Sunday, October 25, 2015

Episode 4: “The Modern Ninja”

The Modern Ninja
今時の忍者/Imadoki no Ninja
  •  This episode covered four chapters, 12-15, and even found time to include a few original scenes.
  • Cold opening: Hammerhead ranting about social inequality, and resolving to destroy Zeniru’s house.
  • Hammerhead mentions having stolen his battle suits from “that organization”, but this gets left out of Viz’s subtitles for whatever reason (instead, he only mentions stealing them, without mentioning who from).
  • In the manga, after Hammerhead’s goon destroys the first building (the one that turns out to not actually be Zeniru’s house), Mumen Rider shows up to confront them and gets quickly defeated.  Then the scene switches to Saitama’s house, where he hears about Hammerhead and his “Paradisers” on TV, including about how they’ve severely injured several heroes (in part a reference to Mumen Rider).  Then we get a scene where even the armored police are unable to halt the Paradisers’ advance.
  • In the anime though, things are rearranged a bit: after the building is destroyed there’s instead a new scene introducing Mumen Rider, showing him getting a kid’s balloon out of a tree.  Then he rides his bike off in the direction of a large plume of smoke, presumably to confront the Paradisers.  Next we get the scene in Saitama’s apartment, and the TV report is changed to mention how the Paradisers destroyed a high-rise building, rather than anything about them injuring heroes (presumably because in the anime we’ve seen them destroy the building but not seen them beat any heroes yet).  Then there’s the scene of the Paradisers and the police, after which Mumen Rider finally shows up to confront the Paradisers.  One effect of this rearranging is that when some bystanders cheer on Mumen Rider and say everything will be alright now that he’s here (which happens in both versions), in the anime it looks like they’re all totally confident that Mumen Rider will be a lot more helpful than the police, who are still hanging around.  Either way, they’re wrong.
  • Some differences between Viz’s manga translation and their anime subtitles: when Hammerhead’s height and weight are stated on the TV report, the subtitles leave them in metric (2.15 meters, 210 kg), while the manga translation converted them into US units (7 feet, 462 pounds).  Zeniru’s house is called the “Golden Pile o’ Poop” in the manga translation, and the “Golden Turd” in the anime subtitles (both translations of 金のウンコ/Kin no Unko).
  • Chapter 12 ends with Saitama being mistaken for a terrorist by the townspeople and having to assure them he’s not, meaning that in the manga this is shown before Sonic and the Paradisers start fighting.  The manga also contains a scene (added in Murata’s remake) where one of the boulders thrown by Hammerhead crashes into the Golden Turn building, causing someone who looks suspiciously like King to shout that the poop has exploded (in the background there’s also someone who looks suspiciously similar to Bang’s “#1 disciple”, Charanko).  The anime removes the King/Charanko cameos and combines the “poop exploding” scene with Saitama being mistaken for a terrorist: Saitama assures the townspeople he’s not a terrorist, then sees the boulder fly into the Golden Turd building.
  • The anime has Sonic lop the Paradisers’ heads clean off, rather than simply slash their throats like in the manga.  I can’t tell if this counts as censorship or not.  Well, there’s less blood in the anime, so I guess it is (the Paradisers’ bodies seem to be filled with a uniform black substance, possibly chocolate, rather than blood, guts, bones or anything messy like that).
  • In the manga as Hammerhead runs away after losing to Sonic, he notes that it’s the first time he’s ever lost a fight.  This line gets dropped in the anime.
  • Eye-catch this episode: Sonic running.
  • After the eye-catch, there’s a wholly original scene showing Genos being repaired by Professor Kuseno over at Kuseno’s laboratory.  In the manga Kuseno doesn’t make an appearance until Punch 40 (equivalent to Chapter 45 of the original webcomic), in a scene that’s very similar to this new anime one.  Genos tells Kuseno about how Saitama’s saved his life twice now (after he got “caught off guard” by Carnage Kabuto), and Kuseno says that he’s currently developing some new parts that once equipped may make Genos stronger than Saitama.  I assume this is going to tie into Genos and Saitama’s duel, which will probably be next episode, since in the manga Genos’ fist is labeled as “Anti-Saitama”, as if it were a new arm created specifically to fight Saitama with.  Which doesn’t exactly jibe with what Kuseno says in this new scene, but it might have served as the inspiration.  Anyway, despite the “Anti-Saitama” arms thing, in the manga Genos is not explicitly portrayed as significantly powering up until he gets upgraded with G4’s parts (Punch 40 again).
  • Oh yeah, and during the Kuseno scene, there’s what looks like an afro wig on the table.  I think it’s supposed to be Genos’ puffy hair from last episode, which Kuseno apparently just removed and replaced with new hair.
