Blu-ray Review: One Punch Man – The Complete Collection

It has been a few years since Manga Entertainment UK announced that they would be releasing One Punc Man through KAZE Entertainment and now after months of (painful) waiting the series is finally coming to the UK as a Complete Collection release; so what can one expect from this UK Blu-ray release of One Punch Man – The Complete Collection? Well let’s find out in our review!

Synopsis:

Saitama only became a hero for fun, but after three years of “special” training, he finds that he can beat even the mightiest opponents with a single punch.

Though he faces new enemies every day, it turns out being devastatingly powerful is actually kind of a bore. Can a hero be too strong?

Our View:

One Punch Man is a series that, during its original Japanese broadcast in 2015, was met with positive criticism across the world from fans and newcomers alike and after watching the series via this Blu-ray release by KAZE Entertainment, which is distributed within the UK by Manga Entertainment UK, it is clear to see why. One Punch Man is truly within a class of its own and while this makes the series uniquely refreshing it also puts itself into a rather stale downward spiral that gets worse the longer the series runs; which probably explains why a second season has yet to be produced. Confused? Well let’s go further in depth into what this series has to offer.

As the synopsis suggests One Punch Man follows the daily antics of ‘self-proclaimed-hero’ Saitama who after spending three years of intense training, which turns out to be nothing more than normal muscle exercise, he has become the strongest person in the world that can defeat anyone in a single punch. It’s an interesting setup for a story and one would expect Saitama to continue fighting opponents until a rival worthy of his full power appears; but alas that is not to be. Instead One Punch Man’s real story is about Saitama registering as a ‘true hero’ within the hero association and attempting to become the ‘true hero’ that he so desires; with everything else being a bonus.

As a result of this each episode focuses on the Hero Ascosiation and the rules that come attached to being a part of it. For instance each hero who pass the exam are assigned a rank based on their test results and with Saitama as a C rank he must now prove himself within the community by doing heroic deeds in front of the media. To Saitama this is a bit of a chore; but after a handful of encounters – some of which prove too difficult for other C Rank heroes to take over, his rank improves and he becomes more famous; so famous infact that other heroes start to become jealous of his inhuman abilities and slowly dumb him as a cheat.

Unfortunately nothing ever comes of this jealously surrounding Saitama’s unique abilities; nor does Genos, a cyborg that befriends Saitama and ends up becoming his best friend, true intentions of discovering who destroyed his home appear on screen. Even the final confrontation, which sees numerous S Rank Heroes appear to save the planet from destruction – each of which provide some decent screen time – are rarely used. Instead the series just focus on a small part of a larger plot and seemingly goes nowhere with it… which is real shame considering that One Punch Man offers quite a lot of fun at the right moments; even if that fun is just mockery at other shows we enjoy.

It’s obvious that One Punch Man was designed to make fun of other Shonen shows that focus on drawn out fights and intense build-ups; as this series spends a large amount of time building up to a fight, just like other shonen shows, but ending it within a matter of seconds. As a result this means that One Punch Man provides plenty of dialogue and banter that rarely go anywhere and more importantly key story elements, such as Genos looking for another Cyborg that destroyed his home, are lost under the pressure of pointless scenarios and fights. As a result of these over-hyped buid ups I soon lost interest… and fast; sure enough the events of each episode were fun to watch – such as Saitama attempting to become an S Ranked Hero or giving fake advice to Genos, but all the potential build-ups during fights resulted in a disappointing end; especially the final arc of the series which presents a huge danger to planet, with an entire cast of characters teaming up together, but is over within a matter of moments.

Saitama is simply too strong and by the end of the series we too feel just as frustrated and annoyed as the ‘One Punch Man’ himself; which is a shame as the series has a lot going for it with it’s high quality animation, superb soundtrack and respectable vocal tracks in both English and Japanese. A missed opportunity in my book; but despite this it is a fun show to watch if you are after something different.

Extras:

Throughout the past few years KAZE Entertainment have been known for providing relatively bare bone releases with compressed releases and reduced content; surprisingly however One Punch Man is a different story as not only are the twelve episodes separated across two (Blu-ray) discs a large selection of supplementary bonus content is also included across both discs.

What type of content you may ask? Well on the first disc we have three OVA episodes, each of which last around thirteen minutes and are available in both English and Japanese, an interview with Chikashi Kubota, animation director on a selection of episodes, and the textless opening song for the anime – which is actually quite a catchy song. The first Blu-ray disc even has a trailer for another KAZE release; in this case Mardock Scramble: The Second Combustion which has been available for several years. It’s a bizarre choice but it is better than nothing.

The second disc on the otherhand features the remaining three OVA episodes, once again each of which available in English and Japanese, Cast Interviews, which interview both Japanese and English voice actors of the series, a Meet the JAM Project Interview, which interviews the artist behind the opening song, and a textless variation of the ending song.

My personal highlights of the bonus materials related to the Interviews as it provides us with a ‘closer look’ into the production and dubbing aspect of the show; something which we rarely get to see in anime titles. Another highlight obviously goes to the OVA episodes which, despite being listed as OVA or OAV if you prefer, they take place in between main episodes of the series itself and further expand upon story ideals and concepts found within the main series; a design choice rarely seen in other OVA series (we did say One Punch Man is a unique series after all).

Basically not only does this KAZE Release of One Punch Man offer a strong line-up of bonus content, with a easy-to-navigate menu, but it is easily the BEST KAZE release ever produced; and that is saying something.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50 x2
Region: B
Running Time:  2:25:43 (Disc 1), 2:26:02 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: LPCM 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

As a series One Punch Man seemingly exceeded my expectations, with its comical story and appropriate animation changes with Saitama’s appearance, and disappointed me at the same time with its slowly decaying story that only ‘peaks up’ slightly with the introduction of Hero Ranking and a potential unstoppable enemy threat.

Basically the series offers both good and bad points with non outweighing the other; however as a release then KAZE Entertainment have (for once) managed to produce an exceptional product that combines both constant quality, acceptable menu design and a healthy selection of bonus materials that other KAZE releases could only dream of.

That’s not all either as the English Dub, produced by VIZ Media in the US, and the original Japanese audio also offer their benefits and do an exceptional job of bringing the characters to life (or not so alive in the case of Saitama) regardless of the audio track you choose to watch.

One Punch Man may leave my impressions in a bit of a marmite situation but KAZE Entertainment’s Collector’s Edition Combo Pack release is definitely a set worth adding to your collection; especially if you enjoy Shonen styled shows with over-the-top values.

Score: review-stars-5

One Punch Man – The Complete Collection is now available on Blu-ray and DVD within the UK.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked on ZOMGPlay and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita or Xbox One.

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