Anime Review: “One Punch Man”

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“That’s the last time you make fun of my chosen hairstyle.”

I’ve been a passive fan of the anime for a while, but I just never got around to seeing it. That is, until now.

I recieved a copy of the first volume of the manga from my LootCrate Anime a while back, and it explained that it used to be a web comic. I thought that was awesome, considering I have been working on my own web comic for a while. I already had a bit of the plot in mind going into this series. I knew it was a parody and it was supposedly hilarious.

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“Okay, I killed it. What now?”

That information was 300% accurate. This anime is a complete riot. It starts out with a man named Saitama living in a city that apparently is infested with really bad villains – there’s a man that turned into Lobster Man because he ate too much lobster – and he finds himself facing this exact villain on the way home from a job interview. He’s so depressed and jaded he didn’t get the job that he doesn’t care if the lobster guy kills him. But, as soon as he sees the creature heading towards a child, he jumps into action and fights him.

From that day on, he decided to become as strong as possible. He trains every day, so much that his hair falls out, and now he’s so strong that he can defeat any foe in one punch. But, now that he’s really strong, he’s easily bored and goes around one-punching all the bad guys.

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“Okay, now put the egg right on my palm and it will cook in precisely 3.49 seconds.”

One day, though, he meets a robot-man named Genos. This cyborg is so impressed with Saitama’s powers that he asks to become his disciple. While Saitama isn’t one to really want a student, he accepts anyway, not really knowing what to teach the boy. Soon the pair gets words of a special organization that registers and rates heroes in the city. They go to join just for the heck of it and Genos gets S rank, while Saitama (who smashes all the physical records) only gets a C rank.

These ranks are very important, though. Higher ranks get more donations and poularity, so of course Saitama is pissed. He knows he’s strong, and proves it over and over again, but people think he’s a cheat because he’s only rank C. This only expands on the hilarity of the series, with Saitama actually trying to help people, but ending up scaring them instead.

The key to a great parody anime is to have as little exposition as possible, while still making sure the audience knows what’s going on. I saw it in “Neo Yokio,” and I saw it once more in “One Punch Man.” It leaves the door open for much more ridiculous things to happen. In fact, this anime actually makes fun of excessively long expositions by Genos backstory expanding about thirty seconds of one episode.

Final Words:

Having just finished a really nice parody anime, this was another gem in my belt. I’m a big fan of this style, having seen so many animes over the years. It just pokes fun at all of the fighting ones, namely “Dragonball Z.” The character development is top notch, too, where Saitama goes from basically a NEET to genuinely caring about people, and his new friend, despite the boy’s misplaced enthusiasm.

I would give this anime…8.75/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Blue Exorcist, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Excel Saga

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“K” Review

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“Did you eat my last tamagomaki?”

I actually saw this anime subbed last year, I believe, but I watched it again dubbed with my best friend and roommate last week. It’s definitely a different experience, and I’m pretty sure Funimation specializes in added a pound and a half of sass whenever they dub something. But this is for sure a somewhat complex anime, and I suppose I didn’t fully understand it the first time I saw it, so a rewatch was kind of nice.

The setting is that of a somewhat futuristic Japan, with advanced technology and a sort of clan system that mimics something of the warring states period (or feudalistic Japan, if you’re familiar). There are seven clans, each with an assigned color, though only two are featured, and the four others only touched on. The red clan, also called HOMRA, appears as a sort of gang with fiercely loyal members, and the blue clan, also called Scepter 4, appears as a police force and more connected to the government.

Each king has a special power, which he is able to give to his clansmen when they join

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“You told him to wear that?”

the clan. The red clan can create and manipulate fire, while the blue clan can freeze and destroy matter. The king of each clan is the most powerful, however, there is a limit. Their power is represented by a giant Sword of Damocles, which appears in the sky when a king begins to fight.

If the king uses too much power, the sword falls and causes physical destruction. This is shown in the prologue, as it has happened before. In the first episode, the leader of the red clan, known as Mikoto Suoh (or the Red King), is captured by the blue clan leader (Reisi Munakata) and put in a special jail. He actually remains there for a majority of the anime in order to prevent him from causing another incident with his sword.

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“I swear I don’t know where her nipples went!”

Now, besides all of this, there is a boy named Yashiro Isana who appears to be a normal high school student. He seems forgetful, as he is known for forgetting his lunch, and often runs around during lunch hour asking for donations, which people gladly give him. He doesn’t seem to care about school, and almost never has his PDA, which is required to enter the school grounds.