  • In the anime, the flame decals on Hammerhead’s suit glow when he bulks up into “full power” mode.  After Saitama defeats Hammerhead, in the manga he briefly reflects on how he’s not so different and might have ended up like Hammerhead if he wasn’t careful, at which point Sonic shows up.  The anime removes this last line about how he might have ended up like Hammerhead, and instead creates an entire little scene about it at the end of the episode.
  • OK, so originally after Sonic talks a lot about having to kill Saitama and all that, Saitama says he knows Sonic just wants to test out his techniques, because of his “innocent” (無邪気/mujaki) smile.  Sonic then shows off the evilest, least innocent smile you ever did see…the joke being the contrast between Saitama describing the smile as “innocent” and the smile not actually being innocent at all.  Viz’s manga translation messes this up by mistranslating Saitama’s line so that he says Sonic has an “evil grin”, but thankfully the anime subtitles properly translate it as “innocent”.  Now, 無邪気/mujaki means “innocent” but literally breaks down as “not evil” (/mu=”not, un-“, 邪気/jaki=”evil”), so presumably what happened was that the manga translator just overlooked the “not” part, which naturally inverted the original meaning.  It happens.
  • The anime has Sonic hype himself up a bit more (while talking to himself, as he zips around Saitama), saying that his speed is faster than sound and creates shockwaves.  The anime subtitles translate the “speed faster than sound” (音速を超えるこのスピード) bit as “speed that beats sound”, which sounds a bit strange.  Heck, couldn’t they just say “supersonic speed”? (Yes, I’m nitpicking)
  • As Saitama talks about how he’s defeated all sorts of monsters and evil organizations and whatnot, the manga shows some of the enemies we’ve seen so far: Vaccine Man, the Subterraneans, Mosquito Girl, and Carnage Kabuto.  The anime’s Rogue’s Gallery is a bit different.  There’s some guys we’ve seen in the anime before (Vaccine Man, the giant Maru-Gori, Beast King, and Carnage Kabuto), plus several monsters not featured in the anime: the baby-faced giant insect “170,000-Year-Old Cicada Nymph”, the boxing monster “Incarnation of Electric Light String”, and the self-explanatory “Octo-Claw Man”.  Two of these guys were featured in side-stories showing Saitama back when he still had hair (Light String guy is from the side-story “Brushing Up” in vol.2, while the Cicada Nymph is from “Summer” in vol.3).  Meanwhile, Octo-Claw Man is the monster Saitama fights in King’s flashback in Punch 39 (vol.8).  In other words, all three were monsters defeated by pre-bald Saitama, making them appropriate for a run-down of his past victories.
  • In the manga, the long and detailed explanation about the Hero Association was presented as an info-dump text box.  In the anime, it’s presented as part of the Hero Association’s website, and Saitama reads it aloud while checking out the site on his computer.  When he gets to the part about non-registered heroes being regarded as weirdoes, he breaks off and Genos finishes reading the sentence for him.  Apparently, the mascot of the Hero Association is some cute cartoon character wearing a bird costume.  What the?
  • After the Hero Association explanation, in the manga Saitama solemnly says that he didn’t know anything about it, and Genos explains that the organization was created only three years ago, after the wealthy Agoni’s grandchild was saved from a monster by some random guy (you get three guesses who that could have been).  This part isn’t in the anime this episode, but might be included next episode somehow.
  • The scene where Hammerhead is confronted by members of the mysterious “organization” that he stole the powered suits from comes at the end of Punch 14 in the manga, meaning it’s shown there after the “innocent grin” bit, before Sonic starts zipping around Saitama.  The anime moves this to after the entire Sonic/Saitama fight and the Hero Association stuff, and changes it to a night scene.
  • Following the Hammerhead scene, there’s another anime-original scene, as Saitama fills out his Hero Association application form while listening to a TV interview with one Mr. Majimeda (a pun on 真面目/majime, meaning “serious-minded” or “diligent”).  Mr. Majimeda discusses the Hammerhead incident and how it relates to the recent social trend of more and more young people not wanting to work, something he blames on too many song lyrics about “following your dreams” and other such nonsense.  While listening to this, Saitama reflects on how he’s not so different from those guys, and might have ended up like Hammerhead if he wasn’t careful.  This scene is an expansion of that line in the manga where Saitama reflects on his similarity to Hammerhead before Sonic shows up.
  • Next episode preview: Saitama and Genos wait in line to take the Hero Association entry test.  Hammerhead narrates, saying that he’s reformed and wants to do some PR for himself, but is told he can’t.
  • Next episode: “The Ultimate Mentor” (究極の師/Kyuukyoku no Shi)
  • One’s cartoon for this episode, as featured on his Twitter account:
    One week until episode 4 airs

