One Punch Man Review Season 2 Episode 5

The monsters attack!

Episode 5

Metal Bat versus Garou; heroes of all shapes and sizes versus monsters who have suddenly started thinking and planning; Saitama versus random guy that we’ll probably never see again… One Punch Man season 2 really decided to go for some fighting this episode and it isn’t just the tournament Saitama has entered that is heating up.

The ridiculous hero and villain names come thick and fast while watching this episode and largely it doesn’t really matter. The crux is that in every city the heroes are fighting the sudden appearance of monsters but through some plan or design the monsters they are facing are the worst possible match up for the hero in question. This leads to more than one hero biting the bitumen and the monsters largely gloating that they are in fact strong.

Possibly this would be a more interesting development except for the part where I’m thinking that if Saitama ever leaves the fighting tournament he’d just end them all in a single punch and things would go right back to normal. It is the fundamental problem with the premise of this anime in that you know no matter how dire things look you really just can’t take it seriously as a threat.

As for Saitama, he takes on his first opponent in the martial arts tournament and ends it with a backhanded slap. It is as underwhelming as any of his previous fights have been and you can tell even he is disappointed. It will be interesting to see if any of the contestants end up giving him even a moments trouble.

However, as usual, this anime knows how to over use a joke. They begin introducing the fighters of the tournament and you start being worried they are going to individually introduce each one. Then they comment that there are many others and you breathe a sigh of relief, right before they launch into a rapid introduction of every fighter. Sigh.

This episode did leave me feeling bad for Metal Bat. All that effort and then his little sister knocks him out cold.

Affiliate Link
ONE PUNCH MAN - ONE PUNCH LOGO LARGE TOTE BAG BLACK

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

One Punch Man Review Season 2 Episode 4

Meet Metal Bat – He Hits Things With His Bat

Episode 4

While there’s a little of the Saitama joining the martial arts tournament in this episode, he’s decidedly in the background, as this episode focuses on S Class Hero Metal Bat (they really need to fire the guys who come up with these idiotic names). Anyway, Metal Bat is stuck babysitting some executive from the Hero Association and his son when some centipedes attack.

It’s exactly the kind of silliness I came to expect from One Punch Man in season one after the mosquito attack. Really you have one centipede, than a bigger one, before a giant one attacks. Through it all Metal Bat does his hero thing but before he manages to take down the massive one (if he even can), Garou shows up.

See, even as a little kid Garou just wanted monsters to succeed. He has a goal. In any other show he’d be the protagonist.

For those who have enjoyed One Punch Man up until this point, there’s nothing in this episode that will disappoint. Between the ironic humour of Mumen Rider trying to convince Charanko that Saitama would never enter a tournament under a false name because he is a hero to the eye-roll inducing display of ignorance by the executive and his son at a train sushi restaurant, it hits all the right marks to leave you with a smile, particularly when Metal Bat thinks to himself he’s going to kill the executive if one more plate gets put back on the train.

The fight is also interesting enough if standard fare of keep making the enemy bigger. While Metal Bat doesn’t have the most interesting fighting style, I mean he hits things with a bat, they certainly kept him moving and managed to keep each section of the fight fresh as we moved from the restaurant to the street, to seeing the impact across the city.

Affiliate Link
ONE-PUNCH MAN MOFU MOFU MINI TOWEL: GENOS

My only actual complaint would be the decided lack of Genos this episode.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

One Punch Man Season 2 Review Episodes 1 + 2

One Punch returns with less impact.

One Punch Man Season 2 Episode 1 - Saitama and King

Episode 1

Probably my least anticipated sequel ever, here is One Punch Man and its second season. New studio behind the wheel and the question becomes whether or not lightning can strike twice for a story that has one joke and almost no point. Season one overcame this by being a bombastic good time with a killer sound track and while a subsequent attempt to rewatch left me feeling that it was light on any substance, I had a good time the first time through at least even if I began to find it wearing a bit thin by the end of the season.

