Posted on 31 December 2015 with categories: One Punch Man

The success of One Punch Man may be predictable from announcement of its anime adaption but I believe it does nothing to demote it’s merits as a series. I admit that my rating this time is of uncertain status for giving it a higher rating felt wrong but a lower rating felt unjust. In honesty it is mainly determined by just how much I enjoyed each episode week by week. For if I placed this show under a microscope I am sure I could pick out plenty of flaws but I feel this show belongs to the category of anime such of Gurren Lagann where judging it on merits of story and development is doing the show a disservice. When looking at a show like this, this review is meaningless as one’s personal judge of quality of this anime will likely be determined if you are wearing a smile by episode one’s end. I merely ask that you go into it while ignoring any hype regarding it as hype can turn a decent anime into a hateable one if the more ignorant side of the fanbase is obnoxiously loud enough.

Our anime Stars Saitama, a hero who has become so strong that he can defeat any enemy with one punch and with his power Saitama has discovered that he feels only boredom when he no longer has a worthy foe. The story details his encounters with other heroes and various one time villains which often result in comical situations. I must first say that if you come into One Punch Man expecting a deconstruction of shounen tropes then you will be sorely disappointed. One Punch Man shoots down some shounen conventions but its strikes are not deep enough to warrant the title of deconstruction. What One Punch Man excels at instead is excellent animation and witty slapstick comedy. The battles of One Punch Man are dramatically overblown and visually fantastic with the director bringing in talent from all aboard the anime industry. It features a fairly good soundtrack with two or three excellent songs and a opening with catchy lyrics displaying Saitama punching everything from starmen to gods out of existence.

The characters range from all levels of ridiculous with Saitama being the no nonsense dorky middle aged badass and Genos the stoic crash dummie cyborg. Rounded off with a supporting cast of overconfident villains and bizarre heroes from the loveable licenceless bicycle rider to a funny buff prisoner that fights naked. There are of course flaws such as a simplistic storyline which is mainly built from a single joke, that Saitama defeats everything with one punch. There are small moments of crude art in fight scenes and transitions between highly detailed art to overly simplistic which could throw others off. It is very much a love or hate kind of show and if you find it isn’t working for you in it’s first episodes, the remaining episodes with not change your mind. But even for merits of seeing the animation alone I believe One Punch Man will be a anime every anime fan will feel the need to check out. Certainly a highlight of the year and only one question remains. When is the second season coming Madhouse?

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man

Well, all I can truly say here is, Bravo Madhouse. Bravo indeed. Adaption wise this episode couldn’t have been more perfect and Saitama vs Boros was truly a animated marvel to witness.The bout itself was really a one sided wailing till the point Saitama decided enough was enough and fought back but by god did it look pretty. If all those small moments of lacking art was to save up for this then I wholeheartedly apologize for judging those moments harshly. The moon section was particular smart with the lack of sound. The manga/web comic gave the reader a clear view of Saitama’s inner monologue but here they decide to show Saitama’s thought process through visuals alone and that was a great move. Not a word was said yet you understand exactly what Saitama is thinking, a lesson many anime should take to heart. Should this be the only season of One Punch Man(I sorely hope not), Boros as the final villain is going out on a high note. After all he is essentially Saitama’s dark half, a being who became the strongest and ultimately discovered the boredom of absolute power. He and Saitama seek the same thing but approach it in two opposite manners. I find it interesting that at the end of their battle, Saitama showed more respect to Boros than he did to any other villain in the series. He even tried to let Boros believe that the battle was truly a equal playing field before he died, sadly Boros saw through it. Perhaps the cruelest irony of Boros fate is that he spent a lifetime in search for a worthy opponent and when he had found it, it turned out that he was never a worthy adversary for his goal. All the more pitiable when his existence was never even realized by the heroes of the planet, who in turn have no idea that Saitama just saved them all.

