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ONE-TAKE MAN, the One-Punch Man Original SoundtrackONE-TAKE MAN, the One-Punch Man Original SoundtrackReview

BlakaSmokoBlakaSmokoVor 4 Jahren
IntroductionI’ve never reviewed music before, but I wanted to give this a fair shot, considering how long I waited for the release of this soundtrack, as well as how secondary Makoto Miyazaki’s score often is to the stellar animation when people talk about Madhouse’s One-Punch Man anime. The opening, ending and “Theme of One-Punch Man” get a lot of praise, sure, but many of the other pieces are overlooked. So I figured that reviewing One-Take Man, the original soundtrack to the anime series that was released just last month.

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Now, I don’t buy soundtracks or singles very often, but it was such a plus to the OPM anime that I couldn’t help but want to obtain them legally. Miyazaki has managed to compose a very passionate and even emotional score for the series, whether he’s using an electric guitar, piano, percussion, or a well-organized compilation of those and other instruments that I may not remember too well.

You’ve got tracks used for the battles and moments of foreboding, as well as those for both the emotionally charged and more mundane scenes. Overall, it’s well put together and a joy to listen to all the way through, and it’s certainly not an aspect of the One-Punch Man anime that deserves to be slept on. I may have gotten some musical jargon wrong and a few word choices might sound a little repetitive, but I've been fighting off a cold for the past couple days, so bear with me (haha).

Cover Art
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The cover was illustrated by Kameda Yoshimichi, one of the One-Punch Man anime's animation directors and the key animator for episodes 1 and 9. He's behind the infamous battle scene between Saitama and the Subterranean invaders, and he also illustrated the cover for the opening single. I actually enjoy this illustration and its vibrant blend of hot and cold color choices moreso than the rough outline and bolder colors of the opening single's art. Plus, Saitama shredding on a guitar seems more believable than him singing, but then again this isn't a series that hinges on believability by any means.

The back cover is a mix of white text and yellow numbers on a charcoal black background, which compliments the colorfulness of the cover art fairly well.

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The foldout booklet doesn't have much to write home about, just the track listing again and the lyrics to the TV-sized opening and ending.

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Though there is a message from Makoto Miyazaki, which makes me wish my Japanese skills weren't so rusty. From what I can glean from it, Miyazaki was told to compose whatever he liked, so he combined some rock and ska sounds to really help deliver the appropriate emotions for each scene. I may go back and translate it later.

TracksAnyway, onto the actual meat of the review. I linked to some samples of the tracks in the track titles through my SoundCloud (which provides a Buy link to CDJapan), rather than posting entire tracks on here. I want readers to hear some of the soundtrack, but I also don’t want to overstep and provide an entire MP3. I’ve provided a “How to Buy” section towards the end of the review since it seems unfair to not have Makoto Miyazaki or the rest of the One-Punch creative team benefit in some way.

I won't comment on the guitar bridges, since they're only several seconds long and were just used for the eye-catchers between each episode. I've decided to put this part of the review under spoiler tags, since it's a very long track list and readers probably won't want to constantly struggling to scroll through all of it. Plus there are some spoilers sprinkled throughout for those who haven't watched the anime yet.

View spoilerHide spoiler1. JAM Project’s “THE HERO!! ~Unleash the Furious Fist~” (TV Size): The shortened version of the anime’s opening. Not much I can say other than what others have said. JAM Project infused a lot of energy and carefully moderated speed into this track, with Hironobu Kageyama adding occasional phrases in English alongside the main vocals. The full version can be found on the single (ITEM #334006), along with a fantastic B-Side called “Shoot the Monster!” (which it wasn’t used at any point during the anime’s 12 episode run, sadly).

