Based on a popular digital Manga, One-Punch Man is an anime series which follows the adventures of Saitama – a hero so strong he can defeat any enemy with a single punch. The webcomic was conceived by an author known as ONE and originally published in 2009. The series, which plays with Japanese culture by referencing a children’s show in its original title, became immensely popular, surpassing all viewership expectations in 2012. At that time, a digital manga series was released, retelling the story with updated artwork for a hopefully broader audience. It was popular enough to warrant physical publication which now boasts over 10 million copies in print. This new form was also licensed for release in an English version by Viz Media. When the animated series was commissioned and aired in Japan, originally on TV Tokyo in October of 2015 and later by other networks in Japan and online, Viz Media also retained the licensing for broadcast in North America. It is also available to stream from various providers around the world.
The series in all its forms begins with Saitama deciding to become a hero after saving a small child from a monster. He spends a good deal of time, referred to in the story but not actually part of it, honing his strength and skill. Having idolized superheroes since he was young, when he thinks he is ready he tries to become an honored member of the Heroes Association in City Z. They accept his application, but are unsure he is really worthy to be part of their organization, so he sets out to prove it to his barely-willing peers. Along the way he faces adversity from friends and foes alike, as well as an increasing ennui because his opponents no longer challenge him. Though he is terrible at remembering names and placing faces, which gets him into interpersonal trouble, he seems to have uncanny luck at being where his strength is most needed. With the help of a cyborg sycophant-turned-sidekick named Genos, the protagonist often finds himself at odds with the nefarious group House of Evolution.
Style and tone clearly indicate this offering, in all its forms, is meant to be somewhat satirical in nature. Many traditional superhero themes are exaggerated and lampooned. Some jokes are a bit more subtle, such as the continent on which the action takes place being the shape of the Japanese region from which Saitama gets his name. The humor is also expressed in the extremely plain nature used to depict and describe the protagonist. He tries desperately to be a hero, but no one takes him seriously because he doesn’t look the part. With the many layers of humor, even though some may be specific to Japanese culture and not translate well to the English speaking crowd, and the undeniable heart of the hero, this show offers a compelling story.
Having just finished airing season one in December 2015, there has been no official word yet on whether a second season will be produced. However, Yusuke Murata who draws the manga version and did the artwork for the animated series, has said he is already working on making it happen. Being that there are nearly seven years’ worth of webcomic storyline