And there you have it. One Punch Man concludes with one hell of an explosive finish. After 11 weeks, the show gave fans what they wanted, and the result was pretty darn spectacular I’d say. There are rare instances, when a show can just deliver on the promise that it itself creates. One Punch Man had created in its audience, the longing for a decently long, exciting battle between Saitama and SOMETHING. While Saitama didn’t go anywhere near his limits, the battle we got this week between him and Boros was the longest and most substantial fight we’ve ever seen him take part in.
The real beauty of what One Punch Man did this week, is that it gave the audience exactly what it wanted, while also subverting expectations. For many of us (those of us who haven’t read the manga), there was this genuine feeling that the battle with Boros would resolve in the same way that most battles do, with One Punch. After 11 episodes, that’s the way we’ve been conditioned to think with regards to Saitama.
He’s the most overpowered, strongest character in the cast, and he’s also kind of the ultimate anti-climax when it comes to the action. So I think, after 11 episodes, having Saitama get knocked around a little bit, and not be able to instantly kill his enemy was a nice change of pace. Yet, I think despite Boros being a cut above any other villain or monster we’ve seen from the series thus far, the show very much stayed true to its central concept of Saitama being “too powerful”.
All Boros could really do, was not die instantly from ONE of Saitama’s “normal” punches. And I think the show got around that idea of Saitama’s near infinite strength, in that Boros just had really fast regenerative powers. It wasn’t that Saitama’s punches were ineffective against him, its just that the guy could widthstand atttacks and damage that would be generally fatal to what you’d consider a “normal being”.
In many ways, Boros was just a souped up version of Melzalgard. He too had his own power core, and was using it to regenerate. But beyond being able to last a good half of the episode, Boros didn’t amount to much. What Boros did manage, was to get Saitama to seriously put some power behind one of his punches, which he hilarious just terms as a “serious punch”.
I realize that I’m preaching to the choir here, but… Just think about that for a second. All the one-hit kills that Saitama’s been dishing out? They’ve just been normal, throwaway punches. He hasn’t even put any feeling or force into those attacks! If there’s one other thing that this episode simultaneously manages to double down on while giving Saitama a slightly longer lasting opponent, its that Saitama’s overpowered status is never going to go away. Should there be a chance for some kind of monster to come along that can survive one his attacks, all he has to do is “try” harder and he can pretty much end the guy in another punch.
But I think what makes Saitama such an endearing overpowered character, is the personality part of his character, not his powers. Its his kindness, his almost mundane normalness, that makes him stand out so much. Its the little things, that make the man so darn special.
That scene after the battle, after Saitama’s taken out the being that just wrecked an entire city? There’s kindness there. Saitama tries to at least give Boros the feeling that he died a meaningful and hard earned death. And while Boros sees right through it, you’ve still got to appreciate the gesture. Saitama didn’t need to lie like that, he could’ve berated and crushed Boros’s will as he died, because it was clear that Boros’s “going all out” hardly amounted to anything.
But its the fact that Saitama extends some kindness to even his bitter enemies in their last moments, its that quality that makes him a hero. And I think its to ONE’s (and Murata-sensei’s) credit, that he can bend his own universe’s rules and give the audience what they want, but still make a pretty strong point in favor of his own core premise, as well.
Before I move on to the other part of the show, I have talk about the animation for the battle between Saitama and Boros. I think this was finally the week where the bank broke, and Madhouse just couldn’t pull it off 100%. I think it wasn’t so much that the fight wasn’t beautifully animated, with tons of fluid motion (the generous use of “Sakuga” as the cooler kids call it) but that there were just notable dips in the quality of the art while it was in motion.
There were more noticeable choppy bits, there were parts where the artwork became little more than gestural, loose pieces that conveyed the general idea rather than fully decked out illustrations. I don’t hold it against Madhouse, they’ve already animated this show consistently, week for week, to a point that puts most theatrical animated movies to shame. But… I think there is a part of me that’s a little sad on the reality of Madhouse not being able to do the impossible one more time.
The fight between Boros and Saitama was the longest and most ambitious battle that we’ve seen from the series thus far, and I guess its just kind of sad that Madhouse’s own ambitions couldn’t make it through in the end. I wonder if there will be some touch ups for the Bluray release, because I’d be very much interested to see thois last episode after its been patched up a little bit.
