How One Punch Man Parodies Dragon Ball and Other Popular Anime

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Summary

  • One Punch Man is intended to parody certain anime fight sequences and characters, highlighting their flaws and satirizing common Shōnen tropes.
  • Boros, the primary villain in One Punch Man, shares similarities with Dragon Ball’s Goku, but he is not a direct parody. Boros’ ability to switch forms and his appearance reference Goku, providing humor and a meaningful story.
  • One Punch Man parodies other popular anime series, such as Dragon Ball and Attack on Titan, through character representations and references. It satirizes these series in a humorous way while still delivering a great story.


In a world filled with magnificent anime, just a few stand out, such as One Punch Man, which is widely regarded as one of the best anime series ever created. While there are more realistic or serious anime with deeper plots, like Demon Slayer, One Piece, and My Hero Academia, One Punch Man is on par with these famous names in terms of both popularity and commercial success.

So, what makes One Punch Man so popular? Was it the gag humor? Or was it a parody of other successful anime like Dragon Ball, which fans felt was a breath of fresh air? More importantly, did the author intend it as a parody from the beginning? There are several questions concerning this popular anime, and we will address each one below to determine whether One Punch Man is truly a parody and, if so, what makes it one.


Is One Punch Man Meant to Be a Parody?

While the author never explicitly addressed the subject, it is quite evident that One Punch Man is always meant to be a parody of certain anime fight sequences, particularly of specific characters from prominent anime. Nonetheless, the narrative of One Punch Man is fairly solid, with a few twists and turns to make it more original. The satire originates from characters like Saitama, Garou, Boros, and many others, who remind us that, despite their influence, a good number of popular anime/characters have flaws.

In fact, the anime addresses some common Shōnen tropes, such as Saitama defeating his foes with a single punch rather than dragging the fight for tens of episodes, as well as not paying attention to a villain’s backstory but becoming bored with it. Usually, backstories tend to occur frequently in anime series like Naruto and Fairy Tail, appearing in almost every major action sequence. If we compare these moments with One Punch Man, it’s easy to see that One Punch Man is meant to be a parody, although not in a derogatory manner.

Is Boros a Parody of Dragon Ball’s Goku?

Boros is the primary villain of One Punch Man‘s first season, appearing in the last episode to face Saitama but eventually losing despite activating his three transformations, which granted him immeasurable power. However, fans of Dragon Ball have noticed one thing about the character: his resemblance to Goku and his family. On the surface, Boros and Goku are vastly different, but they have a similar goal: to become stronger and find worthy opponents.

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Boros was fixated on battling a strong opponent and, in his ambition, he had no regard for the collateral damage inflicted on innocents, whereas Goku, despite constantly pursuing power above everything, including his family, never hurt innocents. So, you could say that Boros may be classified as a half-evil version of Goku. Nonetheless, this is not an exact parody because their personalities are shared by powerful characters in many anime series.

However, what truly identifies Boros as a comical version of Goku is his ability to switch between three different forms, just as Goku does in various Super Saiyan forms. Coupled with the spiky hair while transforming into another form, as well as the animation that displays the aura, it is apparent that the inspiration for Goku’s character runs deep in One Punch Man‘s Boros. That being said, it is not a blatant parody of Goku but rather an imitation that provides both humor and a meaningful story for the anime.

One Punch Man parodies Dragon Ball in the form of Boros but also highlights common Shōnen anime stereotypes, mainly through the character representations. The anime does a great job of parody right from the beginning when it introduces the Vaccine Man, whom Dragon Ball fans will recognize as Piccolo. In the same episode, we’re introduced to Marugori, who, thanks to his scientist sibling, transforms into a colossal monster, trampling everything in his path and accidentally squishing his brother rather than the main protagonist.

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It was a clear reference to the Colossal Titan character from Attack on Titan, but the ensuing scene proved to be more humorous than horror or tragedy, making it a great satire. Another notable reference was the S-Class hero Flashy Flash, who, while giving off the vibes of The Flash from DC, is more similar to a character from Naruto. Flashy Flash’s childhood is comparable to Naruto Uzumaki, as he grew up in a hidden ninja village, and many of his techniques are identical to those used in the beloved anime.

However, it is later revealed that Flashy Flash’s village is a hellish place where children are held captive, and he has to massacre fellow villagers to survive, which bears resemblance to Itachi’s massacre of the Uchiha clan. There are also numerous references to anime shows such as Hunter x Hunter in the form of Silver Fang and Carnage Kabuto, which further solidifies that One Punch Man was always meant to be a parody of other anime series, which was highly successful at that. One Punch Man is currently available to stream on Hulu.

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