With the main conflict sorted in the episode’s first half, the remainder spends its time setting up material for potential sequels. Though the things presented have yet to be addressed in the Manga or the web comic, instead if we do get a sequel it would be focused on a certain thing brought up briefly in the series. It’s a bit sad that the S class heroes of the association didn’t get the screentime they deserved as their actions here prove that Saitama isn’t the only one carrying the show. Puri Puri Prisoner and Tsumaki got the most attention but the rest certainly do look to be immensely entertaining if given the spotlight. At this point One Punch man has earned it’s place in my anime blu-ray collection as while it isn’t an anime with a deep story, it’s is one of the animes I enjoyed the most this year. In that regard when it comes between an exploration of complex themes but with drab presentation and a anime with a simple story made up of pure fun to behold I would generally prefer the latter. While I do thirst for anime that dares to challenge tropes and conventions to present something unique, sometimes it’s important to remember just why I watch anime in the first place.

Posted on 15 December 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man

Some anime original content to start off our episode showing off the capabilities of Tsumaki. She happened to have the personality of a tsundere loli yet despite that it’s not all that aggravating. Potentially the reason for that is that the stereotype is recognised by the characters in the show as what it truly is, not endearing but rude and annoying. It also helps that she happens to be able to pull a comet down to earth to smash her enemies to kingdom come. Tsumaki isn’t the only one to get the spotlight as we are introduced to the entirety of the Class S heroes, all of whom are as ridiculous as Puri Puri prisoner.

A really nice touch was the addition of a small bit of character development for Prisoner who took the Sea Kings advice to heart to improve himself. It’s small but it’s a worthy addition. Here is an interesting fact about the maze that Saitama was stuck in. The overhead view of the Maze was not drawn by web artist ONE or manga artist Murata. It was in fact drawn by a Japanese father as a hobby and it took him over seven years to complete. The artist asked for permission to use the maze in One Punch Man. The battle against Lord Boro’s looks to be a animation tour De force for Madhouse. With the S Class heroes taking on one of the Alien Generals while Saitama wreaks up the ship. Naturally Saitama has time to be the Saitama we all know and love. From tricking a General into leading him into the control centre and taking him out by chucking a pebble. The best joke by far being Saitama’s reaction to Boro’s surviving his Punch and claiming he broke the Armour that limited his power.

I said it many times before but episodes like these truly make things difficult for me. You can’t really criticise action beyond talking about animation and I said my piece on that. I suppose I could say with one episode left that Madhouse have truly done the manga and webcomic justice. I wonder why a dub hasn’t been in works yet. No offense to the sejous, they are quite talented but I always found it easier to immerse myself in an anime when I don’t have to read subtitles all the time. I am dub fan at heart and mainly went for subtitles out of necessity to keep up with the latest shows. Though if I ever learn Japanese then I will surely watch anime the way it’s meant to be watched, raw. One Punch man does have the potential to be a western hit and the only thing getting in the way of that is its sub only status. But unlike Kara no Kyoukai, I doubt it remain undubbed.

Posted on 2 December 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man

The end result is hardly a surprise but non the less this may be the strongest episode of One Punch Man yet. Despite Saitama being the real hero and taking down the Sea King, the show was stolen by Licenceless Rider. You have to respect the courage to fight a battle you know you will lose. Such courage that earned him the cheers and encouragement of the people in the shelter. Particularly like how the first person to start cheering him on was a child Licenceless Rider helped get his balloon back in one of the earlier episodes. It was a surprisingly beautiful moment and with the cheers of the populace guiding him, Licenceless Rider put all his strength into the fight and was…swiftly punched unconscious with a single strike. It was then I laughed and then immediately felt guilty about it. Still he has no hard feelings about it and even sent Saitama a thank you letter. That was a part of the anime that surprised me and gave the scene a lot more feeling than it had in the manga. It could just be me looking far too deeply into this but when Saitama found out that it was Licenceless Rider who gave him the letter, there was a lot of emotion behind the actors line and that ever so slight smile. Saitama surely doesn’t like being hated and this may be the very first time someone has honestly thanked him for doing what was essentially a thankless job for three years. Licenceless Rider, you may not have won the battle, but you won our hearts.

