One-Punch Man

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One-Punch Man
OnePunchMan manga cover.png
Cover of the first volume of the One-Punch Man manga adaptation by Yusuke Murata featuring Saitama with a slain monster in the background.
ワンパンマン
(Wanpanman)
GenreAction,[1] comedy,[2]
superhero[3]
Manga
Web manga
Written byONE
Published bySelf-published
Original run2009 – present
Manga
Remake
Written byONE
Illustrated byYusuke Murata
Published byShueisha
English publisher
DemographicSeinen
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineTonari no Young Jump
English magazine
Original runJune 14, 2012 – present
Volumes20 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byShingo Natsume (season 1)
Chikara Sakurai (season 2)
Produced byChinatsu Matsui
Nobuyuki Hosoya
Keita Kodama (season 1)
Ayuri Taguchi (season 1)
Sōta Satō (season 2)
Written byTomohiro Suzuki
Music byMakoto Miyazaki
StudioMadhouse (season 1)
J.C.Staff (season 2)
Licensed by
Original networkTV Tokyo
English network
Original run October 5, 2015 July 2, 2019
Episodes24 + 7 OVAs (List of episodes)
Original animation DVD
One-Punch Man: Road to Hero
Directed byShingo Natsume
Produced byChinatsu Matsui
Nobuyuki Hosoya
Keita Kodama
Ayuri Taguchi
Written byTomohiro Suzuki
Music byMakoto Miyazaki
StudioMadhouse
ReleasedDecember 4, 2015
Runtime24 minutes
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal
External video
"THE HERO !!" – One Punch Man Opening Theme (in Japanese)
[Official Video JAM Project - THE HERO !! - "One Punch Man" Opening Theme ワンパンマン] on YouTube

One-Punch Man (Japanese: ワンパンマン, Hepburn: Wanpanman) is a Japanese superhero webcomic created by the artist One in early 2009. It has a manga adaptation illustrated by Yusuke Murata, as well as an anime adaptation. Following its publication, the webcomic quickly went viral, surpassing 7.9 million hits in June 2012. One-Punch Man tells the story of Saitama, a superhero who can defeat any opponent with a single punch but seeks to find a worthy opponent after growing bored by a lack of challenge in his fight against evil.

The series' digital manga remake began publication on Shueisha's Tonari no Young Jump website in 2012. The chapters are periodically collected and printed into tankōbon volumes. As of November 2019, 20 volumes have been released, 17 of which have been republished in English. Viz Media has licensed the remake for English serialization in its Weekly Shonen Jump digital magazine. Its English release received a nomination for an Eisner Award in 2015 and a Harvey Award in 2016.

An anime television adaptation by Madhouse aired in Japan between October and December 2015. It was dubbed in English during the summer of 2016, and later that year a planned second season was announced. On September 25, 2017, it was announced the production company and director had changed. The second season was animated by J.C.Staff with Chikara Sakurai replacing Shingo Natsume as director and Yoshikazu Iwanami replacing Shoji Hata as sound director. The second season aired between April and July 2019.

Plot[edit]

On an unnamed Earth-like supercontinent planet, powerful monsters and villains have been wreaking havoc in the cities. To combat them, the world's government created a Hero Association that employs superheroes to stop them. The heroes are ranked from Class C to Class S. Saitama, an unassociated hero, hails from the metropolis of City-Z and performs heroic deeds for his own entertainment. He has trained himself to the point where he broke his "limit" and can effortlessly defeat any opponent with a single punch while slaying monsters the same way. But he is now bored with his own omnipotence and frustrated by sensing he lacks a challenge.

