One Punch Man is one of the most entertaining TV series out there right now. Combining absurd action with deadpan comedy and a shockingly relatable hero, it’s an addictive show that’s incredibly difficult not to binge in one sitting.
The premiere of One Punch Man Season 2 debuted in the West on Hulu this month, so what better time to check out the show that quickly became one of the most beloved animes of the last decade.
The theme song alone should get you pretty pumped up to watch:
One Punch Man, based on the manga of the same name, centers around Saitama, a mild-mannered man who decides one day that he wants to become a hero for fun. By sticking to a strict training regiment of 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a 10 kilometer run every day, he grew stronger, eventually becoming so strong that he became bald, seemingly invincible, and capable of defeating any threat with a single punch.
It’s an absurd premise and an incredibly uninvolved backstory for a hero who is consistently saving people’s lives. And despite being possibly the strongest being in the universe, Saitama is a pretty regular guy who has to go shopping just like anyone else. It’s that simplicity and relatability that makes One Punch Man so funny.
There’s also the dichotomy of Saitama and almost every other character. While Saitama is pretty laid back, the other characters he encounters, whether they’re friends or enemies, tend to be extreme caricatures of anime characters with driven, single-minded purposes and deep backstories.
Given Saitama’s mild appearance and lack of self-righteousness, he’s routinely underestimated, his heroic deeds usually underplayed or misinterpreted. He doesn’t usually let it bother him though. He’s just a hero for fun and isn’t out to win a popularity contest (although honestly he does get a little miffed that he isn’t as adored as other heroes).
The monsters and enemies that attack the cities of One Punch Man are colorful and inventive, coming from all walks of life and containing a wide variety of strengths and weaknesses. It becomes clear pretty quickly that none of them are any match for Saitama, so while the invading monsters are a consistent threat to the population, they act more as a backdrop to Saitama’s own focus: moving up in the local hero rankings.
The jokes in One Punch Man are great and the animation only adds to the humor, usually depicting Saitama as the most unassuming person imaginable (and sometimes making him look like a total badass for a laugh).
While poking fun at handfuls of anime tropes, One Punch Man dually pays homage to some of the medium’s best features, embracing ridiculous battles and wild personalities in its own entertaining style.
Judging by the first episode, Season 2 of One Punch Man will continue to be just as hilarious and just as action-packed as the first season.
The entire first season is available on both Netflix and Hulu, but the new episodes will only come to Hulu for the time being.