Generic villain number 1.

Season two so far is best described as average. It isn’t as visually dynamic as its predecessor, something that is incredibly noteworthy during Genos’ fight with another robot. Season one had some incredibly fluid movement and interesting direction in the vast majority of fight sequences that elevated them despite the scale of the fight. Here, the fight works, and Genos looks great, but there isn’t really much sense of excitement that comes with it.

Where it falls down particularly far though is the sound track with the music so far being adequate but not a driving force of thrills or a hook. That is perhaps the weakest part of this first entry into the second season.

Genos however remains awesome.

However, none of that has anything to do with plot and whether or not there’s a reason for a sequel to the story of a guy who became a super-hero for fun. Here I’ll have to praise season two for giving a few interesting hooks in terms of progressing the story.

We meet King, a guy who isn’t a hero who, do to incredibly bad luck has been at the scene of a huge number of monster attacks and has become known as one of the strongest heroes (almost the direct opposite of Saitama who fights all the monsters but gets almost no credit). We have the hero association trying to recruit more fighters in response to a potential world ending prophecy. We have heroes and villains planning to target Saitama. Then there is Genos and his ongoing quest to become stronger and defeat the cyborg that destroyed his home. That seems like more than enough to push us through a season and we’re only at episode one.

For those who came for the spectacle and excitement of season one, One Punch Man Season Two doesn’t really deliver in its first episode, however, I feel more optimistic about a second season now that I can see that they intend to develop the narrative a bit more. Whether that optimism is misplaced I guess we’ll find out and whether or not it matters that the story is progressing if the rest of the production isn’t quite up to speed is something only time will tell.

Affiliate Link
	16D COLLECTIBLE FIGURE COLLECTION: ONE PUNCH MAN VOL. 1 (SET OF 8 PIECES)

Episode 2

There’s a bit more going on in the second episode. Certainly a smack down between Genos and Speed o’ sound Sonic, even if the majority of it is off-screen is entertaining enough and when we add in a villain slaughtering his way through heroes and villains alike we end up with a fairly action packed episode even with Saitama being his usual laid-back self.

One Punch Man Season 2 Episode 2 - Genos

I kind of wanted more from the whole hero recruiting a faction plot line, but I guess expecting much from a show that really is happy to go with the obvious joke was my bad. They did enough with it and the amusement of watching her hopes and illusions getting shattered worked well enough even if it kind of lets that plot line come to a natural conclusion fairly early on.

One Punch Man - Season 2 Episode 2 - Saitama

The meeting at the hero association where they come up with Genos and Saitama’s hero names is down-played to the point where it is almost forgettable and the joke name they given Saitama is lame even by the comedy standards of One Punch man. Kind of glad they didn’t linger on this but it is given so little attention it may as well have not existed as it really didn’t contribute much from either a plot or comedy point of view. I guess it helps us fully realise the hero association is mostly a bureaucratic  joke, but we kind of already knew that.

Basically, this continues to do enough while at the same time hasn’t had any real standout moment yet. I’m still very much a Genos fan-girl so as long as we keep getting sections of Genos fighting I’ll probably be happy enough and I’m kind of glad they didn’t feel the need to destroy him in the second episode again given how many times they broke him in season one. While I will admit this does feel lacking compared to the first season, it is meeting my expectations of a season two, given I expected very little feeling this one had already run its course. It remains entertaining enough provided you don’t expect anything exceptional.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

In Case You Missed It 2019 #9

Another week and you will have noticed that I did slow down the posting this week to two a day. Given the current in real life situation I’m going to continue on this slower schedule for at least another week as it is giving me some time to regroup. That said, I’ve continued to have a great time finding some really cool posts out there and as always if you would like me to give a shout out to a post send me a link via my contact or DM me on Twitter and I’ll check it out.

