One-Punch Man is an ongoing Japanese superhero parody webcomic created by an author using the pseudonym One which began publication in early 2009. The series quickly went viral, surpassing 7.9 million hits in June 2012. The Japanese shortened name Wanpanman is a play on the long-running children’s character Anpanman, wanpan being a contraction of wanpanchi (“one punch”). One-Punch Man tells the story of Saitama, an extremely overpowered superhero, who has grown bored by the absence of challenge in his fight against evil and seeks to find a worthy opponent.
A digital manga remake of the series, illustrated by Yusuke Murata, began publication on Shueisha’s Young Jump Web Comics website in 2012. The chapters are periodically collected and printed into tankōbon volumes, with twelve released as of December 2, 2016. Viz Media has licensed the remake for English serialization in its Weekly Shonen Jump digital magazine.
One-Punch Man had 2.2 million copies in print in November 2013, 3.2 million copies in April 2014, and 4.5 million copies in November 2014. By November 2016, this number had grown to 11.1 million copies in print. The series was one of ten nominated for the seventh annual Manga Taishō Awards in 2014. As of July 2017, the manga had 13 million copies in print.
Once released in the United States, both the first and second volumes debuted on the New York Times Manga Best Sellers list, at first and second place, respectively, and stayed there for two weeks. Volume one dropped to second place for the third week, while volume two fell off the list altogether. Volume one was still on the list for a fourth week. The series was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2015.
On an unnamed Earth-like super-continent planet, strange monsters and supervillains have been mysteriously appearing and causing disasters. To combat them, the world’s heroes have risen to fight them. Saitama is one such hero, hailing from the metropolis of Z-City and easily defeating monsters and villains with a single punch. However, he has become bored with his superhuman power and only gets truly excited when fighting strong opponents that can challenge him. Over the course of the series, Saitama encounters various superheroes, supervillains, and monsters. He gains a disciple in the form of the cyborg Genos and eventually joins the Hero Association in order to gain official recognition. He smashes an incoming meteor, defeats boss villains like the Deep Sea King. When the alien Dark Matter Thieves invade and destroy City A, Saitama defeats their leader Lord Boros using a serious punch.
Saitama gets to know other super heroes in the group, becoming friends with old martial artist Bang and a superhero named King who is actually a cowardly nonviolent otaku. When the Hero Association executive Sitch tries to recruit villains to become superheroes, a villain named Garo emerges and starts beating down many of the other heroes, prompting the association to make a small effort to stop him. In order to learn more about martial arts, Saitama enters a tournament. More ferocious monsters start showing up in the various cities, wearing down many of the heroes. A group of them kidnap an Association sponsor’s son. The Hero Association learns that that the monsters have organized into a Monster Association, and that they are also recruiting members by having fighters and others ingest monster cells that transform them into monsters that have far more power.
Over the interwining course of Garo and the Hero Association, it is discovered that the monsters have made their headquarters in the abandoned area of Z-City, which happens to be inhabited by Saitama alone. Garo encounters all the S-Class, or the ranked strongest, heroes, and proceeds to continue his ‘monstrification’ process during the battles. Finally he encounters Saitama(Who had come annoyed at the noise from the fight), whose attitude and strength infuriates and eventually destroys Garo’s will, then reveals his vision for the future. Saitama, out of character, understands his pain, and under the threat by the defeated heroes to kill Garo, Garo leaves before anyone can catch him.