Sunday, October 4, 2015

Episode 1: "The Strongest Man"

最強の男/Saikyou no Otoko
“The Strongest Man”

Manga/Anime Notes
  • This episode adapts the first four manga chapters pretty much in their entirety, and also includes Saitama’s internal monologue from the start of chapter 5.  You could say it covers a lot of ground.  Since those first four chapters are self-contained stories, making them fit together into a single coherent episode took some doing, but I think they made it work great.
  • First, Chapter 1 becomes a cold open.  Out of the first four chapters it’s the one with the least dialogue, and despite being only about three minutes long the animated version doesn’t feel rushed at all.
  • In fact, they even have time to include a short anime-only scene showing the Hero Association reacting to Vaccine Man’s assault on City A.  The Hero Association staff see which heroes are nearby and able to respond, and try to set a disaster level for the emergency.  They’re cut off before we hear what level they set.  This is all in contrast to the manga, where the Hero Association isn’t mentioned or hinted at until after the House of Evolution story arc.
  • As for the heroes that respond: it’s Lightning Max and Smile Man.  Lightning Max plays a small role in the Sea King story arc, so it’s nice to see him have an early cameo here.  Smile Man is a character original to the Murata remake of the manga.  He’s basically just a background character, one of the numerous low-ranked heroes who always seem to show up together.  This might actually be the first time we learn his name.  Anyway, both of these guys are shown knocked out in the rubble, so some help they were. 
  •  Apart from this brief scene, the scene with the anime-original car monster later on, and a few tiny other bits, the episode adds in hardly any new dialogue at all.  It's pretty much word-for-word the same as the manga, though Viz's subtitles use a different translation than their release of the manga.
  • Vaccine Man is voiced by Ryusei Nakao, as a joke.  See, Vaccine Man is a parody of the character Baikin man from the Anpanman franchise (meanwhile, Saitama is a clear parody of Anpanman’s titular character, and of course the title One-Punch Man is a joke on the same thing).  Nakao voices Baikinman in the Anpanman anime, so it’s only natural for him to voice Vaccine Man as well.
  • After the opening we get the adaptation of Chapter 2, detailing Saitama’s origin.  In the manga Saitama has this flashback apparently while on the way home from the store, but here he’s shown thinking about it while still in the store itself: looking at some crab on sale seems to be what jogs his memory.  As he’s paying at the cash register, the building begins to shake as a gigantic something walks by.  Thus leading into the adaptation of Chapter 3.
  • In the manga, when the split-chinned kid shows more concern for his soccer ball than he does in escaping from the murderous Crablante, Saitama yells at the kid to run “or I’ll kill you!”  This line is left out of the anime.  Did they think it sounded too harsh?
  • Chapter 3 starts with Fukegao giving Marugori the steroid that turns him into a giant monster, but here we first see the giant Marugori striding through the city, and only then do we have a flashback to show Marugori’s transformation.  The anime also shows Marugori doing lots of weight training, to emphasize his desire to become the world’s strongest man.  The part where Fukegao gets trapped in the rubble of his lab after Marugori transforms and smashes through the ceiling is left out of the anime.
  • Also, Fukegao and Marugori aren’t mentioned by name at all in the anime.  On that note, they weren’t named in ONE’s original manga either.  Instead, the names “Fukegao” and “Marugori” were introduced in Murata’s remake.
  • The anime leaves out the emergency warning identifying Marugori as a “Demon-level threat”, which in the manga is the first time we’re introduced to this terminology.  This might be because the anime added in that scene earlier with the Hero Association trying to label Vaccine Man with the appropriate threat level.  Two such scenes might have been repetitive.
  • After Saitama defeats Marugori, the anime has his monologue originally from Chapter 5.  In the manga Saitama thinks this to himself as he’s watering his cactus at home and generally lounging about, while in the anime he starts it while walking home.  To help illustrate Saitama’s point about how boring fights are for him now, on the way home he encounters an anime-original monster (the very first!): “Super Custom Y0649Z Mk.II”, someone who loved cars so much that he “decked himself out” as one, and in fact seems to actually be mechanical now.  After defeating this guy (spoilers), Saitama returns home and finishes his monologue.  So, while in the manga Saitama just thinks about how he always returns home uninjured and washes his gloves off, the anime has him think this while actually returning home uninjured and washing his gloves off.
  • Saitama then goes to sleep, and seems to wake up, leading into the Chapter 4 adaptation.  He’s attacked by the Subterraneans, but it’s all just a dream.  In the manga Saitama initially encounters several Subterraneans at once, but in the anime he’s just attacked by one.  When this sole Subterranean starts talking about “we” this and “we” that, Saitama wonders what he means by “we”…at which point loads more Subterraneans come crawling out of the ground.
  • To help show the contrast between the powerful Subterraneans in Saitama’s dream and the disappointing ones in real life, the anime depicts the dream Subterraneans as absolutely huge, while the real ones are tiny (roughly child-size) and have screechy, puny-sounding voices.  Likewise, the Subterranean King goes from being a giant in the dream to only human-sized in the real world (this contrast is somewhat present in the manga, but it’s far more noticeable in the anime).
  • The episode ends with Saitama looking at his cactus and thinking that he’s grown too strong.  In the manga this is the line that starts off his internal monologue in chapter 5 (where it goes with a picture of Saitama’s cactus).  Oddly, the Viz manga completely left this line out and just had a picture of Saitama’s cactus at the start of Chapter 5, without any caption.
  • For a next episode preview, they show a field of dead farm animals that have all had their blood sucked dry by mosquitoes.  Genos stands in the middle of the dead bodies, apparently investigating, and turns and looks towards the city.  Crablante then describes what will happen next episode.
Less than 24 hours until it airs

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