The fight animation was certainly impressive but I must say I wish the art was the same. I understand this is a necessary sacrifice to drop down art quality for movement but when the art drops in One Punch Man, it really sticks out. Sometimes it can be excused for comical effect as I think during jokes character designs tend to resemble the artwork of the original webcomic, an example of which in this episode when Geno’s was about to burn what he and Saitama thought was another hate letter. But during Genos battle with the Sea King the character designs got really rough. It’s an unreasonable demand but if they could fix the art up a little in the blu-rays then this could look so much better. Another company, though this is very minor, would be that Saitama’s Punch should have had a little more slow motion going on. The Manga really gave you the time to let it sink in and I wish they kept a single solitary panel where before falling down the Sea King just gapes downward at the hole in his chest with an expression of “What just happened?”. But other than that, Saitama punching away the rain was just sublime. Sadly thanks to the efforts of a person who was the personification of Reddit or any YouTube comments list, Saitama had to play the role of a cheater in order for the other heroes to not lose face. As a result he’s now B class but his reputation is even worse but at least the hero association has some idea of just what he’s capable of.

Posted on 25 November 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man

I wish I knew just what that girl at the beginning was parodying as she’s clearly been overdrawn in a completely different style. My closest guess would be the poster girls of creature features in the 60s and 70s as she wouldn’t look out of place if pasted into a movie poster. I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing Geno’s act like a housewife, just seeing him dry plates with his hand jets makes me smile. This week put quite a lot of spotlight on a hero previously shown, Licenceless rider.(Yes the Subtitles call him Mumen rider but frankly his English name is better.) A guy who looked to be a one note joke actually might end up being one of the more upstanding heroes in the show seeing as when all other C class heroes are just giving up, he’s rushing ahead to fight the Sea King and protect the citizens in the shelter. It’s just such a pity that he doesn’t stand even the slightest of a chance against the Sea King but well Saitama’s close by so at least he will be avenged. This episode has something I like to call “the Alucard effect”. Put simply when the main character of a series is so ridiculously powerful that nothing poses a challenge then that main character will be removed from the fight as long as possible in order to build up the villain as a credible threat. For we all know that the minute Saitama shows up this Sea King is doomed.

As a result of this the episode was mainly about other heroes dealing with the threat and minimizing damage. The standout was the fights of Sonic and Piri Piri Prisoner. I could go and say Prisoner is an offensive stereotype but quite frankly he’s such a ridiculously purposefully over the top stereotype that it’s hilarious. So I think we can put down the pitchforks and agree that in no way shape or form would anyone use Piri Piri Prisoner as a representation of homosexuals or prisoners in general. That would be akin to using Mario as a representation of the Italian. Best of all was Sonic’s reaction to Prisoners “Angel Mode” which without a doubt mirrored the thoughts of every person watching. Despite being a one sided slaughter fest, the fights were pretty well animated with a lot of force behind the blows. Props to Rikiya Koyama, another big name attached to one time villains, for putting in a perfect performance as the Sea King. The soundtrack is also great with electric guitars and drums coming in just at the right moment to elevate what’s on screen. If it’s one thing I could complain about it’s that this episode ended on a cliffhanger and seeing as what happens next is one of my favorite moments in the series that was a real let down. Granted it’s coming next episode and Madhouse is certain to do it justice but the wait is so long.

