One Punch Man – 08

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Oh yes, One Punch Man has ascended to full-blown awesome now.

As is my usual preference when I’m writing a generally positive post (and this one is going to be extremely positive) with one negative element, I’ll get the negative out of the way.  I didn’t especially like the way Puri-Puri Prisoner (Onosaka Masaya, who’s something of a go-to for these sort of characters) was portrayed here.  It’s not a One Punch problem but an anime problem generally that gay characters (usually male) are played for laughs, often in a mean-spirited way.  In defense of OPM pretty much everyone in this series is over the top, so at least it doesn’t stand out so much.

That frees me up to rave about just how much this episode kicked ass, and just how much One Punch Man has found its stride in the last month – it’s leveled up to exactly the series I was hoping it was going to be.  Frankly, I’m not sure which was the more glorious orgy of awesomeness this week – the seiyuu performances or the sakuga.  OPM’s story and satirical social commentary are winners on their own, but it’s such a pleasure to have a show get the kind of platinum treatment Madhouse is giving this one.

No doubt about it – the Deep Sea King (Koyama Rikiya) is the best villain we’ve met so far.  He’s OP enough to pose a real threat, the character design is awesome (think Ryuk from Death Note mixed with Audrey II and The Creature From the Black Lagoon), and you’ve got Koyama-san in beast mode voicing him.  DSK is a bit campy in his own right but that makes him that much more entertaining.  After Saitama has a (duh) brief run-in with one of his underlings in City Z, King turns up in City J after Class A hero Stinger (more glorious seiyuu work from the great Seki Tomokazu) makes sashimi out of several more of his lieutenants.

Even when the dry air (as if that were ever a problem in Kanto) shrivels DSK up a bit he’s still a beast, and he disposes of Stinger (and then Hoshi Shouichirou’s Lightning Max) pretty quickly.  Everyone – including most of the heroes – tries to evacuate, but the brave Mumen Rider (Nakamura Yuuichi) pedals in anyway (stopping at red lights, of course) eventually picking up Saitama – who’s been left behind by Genos (why didn’t he just carry him?).  Meanwhile the aforementioned Prisoner and Sped-‘o-Sound Sonic are now facing down the Sea King.

Both these guys are S-Class, but King is more than a match for them.  He and Prisoner seem like kindred spirits in a sense, but that doesn’t stop DSK from kicking the now-transformed – and nekkid – Prisoner’s ass.  Sonic eventually gets nekkid too, after all of his super-speed proves useless against King – who’s now transformed himself, thanks to the rain.  There’s a very funny moment here when Sonic mumbles a “Crunch crunch, snap snap” to simulate his bones breaking after slithering out of DSK’s grasp – and his own clothes – to escape.

All of these battles, by the way, are taking place in gloriously animated form – I mean lights-out, H x H level Madhouse – with a running soundtrack from what’s rapidly turning into a seiyuu Hall-of-Fame banquet.  There’s nothing routine about any of these action set pieces – they’re exceptional.  But we know what they’re building towards.  DSK makes his way to the shelter where much of City J’s population – and lower-level heroes – have holed up, and announces his intention to kill them.  Allback-Man tries to buy some time, but the poor Class-C is so terrified he pisses himself.  It so happens that a couple more heroes are present, including Class A’s bottom-dweller Sneck, but they’re mere plankton (DSK is probably being kind when he calls them zaku).

All those appetizers are wonderful, but for me one eye is always on the main course.  Genos’ arrival is either the last hors d’oeuvres or the beginning of the piece de resistance, depending on your perspective, but while I’m sure he’ll put up a good fight I don’t think even Genos will prove to be a match for King.  I find myself hoping this is finally the opponent that will require more than a single punch from Saitama to be defeated, but I rather doubt it – after all, the title is what it is.  The bigger question may be whether Saitama finally starts getting public appoval for all the population-saving he’s doing, rather than once again being dismissed as the guy who “steals the credit”.  But right now I think that injustice is every bit as intrinsic to the story as the titular punch.

