For One-Punch Man, the series would have to go all out and tear the house down with what it has to offer. The first episode easily establishes the show as an animation powerhouse with the high production quality by Madhouse. The fighting movements, rapid camera angles, and overall cinematics is stellar throughout many of its action sequences.
In addition, Saitama’s role easily makes him entertaining to watch because of just simply how badass he is despite being drawn in such a simple way. With a bald head, average height, muscular toned body, and heroish cape, he is the guy that everyone needs to keep an eye on. What mostly makes Saitama stands out is his way of fighting. Yes, most of his fights are rather quick fashioned because of how overpowered he is. I think at some point, Saitama can be dubbed as ‘One-OP Man’ just because of how ridiculous he is with the way his fights concludes. His hero name is ‘Caped Baldy’ and it’s pretty self-explanatory why.
I’d like to picture One-Punch Man as more of a parody, a satire of superheroes and battle shounen. While the story of One-Punch Man isn’t a masterpiece, it’s still appealing because of Saitama’s daily adventures. These adventures takes him to new places, conflicts with new enemies, and also establishing alliances with new friends. One of his most prominent friends is Genos, a cyborg dubbed as the “Demon Cyborg”. He is Saitama’s disciple and often tries to earn his respect. Their growing relationship seems peculiar at first but also very amusing to watch as they have a fun chemistry.
The majority of the other characters of the series are part of a group known as the Hero Association, an organization apparently formed with the purpose to fight monsters and protect City Z. What’s unique about the Hero Association is that the group is composed of all type of heroes ranging from a child prodigy, psycho esper, prideful samurai, or even genius scientists. Throughout Saitama’s daily adventures, he also encounters a variety of adversaries and villains. Whether it’s speedy ninjas or oversized sea monsters, Saitama always seems to find a way to defeat them. This might be the part that strains some people from watching. A common question that may pop up is “what’s the point then if Saitama can just one hit KO all his opponents?” or “What’s the fun in that?”
I think the main objective of the show is to portray the action as a parody. It’s like the show is self-aware especially with Saitama’s antics. This extends to his iconic fight with Genos, the invasion of Boros’ forces, or his training test to become a hero. Although the comedy can feel exaggerated, it’s also very engaging with all sort of gags the show tries to pull. Every episode also introduces a diverse range of heroes or monsters so there’s plenty to offer for those looking into variety. Certain underrated characters such as License-less Rider also gets their spotlight of fame so the show isn’t just entirely about Saitama. As the comedy can occasionally feel overwhelming, it’s still delightful with the character expressions and excitement it brings. Even the dialogues can offer a sharp appeal that will give the fans to remember something about.
Even with all the comedy, there’s still some set of standards the show follows. The rankings of the Hero Association such as “S-Rank” or “B-Rank” have meanings behind them that associates with their reputation. Unfortunately, Saitama is assigned a lesser rank than most may expect mostly because of his appearance. Only a few recognizes his true abilities although he himself doesn’t seem to care that much either. What he does care though is being a hero and that’s something to really be recognized. While most of his fights ends in just one punch, the way Saitama performs it is bizarrely amusing. One minute, he is starring into something that appears to be overwhelmingly above his abilities. The next minute that something turns into being punched to oblivion.
Saitama’s speed and endurance is also extremely impressive as he has taken superhuman level attacks at point-blank range. Again, some people will notice that his fights tends to be “anti-climatic”. However, look at the bigger picture here. The way Saitama gives his opponents the hope that they will win effortlessly, the dull expressions he shows in the face of danger, and his inability to remember the names of his opponents are also portrayed more as a parody for comical purposes. It then translates to their defeat which is all that much more devastating. That’s almost like an artistic way of fighting. On the other hand, Saitama’s characterization in this adaptation isn’t very promising. There’s not much revealed about his past so you’ll have to search around the OVA to learn more about his background story. And also, while the adaptation captures the magic of the manga, it does omit some aspects which fans may be disappointed about.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. Madhouse has proven themselves of animating this to the highest caliber. The action sequences, background scenery, facial expressions, and overall tone of the show is delivered with exquisite art. It also has an experimental feel to it with the way the characters are designed with a wide spectrum of different looks. What’s most interesting is how Saitama is designed with such simple features especially during comedic scenes. Whether human or monster, One-Punch Man stands as a solid testament for an adaptation by animation standards.
The soundtrack is just as powerful especially with some of the character themes that matches with fighting sequences. The OP song also approaches itself with a stereo beat and heroic-like theme of heavy lyrics.