Posted on 17 November 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man

This episode mainly focused on a giant Meteor about to annihilate the city and the introduction if S class heroes, Metal Knight and Bang. Bang makes it a point to say how the top class heroes are hardly very heroic with most not showing up at all to stop a city’s total destruction. Even one of the two S class heroes that did show up only did so to test his new weapons. It’s seems that this show is making a point that there are few of these avengers out to do the greater good but more in it for more selfish reasons. So it is that out of the legion of heroes introduced, Saitama may be the closest thing to what a hero should be. Its is at this point where I must remark on the inconsistency of One Punch Man’s animation quality. At times it can be remarkably fluid and gorgeous but at other times it can be heavy amounts of animation saving techniques at work. What’s more concerning is that these random quality highs and lows can happen within close proximity. It really seems that any scene with Genos is given an animation overhaul but the scene with Saitama punching through the Meteor was a mixed with cheap and great animation. But that could be a clash of animation styles at work in one scene, as it certainly felt like the character animation and the explosion were done by two different people. The animators passion certainly shines through to save the scene but it could have had more impact with more movement and force behind the punch. However I must admit that complaining about animation in this show is much like complaining about a lack of sand in a desert. What’s been done has been done excellently, it’s more a minor complaint that I wish it had more consistency.

So Saitama manages to save the city but unfortunately fails to prevent the Meteor fragments from causing serious damage. Thus naturally for the human race, they blame everything on the man who saved all their hides. I have said before that Saitama’s greatest challenges come not from a fist fight but rather a more psychological approach. In this regard the Tank Top brothers actually picked a clever way of attacking him. By drawing in a crowd to berate Saitama for the destruction of the city. Nearly worked too, if they hadn’t tried to stage a publicity stunt of them taking him down in to boost their rank. It looks to be that Saitama’s deeds as a heroes are going to be mainly unsung and in the public eyes he’s an incompetent cheater of a hero. However at least he has Genos on his side who sees his true worth. Due to the differences in language there’s very few times I can judge a voice actor in a subbed show. After all what the subtitles say is merely an liberal interpretation using the closest english equivalent and I like the know how of the nuances of the Japanese language to truly judge the talent of Japanese voice actors. But I think we can all agree that even when lacking that knowledge it could be clearly seen that the actor didn’t handle that shouting scene right at all. From the manga it’s pretty clear his voice should be more angry and powerful but here the tone of his voice really didn’t match the mood of the scene. Quite frankly, it just didn’t sound right and really killed the scene for me. Next episode looks to be the beginning of the sea king attack which has been something I have been looking forward to since this adaptions announcement. However I wonder if they plan to make it a two partner or handle the seven chapter arc in one episode?

Posted on 14 November 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man

It is interesting that the challenges that Saitama faces that get him worried that truly the most mundane and ordinary. Saitama can punch a monster into oblivion but when it comes to essays or going to sales he’s powerless. Here we have him about to be kicked out of the hero association if he doesn’t catch a criminal in two days. For all of Saitama’s infinite power he can’t do a thing if there are no criminals to catch. Saitama’s greatest weakness is his own mentality but at least Speed of Sound, Sonic has bailed Saitama out of this jam. Though I must say the animation sure takes a hit whenever Sonic shows up.  Maybe someone less talented his handling his scenes or maybe they just aren’t given as much attention. None the less the scene still worked and despite some shortcomings there was some eye candy. Namely Saitama breaking Sonics sword with his teeth. We are also introduced to two new girls of the show, Fubuki and Tatsumaki, who will likely play a part in future events. Fubuki only had about two lines so not much can be said about her but Tatsumaki seems to be channeling the aura of a lolita tsundere. Her cocky unstable side holds some potential but I think I will need to see more to discern whether I like her character or not.

The second half of this episode was the weakest I have seen from One Punch Man so far. It was essentials a overlong joke that everyone knew the punchline to. We have two eccentric A class heroes taking on a powerful monster wandering around Saitama’s neighborhood. They get destroyed, Saitama comes along and punches the thing into lunch. The fight animation was great and I liked the nature of these heroes powers, but they were clearly here only for this episode. It had one good joke in how Genos sensed them dramatically only to dismiss them and go back to cleaning the toilet in a pink apron. However this segment really felt like filler despite it being in the manga. Perhaps because it was just a bonus chapter there. It’s the ending of the episode that brings something interesting to the table as it shows that Saitama’s neighbourhood is a ghost town because Saitama draws in powerful monsters who hear that there is a really powerful being that resides there. So Saitama is unaware that he’s made a name for himself among the monsters and is currently the source of a rumor of a dangerous monster residing in the neighbourhood. Oh Satama, popular with everyone in all the wrong ways.

