TOKYO, Japan — Every anime season there’s always that one anime that gets everybody’s attention, that everyone can’t wait until next week for. The undeniable choice of this fall 2015 season has been Madhouse Studios’ One Punch Man, the story of a superhero who trained so hard and became so strong that he defeats every enemy with a single punch, losing his hair in the process.
The series, which started as a web novel written and illustrated by an author who goes by the pen name ONE, and was quickly picked up by Shounen JUMP’s Yusuke Murata for professional-level drawings after the web novel hit 7.9 million hits. When it was announced that Studio Madhouse would be producing an anime adaptation of the beloved franchise, many had high hopes.
All expectations for the anime were seemingly met as the production treated viewers to brilliant animation, fantastic sound & music, and well-timed comedy. The premier of One Punch Man had millions of views worldwide. As the weeks went on, however, fear bloomed at Madhouse Studios. Anime Maru sat down with OPM‘s director Shingo Natsume to figure out what was going down.
AM: Mr. Natsume, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today.
Natsume: Yes, no problem.
AM: It’s our understanding that the One Punch Man anime has been steadily losing views?
Natsume: More specifically, viewership dropped off drastically after episode 3.
AM: I’m sorry, could you please explain?
Natsume: Well you see, in episode 3 there’s a scene where the main character, Saitama, explains his workout regimen. It seems as though we got so many people into the anime in the first 2 episodes that people really believed they could be the world’s strongest superhero and started doing the regimen.
Curious to find out more, we hit the streets of Tokyo. Sure enough, we found many a bloated NEET and anime otaku charging through parks or doing push-ups. When asked about their newfound determination, every person responded with the same “100 PUSH-UPS, 100 SIT-UPS, 100 SQUATS, AND 10 KM RUNNING EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!”
Natsume: We just wanted to make a good anime that all of the fans of One Punch Man, as well as new fans, could enjoy. We poured our heart and soul into this project. But it seems we poured too much, and now everybody’s so busy caught in the hype we created to actually keep watching.
Madhouse isn’t the only one feeling the heat, nearly all animation studios with shows airing this season have reported drastic losses in recent weeks; save for Earth Star Entertainment, who have hit big with their late-night exercise show Anitore! EX. Major television networks are starting to report losses as well.
Not all news is bad, however, as Japan’s Ministry of Health released a survey that indicates Japan could surge from 6th to 2nd healthiest nation in the next year, and reach 1st in 3 years when everybody finishes their training regimen. The Ministry of Jobs and Welfare has also reported that productivity has never been higher in the workplace.
Natsume: What good is there in Japan if we don’t have anime? Sure, we used to have giant monsters, but when Godzilla attacked last week someone defeated her with one kick, so now she’s out too. We’ve ruined ourselves, and One Punch Man ruined anime.