Otakon celebrated it’s final year in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor this year, with one of it’s primary focused series being the new, and highly praised, One Punch Man. Series creator, known only by his pseudonym, One, initially launched the series as a web comic in 2009. It has since gone viral, and spawned a fully fledged manga, and now it’s own anime series, which has been officially localized by VIZ Media. Dubbed, “The Savior of Anime” due to it’s parodical take on so many overly used anime tropes, One Punch Man is a refreshing take on the Shonen genre, which many feel have stagnated in recent years.
One of Otakon’s featured panels promoting the series included all major voice actors from the English dub of the show–which premiered this year on Toonami on July 16th. Panelists included were Max Mittelman, Zach Aguilar, Robbie Daymond, Ray Chase, and Eric Scott Kimerer who star as Saitama, Genos, Mumen Rider, Puri Puri Prisoner and Speed O’ Sonic Sound respectively. Max Mittleman, a personal favorite of mine from his previous role as Leo in Fire Emblem: Fates, was thrilled to be headlining the cast. He strikes the perfect balance in his latest role, shifting effortlessly between Saitama’s deadpan, gormless moments, and his more humorous, energetic side.
Collectively, the cast was extremely excited to be apart of a series that seemingly took off over night. The overuse of power levels and rivarly in Shonen has been in a repetitive scope for quite a few years, and One’s Shonen lampoons this perfectly, whilst also playing a comedic homage to it’s predecessors. Saitama, the title character and the “One Punch Man” himself is the most powerful fighter in the universe–able to defeat any of the series’ villains with a single punch. Because of this, he has grown fatigued due to lack of any real challenge. This, however has motivated those around him to aspire to be more like him–or achieve anywhere near the amount of combat prowess he has ascertained. Genos, a cyborg, leads the charge on this, pledging himself as Saitama’s disciple, not only for his abilities, but due to Saitama’s pragmatic, good-natured approach to life.
VIZ’s booth also featured One Punch Man Manga volumes, along with exclusive manga cells. In order to give the series a more standardized Manga appearance, Shonen Jump tasked Yusuke Murata–known for his illustration work on other series such as Eyeshield 21–to work alongside One to develop One Punch Man‘s art style, which would also be better adapted into anime as well. Technically speaking, Murata’s work is Shonen’s adaption of One Punch Man, while One’s original version is still featured on his website, without a publisher. Fans of the Shonen adaption should definitely take the time to visit One’s personal website, as the source material has it’s own endearing, simplified art style and is certainly worth a read.
One Punch Man‘s second season has just been announced in Japan; the first season’s twelve episode run concluded in December 2015. Hopefully, fans stateside won’t have to wait too long for One and Yusuke Murata’s next volume of the series, whether it be the manga adaption or anime. For more information on One Punch Man check out http://www.viz.com/watch/streaming/one-punch-man#one-punch-man.