Over the course of the series, Saitama encounters various superheroes, friends, villains, and monsters. He becomes a reluctant mentor to cyborg Genos, who moves in with him and is seeking revenge against another cyborg that slaughtered his entire family and hometown. Eventually, the two join the Hero Association to gain recognition. Genos proves to be a prodigy and is placed instantly in Class S, while Saitama barely passes the written portion of the Hero test and is placed in Class C. Saitama performs many feats that go mostly unnoticed and unappreciated by the public because of his rank, but he is promoted to Class B after defeating the powerful Deep Sea King, who rains destruction on City-J. Rumors surface that strong monsters are gathering in City-Z.

Soon after, the great seer Shibabawa has a vision before she dies that the world is in danger. Panicking, the Hero Association calls all S-Class heroes to a meeting, begging them to protect the world. Immediately after the meeting, the leader of the Dark Matter Thieves, Boros, invades the planet and destroys City-A. The S-Class heroes fight the invaders outside the ship, while Saitama finds their leader and defeats him. The S-Class Hero Metal Knight quickly repairs the damage done to City-A in the aftermath.

Saitama gradually begins to meet other superheroes such as the martial artist Bang and King, the "Strongest Man on Earth", who is actually a fraud quietly taking credit for Saitama's deeds. Growing increasingly aware of the rising rate of monsters' appearances, the Hero Association tries to recruit more heroes and even begins recruiting villains. When Hero Association executive Sitch tries to do so, Bang's former apprentice Garou begins beating heroes left and right to break their morale. Garou's ruthlessness earns him the title "hero-hunter" and the threat level "Dragon", the second most dangerous threat level.

To support himself financially, Saitama enters a martial arts tournament disguised as Charanko, a disciple of Bang. During the tournament, the Monster Association attacks various cities and kidnaps the child of one of the Hero Association's executives. The Monster Association offers "monster cells" to various groups of people, which will turn people into monsters when eaten, while the Hero Association stages a rescue for the kidnapped child.

Background and production[edit]

The Japanese shortened name Wanpanman is a play on the long-running children's character Anpanman,[5] wanpan being a contraction of wanpanchi ("one punch").[6]

The webcomic version of One-Punch Man was created by One in 2009.[7][8] He became interested in creating a comic superhero who was already the strongest in the world.[8][9] He wanted to focus on different aspects of storytelling than those normally relied on in standard superhero stories, such as everyday problems. One said, "Punching is oftentimes pretty useless against life's problems. But inside One-Punch Man's universe, I made Saitama a sort of guy who was capable of adapting his life to the world that surrounded him, only armed with his immense power. The only obstacles he faces are mundane things, like running short of money."[9] One self-published the series on the Japanese manga website Nitosha.net. The series was an instant success online, where One generated thousands of viewers and comments within weeks.[10]

According to One, by the time he had written the fifth chapter, he was receiving 30 comments per update. (On Nitosha, a series was considered popular if it consistently received at least 30 comments.) The number of comments gradually increased, and by the time One had published the 30th chapter, he was receiving nearly 1,000 comments per update. In February 2010, he put the series on hiatus, deciding to take time off for a year due to family circumstances.[11]

When One returned to drawing manga in 2011, he was contacted by artist Yusuke Murata about a possible partnership in which Murata would redraw the manga for One. Murata had been an enormous fan of One-Punch Man and was ill at the time.[12] Fearing he was going to die, he contacted One. Looking back, he said, "Around that time, I was actually really sick. I broke out in hives, my inner organs were infected, and I couldn't breathe well with my windpipes [sic] swelling. I was in the hospital when I thought, 'Ah, I guess people die just like that.' If I'm going to die, I want to do something I really love to do. I want to draw manga with Mr. ONE. That's what I thought."[12]

Murata, already a successful manga artist, used his connections in the industry to get a publishing deal with Weekly Young Jump comics.[12]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

