Venom and Jumanji writers Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner have reportedly been drafted to write a live-action feature film adaptation of the popular anime One-Punch Man for Sony, according to Variety. The Japanese series has proved extremely popular through its two seasons, though the slow pace of its production has caused some consternation among fans.
Initially created by Japanese artist ONE as a crudely drawn webcomic, the fresh premise of One-Punch Man soon led to it receiving a much glitzier manga and then anime adaptation. The story follows a man named Saitama, one superhero among many in a world with hundreds of heroes and monstrous villains, albeit none of them who are capable of representing any kind of threat against Saitama’s all-encompassing strength. Therein lies the catch: The lazy and oafish Saitama has inadvertently become “too strong,” to the point that nothing in his life represents a challenge, as he can defeat all comers with a single punch. The manga and anime therefore become a story about grappling with purpose when life seems devoid of meaning or tangible goals, even as it introduces a plethora of fascinating superhero side characters who exist in a rigid ranking/caste system.
According to Variety, “insiders say Sony is very high on the property given its popularity and the possibility of adding another franchise to the pipeline,” but we have to imagine that most One-Punch Man fans will hardly be thrilled by the prospect of the series landing in the hands of Venom’s writers. Although that 2018 film made an embarrassing amount of money, bringing in more than $856 million at the worldwide box office, few critics would have accused it of being well written. Jumanji, thankfully, is a different story, as the Dwayne Johnson-fronted reboots of that 1990s film refreshed the core concept of the living board game in a satisfying way. We’ll no doubt be hoping that One-Punch Man is more of a Jumanji than a Venom.
On a base level, though, One-Punch Man does not seem like an easy series to adapt, especially as a live-action feature. Much of its humor is rooted in the interplay between deadpan expressions and hyperkinetic action, and it’s hard to imagine any actor really bringing the right level of dweebiness to the role of Saitama in live action. It’s easier to imagine the story being substantially altered to make it work as a more conventional superhero film, which, needless to say, is very much against the spirit of One-Punch Man.
Regardless, it’s clear that Rosenberg, Pinkner, and whoever ends up hired to direct this project will have their work cut out for them.