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Punch 11: “The Secret to Strength”

Punch 11
Title: “The Secret to Strength” (強さの秘訣/Tsuyosa no Hiketsu)
Length: 24 pages
Adapts: Chapter 11 of the original web comic (15 pages)

In Short: Saitama reveals the secret to his incredible strength, and it’s unbelievable.  Literally unbelievable. Literally, literally unbelievable.

Milestones: After seven chapters, the House of Evolution story arc wraps up.  For the first time we learn the details of Saitama’s “harsh training”, which is just about the only explanation for his matchless strength we’re going to get for quite some time (not until Chapter 56 of the original webcomic will this thread be picked back up).

Adaptation Notes: When entering “Carnage Mode”, in the original webcomic Carnage Kabuto’s horn becomes crescent moon-shaped, making him look a bit like he has devil horns when seen from head-on.  In the remake, it becomes completely vertical and comes to a single point, like a rhinoceros horn, and in addition he grows a large spike on his back.  Overall Murata’s re-design of his Carnage Mode horn makes him resemble Eva Unit-01 a bit, a resemblance the anime adaptation takes and totally runs with.  Though the transformation seems to make him more muscular even in the original webcomic, the remake makes this much more noticeable (and the anime version plays this up even more, having him become flat-out gigantic).

Also, Murata draws “Carnage Mode” Carnage Kabuto with bulging veins on his eyes.  Is that supposed to make him see better or something?

Translation Notes: Originally, Saitama says that during the course of his training he first noticed a change after a year and a half (namely, that he had gone bald but grown stronger).  For some reason, probably just a simple mistake, the Viz manga translation says “one year later” rather than a year and a half.  Viz’s anime subtitles correctly say a year and a half.  No biggie.

“Carnage Mode” (阿修羅モード) is a fairly straightforward name: “mode” is simply the actual English word for mode (モード/mōdo), while “carnage” is 阿修羅/Ashura, meaning the warlike Asuras of Indian mythology and by extension bloodshed and carnage, as we saw already when discussing Carnage Kabuto’s name.

In Japanese they often use the English word “menu” (メニュー/menyū) to refer to training regimens or courses of training.  So in Japanese, Saitama literally talks about his “training menu”, translated in Viz as “training regimen”.  I guess this is just one of the ways the Japanese use English words in ways that don’t quite line up with their original English meanings.  Unless people actually do use “menu” that way in English and I’ve just never noticed.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen it, but I’m also no fitness expert.

Other Notes: OK, so over in the Dragon Ball franchise you’ve got Cell, a super-powerful bug monster created by a mad scientist.  In episode 157 of Dragon Ball Z, Cell is in the middle of getting knocked around by Vegeta, who’s recently finished his latest training regimen and gotten vastly stronger.  He’s even taken to calling himself “Super Vegeta”, the arrogant jerk.  In the Japanese version of the episode, Cell asks what “Super Vegeta” is supposed to mean (he’s not exactly the sharpest crayon), and Vegeta tells him that explaining would be a pain in the ass.  In FUNimation’s English dub of the episode however…Cell asks Vegeta how he acquired such power, and Vegeta says that “I do a lot of push-ups and sit-ups. And drink plenty of juice”.

