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One Punch-Man

A tacky yellow jumpsuit accompanied by gaudy red gloves and boots that would be better off on a dishwasher or fishmonger. Don’t forget a generic white cape to boot. That isn’t exactly the ideal image of the world’s strongest superhero but that what makes Saitama; the titular OnePunch-Man, even more entertaining to watch while he effortlessly defeats every villain with a single blow. 

Skeptics would blow off this series without even watching the first episode, because what plot could be derived from having a protagonist that is essentially omnipotent? On contrary, Saitama’s strength actually drives the story forward and spawns more than a few humourous moments due to his slipshod superhero get-up being unable to showcase how strong he actually is.

OnePunch-Man has the perfect mix of action and humour, with satirical references to the various tropes being employed in numerous manga and anime out there. The sequence of every fight is similar, with Saitama ending it with a single punch after the usual grandiose supervillain speech and power-up sequence. As generic and boring as that sounds, it’s actually used to great effect, mocking anime fight scenes that drag on for an entire episode or more, ala Dragonball Z. 

Fights between other superheroes and villains last longer, but that’s to be expected, considering that they are much weaker than Saitama. Even if you aren’t an anime fan, do give this one a chance. You might just finish watching the whole season in a day.

However, OnePunch-Man isn’t all about Saitama hogging the limelight. The supporting cast, consisting of the members of the Hero Association and many villains hold their own and even threaten to overthrow the protagonist occasionally. 

The superheroes from the Hero Association are an eclectic mix and some notable ones include Mumen Rider; a dig at the Kamen Rider franchise except that he has no actual superpowers and owns a simple bicycle instead of a souped-up motorbike, Genos; a cyborg with a fittingly tragic backstory to boot and Silver Fang; the stereotypical kungfu master with a traitorous disciple. If you’ve noticed by now, they all conform to a generic television trope but the anime uses this to great effect.

In Mumen Rider’s case, it is his inane rambling about helping people in need, never-say-die spirit and dramatic speeches about justice. Sound familiar yet? But unlike heroes who actually have superpowers, Mumen Rider has none and ends up being a laughing stock, for the viewers at least, when he executes his signature moves. 

Some of these include the Justice Tackle; a simple tackle and Justice Crash, where he just throws his bicycle at the opponent. Needless to say, he ends up badly injured after his first major showdown in the anime, as if that wasn’t obvious enough.

The sophistication in its humour is where OnePunch-Man sets itself apart from other anime titles in the season, and possibly the year. Coupled with fight scenes that will keep you glued to the screen, it’s no wonder people laud it as the anime of the year and it might have my vote too.

Written by ET

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