Posts from the Community

Irina and Crow continue their coverage of The Promised Neverland with a discussion on Episode 7. It is a bit spoiler heavy if you haven’t watched the episode yet but for those watching the anime it is a fun post dissecting what we saw and speculating about where it might be going. Well worth reading for those watching the anime.

But in case that’s not enough of The Promised Neverland (and what is really enough), Lynn Sheridan has a great write up on Episode 8. Again, spoiler warning, but episode 8 was fantastic and there are some pretty solid review posts coming out about it.

Dominic over on Little Anime Blog has a review of Land of the Lustrous that is very nicely written. This one is light on spoilers and more describes the experience rather than specific events so if you are curious about whether Land of the Lustrous might be something you should watch this is a review for you to check out.

Anime Motivation (a site I’ve somehow never found before but am glad I stumbled upon last week) had a great post giving us 11 Educational Anime or at least 11 anime that can give you a new perspective even if they don’t necessarily teach something specifically. It was a really fun list to read and I found a few other articles on the site I’m going to have to go and read at some point. Anyway, if you missed this post, be sure to go and check it out as it is definitely fun reading.

Blogging Almost has an interesting discussion about the hook of Darker Than Black. This post does discuss the overall downturn of the series as season 2 gets underway but mostly it is about how the first episode draws you into the characters and the world. And by the way, if you haven’t watched Darker Than Black, you probably should.

Wooderon shares some thoughts on That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime and how Rimuru essentially being in easy mode makes for a less than compelling narrative. While some people will disagree, this is something that has been bothering me about the show for a fair while as there never does seem to be any tension or concern in any scenario making the anime feel a little lacking, despite being reasonable fun. Anyway, if you aren’t violently opposed to the idea of criticism of Slime this is an interesting post.

Xenodude has started covering School Live so if you’ve seen episode one and curious to see how someone who didn’t know what the twist was takes it, this post is a fun read. For those who’ve never seen it, unless you want to know the twist it is probably best to watch the episode first before checking out the post.

I kind of have to thank Irina for this one as she highlighted the blog in her blog discovery post, but I came across this post by Dirk about escapism in No Game No Life and it was such a fun read. It looks at the first episode and premise of No Game No Life and how it connects with an audience who may in fact be looking for an escape themselves. Really enjoyable read and well worth checking out.

One Punch Man Saitama Flying

Then because I was now following this blog, I had the pleasure of reading a comparison of the protagonists from One Punch Man and Mob Psycho 100 and while I haven’t finished even season one of Mob and One Punch Man was great for a once watch but I’m kind of done with it, I really enjoyed this post. It is nicely detailed, nicely written, and it is just interesting seeing how the author created characters who have superficial similarities but some fairly strong core differences.

Pick of the Week

Irina has to have it this week with her post of Yoko Littner from Gurren Lagann. Now Yoko is an awesome character and Irina’s post here does a great job of capturing the reasons why, describing particularly a scene toward the end of Gurren that really just showcases everything amazing about Yoko. Of course, if you haven’t seen the anime, there are spoilers here, but for everyone who has seen the anime, this is a post well worth reading so be sure to hop on over if you missed it last week.

And as much as I loved Irina’s post on Yoko, I do have to throw this one in as a pick of the week. The Nerdy Girl News shares some valuable tips on how to gain followers and get traffic for your anime blog. Be sure to read it as it is well worth the time and really helpful in explaining what they have done and how it has worked.

Posts For Patrons

Karandi’s Posts

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support 100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
TALES OF BERSERIA 1/8 SCALE PAINTED FIGURE: VELVET CROWE
TALES OF BERSERIA 1/8 SCALE PAINTED FIGURE: VELVET CROWE

One Punch Man Series Review: One Punch – One Joke

One Punch Man Saitama Flying

This is part of a series of re-posts of older reviews on 100 Word Anime. The original review came out in August 2016 and can be found here.

