One-Punch Man Manga Shows What Happens When A Hero Gets TOO Strong

Superheroes typically triumph over incredible odds. But what happens when One-Punch Man's biggest problem is dealing with boredom?

One-Punch Man Manga Shows What Happens When A Hero Gets TOO Strong

When it comes to popular superheroes, a great internal conflict is a must. Spider-Man constantly tears himself apart over taking the most responsible actions. Superman struggles with human and Kryptonian identity issues. Batman tortures himself over the death of his parents. And then there are heroes like Japan’s One-Punch Man who fights a never-ending battle with… boredom?

It might sound like a weird struggle, but One-Punch Man manga series creator Yusuke Murata actually managed to write an engrossing superhero saga about a hero whose biggest problem is that he’s literally too powerful. Indeed, as his name implies, One-Punch Man is so strong he can defeat any opponent – from a humanoid crab to a towering giant – with a single punch. Which, when you think about it, can make crimefighting pretty dull after a while.

Related: One-Punch Man Is The Most Challenging ( & Confusing) Anime Adaptation Yet

Debuting in 2009 as a webcomic, the One-Punch Man manga introduced the world to Saitama, the comic’s titular bald-headed protagonist. As superhero origins go, Saitama’s is pretty mundane. He was originally a failed salaryman so depressed with botching a job interview that an attacking crab-like monster actually takes pity on him and lets him go. When the monster mentions he’s going to murder a young boy for drawing nipples on his chest with a permanent marker, however, Saitama remembers his earlier dream to become a superhero and defends the child – somehow beating the crab-monster in a fistfight.

Saitama goes on to acquire his superpowers by, and this is real, working out really hard for three years. Yes, that’s right – instead of bombarding himself with radiation or asking a spider to bite him, Saitama goes on to do 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 100 squats every day (accompanied by a 10-kilometer run and healthy diet). The exertion causes him to lose all of his hair by the age of 25, but he acquires incredible superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and durability. Thus armed, Saitama goes out to fight crime… for fun.

Unfortunately, it seems Saitama trained a bit too hard since he becomes so strong that he can take down any enemy with a single punch. Now finding life completely absent of challenge, Saitama likens fighting supervillains to swatting mosquitos (which, ironically, he must also do when battling the villain Mosquito Girl). While he became a superhero to bring joy back to his life, his ridiculously effective training regimen leaves him more bored and depressed than ever.

Fortunately, Saitama gets a break (of sorts) when he takes on a cyborg named Genos as his disciple. Together, they join the Hero Association, an organization that recruits superhumans to protect the metropolis of City Z from monsters and villains. Ironically, although Saitama is by far one of the most powerful of Hero Association’s recruits, he’s classified as one of their lower-ranking heroes due to his poor performance on the written examination. Despite this, being part of the Hero Association does add some meaning to Saitama’s life, thanks to the friendships he develops.

Like the hero Goku of Dragon Ball or Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan, Saitama occupies a curious position in the superhero community as a protagonist more interested in finding meaning for his life than engaging in random fistfights with run-of-the-mill villains. It’s an almost meta-commentary on the overpowered status of some popular heroes, but One-Punch Man manga manages to take this offbeat premise and explore it with humor and a bit of sympathy.

Next: Live-Action One Punch Man Manga Adaptation In The Works From Venom Writers

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Capone Ending Explained: What The Movie Really Means

Josh Trank's Capone has received polarized reviews due to its ambiguous structure, and this factors heavily into the movie's closing scenes.

Capone Ending Explained: What The Movie Really Means

Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Capone.

Josh Trank's Capone is an infinitely more surreal movie than a biopic about its namesake would suggest, and its ending, along with much of the rest of the movie, is open to interpretation. The film marks Trank's return to filmmaking following 2015's Fantastic Four. That movie's extensive reshoots and behind-the-scenes drama would culminate in a big-screen demise of historic proportions, with  offering a much-needed palette cleanser for Trank as a director.

The response thus far to Capone has been a mixed one. Though many reviews have praised the movie's open-ended narrative structure, others have criticized it from the same angle. While Tom Hardy's utterly committed performance in the title role has been praised, many have still been left taken aback by the upside-down method of storytelling Capone adopts.

RELATED: Capone Cast & Character Guide: Who Stars Alongside Tom Hardy? 

At a minimum, Capone is destined to be one of the year's most debated movies for these very reasons, while the amount of attention it devotes to Al Capone's loss over control of his bodily functions is also sure to some of the year's prime punchline material. Wherever one falls on the Love-it or Hate-it spectrum Capone rests upon, there's no debate to be had that it weaves a tale of cerebral anarchy that will leave heads spinning, for better or worse, while its ending is ripe for dissection. Here is what the meaning of Capone's story and its ending can be boiled down to.

