Makai no Ossan, or "Old Man of the Underworld," is the third and least well known puplished webcomic by ONE, the author of seinen One Punch Man and shonen Mob Psycho 100. How would it classify genre wise? It is a comedic slice of life and aimed at adults, as the jokes are too dry and subtle for younger readers. The comedy is not crazy and belly bursting, but it is enjoyable and hides deep, sad truths about the toil and pain of life. It has little to no action, so is harder to get into than either OPM or MP100. Many would find it
lackluster when compared to its fellow webcomics, but that is part of the main theme: What will you do when you grow older?
The story follows a family of monster living underground in a world of monsters. They have jobs, schools, cities, government, crime, poverty, and 1st world problems just like humans. The family's every day life drags on through the mundane, several serious situations arise, some life threatening accidents, others intense social conflicts. Again, on the surface it is boring and stupid, yet the people in it cannot see the consequences of their actions. It is almost despairing in its tone, and hopes events will turn out better, when they inevitably sink into the mud and junk which makes up the world the family lives in. The little action the webcomic does have increases as the story goes on, finishes in a final loud bang of incoherence, only to epilogue with the world settling down back to the sad bleak existence it started with.
Anyone who read ONE knows hits art. It is not manga art. However, because the detail is so low, the artist is able to convey the mood much easier, without being constrained by "pretty lines," and memorized "drawing patterns." The lack of in depth art makes the focus of the series entirely the characters and story, the exact antithesis of most modern anime.
There are two main characters, one in nearly every scene, and another only making brief appearances, almost cameos, though he is more important. The first is middle son of the monster family, a highschool boy with fangs and two little horns. He is a brat who is lazy and mean spirited, yet actually wants life to work out for everyone. The second is his father, an unshaven middle aged man who may be the only human in the entire underground world. This title character, the "Old Man," is generally selfless despite his tired mood, beaten down by the hopeless nature of life, yet living only to raise his family. The side characters include the oldest child, a fanged and single horned guy who is a highschool dropout living on his computer with no job; the innocent cyclops youngest sister who shoots lightning out of her eyes when scared, the cyclops octopus mother who is not above torturing her children for misbehaving lest they fail in life, and many others. All the characters, new and old, get better and better as the story continues.
I personally felt like I was reading OPM and MP100 all over again. Sure, it may seem like a dip in quality comparatively, but the theme of life getting worse as time goes on kept me reading. And, man, that finale! The climax was of epic proportions worthy of either of its fellow webcomics, and draws a secret connection between them.
I will admit, many series in the world are better than this one. But if you loved OPM and MP100, you need to read this. It will enhance your experience of both of those.