming a hero. Hot-headed master Rin Tohsaka also plans to win, and though it takes a while for the two to see eye-to-eye, they both agree that teaming up against the other deadly masters might be their only option for survival.

UBW‘s first season ran last fall while the second season concluded the Grail War this past spring. With first-rate animation by ufotable, four total OPs and EDs each better than the last, and more from Type-Moon’s sacred universe, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works gave every show a run for their money this season and could have come out on top if it weren’t for the main character’s indestructible plot armor and prolonged, tedious justice speeches.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for! My pick of the 2015 spring season goes to:

Sound! Euphonium

I’ve been joined at the hip with music since a young age, and having been a first-chair orchestra member for seven years and counting, this series exemplified the hearts and minds of every band and orchestra member to T. Sound! Euphonium is about Kumiko Oumae, a talented euphonium player, and her first year at the high school’s brass band club. There, she encounters her old classmate Reina, and memories of a previous junior high incident flood back and cause Kumiko to be hesitant. As Kumiko remains strong buddies with other girls, though, Reina slowly opens up and the two become very close friends. Looming in the darkness is the national contest, which their new teacher, Taki-sensei, proposes to have the students decide for themselves whether or not they should pursue the gold.

Much like in real life, hours of practice, enduring hardships, insanely challenging musical passages, kids who have talent that start to waver, competition among new and old recruits, and countless other issues make this anime not only RELATABLE, but outstanding! From start to finish, the show knows exactly where it wants to go, and when you get there, you can’t help but saddened yet overjoyed for the band. KyoAni does its finest job I’ve ever seen from them in terms of animation, and it’s a crime not to watch the opening at least once to get a glimpse of TRUE BEAUTY!! In terms of character development, pacing, featuring the entire class as a whole and as individuals, animation, music and content, Sound! Euphonium did several things right and executes everything with near perfection! Band and Orchestra kids were given the best representation – for most, more than what we could ever ask for. Congrats, Kitauji High School Band – You most definitely deserve the Gold in my eyes!!

Thank you for reading up on my picks of the spring season! But wait, there’s more! Check out Trystan and Cassandra by clicking on their names to hear their thoughts on the 2015 spring season, as I’m sure they have great picks, too! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host