I’ve not made all that many changes to this one as my opinion really hasn’t changed. I did however, get rid of the plus/minus format. Still, if you read the original post, that kind of covers it.

It’s really difficult to review One Punch Man. On the one hand, it is awesome. The main character defeats his enemies with one punch. It’s funny. It’s visually striking. The music is really well chosen. On the other hand, essentially the plot is about a guy with almost zero motivation who instantly kills his opponents removing any tension from any conflict and once you’ve seen the punch line to most of the jokes there isn’t a lot of rewatch value. And in honesty, rewatching this one was kind of dull. While there are a few moments that still really shining, without the novelty factor there just isn’t much here.

onepunchman_forreal

At the centre of the story is Saitama. He really feels like a character for the modern world. He’s self-centred, lazy, and reasonably ignorant of things that don’t particularly impact on him (not saying that everyone in the modern world is like that but it is certainly a recognition of a social trend). He also has a very high opinion of himself and his value and at times seems to carry a giant chip on his shoulder about the lack of credit he receives for his work. Compared to the superheroes of the past (or the current Hollywood trend of dark and edgy heroes), Saitama is a fantastic breath of fresh air and fairly easy to relate to.

And he has even more depth than most of us initially give him credit  for. There are times when he could receive recognition but because of the ramifications to others, Saitama deliberately plays down his part in a job. Given his usual self-involved attitude, these moments are really important to making him feel like a genuine character and someone who is becoming more aware of the world around them even as he seeks recognition.

Basically, this character has toed the line and managed to make us not hate him, even while he plays up some of the less desirable traits of the modern culture. Its an interesting mix and one handled more deftly than you might at first assume, but a lot of that gets lost under a fairly one note plot.

maxresdefault2

Sticking with characters though, I want to give a shout out to Genos. My favourite character from the show (and someone who deserves some kind of award for the sheer amount of determination he has and how little it actually gets him). He is your typical hero in every sense of the word. Tragic childhood on quest for revenge and to save others from the same fate. Willing to sacrifice himself and always working to improve. He is also the only one who really recognises Saitama for what he actually is (even if his perception is a little tinted by rose coloured glasses).

Genos also brings about some of the more amusing and tragic moments of the anime as he tends to attempt self-destruction fairly regularly (to save others of course) or gets swatted into pieces. You feel bad for him but can’t help but laugh and given how much damage he sustains in early episodes without lasting impact (because apparently being a cyborg means anything can be fixed) it takes a lot of the trauma out of his injuries. While Genos couldn’t carry the show by himself (he is too weighed down with clichés), he is an excellent support character and adds just the right notes of earnestness, dedication, and over-zealous stupidity to most scenes.

1453186983-5aa9467388d5c1f78f143ac9580ec45d

However, that one note plot is a problem as is the inability to escalate tension throughout the story. When you start your anime with city destroying monsters, giants, cyborgs, gorillas and life sucking mosquitos, how do you up the ante? Sure, aliens? Why not? Only they don’t come off as any more threatening than the hoodlums or any of the other villains we’ve seen. I think they are supposed to, given all of the heroes are seemingly gathered to face them, but what we end up with is a series of small group fights that lack punch (sorry about that) and then Saitama squaring off against the leader of the aliens and… well winning with one punch. They may draw out this battle sequence for longer than others in the series, but to be honest the outcome is obvious and you’re not sitting on the edge of your seat waiting but rather just waiting for the inevitable punch line.

Genos.png

And so our plot line boils down to a single manta. “Saitama is strong. Saitama is good. Saitama hits things and kills them in one punch.” Possibly this is a story about the organisation for heroes and maybe there’s more to the whole thing there but in the first season (which is all we have at the moment), there is genuinely no real plot. There are a series of incidents that get dealt with and in the process we see Saitama and Genos interacting more and more with other heroes (all of which have their own agendas and motives). This is not actually a plot. The series is a collection of set-ups and punch lines with just enough world building packed around it to make it feel like maybe there is some plot progression. Certainly there is space for there to be a plot. You know, the hero guy who seems to be wanting to take over, and the other guy who… wait we just don’t know what they are actually up to and they probably made up less than 5% of the screen time so let’s not justify that as a plot.

