Written by Shiggins
For me, 2015 is the year of superheroes. We got the amazing Age of Ultron and Ant-Man movies, a shit bunch of news throughout that was basically crying for a superhero to save the day, and of course, Japan released One Punch Man's brand new anime by my favourite all-time anime studio, Madhouse (Hunter x Hunter 2011, Beyblade, Trigun). Also, I recently discovered My Hero Academia, and it's come to my attention that the only thing more fun than watching superheroes, is watching superheroes beat the crap out of each other! Therefore, I have decided to use science, fact, logic and my own superior opinion to determine which heroic creation is the true series you should be spending your time on.
|FIGHT! (What a couple of losers...)|
What is a series without a good main character to keep it rolling? Probably a lot of shit actually. Luckily, both One Punch Man and My Hero Academia manage to have two somewhat unique characters that manage to lead the freaks into chaos.
One Punch Man: Easily the more unique of the two, Saitama is a bald guy who worked out so hard that his hair fell out, but he also got the power to destroy everything and everybody he comes across with... one punch! Saitama is the source of almost all the comedy the series has to offer, and almost feels out-of-place amongst such serious and adequately-drawn co-stars. He feels empty inside due to winning battles so easily, but he does manage to maintain a moral backbone and often proves to be more heroic than the majority of other heroes within the series. Easily frustrated and never impressed, Saitama just shrugs and hits his way through his adversaries, without caring about anything like backstory or motivations.
|He loses points for the low blow that no true man should commit.|
|Oh and he's a big soppy crybaby.|
Verdict: My Hero Academia.
This category might have been the most difficult one for me to decide between, as both of them have many interesting qualities, and both of them have some boring moments that doesn't always highlight the clever writing implemented within the books. However, Midoriya wins this round due to being smart. Saitama is a funny character, but his invulnerability does start to get tiresome, since it can remove so much tension. Midoriya does not win every fight, nor does he ever just charge in. That, and Midoriya is still learning his skills and powers, which is always an interesting development within manga. And unfortunately, Saitama is never really affected by anything, verbal or physical, so it removes any pressure or weight.
Out of the frying pan and into the lava, eh? From one extremely difficult category to the next, it's time to judge the friends and allies of Saitama and Midoriya, to see which one stands on top as true entourage of fucked-up yet lovable.
One Punch Man: Genos the cyborg; He is awesome. An esper named Tornado of Terror; She is awesome. Old man named Silverfang; He is awesome. And the majority of supporting characters tend to be pretty cool in their own right as well, but those three take the prize when it comes to One Punch Man. Genos is easily my favourite one, with backstory and motivations that easily surpass Saitama in terms of investment. Honestly, I wish Genos was the main character because of how cool he is, but then that'd kinda ruin the point of One-Punch Man, wouldn't it? The rest of the cast are fairly standard, and you've probably seen most of them in other shows before. The handsome asshole, the large sparkling gay man, the metal guy who you shouldn't trust... It's very half-and-half.
|Can you spot the odd one out? Here's a hint. Don't make fun of their shiny bald head.|
|And no, the horse isn't a character. Surprisingly, I have no idea why there is a giant ghost horse in the background actually.|
Verdict: My Hero Academia.
While Genos is awesome in just about every way, he isn't able to support most of the others. Like I said, Tornado and Silverfang rock too, but a lot of them aren't as deep or motivated as the Hero Academia students and teachers. Most of them are clearly just fulfilling a parody archetype, while Hero Academia is more interested than feeling like an actual superhero story, instead of a parody of one. Genos is my favourite supporting character out of both series, but Hero Academia has giant ladies, emotional engine-legged nerds, and Epic Birdman. I love Epic Birdman.
Without a proper threat to take on your hero, the show will get old really fast. As in, instantly. You need obstacles to cause tension and adversity, and I can't think of a better genre for this than the superhero genre. With literally countless possibilities for bad guys, let's see which series has the best antagonists!
One Punch Man: Easily the one with the larger roster, the bald guy has dozens of foes to take on and although many of them are killed right away by Saitama's instant-kill attack, they do leave an impression quite quickly. While not particularly deep, the range is almost staggering. You have a gorilla guy who tries to sound cool, aliens from another planet, some sort of metal knight, an evil esper who is the sister of Tornado, the sexiest mosquito you'll ever see... The list goes on. None of these villains have any big plans however, so they are quite short-lived and rushed.
|Voiced by Frieza by the way. No joke there. I just thought it was a cool fact...|
|When you fail so hard and a facepalm just isn't enough.|
Verdict: One Punch Man.
Personality. That's what makes a villain memorable. I was going to give this to Hero Academia at first because those villains have an actual plan, but then I thought about my favourite villains like Frieza and Joker. While it is good to see a villain have a goal, you also need to make sure they stand out by actually doing and saying things that are vastly interesting. And unfortunately, sexy mosquito girl is far more interesting than boring hand-guy. Seriously, he's a big man-child who wears hands over his body. It's...It's really dumb. And sorry to say this, but generic monsters and thugs are not worthy of characters as great as Midoriya and Todoroki. Saitama gets villains with actual interesting dialogue and dilemmas to work off of, even if he doesn't care about them whatsoever, and that's what gives this series the win.
So we have our characters. Now we just need to give them a plot and a goal. Or do we? Yes, we do. Here are the nominees for best story.
