19 July 2017



Awwwww! My kids and I had tremendous fun with this one. It's a brilliant animé series about a regular Japanese man called Saitama who says he's 'just a guy who's a hero for fun.' He discovers his remarkable propensity for hero-ing quite by accident one day when he's heading home after a joyless day of job-hunting. We can all relate to that, I'm sure.

On this fateful day, he saves a kid with a giant ass for a face from a gargantuan talking crab called Crablante who stalks the streets wearing giant underpants. Now there's a sentence you most assuredly don't get to write or, I daresay, read, every day. Welcome to the weird and wacky- but also quite wonderful- world of One Punch Man...

His thing, as if you haven't already guessed, his modus operandi, his raison d'etre, is flooring his opponents with just one punch. Geddit? Hence his nickname, haha. You mightn't think that there'd be too many opponents for him to fight in modern-day downtown Japan, in the sort of futuristic Earth-equivalent which they inhabit, but you'd be wrong. Quite, quite wrong...

Downtown Japan is just hopping with outsized adversaries who are literally queuing up to fight One Punch Man. In the manner of good villains from a Bruce Lee movie, however, they don't all crowd him at once but rather, they dance around him patiently waiting for their turn while he's already occupied. Good little villains...!

In the first few episodes alone, he has to fight not only the repulsive Crablante, but also a pair of evil brothers, one of whom is an evil scientist or the brains of the operation, and the other of whom is a gigantic naked man with surprisingly firm tight buttocks, who's so big he could cross a city with one stretch of his legs.

One Punch Man dispatches this colossus with- you guessed it- one punch before going on to beat seven bells out of the terrifying race known as the Subterraneans, led by the nasty Subterranean King. They live underground, as their name suggests, and wish a horrible death on all surface dwellers, presumably so that they can take over the surface world themselves. There might be a bit more leg-room for themselves there, maybe.

Anyway, they prove no match for the enthusiastic hero in the yellow onesie with the bedsheet-for-a-cloak One Punch Man, leaving him plenty of time to go on and exterminate the dreaded Mosquito Queen, the leader of a flesh-eating swarm of mozzies who are hell-bent on- yeah, you know this one- destroying and then taking over the Earth for themselves. What a surprise! I surely did not see that one coming.

'Empty all your stored juices into me,' the Mosquito Queen urges her minions suggestively, the dirty hussy. She proves only the most minute of stumbling blocks for our hero, One Punch Man, who's already moving onto the boastful, vainglorious, posturing and showboating Lion King, sorry, the Beast King, who just so happens to be- ahem- an enormous lion.

Other adversaries for One Punch Man include the evil scientist, a second one(!), who wants to take over the world with clones of himself which he's created at his laboratory in the so-called 'House Of Evolution,' a solitary-looking fortress (of solitude, maybe?!) way out in the countryside.

The scientist wants to get his claws into One Punch Man, an obviously superior physical specimen of a human being, to find out wherein his secret lies so that he can create his own master race out of clones of himself, as I've said, but clones with the strength and durability of One Punch Man. He figures that, that way, he'd be unchallenged in his move to, you know, take over the Earth and stuff. Are you guys starting to notice a bit of a theme here at all?

He sets his monster, the terrifyingly huge Carnage Kabuto, on One Punch Man. Our hero is dead-set on making it to Bargain Day at his local supermarket, however, so he wastes no time in wasting Carnage Kabuto with his trademark move- all together now- one punch...!

Carnage Kabuto is not nearly as frightening as the Paradisers, a group of baldy-headed revolutionaries, led by the truly odious Hammerhead, who want to create a more equal or Utopian society in which the people who want to work will be allowed to do so, while the rest will be supported by them. Well, I thought we had that already, haha. Bit of social commentary there on the part of the animators, perhaps...?

One Punch Man takes umbrage with these guys personally. They're giving baldy-headed men a bad name, and he's been as bald as an egg himself ever since he undertook a gruelling, self-imposed training regime in order to become a superhero. He fights the army of Pinheads before taking on a bodyguard Ninja in a purple scarf that's the exact colour of the handbag I bought myself on Monday last for a mere fifteen quid in a charity shop. Sweet.

We don't just see One Punch Man slugging it out on the streets of Japan, either. He's got a lovely high-rise apartment with billowing net curtains and a balcony, in which he watches television, cooks his eggs-over-rice, washes his superhero gloves and waters his beloved cactus with a watering can shaped like an elephant's trunk. It's utterly adorable, his neat little gaff. It's nice to see him chilling out there after a long day at the office, fighting evil and suchlike.

There are some hilariously funny one-liners in the show, like when our hero interrupts the altercation with the Beast King to announce: 'Tsk tsk, I have dirt in my special place...!' before casually and unashamedly adjusting himself to his satisfaction 'down there.'

Watch out also for the chap who 'bicycles for justice' and always takes the time to stand his bike up correctly before he enters the fray; the Cyborg Genos who wants One Punch Man to be his 'sensei' while hopefully helping him to catch and destroy the much bigger Cyborg who killed his whole family; One Punch Man's 'joy in punching people' coming back to him after going AWOL for a bit; and One Punch Man's fist connecting, accidentally but painfully, with the Purple Scarf Ninja's, erm, junk. You know.

It's so funny when One Punch Man has to register with the local Hero Association after he realises that he's not being recognised as a superhero by the average man on the street. He's got no PR, that's his problem. Being registered will help to get his name and face out there. I could use an organisation like that to help me get some recognition and appreciation as a writer, goddammit. There's no point in being great if nobody knows who the feck you are, haha. Wasting your sweetness on the desert air ain't all it's cracked up to be, sadly.

Wouldn't it be great all the same if we regular Joes could solve all of life's annoying little problems with just one punch? Noisy neighbours? Not a problemo. ONE PUNCH MAN!!! Cheating boyfriend? No bother at all. ONE PUNCH MAN!!! A million chattering Spanish tourists blocking your path at the traffic lights? The solution is in your own hands. ONE PUNCH MAN!!! I'm not inciting anyone to race riots here, by the way. Here in Ireland we have more Spanish students in the summer than we do Irish people. They know they're annoying...! It's practically in their job description, haha.

There's an hilarious bit near the beginning in which One Punch Man is laboriously counting out his pennies at the supermarket checkout. That's exactly what I do myself. I annoy everyone in the queue behind me by looking to ferret the exact change out of my purse, which is already crammed to capacity with rubbishy receipts from back in the days when Jesus was a lad. My kids were thrilled, therefore, to be able to bestow a new and special affectionate nickname upon me which, I've no doubt, will stick for years, but I don't mind at all:

'One Punch Mam...!'



Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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