The Rise of an Average Hero
Now that we’ve all had a chance to fall in love with One Punch Man, we think it’s time to go back to into it’s not-so-average past. See, we recently learned that a lot of people don’t know the story of our favorite hero, and we’re ready to correct that.
Where did Saitama come from? How did he become the incredibly average hero he is today? Well, it’s stranger than you might think…
ONE Makes a Comic
In a nutshell, this is where it all started: before the anime, there was a manga, and before the manga, there was a webcomic. ONE drew that webcomic in his spare time starting in 2009 and put it up on his website for free. The art was… well, see for yourself. Let’s just say it left something to be desired.
What ONE lacked in art skills, however, he made up for in storytelling. He created a hero so overpowered that he was unstoppable, and then he somehow made him incredibly compelling. Saitama’s boredom was hilarious. His dream of finding someone worthy of fighting becomes a banner the audience takes up. Somehow our bald (so very bald), overpowered friend, winds up being a mirror of the underdog story that we can’t help but believe in. Despite the lack of… elegance in the art style, the story drew in a huge number of readers– 7.9 million by 2012 to be precise!
Murata Yuusuke “Remastered Version”
Here is where it starts to get silly. Murata Yuuske, a Mangaka (for those of you out of the loop, that’s what you call a manga artist), fell in love with the story. He approached ONE in 2012 and got the rights to recreate One Punch Man as a manga. The best part is, ONE said yes! So the manga was born. Yuusuke lovingly redrew every panel. Even with the more traditional manga art style, he retained a lot of the feel of the webcomic. Much like the panels above, most of the manga is true to the original.
Now we’re two steps removed from the original! The anime company Madhouse turned the extremely popular One Punch Man manga (based on the extremely popular webcomic) into an anime in 2015. The story remains very much unchanged, although we’re starting to wonder if this is anything like playing a game of telephone. How many versions away can we get away from the original before we become too far gone? But we digress. What we do know is the anime perfectly captures how silly and how dramatic the comics were.
There are times where the simplistic style of the original is echoed in Saitama’s expressions, and others where it is completely, and totally, epic. We can only hope they continue to make more versions of One Punch Man, because we aren’t tired of our favorite perfectly average hero yet! Not even a little.