'One Punch Man' spoofs anime

New anime show mocks superheroes to “Dragon Ball Z”


Whether it was “Dragon Ball Z,” “Naruto” or another cult favorite running on Adult Swim during its prime, viewers have flocked to the TV to see the latest in anime.

Recently aired “One Punch Man,” based off the manga of the same name, takes aspects from your favorite animes and makes it obvious how ridiculously cliché they are.

The series is written by author ONE, who released the manga for free on his website. “One Punch Man”follows the story of Saitama, a hero that can defeat any foe with one punch. Watching the show, you come to realize how much he might have in common with Gozu from “Dragon Ball Z.”

Constantly having to save the world from increasingly stronger enemies, you begin to wonder how long the show will go on. Like many animes and TV shows, “One Punch Man” just keeps on going.

We’re first introduced to Saitama when an alien with purple antennae – suspiciously similar in appearance to Piccolo from “Dragon Ball Z” – appears and begins destroying the city in which Saitama lives.

As the alien seems like he’s about to kill a young girl, a bald man in a white cape saves her and turns to face the monster.

As the show’s name implies, the monster is killed with one punch – which all but liquefies the monster from the waist up.

Unlike “Dragon Ball Z,” – in which Goku and Frieza engaged in a notoriously long 19-episode fight – you don’t see fights lasting longer than a single episode in “One Punch Man.”

Only six episodes in and Saitama has defeated multiple enemies.

With over 104 chapters of manga to work from, the show moves along fairly quickly. This was a problem faced by both “Dragon Ball Z” and “Naruto,” both of which produced episodes too fast for the manga to keep up and left viewers with “filler” episodes.

“One Punch Man” creates humor from its character interactions and doesn’t rely too heavily on the spoof factor, but those who watch anime or superhero shows often can appreciate the level of satire.

In the fight sequence in which Saitama fights Asura Rhino, Saitama explains his workout routine that made him so strong – the same routine that caused him to go bald: 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats and a 10-K run.

Anyone who as seen at least one episode of a fighting anime knows the lengths in which characters go to train for their next fight can border on obsessive and deadly. Compared to Saitama’s basic workout, its like the manga creators are poking fun at every training montage ever made.

As expected, the other characters present in the scene don’t believe it.

Making the characters self-aware of how preposterous Saitama’s workout is and how powerful the protagonist is gets to the root of what the show is all about.

While other anime shows put the viewer in a position to want to know how powerful the next enemy will be, there is only so far it can go until that gets ridiculous.

For example, after attaining the powerups “Super Saiyan 1, 2, 3 and 4,” Goku and Vegeta in “Dragon Ball Z” have attained the power level of “God,” seemingly forcing the writers into a hole – where do you go from “Super Saiyan God?”

“One Punch Man” has set the precedent with Saitama. He might get thrown around a bit, but that’s only until he turns his attention to a fight as opposed to thinking about a missed bargain sale at the grocery store.

Overall, “One Punch Man” provides a fresh take for anime-lovers, essentially switching the script on character development.

A show that makes fun of its genre as much as it makes fun of itself, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud every episode. “One Punch Man” is available via Hulu in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese.

Kenneth Kashif Thomas is an arts desk editor and can be reached at kenneth.thomas@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KenUBSpec.