The age-old question. The argument that has crossed ashy anime-kid lips, and, in some cases, started actual physical altercations. It is arguably the most discussed “who would win” conversation in all of anime. It is debated so much in fact, and I’ve grown so tired of seeing these two in every ‘anime vs.’ thread on twitter, that my actual taint retracts so far up my anal canal, it tickles the part of my brain that stores memories, and I forget I ever saw it.
My position on the matter is- Why? Why does everyone feel the need to pit these two against each other? Is it because they are the protagonists in two of the most popular anime in the west? Or because they are two of anime’s most memorable names? Perhaps it’s because they are both moguls of the genre, with each respective series, and all of it’s tie-ins, running for well over 10 years. At a frightening grand total of 398 episodes, (not including the aborted fetus in a dumpster fire that was GT)
Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super‘s numbers pale in comparison to Naruto‘s original run of 220 episodes, and Naruto Shippuden‘s-
jesus fucking christ-
Shippuden’s 491 episodes throughout the entirety of the series. FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETY ONE EPISODES. Forgive me, but that is fucking mental. I’m not watching anything that long. At all. Ever. If a serial killer broke into my home and threatened to execute me in front of my entire family unless I watched all of Naruto from start to finish, including Shippuden, I know I would survive the ordeal, because my attacker would die before I got even half way there.
To be fair, I know I’m being hypercritical, and my personal opinion of these two particular characters in these two particular anime is not one of great respect, but the fact of the matter remains:
If the Protagonist in an anime that is entirely too long is O.P. in the middle of the forest, and Goku isn’t around to fight him, will people watch other anime?
The reason I don’t understand people’s obsession with seeing these two duke it out is actually the same reason people find it so fun to talk about. It also happens to be the same reason I think it’s the most boring topic in anime. Coincidentally is also the same reason I can’t seem to get any sleep unless I physically tire myself out from sobbing quietly into my 3-for-$10 pillows from Target. That reason being: they’re O.P. Which, for those of you that don’t know, means over-powered.
Again, I am aware of how relentless my slander of these two is. I am also aware of the fact that in any anime this long, being that each challenge has to be greater than the last for the sake of upping the stakes and keeping the audience engaged, it’s no question that the Protagonist would become the end-all-be-all solution to any and every problem. In that regard, I understand how and why these characters got to be so powerful, but my problem is that after so many episodes, and story arcs, and OVAs, and Feature Length films, seeing the same scenario play out in a different setting against a different villain gets to be inconceivably boring.
“But, Rainey, you like One Punch Man, and he’s O.P.” said the eye-crust connoisseur from the comfort of his pre-cum stained Kamesennin boxers. To which I reply, “I know that, you mouth-breathing cheese wheel.” The case of One Punch Man is different for two significant reason, one being that it’s not 40,675,289,809,461 episodes over the course of 19,000,000,000 millennia, so it’s infinitely easier to watch, start to finish. The second is circumstances of the anime itself.
Saitama is the answer to characters like Goku and Naruto.
Unlike Naruto and Dragon Ball Z, where we are forced to sit through the Protagonist’s perilous journey from the bottom of the barrel to the peak of their potential, and all the fucking filler in between, One Punch Man starts where the other two end. Saitama is already a God-tier character at the very start. And he knows it. And he’s bored. That’s why nobody pits Saitama against anybody in any kind of vs. scenario. He is literally the One. Punch. Man. That is the genius behind this character and this series.
Goku is a God-tier character. Naruto is a God-tier character. However, it took over 10 years and hundreds of episodes to get there. The back-and-forth between who would win is an argument that will never have a quantifiable answer considering each character’s power. There can never be a clear winner because there are too many factors to consider regarding how, when, and where this hypothetical fight would take place. The worlds are too vast and too different and too overwhelming in their own right to ever throw them against one another.
So what is the final verdict?
Nobody fucking cares. Watch other anime.