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  1. G

    I could not believe how fast 22 minutes flew by (it seemed like 2-3 mins). Thats a sign of a good anime.

  2. J

    -I thought the action in this episode had a lots of stills and overall wasn't as jaw-dropping as other episodes, but OPM's worst is others' best. This show truly is a Hall of Fame thing in lots of areas.

    -I had trouble understanding at first who you were addressing by "King", since later on there will be a S-class hero literally called King (who would by the way wreck these guys, perhaps even Saitama).

    -It may have been simply a stylistic choice to do, but notice the way Genos ran like Saitama did this episode (you took a screencap of it), versus how he ran in episode 3, towards the House of Evolution? I'd like to think that Genos dropping his chuuni-ninja-esque running is a sign of him trying his hardest to be like Saitama, haha…

  3. S

    For your first point – that was mainly during the moment with Pri-Pri Prisoner. Otherwise, at least we got the beyond-admirable Hidehiko Sawada (of Hunter x Hunter 2011 notoriety) animating his Angel henshin + Angel Rush attack.

    Who knows? This episode may have additional bits of animation when it gets released on BD/DVD.

  4. Yeah, he worked on the beyond-Godly Episode 35 of H x H – which is as good a fight sequence as I've seen in any TV anime not named Seirei no Moribito.

  5. K

    I loved this episode Rikiya Koyama's delivery was amazing, like always. I'm replying here because I don't agree on your animation comment. Hell, Puri-Puri Prisoner's transformation sequence even had a nod to Sailor Moon's first one. This was amazing.

  6. E

    Even if the animation wasn't at its peak, the facial expressions are top notch.

  7. J

    Personally I think the Puri Puri sequence was the best one, I was mainly referring to the previous fights, like Saitama vs Messenger (skipped) and Hornet vs Sea monsters (super detailed cool stills). Yeah, facial expressions are god-tier too.

  8. m

    I kind of get why so many people root for Mumen Rider now, and the cliffhanger wasn't really one when we know Saitama would definitely kick ass.

  9. T

    To be honest Puri-Puri left a bad taste in my mouth in an episode that is otherwise really good. I'm tired of anime having gay characters being a complete joke in a mean spirited kind of way and in the case of OPM I hate that his character is a essentially a predator and the reason he was even in jail is because he has a habit of attacking pretty boys. I'm sorry but no.

    Saitama is slowly getting recognized, but I have a strong feeling its not going to be in the admiration sort of way because people cant genuinely believe he is THAT strong, there is a alot of comments that he just takes the credit of other heroes work. I hope I'm wrong.

  10. S

    Yeah, Puri Puri was just bad. I mean, One Piece has all over-the-top characters, and when it features "okamas" (there's a whole kingdom of them) they look caricatures but no more than everyone else, and are overall sympathetic and not joked on for their sexual sides at all (Bon Kurei has gone from villain to one of the most loyal and brave allies Luffy has ever had, and Emporio Ivankov while a weirdo is also a very important and feared figure of authority). But this was just mean.

    Other than that, episode was nice – I especially enjoyed everything concerning Sonic, and Mumen Rider is just sort of adorable.

  11. p

    For someone who clearly wants to do critical social commentary on the Japanese workforce and alienation in society, the writer of this show sure has regressive and reactionary views on homosexuality. It really irritates me that someone who clearly should know better doesn't end up knowing better.

    Yes, someone who is gay CLEARLY cannot control his libido. Someone who is gay CLEARLY wants to sexually harrass any man he finds attractive. Someone who is gay CLEARLY will behave in a mixture of flamboyance and effeminance.

    Look! A gay man! HAHA! FUNNY! He's gay! Isn't he a weirdo?

    Fucking cringeworthy coming from a show like this.

