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The currently airing anime TV series One-Punch Man is winning fans for two reasons. First is the way it turns the idea of a handsome, hot-blooded action hero on its head with protagonist Saitama, a laid-back, completely bald superhero who looks more like Charley Brown than Superman. Second, the show features some gorgeous animation from Madhouse, the veteran production studio behind such landmarks of anime visual style as Redline, Ninja Scroll, and Millennium Actress.

But as impressive as the movement in the One-Punch Man anime is, its animation has just been shown up by the most unlikely of rivals, the One-Punch Man manga, as in the non-animated comic the TV show is based on!

High-water mark of the current crop of anime or not, One-Punch Man is still a late-night anime series in its very first season. That means working with a limited budget, which keeps Madhouse from going all-out on jaw-dropping animation in each and every scene.

On the other hand, the One-Punch Man comic is drawn by the talented Yusuke Murata.

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As Murata showed in his previous big hit, the American football sports series Eyeshield 21. he’s got a knack for conveying kinetic movement in still panels. So maybe it was just a matter of time until One-Punch Man fans found a scene for which Murata brought his A-game but Madhouse didn’t, and the difference is amazing.

On the top of the tweet from @myuutasu, in color, we see Saitama standing in a grove while some unseen figure zips around him. It’s essentially three poses with some speed blurs, and the camera drifts in a straight line.

On the other hand, Murata draws the scene with the perspective rotating around Saitama’s body, and viewing the panels in rapid succession creates a far more dynamic effect.

In Madhouse’s defense, the bar for this sequence isn’t set quite as high in anime as it is in manga. In the TV show, the difference in speeds between the motion blurs, panning camera, and Saitama’s cape quickly and easily create a feeling of their relative speed, and show just how fast whatever is circling the hero is moving. For that matter, animation is really just a series of still frames that create the illusion that the image is moving, so really the only difference between making anime and drawing manga is the number of pictures you draw.

Still, while Madhouse is no doubt happy to have such worthwhile source material to base its adaptation on, we imagine the pressure of keeping up with Murata’s artwork is keeping the studio’s animators up late at night.

Source: Jin
Top image: Twitter/@myuutasu
Insert image: Amazon Japan