Al Capone spends nearly the entire movie in a state of severe mental abatement with Tom Hardy selling every moment of his steep decline. Not only does his condition leave him completely at the mercy of his bowels, but large sections of the movie are clearly only happening in his own head. Though the separate Thanksgiving dinners that bookend the film are for real (with Capone noticeably more lucid in the first), moments such as his envisioning a child covered in blood over his bed late at night and a motionless figure hiding in his shower are obviously his dementia at work.

A huge section of the movie's second act also occurs entirely in Capone's head as he takes a trip down memory lane to see flashbacks to his life ruling over Chicago's crime scene. Matt Dillon's Johnny also menacingly cutting out his own eyes in front of Capone as he lies in bed partially paralyzed is another area where Capone exits reality completely, while his Tommy gun-toting rampage near the end, followed by Capone being swept away by a tidal wave emerging out of nowhere, ends up being partially real due to the actual victim of Capone's assault seen being taken away in a wheelchair at the end. Trank obviously intended to put the audience in his title character's shoes with Capone, and half or more of the movie's running time is either events only perceived by Capone or ones distorted by his cognitive deterioration. The end result is Capone being a far more bizarre and disorienting experience that many would likely have expected from a movie about one of history's most notorious crime bosses.

Al Capone's fictional son Tony, glimpsed periodically through the movie as a young child, plays a big role in how the movie tracks his loosening grip on reality. In one scene, Capone, by this point reduced to a barely coherent mess of a man, adamantly insists a crude drawing of his is a depiction of Tony, despite his real son's contrary claims of being Capone's son. However, this comes back in the final scene where Capone receives a visit from an adult Tony, the two joining hands as Capone tries to process the experience.

RELATED: Capone True Story: Tom Hardy Movie's Biggest Changes Explained

There's no historical record of Capone having an out-of-wedlock son named Tony, and given the state he's in by the final scene, along with  completely omitting his death, it seems likely that this too is another of Capone's dementia-induced hallucinations. However, the real significance of this scene is the Rosebud moment it represents for Capone. At once a prisoner in his home, body, and mind from a combination of F.B.I. surveillance and the onslaught of a condition he is powerless to stop, Tony's hand on that of his "father", real or imagined, may be the only thing left that Capone can experience on any tangible level at this point in his life.

The movie's closing title card states that numerous Capone family members relocated and changed their names to distance themselves from his criminal activities, though his wife Mae was not among them, while his son Sonny ran into his own problem with the FBI. Furthermore, Capone states that the MacGuffin that was Capone's hidden money was never recovered. Of course, this didn't prevent his purported stashed fortune from attracting attention in the ensuing years.

In 1986, The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault TV-special aired, covering the opening of a vault in the Lexington Hotel, once own by Al Capone, with Geraldo Rivera hosting the live-special. Unfortunately, it proved to be much ado about nothing, with only a few empty bottles to be found inside. However, one other property previously owned by Capone remains a notable destination today. Specifically, property owned by Capone confiscated by the U.S. government in his tax conviction was converted into the Eagle Golf Course, which remains in use today near the Eglin Air Force Base in Niceville, Florida.

The ultimate meaning of  is one of its title character living in a toxic brew of guilt, narcissism, and indignity. Al Capone's visions of his old life as Chicago's most feared mobster are an obvious byproduct of his mental decline, but they also force him to face the truth of his life head-on. His is a legacy of crime, bloodshed, and a hedonistic pursuit of material wealth. With the end being near for Capone, he essentially sees his life flash before his eyes, but repeatedly and in segmented form, and finds himself faced with the true horror of what the summation of his life really looks like.

Related: Every Upcoming Tom Hardy Movie

However, far from repenting the life he chose to live, Al Capone doubles down in the end when he pulls out his golden Tommy gun to massacre everyone in the radius of his immediate life, albeit mostly in his own mind. Capone's physical and mental decline has left him a shell of the man he was, but he can also clearly see that he is now only valued for the location of his hidden $10 million. In picking up the Tommy gun and gunning down everyone on his estate, Capone returns to the control he can no longer have with the mechanism that most symbolizes his life as the one-time king of Chicago. Unfortunately, the tidal wave arrives as a vivid reminder to him that there's no going back to the epicurean life that he once knew.

As Josh Trank's return to directing, Capone has been greeted with a very polarized response. To be sure, the movie is anything but a straightforward biopic, and the narrative ambiguity it wears as a badge of honor is sure to leave millions scratching their heads. Ultimately, it's not an easy movie to decipher, but it's nonetheless a very layered one.

NEXT: Why Capone's Reviews Are So Mixed

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