2. Theme of One-Punch Man ~Justice Enforcement~: This track is probably the most recognizable for those who watched the anime. It played during the third teaser as well as Saitama’s dream fight with the Subterraneans towards the end of the first episode. You can hear the masterfully played electric guitar throughout the track, intermingled with a violin whose sound remains consistent and powerful throughout both points in which the score swells and temporarily powers down. There’s a good reason this track is so memorable, as it really conveys the reignited passion and hot-blooded zeal Saitama’s experiencing when he can brave through a fight without ending it with a single deck and a splash of blood and gore. For the short time that it lasts, this track really helps the listener share that same passion that’s demonstrated on-screen.

3. Strongest Man: This track was playing during the first teaser that was unveiled in March of last year. The guitar riffs are pretty sharp-edged compared to the previous track, but it still gets you pumped as it continues to play, especially with how it layers a couple different riffs in the middle, before speeding up with mild riffs and percussion and then ending with an abrupt but steady finish. It’s never actually used in the anime itself from what I can remember, but it was a fantastic choice for the first teaser since it really draws the viewer into the crazy and energetic atmosphere of the series. Not quite as fun as “Theme of One-Punch Man,” but still a decent track.

4. Guitar Bridge No. 1

5. The cyborg walks: Genos’ first track. Out of all the character-based tracks, Genos understandably gets a more electronic/techno treatment that really accentuates the flair and vengeful fury the character has. I believe this was playing during his fight with Mosquito Girl in episode 2. I was surprised how well the electric guitar syncs with the dubstep-sounding bass, and they culminate in a way that doesn’t sound too ridiculous and the beat pounds steadily throughout, almost like a heartbeat.

6. 怪 (Mystery): One of the more mood-setting tracks on the album. The fade-in and out sounds give an impression of a steady but labored breath that’s anticipating danger, perfect for when any of the kaiju-like monsters that show up throughout the series. The unease and trepidation builds as the guitar wheedles its way into more frightening sounds. It’s very effective.

7. Monster: The follow-up to Mystery, for when danger actually makes itself known. There’s much heavier use of percussion to increase the intensity, with tribal chanting intermingled halfway through to convey the animalistic nature of the enemy at hand. The guitar doesn’t start climbing into it until towards the end of the track. Admittedly, I wasn’t as fond of this track as the previous one; it’s not exactly bad, but didn’t grab me all that much.

8. BATTLE!!: Another favorite track of mine. You might remember it from when Sonic was fighting Hammerhead and the Paradisers in the middle of the woods. Its rhythm moves at a breakneck pace and doesn’t seem to stop, not even at the abrupt cut-off two-thirds into it, which just culminates in the refrain starting all over again with a single riff. It’s energetic and doesn’t mess around, so it fits perfectly with a lot of the battles that take place in the series.

9. Guitar Bridge No. 2


10. Theme of One-Punch Man ~one day~: I’m honestly surprised that I forgot about this reprisal of the original track. Not quite as virile or heartfelt, but still a fun track. I’m really fond of the ska genre, so I really appreciated Miyazaki’s choice in using the two-tone riff and trumpet to give the track a nice, breezy ska sound. I always associate Saitama with ska songs (especially first-wave ska like The Specials), so this is an especially appropriate track for him in my opinion.

11. Sonic: As the rhythm builds, I could practically hear the sound of Sonic’s feat barely hitting any surfaces as he’s fighting. More accurately, I also think of him bouncing off the trees around Saitama during their first confrontation, though I don’t think this was playing at all during that scene. The mix of electric guitar and synthesizer provides a sound both menacing and intense, for a powerful ninja assassin lurking in the shadows.

12. 恐 (Terror): After a few listens, I really grew fond of this track. If Monster was a follow-up to Mystery, Fear is an extension of it. The caution and anxiety lingers for part of it, then increases as it plays. I particularly like the deep, operatic voice that starts to chant and then bellow halfway in, especially as the guitar and piano keys' plinking starts to double down on your nerves as they intensify.

13. Crisis: This track played while Vaccine Man launched his attack at the start of the first episode. The tribal-sounding vocals and warped sound of the synthesizer add to the hopeless melody of the string accompaniment and piano, and the synthesizer intensifies its sound as the situation starts to escalate. A fitting point for Saitama to make his entrance.

