WHY ONE PUNCH MAN IS SO POPULAR
- March 22, 2018
From mythology in ancient Greece to novels, movies and comic books nowadays. Stories about heroes have been fascinating mankind for thousand of years. But something has changed in the way writers depict heros. The example for such a hero I am going to talk about is Saitama from One Punch Man.
If you have not heard about it already you are either living in a parallel universe or have been living without internet. Even though I am not a big fan, it is definitely worth checking out. The story started as a webcomic by manga artist ONE. As it went viral in June 2012 with almost 8 million views it was quite certain that they an anime adaptation (which aired in October 2015) would follow. If I had to categorize it I would say it is a parody of the japanese genre Sh?nen (a genre which is primarily intended for teenage boys and in which action and humour plays a big role).
Our protagonist, Saitama, lives in a world similiar to ours except the fact that villains and monsters appear and cause trouble regularly. Three years ago Saitama decided to fight them. But in contrast to other super heros, instead of doing it to save his family and friends or humanity in general he himself admits that he is just doing it for the fun. As the title may have revealed he kills his enemies with one punch. He nerver has any difficulties with doing so and he always wins. Yes, always. His dead fish facial expression after his fights has become his trademark.
Back to the actual question – Why is One Punch Man so popular?
Saitama seems to be the less relatable hero ever. He neither has flaws nor is he passionate about anything anymore. As he is the most powerful person around he is frustrated and almost seems to be depressive. He is bored all the time. He never encounters conflicts and the only struggles he has to deal with are grocery shopping and trying not to miss his favorite TV show. As a wannabe writer I know that in a narrative conflicts are necessary for the plot to progress. If you would want to write the most boring story you had to make sure your characters do not change at all. I think the show still has millions of viewers because of different reasons.
First of all, it is funny. As simple as that. Besides the situation comedy I think a large majority of the audience enjoys the fact that One Punch Man itself is a huge parody of the action hero genre. Secondly, Saitama is probably not as unrelatable as he appears. Yes he is a kind of supernatural being who can literally eliminate everyone and everything with one move. But as most super heroes with superior moral values like Superman, Son Goku, Harry Potter and many more who would sacrifice themselves to save other lives are our role models, Saitama seems to be a sort of super hero who just does not give a f***. Even though we cannot relate to his life as a superhero, we definitely can relate to the feeling of boredom, loss of motivation and passion and the frustration regarding not finding something in which we can see a purpose. Everyone has at least once felt like Saitama but I do not think that we are supposed to view that only negatively. We may not all be praised with supernatural powers but in a way we all can be heroes. With ridiculous backstories. And just do stuff. For the fun of it.