Sunday, December 23, 2012


Today I'm taking a look at a new manga which has managed to instantly capture my heart, One Punch Man, the titular character of which may actually render all the Goku Vs. Superman debates moot.

The world of One Punch Man revolves around everyday bald guy Saitama, a former would-be salaryman who one day discovers he would rather be a superhero than a business man. To this end, he undertakes an intense training regimen and gains super strength and speed on an unheard of level.

 In fact, Saitama is now too strong, though the monsters he faces are plentiful and skilled at destruction; not one has the power the withstand one of Saitama punches, leading him to chronic boredom. Eventually, Saitama meets Genos, a cyborg and earnest do-gooder, who wants nothing more than to be Saitama's student and learn the secrets of his power.

This is outline for the story in a nutshell with later chapters having more plot and characters as Saitama and Genos become involved with other heroes and villains, like the effeminate Speed of Sound Sonic.

One of the most interesting aspects of One Punch Man is its origin and presentation. Originally serialized as an independent web comic by author One, One Punch Man garnered an impressive 1,000,000 hits with its comedy-action story despite the comic's relatively simplistic art. Japanese publishing giant Shueisha took note of this and, after launching their own online comic publication, Tonari no Young Jump, paired One with Eyeshield 21 artist Yusuke Murata to produce a One Punch Man remake with professional level artwork.

One continues to publish his original One Punch Man web comic, which is now up to chapter 87, so even when you are finished reading Murata's adaption of the comic (currently at chapter 20) there is still plenty more to read through, an option I highly enjoy.

Though the comic has many similarities to other recent series like Ratman and Tiger and Bunny in terms of world structure, One Punch Man's peculiar hook and straight forward main character make it very enjoyable and strong enough to stand on its own; and though you may think the thought of a hero who can destroy his enemies in one blow may lack conflict and tension, the vagueness and mystery behind the true nature of Saitama's powers and One's comic timing keep the read intriguing and enjoyable. As of this writing the comic has been collected in two graphic novels which you can order at Kinokuniya Book Web (just search for ワンパンマン under Japanese books) ,and I am sincerely waiting for more as it comes. I highly recommend this series to any fans of the super hero genre who can take a joke and are ready for the adventures of perhaps the most powerful hero ever.

(By the way, for those of you looking for this series in English, the series is being translated by a few groups and can be found on a few different manga hosting sites. Just google One Punch Man and it should be pretty easy to find, but if you go this route, please remember to support the creative team if you have a chance!)

Images are sampled from the original web comic site and Tonari no Young Jump's One Punch Man website.

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