1451255685-3d33cc3efd94501f5f2afee436706eaf

But the weak plot isn’t enough to take away from the fact that this show knew what it wanted to bring. This is high energy fun. I may make fun of the obvious ends to battles but the show continues to find ways to make these amusing and visually appealing regardless. More importantly, they keep finding ways to make battle sequences look and feel different (even knowing they will end the same way). The sheer variety in the enemies and the use of lesser heroes and even the stronger heroes in the early stages of fights keeps things feeling fresh and moving.

wanpanman207-noscale

For me a lot of the jokes fell flat. Even the ones that were pretty funny the first time round weren’t particularly amusing when I tried to watch it again with a friend. A lot of the humour relies on shock and spectacle and unfortunately that just doesn’t hold up to a second viewing (and a third viewing for this review just killed it – there’s almost nothing left that sticks when you have already seen it and you know where its going). The character related humour worked better but even that didn’t have the same impact on rewatch. There are definitely some satirical elements at work here, but the show isn’t really cohesive enough to call itself a satire. Mostly, it’s just going for amusement and entertainment and for the most part it succeeds.

maxresdefault3

After all of this, I’m still going to recommend this one to people who haven’t tried it. The first watch is great fun and you’ll have some great laughs with it. However, I don’t see myself ever wanting to buy this one on disc and I probably won’t go for another watch of it anytime soon.

What did you think of One Punch Man?

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
ONE PUNCH MAN ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
ONE PUNCH MAN ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Tuesday’s Top 5: Uses of Dream Sequences in Anime

Tuesday's Top 5

Previously I looked at the best uses of phones in anime and this week I’ve decided to turn my attention to dream sequences. My criteria wasn’t that these were the best dreams but the best use of a dream sequence to serve either the character development or the plot. This is strictly my opinion so as always, I’d love to know what would be on your list.

Please Note – There are spoilers below.

Honourable mentions to Ouran High School Host Club and Card Captor Sakura.

Number 5: Madoka Magica

Madoka.jpg

Madoka Magica uses dreams in a similar fashion to a lot of magical girl stories. Our main protagonist starts by having a dream of fantastical and terrible events before waking in the mundane real world where she is decidely ordinary. However, what sets this particular story apart is the nature of the dream itself. Madoka is seeing alternate realities where she has lived through the events to their conclusion before Homura has rewound time start over to try to change the outcome. This makes the events of the dream fairly significant to understanding the eventual outcome of the story and gives it a bit more weight on rewatching than just a cool battle sequence to start events off.

Number 4: Another

Mei3

This one is as straight forward as it comes and yet very affective. Kouichi has started to get to know Mei and as a result has been ostracised by his friends (okay is being deliberately and entirely ignored). It makes sense that he is starting to have fantasies and dreams about the one person who is talking to him still. However, other than showing that the two are forging a bond, this dream sequence also gives the audience a space to take a breath. Another is continuously hitting its audience with a dark and gloomy atmosphere with each scene dripping in over the top seriousness, so this brief moment of respite, even though it is a dream, is welcome and also the calm before the horror that follows. All and all, it works well within the narrative.

Number 3: One Punch Man

OnePunch.gif

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the biggest fan of One Punch Man but I did appreciate what they did in the dream sequence where we see Saitama energised and enthused in a way we rarely see him reality. What does a man who can defeat everything in One Punch actually want? Clearly, he wants a decent fight. Seeing his character quite literally come to life in the dream made the contrast with his everyday incredibly flat emotional state so incredibly clear and just made him a much better character because you could see he wasn’t bored and disinterested by choice. He genuinely wanted to feel alive. There just wasn’t anything left to challenge him.

