I spent my New Year’s Eve with the boyfriend and my best friend from high school watching One Punch Man (2015), an anime about a bored of his super hero career because he can kill any enemy with one punch. So, what’s the plot? Well, let me tell you.
In One Punch Man, Saitama is a 25-year-old who a life-changing experience following a disappointing interview: He saves a child from a crab beast. This sparked a personal project to get his body into peak condition, and three years into his training program, he achieved the ability to destroy monsters in a single punch. Along his effort to find a formidable opponent, he meets a cyborg, Genos, who wants to become his disciple, which is the opposite of what Saitama needs in his life. But with Genos, he learns how to join the general heroic community, and more hilarity ensues.
So much about Saitama’s life and background is so relatable. The inability to find a job post-graduation is super relevant to kids in my generation and it’s nice to have a protagonist who isn’t a gung-ho hero ready to use his destiny-granted powers to conquer the world. Saitama is a hero for fun and he enjoys his simple lifestyle. In one episode, he gets upset that a monster almost makes him miss a sale at the supermarket. Completely oblivious and ever-endearing, Saitama’s reactions to tropes like the over-emotional epilogue of exposition and the posturing of villains always elicits a giggle.
What stayed with me was a fact my friend pointed out: Everything about the character is refreshingly mundane. Aside from the one-punch ability, he has an expressionless face that only gets interesting when he gets serious. And his secret to knocking out villains with a single punch? A strict workout regiment of 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, 100 push-ups, and 10K every day with a diet of three meals a day of breakfast being a banana. It’s a pretty standard workout program, there’s nothing extraordinary about it. As my friend said, it’s like when people ask how someone lost of a ton of weight and it sounds so unbelievable that simple life-style changes were the key to success, as opposed to some complicated program.
I felt super inspired by the simplicity of motives and character descriptions. Nothing really phases Saitama as the series go on, even when he struggles with a formidable opponent. Now, off to finish 100 push-ups and run 10K.
Happy writing and consuming media,
One Punch Man is available on Hulu. No one paid me to write this, I just have a ton of excited feelings.