If not, One Punch Man is still the best anime TV series I’ve ever seen in terms of production values. And Its also worth noting that Saitama’s battle wasn’t all there was in the episode either, because there was also the last few bits of the Melzelgard battle, and then we also had Tornado’s assault on the battle ship to deal with too. So there was a lot more than just Saitama’s battle to deal with, and Its still beyond impressive that the show was able to juggle everything so well.
Which brings me to the other part of the episode. I think I mentioned last week, that One-Punch Man is a show that features two distinct storylines, one that features Saitama, and the other everything else in the show’s universe. That very much held true this week, as we got some nice movement on the other side, as the world continued to expand, and be developed as Saitama’s little battle with Boros went on.
For one thing, Bang clearly survived his straight on attack from Melzelgard, so it was nice to see that he’s not on the same level as some of the other S-Class heroes. Then of course, there was the aftermath of the battle. I liked the fact that Saitama and Tornado had a short interaction, but also that she never quite found out what Saitama had just done.
I think a personal wish of mine, is to have Tornado see Saitama in action. And the reason I almost single out Tornado in particular is because I feel like her witnessing Saitama would create the same sort of change in person that Genos experienced.
I think Genos doesn’t give himself enough credit when he tries to empathize with the shit show that is Amai Mask. What’s interesting about Amai Mask is that he’s actually got some strength to him. Its unclear as to how MUCH strength he has, but it does seem like he could easily be in the S-Class, if he so desired. What defines Amai Mask as a character though, is appearances.
That’s ALL he particularly cares about. How do things look? How do things appear on the surface? Its things like that that scream justice to Amai Mask. And for all the dislikable qualities to that particular jerk, I’ll admit that he brings up a pretty important point. Can an entire city being annihilated be actually called a victory? I’m not sure if I disagree with him there.
Plus, the fact that every single person in the world of One Punch Man is just taking mass death and destruction as a kind of “acceptable loss” and “can’t be helped kind of scenario” is worrying. It says that the world, in its infinite harshness and pain, has kind of broken the humans that live in it.
I’ll say this, I dislike Amai Mask, but that’s not as a character. I quite like his character, in all his twisted and messed up nature, and I’m actually curious to see what exactly drives and motivates the guy. For that, I think this episode did a pretty good job of setting up future story arcs.
Speaking of which, future story arcs. There was a ton of teasing here. The other big thing that stood out to me, was Genos and Metal Knight. Its heavily implied that Metal Knight may have had something to do with Genos’s whole hunt for the other Cyborg. I’m sure we’ll see more on that (perhaps in a future season?).
And of course, there’s the whole City A being destroyed, and how its changed the status quo of the Hero Association and the world at large. The fallen ship being used to empower the Hero Association HQ, and even having a better infrastructure in place to deal with threats, seems to be the Hero Association adapting to better meet the challenges that it seems to face.
But while A-Class heroes and above may be getting some new benefits like new living space in the HQ, Saitama and Genos are still very much outliers to the Association at large.
I think its kind of cheeky but charming how the show chooses to end everything. It comes full circle, and has Saitama come in and lament about having to go back to One-Punch finshes. Of course, the inclusion of Genos in the whole scene, definitely shows that there has been some progress, even as things largely remain the same.
In the end, I think One-Punch Man ended about as strong as it could have. There is so much room and potential for more with this series, however, that I think a second season is a pretty tantalizing idea. Given that One Punch Man’s manga seems to be getting a huge sales bump thanks to this series, its very probably that we’ll get a follow up eventually. Given that the redone manga by Yusuke Murata-sensei isn’t too far ahead from where we’re ending on with Season 1, I’m sure it’ll be a while though.
And while my overall impressions are still being saved for the full review, I will say that I think One Punch Man has achieved something truly special in its 12 episode run, in that every episode has been pretty darn consistently great. What’s truly remarkable, on top of all of that, is that the series is able to both start and stop on a particularly strong note.
Tags: alien invasion, boros, genos, one punch man, one punch man episode 12, one punch man episode recap, one punch man final episode, one-punch man anime blog, one-punch man review, one-punch man screencaps, one-punch man screenshots, s class heroes, saitama, serious punch, silver fang, tornado
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