Number 2: Sailor Moon

Moon Kingdom.jpg

Like Madoka, Sailor Moon also begins with a dream sequence where Serena dreams of the destruction of the Moon Kingdom as well as the guy she thinks she’s going to fall in love with. However, revealing their past lives isn’t the only thing dreams are used for throughout Sailor Moon. Villains attack characters through their dreams, the dead communicate with the living, future selves send dire warnings, and prophecies for the future all come through dreams. Then again, the entire show is about protecting the dreams of people so it makes sense that the idea of dreams is returned to again and again. Overall, remove the dreams from Sailor Moon and you wouldn’t have much of a show left.

Number 1: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

haruhi3

The climax of season 1 (broadcast order) sees Kyon and Haruhi stuck in a closed space she created where the two characters get to spend some quality time together and may or may not reveal some fairly interesting points about their developing relationship. However, what I like about the sequence is that after it is over Kyon wakes up from a dream but the next day at school Haruhi has her hair up in a pony tail (a direct reference to something Kyon had said in the ‘dream’). They never actually confirm whether this is a dream or an actual alternate reality that was created and nothing more actually needs to be said. Whether it was a dream or a reality, the impact on the characters has been clearly established without further explanations. Also, when you place this story in the appropriate place from a chronological point of view it makes Kyon’s actions and acceptance of some of Haruhi’s worse moments a bit more believable even if the guy is still a little bit of a doormat who really needs to tell her to stop a lot sooner.

So that is my list of top 5 uses of dream sequences. I’d love to know your favourite anime dream sequences so be sure to leave me a comment below.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Friday’s Feature – I Want To Be The Very Best

I’m actually not writing a Pokemon post but I just felt that those words really summed up what I wanted to discuss this week. I want to look at the motivations of anime protagonists and this idea of being the best. Pokemon has this concept at its core but it doesn’t really look at the darker side of this theme so while the song beautifully encapsulates the theme, I’m going to look elsewhere for today’s discussion.

So many anime feature protagonists who are obsessed (and obsessed is definitely the correct word for it) with being the strongest, the smartest, the best. This obsession is seen in every action they take and really defines them as a character. And while it might seem really great that at least they have a clear goal, what we see more often is an inability to accept failure, to lose gracefully, and to work with and cooperate with others.

Not actually taking a swipe at ambition or being driven. Both are fairly necessary to self-improvement. More concerned with the extreme levels some anime characters take it to.

The two main examples I want to look at are Ichigo from Bleach and Light from Death Note. That said, there are thousands of examples of anime characters out there that would have fit the bill. Definitely going to hit some spoilers during the discussion.

Kurosaki Ichigo

ichigo.jpg

We meet Ichigo as a normal student (who can see spirits). While he has the usual male teenager attitude problems he really has no main goal or focus in his life that is apparent. He gets into fights over petty issues (knocking over a vase of flowers left for a dead girl) and he doesn’t really get on with his father, but otherwise there is really not a lot to Ichigo.

Then Rukia comes along, and after his family are endangered, Ichigo accepts power from Rukia to protect them. Even then, Ichigo has no real focus or drive. He outright refuses when Rukia tells him he has to work as a death god and defeat hollows. He tells her that other than keeping his family safe he doesn’t care.

She takes him to a park where a spirit is being attacked. She tells him not to save the spirit unless he is willing to save all spirits. Ichigo runs in and saves the spirit. While he still tells Rukia he hasn’t accepted the job, from that point on he pretty much never refuses.

custom-made-bleach-font-b-cosplay-b-font-font-b-ichigo-b-font-kurosaki-font-b

What we see over the rest of the first season is a transformation. Ichigo goes from reluctant hero to someone who is quite driven to prove his strength. Every hollow, soul reaper, or other individual who mocks him just fires him up more. After Rukia gets taken back to Soul Society, Ichigo’s obsession is complete. He has to be stronger. He has to save her. Even though his friends accompany him, he pretty much ignores them and focusses entirely on his goal.

