One Punch Man REVIEW

One Punch Man REVIEW

0 comments 📅20 July 2017, 10:44

One Punch Man suffers from a similar problem to Space Dandy. Like Dandy, it spoofs a world-famous genre (in this case, superheroes), which has been spoofed a tremendous number of times already. Indeed, the superhero spoof is a mile-wide genre, from Lego Batman’s U-rated ribbing to the bloody brutality of comic-books such as The Boys and movies like Super. Watching One-Punch Man therefore causes you to ask two questions: what is the series doing that’s new?; And is it doing anything better than previous spoofs?

Another echo of Space Dandy is that One Punch Man has a title character who’s perplexingly not very funny. His name is Saitama, he’s dressed in a leotard and a cape, and he’s bald with a default expression of mild grouching, rather than the gravitas of Professor X. He lives in a version of Japan where the cities are called A, B, C and so on (which, okay, is no sillier than calling a city “Metropolis”). Many of the monsters are Power Rangers-level daft, but die more messily; the early episodes, especially, are punctuated by gore gags that horror fans call ‘splatstick’. And the monsters die messily because Saitama is so absurdly powerful that he can take out Godzilla with, you guessed it, one punch.

That’s all fine as far as it goes and the first episodes, especially, are amusing. A typical gag: a supervillain sets up a tower of traps for Saitama to fight through, and in the next scene, Saitama’s sidekick blows up the tower. The trouble is there’s not enough there for a series. As the show itself makes clear, there are plenty of different potential ways it could develop. However, rather than choose one or two hooks and build a series around them, One Punch Man meanders from one half-baked approach to another.

As we mentioned above, Saitama gets a sidekick, a boy cyborg, and there are jokes about their lack of chemistry. Unfortunately, as you might expect, these don’t go far. Sometimes, Saitama’s battles end with cities in ruins, which plainly doesn’t matter anymore than South Park getting trashed, except in one episode when it suddenly does. Equally inconsistently, civilians are occasionally presented as ‘stakes’ in battle scenes, as if we’re meant to care about them now. It’s more convincing when the fights get graphically whizzy, sporadically electrifying the show just by themselves. But we’ve seen madder spectacle, for instance, in Kill la Kill.

More superheroes turn up later, supposedly competing with each other for rankings, but they’re mostly colourless; Tiger & Bunny did the set-up better. Although, like Tiger & Bunny, the secondary heroes include an ugly gay stereotype. Strangely, this actually works better in One Punch Man than Fire Emblem does in Tiger & Bunny, as the character is ramped up to be insanely offensive and undeniably funny. The other funny characters are mostly monsters, especially the real no-hopers. These creatures could have been another way to hook the show and give it a comedic shape, but they don’t steal enough screen time from the duller heroes. Its name may boast of killer precision, but One Punch Man is all miss-and-hit. Reviewed by Tom Arden

Released: 17 July 2017
From: Manga UK
Format: DVD & Blu-ray
Price (RRP): £34.99 (DVD), £49.99 (Blu-ray)
Age rating: 15

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first one to write a comment

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.