One-Punch Man

One-Punch Man (Japanese: ワンパンマン, Hepburn: Wanpanman) is a Japanese superhero franchise created by the artist ONE. It tells the story of Saitama, a superhero who can defeat any opponent with a single punch but seeks to find a worthy foe after growing bored by a lack of challenge due to his overwhelming strength. ONE wrote the original webcomic version in early 2009, and it quickly grew in popularity, surpassing 7.9 million hits in June 2012. The series has since received manga and anime adaptations.

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
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineTonari no Young Jump
English magazine
Original runJune 14, 2012 – present
Volumes21 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by
  • Shingo Natsume (season 1)
  • Chikara Sakurai (season 2)
Produced by
  • Chinatsu Matsui
  • Nobuyuki Hosoya
  • Keita Kodama (season 1)
  • Ayuri Taguchi (season 1)
  • Sōta Satō (season 2)
Written byTomohiro Suzuki
Music byMakoto Miyazaki
Studio
Licensed by
Original networkTV Tokyo
English network
Original run October 5, 2015 July 2, 2019
Episodes24 + 12 OVAs (List of episodes)
Original animation DVD
One-Punch Man: Road to Hero
Directed byShingo Natsume
Produced by
  • Chinatsu 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

The series' digital manga remake began publication on Shueisha's Tonari no Young Jump website in 2012. The manga is illustrated by Yusuke Murata, and the chapters are periodically collected and printed into tankōbon volumes. As of December 2019, 21 volumes have been released, 19 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 was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2015 and a Harvey Award in 2016.

The series' anime adaptation was created by Madhouse and aired in Japan between October and December 2015. It was dubbed in English during the summer of 2016, and a second season was announced later that year. 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.

PlotEdit

On a supercontinent Earth, powerful monsters and villains have been wreaking havoc in the cities. In response, the millionaire Agoni creates the Hero Association, which employs superheroes to fight evil. Saitama, an unassociated hero, hails from City Z and performs heroic deeds for his own enjoyment. He has trained himself to the point of being able to defeat any enemy with a single punch, but his unmatched strength has left him with an overwhelming sense of boredom.

Saitama eventually becomes a reluctant mentor to Genos, a cyborg seeking revenge against another cyborg who killed his family and destroyed his hometown. Saitama and Genos join the Hero Association, but due to scoring low on the written entry exam, Saitama is placed at a low-entry rank and his feats remain unnoticed and unappreciated by the public.

The Hero Association calls all the top heroes to a meeting, informing them that the seer Shibabawa had a vision that the world is in danger. Immediately after the meeting, an alien named Boros invades the planet. The heroes fight the invaders outside Boros's ship, while Saitama boards the ship and defeats Boros.

As the story progresses, Saitama meets other heroes, such as the martial artist Bang, the esper Blizzard, and King, a hero considered the strongest man on Earth (secretly a fraud who accidentally took credit for Saitama's deeds). Monsters also begin to appear at a rising rate. Another growing threat is the rogue martial artist Garo, Bang's former apprentice and self-dubbed "Hero Hunter", who fights and defeats heroes to grow stronger.

The monster influx is revealed to be the doing of the Monster Association, an organization composed of monsters intent on destroying the Hero Association. They attack various cities, kidnap a Hero Association executive's child, and recruit fighters by offering them "monster cells", which mutate humans into monsters with extraordinary abilities. Throughout all this, Garo bonds with a child who idolizes heroes, seeking leads on heroes to battle, and his abilities increase greatly. The Monster Association attempts to recruit him, and kidnap the child when Garo refuses.

Garo enters the Monster Association headquarters in City Z to rescue the child, but is captured. The Hero Association also breaches the headquarters to rescue the executives' child and a chaotic battle ensues, in which City Z is destroyed. The majority of the Monster Association's leaders are slain, but many of the heroes, having grown overconfident in their abilities, are defeated. Garo, having achieved tremendous power, defeats the remaining heroes, before Saitama in turn arrives and defeats him. Despite the objections of the other heroes, Saitama spares Garo's life, and lets him flee for parts unknown.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Hero Association's poor performance leads to public opinion of them plummeting. Several heroes and officials decide to retire or defect to the Neo Heroes, a burgeoning rival group that appears to be more effective in handling the growing monster threats with its larger membership and the leadership of the hero Blue, who claims to be the son of the long-missing Blast.