  12. S

    Well, you could say it was THIS specific gay guy who's like that. Problem is, he is the only gay guy in this whole show, AND it's not like other shows are much better at portraying gays either…

    Gay men in particular, mind you. Lesbians have it comparably much easier. Some may argue that sometimes it's played for titillation, but still, stuff like Sakura Trick works pretty much as a fluffy slice of life rom-com mostly. For superficial it may be as a portrait at least it isn't downright insulting. The only gay men I can recall being portrayed sensibly in anime are Hana from Tokyo Godfathers, the boys in From the New World (more bi than homosexual but we'll take what we have) and as said above I'd make a case for some of One Piece's okamas who are ridiculous but no more than anyone else in the same universe.

  13. S

    Really wanna say something here, but that'd involve spoilers for post-anime, season-2-type deals.
    So, all I'll inform you guys is that mostly every character within this series has a quirkiness to them just as much as – if not more than those of One Piece's (or perhaps even JoJo's). After all, this is a self-published, all-out gag webcomic some Japanese guy had decided to fart around with in the beginning. (The first chapter has no dialogue bubbles, and it [along with the rest of them] purposely looks as if it were doodled by a toddler) The social commentary may have its merits. But, not many people coming into the anime, or even the redrawn manga seem to be aware of this fact.

  14. S

    I know the story of the comic, yeah. Again, it's just how common this kind of trope is that makes it jump to the eye. It's a specific cliche', not just something absurd ONE came up with – in this sense it's much less original than, say, Mumen Rider or the Tank Top idiots, because pretty much EVERY male gay character will be used for the same gag. TTGL's Leeron, FMA's Garfiel, you name it. Except in this case it's even more over the top than usual. It's as if every female character was also a tsundere, and the only difference between different anime was how annoying of a tsundere she was.

  15. H

    I felt Puri-Puri was channeling JoJo (and sailor moon obv) pretty hard. Buff pretty boys beating up other buff pretty boys. I found him and Sanic entertaining anyway.

    Waiting for Mumen Rider to blurt out "Hime, Hime!"

  16. C

    Okay, to all the people overreacting about Pri-Pri-Prisoner: read the prison sidechapter that takes place before him and Sanic break out of jail. You'll see that he does a lot more good than harm.

    I also fail see how "mean-spirited" his portrayal is supposed to be. As it was already stated, this kind of okama character is as common in anime/manga as the MC who lives alone cuz his parents are always abroad. Is the bitchy tsundere character an attack on all women or something? No, so why is Prisoner taken as one? Metal Knight is a huge douche as we saw the last time, so would anyone say that all S-class heroes are assholes like him?

    He also, you know, showed up to defeat the Sea King. I fail to see how this is some sadistic attack on all gay men everywhere just because he has a character trait that is supposed to be amusing. Is anime really the place for PC politics? Really?

  17. e

    Yeah, the guy is simply a trope character, instead of the author attacking people's sexuality by saying all gays are sexual offenders.

  18. M

    I think the problem is that there really aren't a lot of gay men in anime and when they do show up they are often this painfully terrible joke character. On the other hand there are tons of great female characters. They're not overwhelmingly made out to be bitchy tsunderes. If they were I think people would rightly complain. Same with the S-rank heroes. So far there's Genos, that old guy, and green hair girl (I assume she's S-rank), and Pri-Pri-Prisoner. Of the four the gay man is the joke character.

  19. S

    It's also quite improbable that ONE was making money off of his webcomic at this point in the story. He started off in 2009, while the manga didn't arrive until at least mid-2012. As we know how ridiculous ONE's art tends to be, Pri-Pri didn't look hardly as jarring as he may have here, to top it off.

  20. C

    @Mark Did you forget that this is OPM? Every single character is played for laughs. How many times have we laughed at Saitama's hair loss? Are these bald jokes offensive to bald men everywhere? Should they warrant any outrage?

    I suggest you tumblr folks calm down and read the webcomic. Prisoner is a cool dude and he will shine in both the next arc and one which we won't see animated any time soon.

