In the wee hours, when one is apt to wander Netflix looking for something different, I ran into someone much like Sherlock Holmes last night. He was nothing like Sherlock Holmes in every outward detail, and yet . . . so much like Sherlock Holmes. So let's talk about One Punch Man.
One Punch Man is a bald anime superhero. Wears a cape and tights. Fights the most enormous monstrous things you can imagine. The most simple rendition of a comic book superhero you can imagine, a simple unemployed businessman who decided to be a hero for fun. No incredible backstory. No intense motivation. Just decided to be a superhero and did some exercises.
One Punch Man's one personal similarity to Sherlock Holmes is that he decided to create a job for himself and then trained for it. The result, however, is something very familiar.
A One Punch Man story is, with those few exceptions, what we think of as a Sherlock Holmes story.
Someone with a very strange and complex backstory typically enters One Punch Man's orbit. And then, with a single punch, One Punch Man ends all the conflict that resulted from that backstory. Without fail.
One Punch Man is so good at what he does that his main struggle in life in boredom.
Sound like anyone we know?
As much as we love Sherlock Holmes, the best of the original Sherlock Holmes stories are never about Sherlock Holmes, even though he's the star. They're really about him entering someone else's story and, with that clever Sherlock way of his, ending their conflict. And at his best, he does it with one bold stroke.
Superheroes are always distilled versions of characters we might find developed more elaborately elsewhere, so finding a superheroic equivalent of Sherlock Holmes out there is not too surprising. Still, finding an anime superhero who fills that bill during a wee hours Netflix wander is never really . . . expected.
"One Punch Sherlock." Makes sense to me.