WebcomicEdit

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 self-published the series on the Japanese manga website Nitosha.net. ONE 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 has taken several breaks from updating the webcomic. In February 2010, he put the series on hiatus, deciding to take a one-year break due to family circumstances.[10] After releasing the 109th chapter on January 2017, ONE took a two-year break, releasing the following chapter on April 2019.[11] As of June 2020, the webcomic has 128 chapters.[12]

MangaEdit

When ONE returned to drawing in 2011, he was contacted by artist Yusuke Murata about a possible partnership in which Murata would redraw the webcomic for ONE. Murata had been an enormous fan of One-Punch Man and was ill at the time.[13] 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."[13]

Murata, already a successful manga artist, used his connections in the industry to get a publishing deal with Weekly Young Jump comics.[13] The manga became a 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.[5][8][14] The first chapter was published on June 14, 2012.[14] The chapters are periodically collected and printed as tankōbon volumes, and twenty-one have been released as of December 4, 2019, nineteen of which have been republished in English. A radio drama CD was bundled with the ninth volume released in August 2015.[15]

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

AnimeEdit

An anime adaptation was announced in the 15th issue of Weekly Young Jump on March 10, 2015.[20] The first season was directed by Shingo Natsume at Madhouse animation studio and written by Tomohiro Suzuki.[21] The series features character designs by Chikashi Kubota, who also served as chief animation director.[22] The music was by Makoto Miyazaki, with art design by Shigemi Ikeda and Yukiko Maruyama. Ken Hashimoto served as the color key artist, Akane Fushihara served as the director of photography, Kashiko Kimura served as the series editor, and Shoji Hata did 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, and 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 ran for 12 episodes. It aired in Japan from October 5 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] 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]

Viz Media announced they were working on an English-language dub of One-Punch Man at Anime Boston 2016.[35] On July 1, 2016, it was announced during Toonami's Anime Expo panel that the series would begin airing on July 16, 2016.[36]

A second season was confirmed in September 2016.[37] On September 25, 2017, it was announced that One-Punch Man would be changing both its production company and director.[38] 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. Tomohiro Suzuki, Chikashi Kubota, and Makoto Miyazaki reprised their roles as series composer, character designer, and music composer, respectively.[39] 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.[40][41][42] The second season aired from April 9 to July 2, 2019, and a television special aired on April 2, 2019.[43][41] The second season was simulcast on Hulu in the US,[41] on Tubi in Canada,[44] on AnimeLab in Australia and New Zealand[45] and on Crunchyroll in Europe.[46] A ten-minute OVA was bundled with the second season's first Blu-ray Disc/DVD volume on October 25, 2019.[47][48] Two more OVAs were bundled with the second season's second and third Blu-ray Disc/DVD volume on November 26 and December 25, 2019, respectively.[49][50] Another OVA was bundled with the second season's fourth Blu-ray Disc/DVD volume on January 28, 2020.[51] The fifth OVA was bundled with the second season's fifth Blu-ray Disc/DVD volume on February 27, 2020.[52] The second season premiered on Toonami on October 12, 2019.[53]

In other mediaEdit

Video gamesEdit

On June 25, 2019, One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows was announced for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It was released in Japan on February 27, 2020, and worldwide on February 28, 2020[54]

On August 22, 2019, a mobile game titled One Punch Man: Road to Hero was released for iOS and Android.[55]

Film adaptationEdit

On April 21, 2020, Sony's Columbia Pictures announced that a live-action film adaptation was in development. Jumanji and Venom screenwriters Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner are signed on as writers, while Avi Arad will produce.[56]

ReceptionEdit

WebcomicEdit

The webcomic was considered an instant success shortly after its inception, receiving thousands of views and comments within weeks.[57] It received 7.9 million hits by June 2012.[14] According to ONE, by the time he had written the fifth chapter, he was receiving 30 comments per update. (On Nitosha.net, 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 1000 comments per update.[10][57]

MangaEdit

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.[58] As of July 2017, the manga had 13 million copies in print;[59] by July 2019, this had grown to 20 million copies in print.[60]

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.[61] Volume one dropped to second place for the third week, while volume two fell off the list altogether.[61] In July 2019, the first volume of the series had been on the list for 71 weeks.[62] As of November 2019, it was no longer on the list.[63]

AnimeEdit

The first season of the anime received critical acclaim, receiving praise for its uniqueness, animation, humor, characters and fight scenes. It holds an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 12 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."[64] The series was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2015,[3][65][66] and a Harvey Award in 2016.[67]

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.[68] Screen Rant noted that fan reaction to the season was divided, with their response to the new animation being notably negative.[69][70]

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."[71]

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 attribute this to the original manga rather than the series' crew.[70] They were very critical of the season finale, noting how the anime could have adapted one or two extra manga chapters to offer a more conclusive finale and build excitement toward a third season.[69]

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External linksEdit