Anime is well known for balancing flashy animation, intense battles, and goofy humor, but few shows strike that balance as well as One-Punch Man. Gloriously lampooning anime and shonen manga, One-Punch Man follows the ridiculous conceit of the most powerful being in human history and how bored he is with life. As Saitama searches for something useful to do with all of his power between trips to the grocery store, a very silly and entertaining world slowly opens up before him.
If you’re looking for a little insight into One-Punch Man and his many hilarious characters, we’ve got you covered. We’ll show you the three versions of the story that are currently underway and even point you in the direction of where to start. Ready to join the Hero Association? Then read on.
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One-Punch Man Beginner’s Guide
What is One-Punch Man about?
As the title suggests, One-Punch Man focuses on a hero so powerful that he can destroy any opponent with a single punch. If this sounds totally absurd to you, don’t worry, he’s destined to do it. While Saitama’s training has made him a force to be reckoned with, he has also absorbed the joy and excitement of existence from him. He endlessly dreams of being challenged or even injured again so he can feel alive.
When a fateful encounter with a cyborg sees Saitama’s tremendous power exposed to the world, he joins the Hero Association and quickly rises through the ranks to rival its best members. As the Association’s internal feuds collide with the various threats against the planet, One-Punch Man grows in scope to become a show as exciting as it is fun.
As alien threats invade, normal humans become goofy supervillains (“I love cars so much I became a car!”), and the Monster Association plans to overthrow the entire system, it’s up to Saitama and the others. Heroes keep threats against the world at bay.
Who created One-Punch Man?
The original version of One-Punch Man was a webcomic created by the mysterious ONE. No one knows who the secret UNO really is or even their gender, and the mystery is one that many manga fans are still trying to solve to this day. In any case, ONE had observed that most shonen anime followed a similar premise of a young hero training and slowly growing in power until they are the strongest or best. Since this is often where a series ends, ONE thought it would be hugely fun to write a series that began where most other anime and manga end.
The popularity of the webcomic prompted Yusuke Murata to remake it as a manga, and eventually adapted it into an anime series as well. Murata was so convinced of the job that he took it on while he was fatally ill, wanting to do this last project before he died. Fortunately, he recovered and now all three versions of the story are still going on.
This means that a superfan would have to keep track of three different timelines of the story to follow its many iterations. If you’re just starting out, the best thing to do is pick one and stick with it while you get your bearings before moving on to one of the other versions.
Who are the main characters?
Saitama is the main character of One-Punch Man. As we have explained before, he is kind of a bored slacker with this fantastic source of power within himself.
This changes when he meets Genos, a cyborg out for revenge. When the two join the Hero Association, they meet other key figures like martial arts guru Bang and psychokinetic Blizzard.
Meanwhile, Sonic, a ninja Saitama defeated, vows revenge, and a disciple of Bang appears in the background, ready to bring the age of heroes to an end.
Where to watch One-Punch Man
As with many popular anime, the first season of One-Punch Man is available on netflix. However, as is also typical, this first season is all there is.
Fans looking to watch the second season are best suited to get a Crunchyroll The subscription as the anime streaming giant will likely be one of the only places to watch subsequent seasons of the hit anime.
There are also collected episodes of the anime to purchase from online stores like Microsoft or in a physical media version on Amazon.
Where can you read One-Punch Man manga?
The answer to this depends on which version you want to try first.
The webcomic is the more advanced of the two and can be read completely free on the ONE website here.
The manga, on the other hand, can be read in its entirety, complete with all the redraws and updated canon, here.
The best thing about these sources is that they both come from the creators of the source material and do not feature any ads to click or close. You can read the story to your heart’s content with no frills, gimmicks or interruptions.
Alternatively, you can purchase physical copies of the manga from many different sources, including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or Indigo.
What should I try after One-Punch Man?
If you’re looking for a popular anime that’s similar in tone and premise to One-Punch Man, look no further than My Hero Academia. Set in a world where 80% of the world’s population have superpowers, the show has similar themes such as the responsibility of the powerful to protect the weak and the infighting of various hero organizations. It’s also funny from time to time, though it follows a more traditional shonen-style arc.
Kill la Kill also balances goofy humor and exciting action quite well and doubles down on that One-Punch Man energy by stringing anime/manga tropes repeatedly throughout its run.
Lastly, if it’s that crisp, signature style of animation you’re after, try out other Madhouse series like Mob Psycho 100, which was also created by ONE. You’ll recognize his character design and sense of humor from the very first episode of the psychic fighting/ghost hunting series. Outside of these two, Madhouse has a ton of prolific work like Ninja Scroll, Parasyte: The Maxim, Death Note, and Hunter x Hunter.
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