14. Smash an enemy: Another battle theme, slightly less fast-paced as “BATTLE!”, but far more steady and persistent in its guitar rhythm. There seems to be more than one guitar at play, and the effect really does its work in conveying the fast-paced fighting and escalating violence of the scenes that use it. There’s also a few periods of downtime after the guitars swell, where they riff for a little bit before accelerating their sound again.

15. Guitar Bridge No. 3

16. Hero Society: This track played at the beginning of the Class S meeting at City A’s Hero Association headquarters. It has a regal and stereotypically theatrical sound to it, especially when comically juxtaposed next to shots panning each Class S hero and their strange and often disagreeable personalities (and of course, Saitama, who just wants a cup of tea). The steady orchestration helps lead into the beginning of the meeting and its dire purpose.

17. Raise a fist: I didn’t care for this track, but it makes for a headbanger entrance for any superhero that can only be accurately described as “badass.” It seems as though two or three different guitars are used here, and even as those sounds get tiring, the percussion that starts two-thirds in helps level them out a bit.

18. Sorrow: This track is an apt demonstration of Miyazaki’s piano composition. It starts with steady but frantic piano that expresses crestfallen despair, as Genos expounds on his tragic backstory in the second episode and the sound swells a bit with each sad detail that he discloses. I especially found it funny how the crescendo started, growing louder and quickening as Genos continues to talk and Saitama grows more irritated and impatient during that scene. A humorous use for an emotional roller-coaster of a track.

19. Inferiority: Another piano track, this time with some more intermingled guitar. This one’s far more intense, usually playing whenever Saitama found himself in a bad situation (often involving other heroes). There’s also some percussion thrown into the mix to increase the listener’s anxiety. Even as the sound becomes more subdued halfway through, there’s still a feeling of unease that increases as the guitar starts intensifying again.

20. Guitar Bridge No. 4

21. Peaceful days: A playful guitar track for mundane, silly scenes in the anime. It’s a nice departure from all the electric guitar that comprise a lot of the score. While there are moments within the track that pick up some speed, it’s a pretty laidback and relaxing track compared to the others.

22. Theme of ONE-PUNCH MAN ~Sadness~: A more somber reprise of the main theme, with more regular guitar, this time strummed at a slightly faster speed that remains consistent for the entire duration. It’s not meant for scenes with a lot of tension, but still want to appeal to feelings of both pity and ineffectiveness. Definitely one of the more gentle tracks on the OST.

23. Guitar Bridge No. 5

24. Violent acts: Another personal favorite, and a nice way to break back into the electric guitar sounds. It’s as playful as it is upbeat, and you get more of a spirited air off it without the tension that characterizes a lot of the other battle tracks. The sound has a lot of attitude, but not the bad kind. This track would almost feel right at home in one of the Dreamcast-era Sonic games soundtracks, especially the bits of vocals towards the beginning.

25. Mysterious: Usually if a menacing or untrustworthy hero showed up (Sweet Mask in particular, though I think it was also used for Tornado when she first appeared), this was the track that began to play. It has a very gentle and lulling sound, but the string instruments playing alongside the bells really makes you keep on your toes as you’re listening, or finding yourself suspicious of the character onscreen. Even as the melody fades in and out, the uneasiness remains roughly at the same level from beginning to end.

26. Guitar Bridge No. 6


27. Tense: Another battle track, with deeper percussion and guitar riffs that gradually escalate in the first half before plowing full-speed in the second half. The guitar maintains a firm pace, with a combination of techno sounds that personify all of Genos’ tracks.

28. The cyborg walks: Another track for Genos, this time more restrained and less fierce. The synthesizer takes more precedence here, a lot less guitar. I liked how the rhythm starts to pick up in the second half, still holding some furiosity without any explosive riffs or synthesizer, which you hear in Genos’ previous track. A sign of character development, perhaps? Very likely.

