Murata, Yusuke – One Punch Man

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  1. Profile photo of Gina YangGina Yang

    Rebel against the Titans, defeat the evil Emperor Palpatine, or save a kitten stuck on a tree— What does it truly mean to be a hero? In a universe where Mysterious Beings are a threat to people safety, where Heroes are needed— In a universe that has a ranking system to categorise Heroes by class, can the number of a ranking define everything you are? With a spectacular plot line by One and astonishing illustrations drawn by Murata Yusuke, the two combined gave rise to an amazing piece of an intriguing story and fine art. One Punch Man, Volume 1: One Punch is the first volume in the ongoing series. The main protagonist, Saitama (hero name: Caped Baldy), is suggested in the beginning of the novel as a stereotypical failure of society— unemployed, apathetic, and egoless. Until one day, Saitama rescues a child from the attack of an enraged Mysterious Being and decides to fulfil his childhood dream to become a hero. After three years of daily training from the day on, Saitama becomes the most powerful being then encounters Genos and other companions. And together they fight the Mysterious Beings for justice along with the comedy in the process. The author, One, meticulously connoted clues in details of the novel that have driven readers to reflect upon the society and ethical aspects; moreover, to express personal contemplation influenced by the characters.

    “[I’m] Just an average guy who serves as an average hero.” says a not-so-average hero, because this “average hero” just so happens to be the most powerful hero alive. A vastly promoted figure is considered as an iconic image of a hero, Superman, and he can do quite a lot of things: super strength, super vision, super memory, super speed, and super hearing— Okay. We get it. Superman is super. As powerful as he is, Saitama seems to be more appealing, as a reader; beginning with the source of Saitama’s strength, “100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 squats along with running 10 km”, quoting the original text, was Saitama’s daily training that was ongoing for three years straight. This is a strong element that had fascinated many fans, Saitama is an ordinary human with human problems; it makes the piece tempting because it has personal expression relevant with the readers. And that Saitama is strong not because he is gifted or he is the chosen one, Saitama’s workout was step by step. An act of physical and psychological asceticism, practise of self-discipline and willpower. Saitama’s character was more relatable for readers and was not so idealistic and impossible to reach, though the true beauty of his character was his strong willpower (and confidence in his belief in justice) and the fact that he doesn’t label a person only with a few numbers in the ranking but with his personal judgement when he actually encounters others in person. This piece overturns the orthodox impression of a standard hero, defining a new open-minded form of Hero and arouse insights about ethics and society.

    The art of this piece is irresistibly pleasing, the action and motion is extremely well-illustrated by Murata Yusuke. The movements in motion is picturesque and vividly drawn, and the shadows and shade of the characters and the setting are especially well-drawn with detail.

    One factor that was not so great in One Punch Man was that Saitama is so strong, there are barely any competition or suspense of the story. Though the action is bewitchingly stunning, the results are always easily predicted because it’s a known fact that no man or creature is a threat to Saitama. This is one of the few features of One Punch Man that are rather unappealing comparatively. If at some point, Saitama could have a rival who in actual fact can battle with equal chance would definitely be more enthralling and intriguing to read.

    Adolescents and young adults are the suitable readers of this graphic novel; the story revolves around heroes and the concept of justice, since younger people are more likely to read this particular type of graphic novel. On the other hand, middle-aged people and old-aged people aren’t the best suited readers for this piece because this age group infrequently has interests in heroic, action novels; this age groups rather yearns for a more calm, even-tempered setting. Anyhow, I do consider a graphic novel literature, since graphic novels can just as well tell a story with conveying the theme sophisticatedly and that it is capable of having the same effect on readers as other forms of literature.

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