However, one day, he’s making his way into town for some errands for the school festival, and a strange man chases him and calls him “The Colorless King.” The man, Kuroh Yotogami, says Yashiro has murdered someone, and he must die. Kuroh’s master, who was the previous Colorless King, instructed him to kill the new Colorless King if that new king is evil. He seems very loyal to his late master, even carrying a recording device with his master words saved on it.

Yashiro insists he has no idea what Kuroh is talking about, and is innocent. With a bit of

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“Alright, slowly, slowly…and drop the giant cake…now!”

trickery, the boy manages to escape, but Kuroh catches up with him, only to be stopped by a strange girl, nude mind you, that apparently was disguised all this time as Yashiro’s pet cat Neko. With a bit of convincing, Kuroh decides to let Yashiro try and prove his innocence. But there’s a bit more to Neko than meets the eye. In fact, there’s more to Yashiro than meets the eye.

In the world of “K,” there are people that possess powers, but are not part of a clan. As it turns out, Neko is one of these – known as a Strain – and she can manipulate peoples senses, and even create false memories. Without revealing too much, we soon find out that Yashiro might not be who he says he is after all, and the Colorless King is not who he says he is either.

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They seem to be overcompensating.

Despite it being quite a complicated setting, “K” manages to pull together an interesting story of friendship, sacrifice, and loyalty. While I feel Neko was a bit of a token character in the beginning, it turns out she simply wants to protect Yashiro and make sure he’s happy. I really enjoyed Kuroh as a character, being a very loyal person myself, and the twist ending I’d forgotten about had me hooked. I also liked the unabashed sass that Yashiro displays early on, even blushing fiercely when Kuroh carries him to safety a few times.

The members of HOMRA were also very endearing. Yata and his fierce loyalty and youth, jumping at the chance to defend his kings honor with a baseball bat or a skateboard was just as attractive as Kamamoto’s dorkiness and short attention span. The characters were very real, even if you only got a short glimpse of them, like the total of twenty minutes the Mikoto gets. There’s also a member of the Scepter 4 that was once part of HOMRA, and this is even explained in somewhat detail.

Final Words:

Man, I really didn’t realize how convoluted this setting was until I started writing this review, but don’t let it scare you off. Despite being somewhat confusing, it’s very well done, with close attention to characters and their interactions. It’s beautifully animated with each battle scene animated as if a wide angle camera was used. A lot of animes avoid long extended scenes because they cost more and require much more work, but “K” spares no expense. You can see it from episode one how much care went into each part. This is probably very close to a perfect anime as one might get. The only thing that brought it down was how confusing the plot was in some parts. But everything does come together in the end.

I would give this anime…9/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji), Magi, Tokyo Ravens

 

“Girls und Panzer” Review

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“Does she know that’s a real gun?”

Girls and giant war tanks – what could be better? That seems to be the underlying reason this anime was made. If you’re notaware, Japan is and has been really obsessed with western culture basically since it was introduced to them during the 1800s. This means, there are still people that love western war-related things, and of course, who doesn’t like cute girls? So, with this in mind, it’s safe to say this anime is very much a moe (moh-eh) anime.

Now, the anime itself is very adorable, but it’s also shows just how tough girls can be. Within this universe, there are large barges (like we’re talking massive city-sized ones) that contain a school and surrounding community. They are called “Academy Ships,” and were supposedly designed to nurture practical as well as academic learning. Also in this universe, a sport called tankery exists, which is basically war games with actual tanks driven by teams.

The main character, Miho, has transferred to this new Academy Ship to escape her sister, who is a tankery champion. She had a traumatic experience with the sport and tries to avoid it, but when the student council finds out, she’s dragged back in. Thankfully, she learns that there’s more to tankery than

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“Stop standing there and help me with this flag, idiots!”

always winning, and her new friends support her much more than she expects. But she and her team soon find out that in order to keep their ship up and running, they just might have to win nationals.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started watching it. I thought it was going to be fan-service for 13 episodes, but there’s actually nothing but adorable girls, teamwork, and giant army tanks. Despite it’s rediculous name, it’s quite a good anime with excellent character development.

Final Words

I think it needed to be a little bit more realistic and less unbelievable of a concept. Who in their right mind would let middle school girls use live ammunition? It just seems a bit rediculous. This is a solid title, however: it’s cute, there’s lots of action, and  the main character grows quite a bit through even the short series. If a season two does become available, it’d be right on my list of “to watch.”

I would give “Girls und Panzer” … 7.5/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Princess Jellyfish, Rosario + Vampire, Assassination Classroom.

Picture credit: https://wall.alphacoders.com/by_sub_category.php?id=194904
and a screenshot from final episode via Crunchyroll.com