29. Guitar Bridge No. 7

30. JUSTICE RIDER: I enjoyed this track a lot, though it might be because Licenseless/Mumen Rider is my favorite character and am therefore biased. The rhythm at the beginning is steady, leaning into a shythmatic synthesizer meant to convey what I assume the sound of bicycle wheels turning while persistently moving towards danger. The electric guitar at the two-thirds mark really helps hit this home, since it holds a dogged passion that appropriately characterizes Rider. It almost sounds like a theme you’d hear in a cheesy 80s TV drama, which makes sense considering the character's meant to spoof tokusatsu superheroes.

31. CGHG: A cute, comedic track for the funnier moments in the series. The zany electronic sounds and bouts of electric guitar strumming give it a robotic but charmingly silly sound. I just wish I can remember which scenes used it. It does drag on for a little bit, but considering how playful it sounds, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

32. Guitar Bridge No. 8

33. Wet my scales: I believe this was used during the fight with the Sea King, or at least that’s what the title indicates. It marks one of One-Punch Man’s darkest hours appropriately, starting it with loud dramatics that drift off only to hit you between the eyes again after the guitar riff finishes. It almost sounds like the start of a Tenacious D rock ballad, minus the ridiculously dark humor (it personally reminded me of “Beezleboss” when I first heard it). The percussion towards the end serves to ratchet up the tension, too.

34. Spaceship: A dark and tense piece to signify when the Dark Energy aliens make their lurking yet destructive entrance over City A during the tenth episode. Like "Hero Society" it has a cliched theatrical tone, but it doesn't subtract from the intensity of the scene itself. It’s one of the more foreboding tracks on the OST, with swelling brass accompaniment and mounting techno sounds in combination with it. The bursts in synthesizer almost serve as a warning alarm.

35. Dark Energy: The theme for the Dark Energy aliens themselves, still carrying on that threatening intensity that marked “Spaceship.” The violin and electric guitar provide lend the track to a supervillain feel that you don’t get with a lot of the enemies that pop up in One-Punch Man, to help signify how comparatively dangerous they are.The mournful electronic sounds a little more than halfway through are my favorite part of the track.

36. The ruler:
Lord Boros’ theme, which has both a supervillain and final boss tone to it. The orchestra and operatic vocals combine together for emotions of both sheer terror and regality. There’s also a twist of distorted synthesizer in the second half, which subdues a lot of the intense instrumentals for most of the track’s duration before bursting forth with more emotion and sound towards the end.

38. Hurry call: After all of that villainous music, “Hurry call” is far more heroic and determined, not letting up its harsh brass or the impassioned score that slowly enters as the track nears its end. It almost reminds me of a darker, more serious version of Superman’s theme from the original 1977 film.

39. “S”: More musical heroics to counter all of the Dark Energy and Lord Boros themes, the aggressive percussion at the beginning on top of the intermixed violin and electric guitar bring forth a gallant and empowering melody, making it another personal favorite of mine.

40. Theme of ONE-PUNCH MAN ~Ballad Ver.~ The ballad version of the main theme came about during a tearful moment in the story, when onlookers cheer on a badly injured Licenseless/Mumen Rider as he continues to pick himself off the ground and try fighting the Sea King. It channels similar levels of passion that the original main theme does, but with a gentle and serenading piano instead of a guitar. It works in a more sentimental and spirited way befitting of a feeble yet strong-willed character like Rider. I’m willing to bet that this was the track that got many viewers to start crying once it started playing.

41. Guitar Bridge No. 10

42. Face the Sunset: This is another light-hearted piece, almost a palate cleanser for the previous track. It sounds as though it jumped right out of an 80s anime series, with careful percussion and saxophone belting out a romantic melody. Even among the more lighthearted pieces, “Face the Sunset” feels like the black sheep of the OST’s tracks, but it still manages to fit in its own unique way.

43. Comical Dance: This track follows up to the odd placement of “Face the Sunset” with another silly and mundane composition that almost sounds anachronistic with its 70s-sounding guitar, but fits more appropriately for scenes meant to be more comedic.