  21. T

    I did read the manga and in particular the prison chapter so sorry to say Chrysostomus that I still stand by my opinion on Punri character. I wont mention much of that chapter for risk os spoilers for Enzo but if you forget punri did something to another prisoner and sadly that is left up to the interpretation of the reader (They give us the feeling that it was something terrible). Fortunately Punri character gradually has less screen time the more you read the manga. Yes, OPM is over the top, but the thing is up until this point there have not been nuanced characters that carried a negative subtext. To be honest for you to say that if anime should be a place without PC politics is not only ridiculous, but your essentially saying that people who have a problem with "troupe" characters like Punri should not voice the problems they have with it, but hey because this is anime we should just have fun and not be critical of the the things that bother us. I sincerely disagree with you that.

  22. S

    Yeah… I'm not especially fond of PC criticism and I still find this pretty annoying. It's not about the guy being a cool dude or not (he surely can put up a fight, and in terms of action his was one of the best set pieces of the episode), it's just about the fact that the joke is old, tired and stupid by now. It's a joke belonging to an era when people had old-fashioned ideas about homosexuals and homosexuality itself was a bit of an unknown beast. Now it's just sad though. For most people, homosexuals aren't these weird creatures who jump on other men at their first sighting them, they're simply regular dudes we know in our daily lives, friends or colleagues. So this kind of joke lets you just go "huh?". There are a hundred different ways you can make a character gay AND funny without necessarily making him a rapist.

    Hell, Shimoneta had Goriki who was clearly gay and had a crush on the main character, and THAT was handled in a much funnier and more tactful way! And we're talking Shimoneta, an LN adaptation so raunchy it literally ended one episode with a live action tutorial on how to make a homemade fleshlight with potato starch.

  23. I don't like PC criticism either, but the problem here is that this grotesque stereotype is the norm in anime. That's not OPM's fault, but it is a fact. And by playing into that stereotype the series exacerbates the problem.

    The odd thing is, Japan is the most tolerant country in Asia when it comes to this sort of thing, and it positively celebrates same-sex romance among females – sometimes in an exploitative way, yes, but there are also a wide swathe of sympathetic and well-rounded lesbian characters in anime.

    Look at this way – imagine if every lesbian character in anime was like the horrible examples from Railgun or Ben-To. Would that be acceptable? Well, that's what it's like for gay male characters, pretty much.

  24. C

    First of all, OPM is not aimed at us "enlightened" westeners, it is aimed at Japanese audiences, so the critique that it the "joke is old, tired and stupid by now" is quite frankly irrelevant. As things stand now, they, the readership of OPM, generally see nothing wrong with that troupe.

    Secondly, as Enzo said, Japan is the most tolerant country in East Asia when it comes to this issue. So, is anyone being oppressed by character in a cartoon? Is anyone actively being hurt because of it?

    I'm sorry, but this just reeks of PC and this new "outrage culture" we are unfortunately living through. If the rapist had been, say, Sweet Mask, everyone would be all "Haha of course! He's a creepy egotistical celebrity, makes all the sense in the world!" But because it's a character who happens to be gay, oh no, that doesn't sit well with our delicate Western sensibilities.

  25. It's easy to make light of stereotypical and demeaning portrayals when you're not part of the group being stereotyped and demeaned.

  26. K

    Very true…..surprising how people can't seem to get that. Well done Enzo.

  27. T

    The argument that us "western" audience should not critic Japanese sensibilities is also down right ridiculous because based on the medium itself your making an assumption on how Japanese society operates. There are plenty of LGBTQAI2S people in Japan that are making criticisms about how they are represented in various mediums. In the J-drama realm for example Transit Girls that debated on November 7th and its the first Lesbian j-drama was slammed by various LGBTQAI2S activists in Japan by its outdated portrayals of Lesbians in their communities. There are people in the ground level making these critics,but of course mainstream Japanese media wont openly discuss that issue. So that argument that "we are westerns we dont get it" is not only invalid, but also shows how limited our understanding is of the complexities of Japanese societies when we are not willing to engage beyond our own narrow scope of the country.