Posted on 4 November 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man

This episode looked to be a big dig at the educational system. After all, the most powerful being on the planet applies to be a hero and is relegated to the lowest class because of the results of a submitted essay. Of course how an essay actually determines how someone can be a hero is ridiculous but sadly such processes of selection are not relegated to fiction. Job interviews are a prime example of that, they depend not on the skills you have but rather how good you can make yourself look. So Genos gets an S rank because he aced the tests and happened to blow up the House of Evolutions base whereas Saitama who actually was the one to defeat the House of Evolution gets saddled with a C. But well its Saitama, it’s only a matter of time before he shoots through the ranks.

The highlight of the episode was clearly the Genos and Saitama sparring. I hoped that for this particular scene Madhouse would go all out for the fight and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The fight presented some of the best animation in the series to date. Genos really is a marvel to watch fighting, with his mechanical parts and jet boosters just make him pure eye candy to behold. I see others who comment on the episode claim that the animation beats Ufotable and I don’t quite agree. The animation is great but they still are using shortcuts and Sakuga. Personally I feel Ufotable has better art consistency but Madhouse has some great dynamic choreography. That really is the charm of One Punch Man, the animation has so much character. Like Saitama’s swagger away after he beat Genos with a indirect Punch. The humor throughout the episode was great, especially the last joke of the episode gets me every time. Well now it seems that One Punch Man has removed it’s old formula and gone for something more consistent and I certainly can’t wait to see the top class heroes reaction to Saitama

Posted on 28 October 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man

I feel there are certain anime that upon watching the first episodes, you know that it will be something you are going to remember. This may be far too soon to say but the first two episodes of One Punch Man give me that exact feeling. The whole way through this episode I had a dumb smile on my face and eyes glued to the screen. Saitama using all his godlike power to try and swat a mosquito had me laughing very hard and the action scenes are simply beautiful. I am not the only one with high expectations of One Punch Man as many are hyping it up and claiming it will be the next western breakout hit like Attack on Titan. I acknowledge that could be possible seeing the superhero movie boom is still going strong and One Punch Man is a very western styled show. Of course the cynic within me is still holding back my excitement as I have long seen many anime fall from grace at the halfway point but the source material is strong as well as the studio so the chances of them messing up is quite slim.

One particularly interesting aspect is this show’s tendency to use high profile voice actors for one time roles. The very first villain, Vaccine man, was voiced by the voice actor known for playing Frieza from Dragonball Z and the mosquito girl in this episode was voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro, another great voice actor. The animation seems to be going for fluidity over artistic consistently which does mean that the art gets worst during fights but there is a lot more dynamic movement to make up for it. There are still shortcuts such as Saitama’s punches thrown at the lion king but for once we may have a anime where the best animated action isn’t in the anime opening. As for comedy we have a interesting factor going on. Jokes in the manga that were not that funny work brilliantly in the anime, yet jokes that were hilarious in the manga are lesser in the anime. One particular example is with the mantus enemy, in the manga this guy jumps through the wall and before he can finish introducing himself gets instantly destroyed by Saitama. However in the anime, right before he’s punched they added this “Huh?” and a delay before he’s killed which makes the punchline less funny. It’s small and doesn’t ruin the joke but the change does affect the humor. This extending of jokes is in other examples as well but quite honestly it’s nitpicking.

There is the question of whether Madhouse can keep up the high level of animation from the shows entire run as episode 4 does show signs of the quality slipping. That said it could just be a matter of that episode being given less attention is it is the weakest by far out of the four. Out of criticisms of the show so far the main complaint is that it’s rather formulaic. True at the moment it does seem to be following a monster of the week format but having read the manga I can say this evolves more into an ongoing plot before it gets tiresome. The next episode looks to adapt one of the highlight fights of the series so Madhouse better pull out all the stops.

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