One Punch Man may only be a season long, but the anime left an impression on fan that just won’t fade. The action-packed series is just as hilarious as it is thrilling, and Dragon Ball fans gravitated towards the series like Goku does to fried rice. Many were taken back by one of the show’s baddies thanks to their uncanny resemblance to Piccolo, but the similarities should not be read into.
Sadly, Vaccine Man and Piccolo are not related, but that does not mean the One Punch Man villain is completely original.
In the anime, fans watched as Saitama was pitted against a massive purple alien after the life-form came to conquer Earth. The villain, who goes by the name Vaccine Man, wanted to wipe the planet of humanity as he felt people were simple germs. The alien planned to vaccinate the Earth in a bid to save it, but One-Punch Man stopped the guy before he could ever treat the planet.
For Dragon Ball fans, they quickly began calling the villain ‘Purple Piccolo’ thanks to his familiar looks. The alien and the Namekian share very similar bodies and had antennae. They chiseled jaws and over-powered attacks also add to the comparison, and both character even share the same English voice actor. However, One Punch Man actually based Vaccine Man on another anime figure.
The villain may not look like it at first, but he is really a bulging iteration of Baikinman, the antagonist of Anpanman. One Punch Man itself was created as a reference to the series, and Madhouse stressed the series’ relation by having Vaccine Man voiced by Baikinman’s voice actor, Ryusei Nakao.
For those unfamiliar with the One Punch Man series, here is a summary of the plot from Viz Media:
"Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem—he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on!"
The series first started as an ongoing web-comic by the author that goes by One, in early 2009. The comic went viral and so a full remake and publication of the series began in 2012 on Shueisha's Young Jump Web Comics website. Viz Media brought the manga to America in 2016 in the Weekly Shonen Jump digital magazine. One Punch's anime series was created by Madhouse and first aired in Japan in late 2015, and was dubbed for English in the summer of 2016. The anime and manga both have had huge international success and recognition since release, winning New York Times Manga's Best Sellers List, was nominated for an Eisner Award, and the anime was also featured on the popular Toonami block.