One Punch Man: a deconstruction of the superhero genre.

Hey. You wanna fight some things? To protect those you love? Because you crave the rush? Or simply get to stronger?  Who knows. Anyway, one-punch-manThere will be enough spoilers in here to sink a battleship! when I saw this, I was instantly hooked. It’s a wonderful breath of fresh air from the usual drag. (I will get to one punch man, Promise!) Dragon Ball Z would be what comes  to mind first. If you didn’t notice, Vaccine man has a striking resemblance to a certain namekian.)

piccolo-reference
Hey, It’s Piccolo! Also, I can justify bringing the show up now.

Now as a whole Dragonball tends to consist People yelling  while making bits of dirt fly into the air from “giant flaring auras of absolute power”™. While wielding enough power to destroy entire cities with a mere flick of the hand. Powerful enough to be thrown through a mountain and not even blink. images.jpeg

outnumbered and blasted in the back? Don’t worry, They can’t hurt you! Their power levels are so puny it only tickles! Let your guard down and it’s over. Lose all this and you are no longer grounded in reality and any of it becomes meaningless in my eyes.Power is always relative to something. What is the point of reducing the galaxy to ciders? Who could wield such power? Dragonball also likes to have characters that are expert martial artists who trained for years, Only for the next big villain to swat them around like a little toy? (good luck in Dragon ball if you are not a sayian) Better go train some more. And do it again. And again. And again..

Even the abilities of the characters are cheapened. An ability like the Kamehameha, How about Kao ken? Super sayjain? A legendary form only seen once in a millenia. It is devastating one week, only for it to be utterly ineffective next week. Though, it seems the author wasn’t allowed creative freedom (epic fights sell, duh!). This is probably why the quality declined into what it was in Dragon ball Z. Why do I make mention of this? I find Most Shows these days take some form of inspiration from it, especially japanese cartoons. I can see a bit of Goku in almost all of the protagonists  in the Shows popular in the west.

maybe it just isn’t my cup of tea. I want a real story, Not A thinly veiled game of endless one-upmanship. Do some people even care about these characters other than their powers? Their hopes, Their dreams? And not to mention that

immortal
Panel From Blade Of The Immortal. It’s An excellent Read.

“stronger” than your opponent does not mean you will win. Without being challenged, you never need to feel the need to give it your all. Superman is a prime example. He never needed to excel, just walk through the bullets. Martial arts? Technique? Why bother?

I guess I find that it isn’t just comedy. It’s more than that. After all, Comedy and tragedy have always gone hand in hand. Saitamas world is one where inhuman beasts rage and ordinary people are powerless to stop them. Without him, wouldn’t it feel rather bleak? It reminds me of rather unusual show: Neon Genesis Evangelion. Would it really be so cool to be a kid that fights monsters in giant robots? empty-heart

 

He Lives alone in a ruined section of the city with almost no money.  And who could forget his Workout Routine? 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and run 10 kilometres every single day. Now, This is obviously poking fun at some of the more Ridiculous origin stories that people like to create. (also, There is nothing superhuman about it, Fell in a vat of toxic waste? Instant superpowers! Got electrocuted? Now You’re the Flash!

p-txt-24
“So what If I’m The strongest? I feel Empty inside.”

It’s Not supposed to make sense. That’s the joke.

So Saitama Doesn’t get to struggle. Nor feel the thrill of battle. And that is something he longs for. The Giant he defeats touches on this as well. No challenge at all. Then Comes A Rather handsome cyborg…  And things get interesting.

Anyway, the characters in this don’t really have much explanation. That’s another thing the show pokes fun at: Backstories. Anyone who reads lots and lots of comic books, be they eastern or western quickly figures out that almost everyone has to have some tragic sob story for why they became a monster or a villain. I mean, It’s a genre requirement. Saitama Has a rule: shorten it to 20 words or less!  It’s a hilarious scene.

We’ve all heard them all before:“I grew up in the sewers, in the squalor and waste. And now, I will see your world burn.” that’s a really common one. Or: “I was a orphan, People hurt me, So now I hurt the world back to survive. It’s a darwinian world. The Strongest shall survive/rule!” It all becomes meaningless noise after the same back story is punch-chainplayed straight for the 100th time. Some might say it’s deep, But it isn’t. It’s the appearance of depth, nothing more.

And We couldn’t forget the heroes in this universe! That would be sloppy. They’ve even formed the hero association, where aspiring caped crusaders can join the fight against evildoers. Though Most of them are so conceited they don’t realise they are powerless against the truly strong monsters, and are only interested in petty politics (like the tank top brothers.) or increasing their rankings. And Flashy combo moves with grand sounding names.

combo-to-kill
Prui Prui prisoner Promptly gets the snot kicked out of him.

The Sea king quickly pulls the heroes back into reality. He knows what’s up. Are you trying to look cool or actually inflict bodily harm? Oh, and before I continue, I found licence-less rider’s monologue rather touching. He knows he can’t win, But if he doesn’t, Who Will?

he stands his ground. He knew he couldn’t win. He’s just fortunate saitama arrived in time.

Though the peace and quiet is short lived. Alien show up and blast the city. Saitama meets Lord Boros, Ruler of the Universe (also, He’s a Son Goku Refeference, Complete with spiky ,hair  flashy transformations And something that ‘totally’ isn’t kao ken *cough cough*). Every singe person who opposed him has been vanquished. Now, He sits on an empty throne as ruler of the universe. In his boredom, he sees a prophet.

He is informed that on a distant planet far away, there is a being that can meet his match. For 20 years he searched for one he call his match.

Saitama is naturally less than pleased he would go and blow the city up for such a stupid reason, and does what he does best. Hit things. Really hard. But Boros can take it! Saitama

p-txt-9
“Blah blah blah. Are you done yet? With this fight?”

“Blah blah blah. Are you done yet? With this fight?”

only shattered his armour, which was acting as a power limiter. So he Powers up, And they fight for a bit.

p-txt-6
“Saitama! You are the first One to fight evenly with me, Boros!”

All the while Boros is powering up, Our hero is still holding back. Their battle Starts to destroy the ship, and Boros doesn’t even care. All he wants is to fight. And thinks he is winning After all, his species evolved to be superior!

p-txt-12
“This State… It burns my body immensely, similar to anaerobic exercise.”

He Brags about regeneration, and promptly gets told to shut up! “Are we done?” So boros powers up again, And kicks him to the moon!

Not that this stops the caped baldy. He Just jumps straight back to earth. Boros Just stares at him, Astonished. Then Charges up to full power. “Fine, here’s Everything I have. I’ll blow this planet to smithereens and Be done with this.”

(by the way, Click on the images to enlarge them if you feel the need.)

 

Boros Uses Up all of the Latent Energy In his body to fire a massive Energy Blast. Saitama responds with a serious punch. Sadly, Boros can’t match him. In the end, It was no contest at all. (read right to left by the way)

 

Boros Lies Broken, After having Searched for so long. Saitama Found someone who could withstand a punch, But in the end never really fought. As boros Says: “you lie. It’s as if you never bared your fangs at all in this battle. Can’t you feel the bittersweet feelings eminating from these lines? Where does the quest for power take us? Will Saitama one day meet the same fate as boros? They are after all, Kindred spirits.p-txt-21

I know the show is also packed with silly comedy and hilarious hyjinks. But Nobody needs me to write about those. They speak for themselves. But for all those people who just think it’s jist comedy. Hope you enjoyed.

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