One Punch Man is a very easy sell to new anime fans. Its title follows a similar logic that light novels do by putting the plot description as your title so people instantly know what they're getting from it. However unlike light novel titles which are usually along the lines of "My Little Sister And Childhood Friend Turned Into Succubi", the title to this hit shounen manga now turned anime is much simpler: One Punch Man. The protagonist is a super hero who beats everyone with one punch. As a result, his life has slowly decayed from boredom now that nothing can offer him any challenge. Quick, simple, and easy, the title provides an explanation that should intrigue anyone listening instantly. Even if the title doesn't get their attention, the animated gif from the first episode will surely do the trick! Viewers are sure to be in front of a screen watching this new anime within minutes.
If any manga fans came into this adaptation with significant worries, then you have to imagine that all dissipated in no time. The first episode is certainly one of the most vibrant and extravagantly animated productions I've seen since...well, Little Witch Academia 2 which isn't actually that long ago, but still! From the opening song where you have JAM Project blaring out of your monitor as the lead vocalist screams the title of the anime, you know that at the very least the creators are having fun adapting this. Personally I think every anime should be accompanied by JAM Project singing the title of the anime. Don't tell me Chi's Sweet Home wouldn't be improved by a JAM Project OP?
On some level the absurd level of detail that goes into these fight scenes and villains that never amount to anything can feel wasted. You spent all this time doing incredibly detailed shots of a titan destroying a city and crying in mental anguish, only for said giant to be defeated in one solitary punch as per usual. But that is part of the humour. The incredible detail put into each villain. The tortuous backstory they are all accompanied by. The long overpowered super attacks. All these whimper and collapse in the face of this boring looking guy wearing a yellow onsie and some red rubber gloves with a single solitary punch. How uncool Saitama looks when compared to these overdesigned monstrosities is what makes it so funny. I won't spoil anything for you non-manga readers, but when you get the full details of how Saitama obtained his incredible power, you too will appreciate its wonderful mundane nature.
Which was your favourite of the over-elaborate villain back stories this week? Was it the first villain who looked an awful lot like Piccolo, created as a natural vaccine by the planet to protect it from humanities pollution of mother earth with the goal of wiping out humanity? That was wonderfully extreme, the kind of scientific fantasy that makes you wonder if our planet is a giant living organism in itself. Or do you prefer the more ridiculous explanation given by crab man who gained his power by eating too much crab? The subterranean people rising up to take the surface was pretty good, but didn't have as dramatic ramifications for the nature of our planet as vaccine man did. My personal favourite though has to be the steroid-induced titan. Asides from being a possible explanation as to where the titans came from in Attack on Titan, it has a pathos that the others lack. A human side created through brotherly love as they only desired to get stronger, yet in doing so they destroyed the one thing they truly cherished - each other.
Ranking them, I would say Titan Brothers > Blue Piccolo Vaccine Man > Crab Man > Subterranean People. We'll be keeping a running score over the course of the show as to which character has the most wonderfully elaborate back story that would make a fantastic full series by itself, yet is reduced to just another joke when placed alongside Saitama. I'm looking forward to this, as well as the rest of the series and I hope to see Madhouse continue its stellar work. Plus, while I have read and enjoyed the manga, I'm not so wildly blinded by love that I can't see some flaws in the series that I would like to see an anime adaptation improve on. So don't worry, I won't be one of those "urgh they changed it from the manga, now it sucks" people. Although if Saitama ever does fail to beat somebody with one punch then you might be seeing some angry words from me.
Don't forget to join the discussion for One Punch Man Episode 1 here!