One began publishing One-Punch Man as a webcomic in 2009.[8] As of April 2019, 117 webcomic chapters have been released.[13] After the series became popular, having received 7.9 million hits by June 2012,[14] Yusuke Murata contacted One with a proposal to redraw the comic for digital publication on Weekly Young Jump's spin-off manga website Tonari no Young Jump (となりのヤングジャンプ, Tonari no Yangu Janpu), published by Shueisha.[8][14][5] The first chapter was published on June 14, 2012.[14] The chapters are periodically collected and printed as tankōbon volumes—eighteen have been released as of December 4, 2018. A radio drama CD was bundled with the ninth volume released in August 2015.[15]

The series began publication in Viz Media's Weekly Shonen Jump (Shonen Jump Alpha at the time) in North America on January 21, 2013.[16] The first e-book was released in February 2014.[17] One-Punch Man was one of a number of series that Viz made available on the digital distribution platform ComiXology in June 2014.[18] The manga was released in print in the United States beginning in September 2015.[19]

Anime[edit]

An anime adaptation was announced in the 15th issue of Weekly Young Jump on March 10, 2015.[20] The series' first season was directed by Shingo Natsume at Madhouse animation studio and written by Tomohiro Suzuki.[21] The series also features character designs by Chikashi Kubota, who also serves as chief animation director.[22] The music is by Makoto Miyazaki with art design by Shigemi Ikeda and Yukiko Maruyama. Ken Hashimoto serves as the series' color key artist, Akane Fushihara is the director of photography, Kashiko Kimura serves as the series editor and Shoji Hata does sound design.[22] The opening theme song is "The Hero!! ~Ikareru Ken ni Honō o Tsukero~" (THE HERO!! ~怒れる拳に火をつけろ~, "The Hero!! Set Fire to the Furious Fist") by JAM Project; the closing theme is "Hoshi Yori Saki ni Mitsukete Ageru" (星より先に見つけてあげる, "I'll Find It Before the Stars for You") by Hiroko Moriguchi.[22]

One-Punch Man's first season aired in Japan from October 5, 2015, to December 21, 2015,[23] on TV Tokyo. It aired later on Television Osaka (TVO), TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting (TVQ), Kyoto Broadcasting System (KBS), BS Japan, and AT-X,[22][24] and ran for 12 episodes. The season streamed on Niconico and was simulcast on Hulu, Daisuki, and Viz Media's Neon Alley service.[25] A preview screening of the first two episodes was held at the Saitama City Cultural Center on September 6, 2015.[25][26] The series is licensed by Viz Media in North America, Latin America, and Oceania,[27][28] and by Viz Media Europe in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.[28] Kaze UK and Manga Entertainment handle the distribution of the series in the United Kingdom.[29] Madman Entertainment handles distribution in Australia and New Zealand, and also simulcast the series on AnimeLab.[30] An original video animation (OVA) was released with the tenth manga volume on December 4, 2015.[31] Additional OVA episodes are included with Blu-ray Disc & DVD volumes of the season, the first of which was released on December 24, 2015.[32][33][34] Murata announced in the last weeks of the first season's broadcast schedule that he was working on making a second season a reality, but had not confirmed it was in development as of December 2015.[35]

Viz Media announced they were working on an English-language dub of One-Punch Man at Anime Boston 2016.[36] On July 1 of the same year, it was announced during Toonami's Anime Expo panel the series would begin airing on July 16, 2016.[37]

A second season was confirmed in September 2016.[38] On September 25, 2017, it was announced that One-Punch Man would be changing both its production company and director.[39] The second season is animated by J.C.Staff with Chikara Sakurai replacing Shingo Natsume as director and Yoshikazu Iwanami replacing Shoji Hata as sound director. Tomohiro Suzuki, Chikashi Kubota and Makoto Miyazaki reprised their roles as series composer, character designer and music composer respectively.[40] The opening theme song is "Uncrowned Greatest Hero" (静寂のアポストル, Seijaku no Apostle, lit. "Quiet Apostle") by JAM Project, and the closing theme is "Chizu ga Nakutemo Modoru kara" (地図が無くても戻るから, lit. "Even Without a Map, I'll Return") by Makoto Furukawa.[41][42][43] The second season aired from April 9, 2019, to July 2, 2019, while a television special aired on April 2, 2019.[44][42] The second season is simulcast on Hulu in the US,[42] on Tubi in Canada,[45] on AnimeLab in Australia and New Zealand[46] and on Crunchyroll in Europe.[47] A 10-minute OVA will be bundled with the second season's first Blu-ray Disc/DVD volume on October 25, 2019.[48][49]