One Punch Man: Very simple one here. Saitama wants to be famous, so is saving the town, and maybe even the world, by using his ultimate attack on anything that comes his way. Saitama hopes to rise up the ranks and become an S Class Hero like the great ones, while also wishing he could find someone that could last longer than just one smack from his power. Meanwhile, Genos is possibly stumbling upon a dark plot involving a scientist that is more just hinted at and not fully addressed. Basically, it's setting up. The rest of the time are focused on short, almost episodic arcs that rarely last more than 3-5 chapters a piece, which usually entails Saitama fighting against various opponents until they are dead.
|The entire series wrapped up in just one page really. (Just add in gore)|
|Another perfect picture to showcase the plot. Of course, we're just missing some tears and rage from explody dude.|
An episodic series can only last for so long, and Saitama's exploits don't feel right when he goes for long-running plots. Maybe it's because the character himself never cares about the situation, or maybe it's the ultimate unstoppable power, but when the series tries to go above where it clearly fits best, the episodic comedy, it stumbles. Hero Academia however thrives on an overarching plot, with characters developing over time and going through proper heartache. As I mentioned earlier, Midoriya's quest to get stronger and control his own power is always going to be more interesting than someone who already is stronger than God and capable of perfectly controlling it, because a series needs tension.
Pow! Zap! Kablam! As we all know, there are no better action scenes than the ones in Adam West's Batman, but these two series definitely try their best. And they have to really, because if you don't fight with superpowers, what else can you do? Pyjama party? Anyway, here are my thoughts on violence.
One Punch Man: You'd think that I'd instantly choose Hero Academia because of One-Punch Man's constant method of victory being such an easy one-hit KO, and to be honest, I thought that at first too. However, looking back on the manga itself, I did notice how much of a spectacle it can be. One-Punch Man likes to spend entire chapters (of approximately 10 pages), just showing off a single move or punch. While this isn't going to be hugely special in anime, it does help the manga stand out. Also, Saitama isn't the only fighter. Genos and Tornado are just two of many other characters who take part in causing violence, and they all have their own methods of taking on criminals. And let's be honest here, it's just funny in a sick way to see Saitama blow up a cocky asshole into nothing but guts. It... It's entertaining.
|The fiercest battle of Saitama's life... The mosquito!|
|...In other words, big boom!|
Yeah, in the end, Hero Academia still won. Like I said, One Punch Man is a great spectacle of comedy and blood, but Hero Academia just cares so much more. Naruto appealed to me so much because characters like Shikamaru used cunning and tactic to overcome difficult foes, and Hero Academia does feel like it's carrying on the same spirit as the Ninja Shonen in that regard. It's unpredictable who will be the victor for most battles, and even when it is predictable, seeing the method of victory is far more fascinating anyway.
Thanks to recent Marvel movies, almost all superhero movies these days have dropped the gritty feel and moved on to insert jokes of a wide variety, with the obvious exception being the occasional DC film that is probably just trying to copy what Nolan did... but that's another topic for another day. Just like Marvel, both these series go for light-hearted comedy a lot, and now I'm going to be an asshole and actually judge jokes!
One Punch Man: Unlike Hero Academia, One-Punch Man's main selling point is the comedy itself. From Saitama's ridiculous design to his disinterest when a baddie starts spouting speeches about how great and evil they are, I won't deny I laughed quite a few times. One example that had me laughing my ass off was his response to destroying a meteor. The other characters don't really try to be funny, with maybe one or two rare exceptions, but Saitama carries the weight of all the comedy and to his credit, his strength is more than enough to handle it. Even if the joke of one punch does start to wear thin as time goes on...
|He must have wanted to buy Witcher 3 for £23 like I did.|
|Oh dear god, run for your lives!|
A bit obvious, to be honest. Hero Academia just couldn't compare when it comes to One Punch Man's humour, since One Punch Man is almost like Gintama when it approaches it's comedy. It's ridiculous, sarcastic, dark, dry and very excellently timed. Hero Academia's humour isn't bad, it's just far more generic and typical of a Shonen. Saitama is a hilarious character, so he alone is funnier than the entire Hero Academia series. And luckily for him, the joke isn't down yet. I don't think the joke has much longer to last though...
Art & Design
Let's finish things off with the look and style of manga, and no I'm not comparing Hero Academia to the anime version since that's not fair. Madhouse made that anime, and Hero Academia has only just started making theirs, so not a fair contest. Instead, I'll be comparing manga art and manga designs to see which one just looks better.
One Punch Man: It has to be said that One Punch Man is the luckiest manga of all fucking time. Not only was it originally self-published, the art was more piss-poor than my own doodles! And trust me, that's shameful. However, I'm going to be fair and judge this series on the more recently "remastered" editions, which are infinitely better in every way. Proper detail, strong design, better angles... A lot of characters resemble famous ones, such as the first monster looking like a purple Piccolo, or parodies of Jojo and what I think might be Ironman too. While nothing especially unique, it's all well-done and just a visual treasure.
|And you thought Hunter X Hunter was bad...|
|Straight Outta Freaktown.|
Utterly difficult one to choose from, but I had to pick Hero Academia for a very simple reason: Less parodies. Like I said, Hero Academia probably has a few homage designs to other superheroes or manga, but none are as blatant. One-Punch has some great designs, and the fact that Saitama looks so different from the other characters is hilarious, but Hero Academia has a far more unique roster in visuals alone. Tentacle-wing boy, Epic Birdman, Invisible Girl, Acid-Spitting Horned Girl... The list just goes on.
One Punch Man: 2
My Hero Academia: 5
Admittedly, I thought the result would be a lot closer but I did keep persuading myself differently through out writing this. If you're a strong fan of superheroes, I recommend checking out both series. If you just want pure comedy with some really cool action, then go for One-Punch Man. However, if you are looking for a far more plot-driven, character-driven story to go alongside the action, then Hero Academia is the one for you.
The winner is My Hero Academia.
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere or go to his tumblr page http://otakugajeel.tumblr.com/