In the process, Ichigo does get beaten. And each time he laments. No, this can’t be happening. No, I need to be stronger. No, I can’t stop here. While each time it is seen as somewhat inspirational, human will overcoming all obstacles, what it ignores is the lesson about understanding limitations or finding new solutions to problems. Ichigo has one solution. Charge in and swing your sword around. When that doesn’t work, swing it harder. More power.

By the time Ichigo goes to rescue Orihime from Hueco Mundo we see he has become an extremely isolated character. Again, his friends accompany him, and again we see how little regard he has for them. At least during the early stages of this campaign his friends force him to acknowledge their growth and strength but then they get sidelined once again. Even Orihime herself is told not to contribute to her own rescue.

907407-love_you

Ichigo is, by his own choice and actions, a lone wolf. More importantly, though he has goals outside of power (save the girl, stop this villain, return to this place, etc) these goals are regularly delayed in the pursuit of more individual power. Ichigo becomes obsessed with being the one who saves the day and genuinely does not rely on anyone else to accomplish anything. He takes the world on his shoulders and then plays the tragic hero card of being weighed down by all of these responsibilities.

Yagami Light

We also meet Light as an ordinary student. He also seems pretty directionless but is mostly just annoyed at a world he views as rotting. However, at this point in time, he has determined that he can’t do anything about it and so has basically given up.

Then the Death Note falls into his hands.

light-yagami-kira-god-of-the-new-world-30314021-701-386

From that very moment, Light realises exactly what he has and it is as though all of his ambitions come to life in one moment. He decides he wants to shape the world by removing all criminals. Unlike Ichigo, Light is extremely flexible in the approaches he will take in achieving his goals. For Light isn’t about being the strongest. He is definitely all about being the smartest.

If it were just against the police, the story would have ended pretty quickly with Light achieving his goals and ruling over the world as its new god. However, Light is matched against L, the mysterious, genius detective. Both of these characters strongly believe they are a force of justice and that they cannot be beaten.

What I find interesting about Light and L, is that through L’s analysis of Kira’s personality (the pseudonym given to Light on the internet after the criminal murders become common knowledge) the audience are told clearly the flaws of such driven ambition. He’s childish and a sore loser. Because of this, he will make mistakes.

252258-1442635_light_animestocks_com__22

Much like Ichigo being unable to accept it when he loses a fight, Light cannot accept being challenged or talked down to. He has an arrogant personality, which he usually keeps in check, but when playing the role of the villain it is given free reign and the results are disturbing.

What we can also see from watching Light, is that once again pursuit of a single goal will leave you very isolated. While he does attempt to save his sister when she is kidnapped, he ultimately sacrifices his own father in pursuit of his goals. His only ‘friend’, L, is actually his rival that he keeps close only so that he can one day kill him. Misa, the owner of the second death note, is a convenient tool that he uses and he never once actually thinks of her as a girl-friend or even a friend, though he will certainly continue to maintain the illusion so that he can control her.

misa.jpg

The bottom line is because Light is obsessed with becoming the best, he has cut his ties to others. However, it is this approach that leads to his downfall. L fails to defeat Light, but his successors manage it because while they are seemingly working independently, their coordinated attacks corner Light very effectively. On the other hand, even though Light has compatriots, they do not act without his instruction and so he cannot get the same leverage from them.

So, while striving to be the very best might be an admirable goal (most Olympic athletes would probably agree that it is) it becomes clear that characters who lose themselves to that goal are fairly tragic figures. Finding a balance of striving to move forward while still maintaining human connections would probably be more advisable.

saitamaflying

Of course, we could always just ask Saitama from One Punch Man if becoming the best is actually worth it. I wonder what he would say.

What do you think of characters who want to be the best?