Compare this to Carnage Kabuto (a super-powerful bug monster created by a mad scientist) asking Saitama how he acquired such power, and Saitama replying that he did lots of push-ups/sit-ups/squats/running, and ate three square meals a day (including a banana for breakfast).  Coincidence?  Well, actually I think probably yes.  ONE seems to be a DB fan (Murata definitely is), but even if we assume his English is good enough for him to follow along with the English version of the show, there’s no indication that he’s in the habit of doing so.  I suppose it’s possible, but unless we hear from the man himself that this is an intentional reference, I’d just chock it up to coincidence.  Crazier things have happened.  Still, I had to bring it up.


==Good(ish) Guys==

Saitama: Firmly believes that human strength lies in people’s ability to change themselves, so he doesn’t think much of this whole “artificial evolution” business.  His training program to go from average joe to omnipotent in three years: 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, plus a 10 km run every day (always eat three meals a day, and don’t use air conditioning).  The key, he says, is to make sure you do this every day, without fail.  Though nobody believes him, he maintains that this is the only training he ever did (still, we see from Punch 39, the bonus chapter “Brushing Up”, and other stories touching on this part of Saitama’s life that he constantly fought monsters during this period, which clearly played a large part in him growing so strong).  After a year and a half of this workout routine, he had gone completely bald and “grown strong” (as strong as he is right now? It’s not clear, though the bonus chapter “Summer” shows Saitama defeating a Demon-level monster in one blow back when he still has a lot of hair left).  Learning that it’s actually Saturday, he immediately becomes distracted with thoughts of how he’s missing out on that supermarket bargain sale, and it takes him a few moments to get around to defeating Carnage Kabuto (only an unemployed person like Saitama could have so much trouble remembering that it’s currently Saturday rather than Friday).

It must be said: while it’s obviously absurd to think that a daily routine of 100 sit-ups/push-ups squats and a 10 km run can make you superhuman, the idea that the key to success is consistent effort over time is actually fairly sound.  There, your Public Service Announcement for the day.

Genos: At first concerned at the thought of the House of Evolution getting his hands on Saitama’s secret, he then becomes quite upset when he thinks Saitama is joking around rather than revealing the secret.  He quiets down when Saitama assures him that he’s telling the truth (but in Punch 17, Genos talks about how even Saitama can’t explain the secret to his strength, so he never truly buys Saitama’s story here).

==House of Evolution==

Carnage Kabuto: Assumes Saitama is pulling his leg with all his talk of “100 push-up” and whatnot (can you imagine Carnage Kabuto doing push-ups and squats?).  This makes him so mad he resolves to simply kill Saitama, so he enters “Carnage Mode”, a state where his fighting instincts are enhanced at the expense of his reason.  Once transformed, he will rampage for an entire week, something which has apparently happened before (prior to the transformation, Professor Genus tells him not to do it “again”).  Entering Carnage Mode causes his muscles to bulge and his veins to pop out all over his body, which is frankly a little strange for someone who’s supposed to be a beetle (it’s never explicitly said that this transformation makes him more powerful, just that it increases his fighting instincts, but judging by all the extra muscle mass it’s safe to assume he gets physically stronger).  Though he knocks Saitama around a good deal, none of his attacks do any damage, and in the end Saitama pulverizes his head and a good chunk of his torso with a single uppercut.

Professor Genus: Had previously assumed that the secret to Saitama’s strength was either surgical manipulation, genetic modification, or some type of drug.  He never doubts that Carnage Kabuto is unstoppable, so seeing Saitama kill him in one blow is a bit of a shock (according to the guide One-Punch Man: Hero Encyclopedia, Carnage Kabuto is a Dragon-level threat, so the number of heroes besides Saitama who could handle him should be fairly limited).  He resolves to abandon his research and change his ways (we see his new lease on life in Chapter 56 of the original webcomic).