In this article we are going to compare the universes of Dragon Ball and One Punch Man in order to highlight the main similarities and differences whether on the level of the hero’s journey than on the level of his power.
The hero’s story
We no longer have to present Goku, one of the most famous heroes of the pop culture. Goku, also called Son Goku, is a Saiyan, a warrior race specialized in fighting. Although considered as a lower-class Saiyan, Goku possesses from birth a much greater strength than a normal adult human being. During his adventure, he will never stop training and fighting more and more powerful opponents.
His Saiyan’s heart always puts him in a state of satisfaction when he confronts someone stronger than himself, that will force him to go beyond himself in order to defeat his enemies. Becoming stronger and stronger is his main concern. He’ll meet a lot of people and many companions will join him in his adventure.
Saitama is a young unemployed man without a real purpose. After a series of events, he decides to become a superhero and starts a regular training for 3 years which consists in doing 10 km of footing, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 squats every single day until the day he loses his hair and becomes too powerful. So powerful he beats his opponents in a single punch, this will end up boring him and won’t give him the slightest sensation anymore. He then loses all motivation and does’nt really seek to fight because all this bothers him. One day, he learns about the existence of a corporation made up of superheroes who fight monsters and various cataclysms that threaten the planet.
He hastens to join it but he quickly realizes the hierarchical system sets up there is biased and that the different heroes’ ranks is determined according to their performance and popularity have no meaning. Saitama is the strongest hero of the manga but because of his lack of charisma and behavior, he is hardly recognized.
One can consider Son Goku as the classic Shonen mangas’ hero: Good, benevolent, candid and always ready for anything for his friends and to fight if necessary. While Saitama is more atypical, Most of the time he stays alone doesn’t really have many companions exception made for his “disciple” Genos, the cyborg. He’s more difficult to understand because he tends to show no emotion. Goku often shows his motivation and good mood while Saitama often looks jaded.
The path of these two characters is totally opposite:
Goku starts at the bottom of the ladder and evolves as he trains and fights, that gives him a lot of pleasure and satisfaction while Saitama is already at the top of the ladder and is very bored. It took Son Goku many years to reach a colossal power level while it only took Saitama 3 years to become the strongest.
Goku took many years to master the technics he uses in fight such as: the Kamehameha, the Kaio-ken, teleportation, flying and other martial arts moves while Saitama mainly uses his punches and other basic moves.
Son Goku’s adventure simply begin with the search for the 7 Dragon Balls by travelling the world and, much later in the story, end up fighting extremely powerful enemies for the survival of the entire universe. In One Punch Man, Saitama is already fighting extraterrestrial threats and saving the world many times from the beginning of the story, sometimes without even realizing it.
Many fans debate and give their opinions on the level of power of these two protagonists and some even come forward saying that one of the two is more powerful than the other.
It is quite difficult to know which of these 2 heroes is the strongest given that we’ve never had the opportunity to see Saitama giving himself in full in a fight while Goku continues to progress by continuously training and fighting. If you want more comparison between these two characters, feel free to read our previous article about Goku and Saitama.
Even if it seems obvious, we must’nt forget that these are two completely different universes. Both stories take place on a planet that looks like earth. In the universe of One Punch Man, we distinguish mostly on one hand humans who compose the main characters, superheroes and civilians, aliens and other monsters on the other hand.
In Dragon Ball, the story begins on earth. We distinguish human beings but also other animal-headed characters such as rabbits, foxes, wolves, etc. but with humanoid appearance. It’s especially in the Dragon Ball Z period that the universe enormously expands.
Son Goku arrives on a tiny planet inhabited by a god called King Kai. Later, Son Goku’s son, Son Gohan accompanied by his friend Krilin arrive on the planet Namek whose inhabitants have a humanoid extraterrestrial appearance with green skin. Still later in the manga, our heroes fight on the gods’ land without counting the many other places we discover in the season of Dragon Ball Super.
As you’ve understood, the Dragon Ball’s universe is extremely rich not only according to the number of its characters but also according to its many diverse and varied places. Much richer than the One Punch Man’s universe. However, we should’nt forgot that the Dragon Ball saga has more than 30 years and that its author, Akira Toriyama, had not planned, in the first place, to go that far. There’re about twenty episodes of the anime One Punch Man against several hundred episodes of Dragon Ball without counting the different movies released at the cinema and the different TV Specials.
One Punch Man by its author ONE was only published in 2009. This universe is more down-to-earth and deals with topics directly related to our modern society, especially the world of work and its hierarchy. We do not yet know what the manga has in store for us in the years to come. Will Saitama show us his true power one day?
I must admit I’m personally more attached to the Dragon Ball’ universe by the fact of its richness of script and by nostalgia. Many fans discovered this saga in the 80’s and it was also at the beginning of the release of Dragon Ball on television outside of Japan that the culture of manga spread throughout the world. I was surprised by the anime One Punch Man because of its originality but also by the quality of the animation. However, the season 2 of this anime disappointed quite a lot of people and myself and I really hope season 3 will put this anime back on track. Let’s wait and see what the future holds for these two great saga.