The second season premiered on Toonami on October 12, 2019.[50]

Video games[edit]

On June 25, 2019, One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows was announced and is set to release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.[51] On August 22, 2019, a mobile game titled One Punch Man: Road to Hero was released for iOS and Android.[52]

Reception[edit]

Manga[edit]

One-Punch Man had 2.2 million copies in print in November 2013. The series was one of ten nominated for the seventh annual Manga Taishō Awards in 2014.[53] As of July 2017, the manga had 13 million copies in print;[54] by July 2019 this had grown to 20 million copies in print.[55]

Once released in the United States, both the first and second volumes debuted on the New York Times Manga Best Sellers list, in first and second place respectively, and remained there for two weeks.[56] Volume one dropped to second place for the third week, while volume two fell off the list altogether.[56] In July 2019, the first volume of the series had been on the list for 71 weeks.[57] As of November 2019, it was no longer on the list.[58]

Series[edit]

The first season of the anime received critical acclaim, with praise for its uniqueness, animation, humor, characters and fight scenes. It currently holds an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 11 reviews, with the site's critics' consensus reading, "With its state-of-the-art animation, unorthodox hero, and gut-bustlingly funny jabs at the shounen genre, One-Punch Man is simply a knockout."[59] The series was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2015,[3][60][61] and a Harvey Award in 2016.[62]

The second season received mixed reviews; although the humor, characters and story were still praised, reviewers unanimously criticized the drop in the quality of the animation following the change of studios; the direction, pacing, and fights were also criticized, as was the last episode for feeling like an improper season finale.[63] Screen Rant noted that fan reaction to the season was divided, with their response to the new animation being notably negative.[64][65]

IGN gave the season a five out of ten rating, calling it "mediocre". Although they felt the humor and characters were on par with the first season, they were very critical of the animation and pacing, saying the animation was "... taking horrendous shortcuts to get the fights done and dusted in as simple a way as possible. Gone are the intricately detailed character action shots, with dynamic slow motion and constantly-shifting camerawork. Instead, we have flashes, cuts to black, and machine-gun punches all reminiscent of the drawn-out fight scenes of Dragon Ball Z from more than twenty years ago." They concluded saying: "Season 2 of One-Punch Man is a half-baked jumble of poor and lazy animation that is far more concerned with staying relevant than being crafted into something worthy of the season that came before it. If you’re only in it for the advancement of the plot, it’s all here. But it’s also all in the manga, and that looks an awful lot better than this season."[66]

Screen Rant criticized the drop of quality in animation as well as the change of director, saying "One-Punch Man was previously crisp, detailed and fluid, but many fans claim that the latest season has felt static, bland and uninspiring. This is almost certainly down to a change in director. [The series] has gone from the pinnacle of TV anime visuals to looking like just another weekly series." However, they believed the season "improves in terms of story, character and world-building", although they mostly this mostly to the original manga rather than the series' crew.[65] They were very critical the season finale, noting:

The absence of a major final battle can perhaps be forgiven, but the episode also fails to deliver any sort of major plot cliffhanger that builds excitement towards season 3. The closing image of Phoenix Man flying Garou away to the Monster Association is far from a surprising development and manga readers will know that the ramifications of this scene aren't the main focus moving into season 3. [...] One-Punch Man season 2's strange ending is even harder to understand considering the anime only needed to adapt one or two extra manga chapters to deliver a more definitive finale. The episode ends without giving any clear idea on the direction for season 3.[64]

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External links[edit]