44. Saitama’s Blues: This track first showed up upon Saitama’s revelation in episode 4 that nobody knows who he is, and that he hasn’t been getting any credit or press coverage for his deeds up to that point (where, or rather who, that credit’s been going is a big spoiler for those who haven’t read the manga past the Boros arc). It’s in an almost completely different style from a lot of the other tracks, a more bluegrass/bluesy sound that harps on Saitama’s constant disappointment and annoyance in a way that only the Sadness rendition of the main theme manages to touch upon. It manages both a funny and pitiful mood.

45. Hiroko Moriguchi’s “I’ll Find You Before the Stars” (TV Size): The short version of the anime’s ending theme, a more gentle and melancholy departure from the opening that still keeps its pop music sound down to the lonely yet strangely romantic lyrics. Moriguchi’s associated more with old school anime themes, so it’s likely her voice is meant to evoke a sort of nostalgia and familiarity that most viewers associate with other anime series they’ve seen. The full-version is on the single release (ITEM #334007).

46. Hiroko Moriguchi’s “Embrace Sadness” (TV Size): The ending single’s B-side, which was used as the ending theme for the last episode. More upbeat, but Moriguchi’s voice and lyrics still maintain their sober sense of longing. It makes you sad to see the anime finish, and hope for an animated continuation of the rest of the story.

Conclusion Makoto Miyazaki infused a lot of musical talent and unbridled emotion in each one part of One-Punch Man's score. While a majority of the tracks are filled with impassioned guitar riffs, it also incorporates some brass and string instruments into the mix, with some regular guitar interludes to all the battle music. There's also quite a bit of piano and even touches of orchestra for the more emotional and dramatic points, giving a nice variation of sound to the OST. Overall, One-Take Man is a wild and fun ride.

Where to BuyI bought One-Take Man off CDJapan for 3000 yen ($24 as of this writing), not including Airmail shipping. As far as I know, that’s the cheapest place to find it physically. It’s 3200 yen on Amazon Japan, just a little more than CDJapan's pricing, albeit with more reasonable shipping prices. It's also available on YesAsia for $27.99. All of these are pretty pricey for a single CD, but considering the large track count and both sound and composition quality, I believe One-Take Man is worth every penny charged.

Thanks for reading!
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hitagicrab27 Filthy Casual ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ
NotSoFluentVor 4 Jahren#6519704Thanks!! It took quite a while for me to listen to and type up; I had this in a Word document and didn't want to forget about it without sharing my thoughts.
"JUSTICE RIDER" is such a fitting track for him, and it's so in-character and up-beat. He's one of the best characters in the series because of how well he fits the hero mold without all of the super strength and abilities. "The Mumen Rider of reviewers" the highest compliment I've ever been given, honestly! ;A;

You know it. I listen to his theme whenever I'm in need of some motivation lol. It works wonders!
Vor 4 Jahren
hitagicrab27Vor 4 Jahren#6519630Justice Rider is like, one of the best soundtracks there is. Sasuga Mumen Rider. B-Class Power, S-Class Heart. The true hero!
This was a fantastic review! I don't know why, but for some reason I liked reading through all of that lol. That's effort, right there. It's as if you're the Mumen Rider of reviewers.

Thanks!! It took quite a while for me to listen to and type up; I had this in a Word document and didn't want to forget about it without sharing my thoughts.

"JUSTICE RIDER" is such a fitting track for him, and it's so in-character and up-beat. He's one of the best characters in the series because of how well he fits the hero mold without all of the super strength and abilities. "The Mumen Rider of reviewers" the highest compliment I've ever been given, honestly! ;A;
Vor 4 Jahren
hitagicrab27 Filthy Casual ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ
Justice Rider is like, one of the best soundtracks there is. Sasuga Mumen Rider. B-Class Power, S-Class Heart. The true hero!

This was a fantastic review! I don't know why, but for some reason I liked reading through all of that lol. That's effort, right there. It's as if you're the Mumen Rider of reviewers.
Vor 4 Jahren