One Punch Man is one of the most popular anime and manga series worldwide, and it owes its popularity largely to its eccentric protagonist, the all-powerful hero Saitama. But how did ONE, the creator of One Punch Man, come up with Saitama’s unique personality and signature look?
In an interview for Yamada Reiji’s Young Sunday, ONE revealed how he came up with the idea for a hero like Saitama. Reiji Yamada is a manga artist and writer. He is known for the manga stories: B. Virgin and Zetsubouni Kiku Kusuri (The Cure for Despair). The Cure for Despair is based on Yamada’s interviews with various celebrities about how to overcome life’s difficulties.
You can watch the full interview in Japanese here:
Yamada began by asking, “How did you come up with the hero Saitama?”
One responded with: “My goal was to differentiate the character from existing characters. Keep in mind that I love traditional shounen manga and have read many series in this genre. But I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be interesting if the first chapter was like the last chapter of most manga, where the protagonist is extremely strong from the start. The idea was that at the beginning of the story, the hero has maximum power, which is usually not reached until the last chapter of a manga. This idea suddenly came to me after I wrote the first chapter. While writing the first chapter, I had only a vague idea of One Punch Man and a vision of a character who, after defeating his opponent with one punch, lamented, “I’ve finished the fight with one punch again.” .” .”
Okkun, Yamada’s sidekick, who appears to be watching One Punch Man naked, commented, “It’s just like the catchphrase ‘Once again I’ve cut a worthless object’ from Goemon in Lupine the Third.”
ONE replied: “Indeed. So I started rethinking the idea in my head and thinking about how I could expand the story from there. At some point I realized that the story had more potential than I originally thought.”
When Yamada asked if ONE’s ideas came naturally to him, his answer revealed the reason for Saitama’s superpower, which is the ability to defeat any enemy with a single punch.
ONE commented, “There are manga protagonists who overcome difficulties and challenges by using their knowledge and combat experience. For example, you (Yamada) can write such imaginative protagonists because you have met so many people. You were able to assimilate many things and use them to inspire your characters. However, I thought at the time that I couldn’t write a character with that much depth, so I decided to create a protagonist who would solve his problems simply by hitting him.”
After Yamada praised his idea, ONE went on to explain how Saitama’s daily routine came about: “In real life, hitting is actually pretty useless against the day-to-day problems of life. But within the One Punch Man universe, I made Saitama a guy who would scale his life to fit the world around him since he was armed only with his immense power. The obstacles he faces are everyday things like running out of money and making sure you get to the supermarket to do the sales.”
ONE went on to reveal why he didn’t hesitate to add extremely powerful villains to the mix: “Because the very first character, Saitama, was a protagonist who is really tough and reliable from my point of view, I didn’t hesitate to add some annoying villains to the mix. As long as Saitama is there everything will be fine.”
In the end, ONE managed to create a hero who, despite being overwhelmed, fascinates with the humorous way in which he still has to deal with the same problems that normal people have in their everyday life. One Punch Man fans can’t wait for Saitama to finally face a foe worthy of one more thrill of battle.
You can read more of the English translation of the interview here.
What is the plot of One Punch Man?
The story revolves around an average employee who decides to become a hero. To fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a hero who can defeat enemies with a single punch, he trains for three years until his hair falls out. Along the way, Saitama somehow managed to gain the desired strength and defeat every villain with just one punch. However, due to the fact that Saitama was overpowered, he was bored that he could not find a worthy opponent.
One day, Saitama encounters 19-year-old cyborg Genos who, after seeing Saitama’s incredible power, decides to become Saitama’s apprentice. Genos wisely suggests Saitama join the Hero Association to become official heroes recognized by society.
Saitama realizes that no one knows who he is, despite all the powerful monsters and villains he has fought alone, and decides to join the Hero Association to rectify this. As Saitama begins his journey as a member of the Hero Association, he meets new allies and faces new enemies along the way. Will Saitama ever find a worthy opponent and feel the thrill of battle once more?
Where can I read the manga or watch the anime?
In early 2009, ONE wrote the original webcomic manga version. In June 2012, a digital remake illustrated by Yusuke Murata began posting on Shueisha’s Tonari no Young Jump website. The manga’s chapters have been collected into 27 tankoubon volumes as of November 2022. The English version of the remake manga has been licensed by Viz Media for release in North America and is featured in its digital magazine, Weekly Shounen Jump.
An anime adaptation by Studio Madhouse aired in Japan from October to December 2015. A second season produced by JC Staff aired from April to July 2019, but fans agree that the animation wasn’t as good as the first season. A third season has been announced, but the animation studio has not yet been officially revealed. However, there is much speculation as to whether Studio MAPPA or Studio Bones will animate Season 3 of One Punch Man. The English version of the anime was licensed by Viz Media and premiered in Adult Swim’s Toonami programming block in July 2016. In October 2019, the second season premiered on the block. One Punch Man Season 1 is currently available to stream on Crunchyroll.
The original ONE webcomic manga has had more than 7.9 million views as of June 2012. The best-selling remake manga has sold over 30 million copies worldwide as of April 2020.
Are you looking forward to One Punch Man Season 3? Let us know in the comment section below!