    Lastly your comment of "new outrage culture" you must have missed the memo on all the social movements that fought for a better world because they were "outraged" by the status quo.

    if anyone is interested about the j-drama I mentioned check out the link here:

  28. S

    << If the rapist had been, say, Sweet Mask, everyone would be all "Haha of course! He's a creepy egotistical celebrity, makes all the sense in the world!" >>

    Not at all, I would have still found it in bad taste. Rape very seldom does for good wacky comedy. If the point was making a serious observation about the heroes being morally bankrupt it's one thing, but how is "he rapes people because he can't help himself" a good quirk for a comic relief character? The point is exactly that no one would have ever done this with a heterosexual man because it would have looked bad and destroyed any sympathy for him, but the clichΓ© of the gay man doing the same is for some reason deemed funny rather than evil as the heterosexual version.

  29. C

    The moment you try to to dictate what anime should not have (nevermind the fact that neither you nor I have any real power to do so, but let's pretend we do) based on our contemporary Western social politics, then guess what? Anime will cease to be anime.

    We love anime precisely because it is uniquely Japanese and nothing in the world comes close to it (barring those Western shows very obviously influenced by it). Anime has that singular idiosyncrasy, that je ne sais quoi which draws us to it and captures our hearts.

    OPM is a great example of this phenomenon. I'm okay with Western capeshit, but I absolutely love the Japanese take on it, such as OPM, Boku no Hero Academia and Tiger & Bunny.

    Take a look at what you guys are writing and please tell me how it is any different from the reaction of any regular man or woman who doesn't know squat about anime and watches an episode of… anything involving lolis. "What the hell is this crap? What kind of pervert would like this sort of thing? This is so obscene, what if children are watching this?"

  30. T

    Sadly you keep missing the point that there are Queer Japanese folks calling out bullshit on how they are being represented in the various mediums. In the end its all about representation and being seen meaningfully without problematic connotations. Either way I'm glad there are a lot of people calling out this bs both in Japan and aboard.

  31. S

    Two things – first, that anime is its own thing cut off from Western culture altogether is a grossly oversimplified point of view. The mere existence of something like One Punch Man shows that it's obviously not that simple – OPM is clearly influenced by western superheroes, and this without considering that even more Japanese approaches to the genre (super sentai) are in fact still originally inspired by Marvel and DC comics.

    Second, it's not about "dictating" what anime should have. Duh, then why would we be talking about a show at all, we can't control its content anyway… can't one say that they don't like a certain character, or plot twist, or they found a certain joke unfunny? How is this different, really? It's just the reasons that in this case are more specific and can feel more political, but as I said, it's not even really that for me, it's just that it feels completely out of its time. And while I do understand that Japan is not the west this is rather crude and backwards even for Japan and anime standards. It's a matter of tone: if you watch a comedy that has jokes that you find funny and smart and then suddenly it drops on you the stupidest possible poop joke it could find in the entire Scary Movie series, wouldn't that feel weird? Well, that's the feeling here. You may not feel like that because for you this kind of joke is more acceptable? Ok, but as I said, I think what makes this joke unfunny for a lot of people is that the joke relies on the idea that gay men are always horny and trying to fuck other men. Which is a pretty old idea that now is… just weird for most people. It's like a comedian I saw once making a joke about how can planes possibly fly being so heavy. It was painfully unfunny because who the hell thinks it's weird for planes to fly any more? For a joke to work it must be grounded in some kind of real thought.

    And I don't see why liking anime means liking the whole package. I surely like the visual creativity or the high octane action better than the umpteenth loli moeblob, which I merely *tolerate*. I don't think lolis turn people into paedophiles just like I don't think jokes like this turn people into homophobes. But it would also be naive to deny that some parts of the hardcore otaku fandom ARE fucking creepy, also because of lolis. People makes what they want of what they see, and that's why I don't support the censorship approach advocated by a lot of strictly PC folks. Doesn't mean I don't get to say it when I don't like something though. It's, simply put, disappointing. A very stupid and insensitive joke from an otherwise smart work that makes one's esteem for the author go a bit down, that's it.

  32. d

    It's a comedy, every characters is joke.
    Puri Puri is hilarious and also have a lot of awesome moments.
    And Puri Puri isn't not even the only gay character from the show.

  33. J

    Onoda-kun! πŸ˜€

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