In many ways, manga/anime franchise "One-Punch Man" is a lot like its protagonist, Saitama. A young but bald-as-a-cue ball man with only a single name (which he shares with a prefecture of Japan that’s the regular butt of jokes for its uncoolness), the oft-overlooked and underestimated Saitama is, in fact, one of the strongest superheroes on the planet.
In similar fashion, "One-Punch Man" started as a web comic posted by creator ONE on his own personal website beginning in 2009. After three years, it had attracted enough fans for a remake in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump, Japan’s most popular manga anthology, with ONE handling the writing and the art being drawn by artist Yusuke Murata, whose biggest hit to-date was football manga "Eye Shield 21."
▼ Trailer for the first season of the "One-Punch Man" anime.
Now a mainstream smash hit, "One-Punch" has been adapted into two seasons’ worth of TV anime and a fighting video game, and now it’s set to move into yet another media sphere with a Hollywood live-action movie.
Variety reports that Sony Pictures has tapped Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, the writing team from both "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Jumanji: The Next Level," as well as 2018’s "Venom," to pen the script. Other films and TV series on the pair’s individual resumes include "Con Air," "High Fidelity," "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," "Fringe" and "Kangaroo Jack." Acting as producers will be Avi and Ari Arad, the former of whom was a producer for the Hollywood live-action "Ghost in the Shell," "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," "Iron Man" and "Daredevil."
Variety also says that “Sony is very high on…the possibility of adding another franchise to the pipeline,” but considering that "One-Punch Man’s" first anime season was far more popular than it’s second, they might want to focus on their first movie before thinking too hard about sequels.
There’s a lot of variance in terms of tone and critical success among the writers’/producers’ past works, and it’ll be interesting to see if they try to retain "One-Punch Man’s" style of understated Japanese comedy from Saitama punctuated by bursts of fantastically kinetic action, or take the bones of the source material and try to give the characters new motivations and arcs, like Arad’s "Ghost in the Shell" did. Adding another wrinkle to the production is that while "One-Punch Man" was created in Japan, its superhero-packed story takes a lot of cues from American comics, and Murata has mentioned on multiple occasions that he has a lot of respect for his counterparts working on the other side of the Pacific.
No casting or release window has been announced, so it’s too early to say which actor will be shaving his head or putting on a prosthetic scalp to play Saitama, but when someone does land the role, we can probably look forward to Murata, or maybe his highly talented young daughter, producing a piece of tribute art.
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