You guys recall last week, when I said Saitama’s powers should put him in a class by himself after he registered with the Hero Association, right? Yeah. Funny story. I forgot what show I was watching. Again.
This show is, first and foremost, a parody. It makes fun of literally everything about superhero comics, and the shonen genre. It is rather unrelenting in this effort, too. As one commentor, Kibate, pointed out last week, even the plot is a parody, and this week, I began to see what that means.
Right away, we pay a visit to the headquarters of the Hero Association in City A, which is how you know this is a special place. I mean, it’s in City A. That’s gotta be like New York in OPM world. Or maybe L.A., since it’s where all the self important people live.
Regardless of how super awesome City A is, the folks who apparently make all the big decisions where the Hero Association is concerned are discussing Mumen Rider, and how he will stay the top ranked C-Class hero. They don’t seem happy about it, though. They quickly move on to the exam Saitama and Genos are about to take part in, though they are mostly excited about Genos’s involvement.
Now, I don’t want to sell Auto-Lad short. He’s a bad ass superhero. That goes without saying. But, these guys don’t seem to know what show they are in. Saitama is the main man around these parts.
Of course, this is where the parody of a plot kicks in. Saitama is the one who wants to be recognized for his efforts, while Genos doesn’t give a damn. Naturally, nobody gives a damn about Saitama, because they are all too busy fan gobbering over Genos.
Anyway, our hero of the yellow spandex is getting ready to take the physical aptitude portion of the test, which goes about the way I expected.
After that, he’s back in the locker room, where he meets up with Genos, and we learn there is a written portion to the test. My hopes of Saitama excelling just dropped. We also get to learn a bit more than we really want to know about Genos.
Genos gets his test results and is ranked S-Class, which means he’s on par with Erza Scarlet. Turns out, though, Genos had an interview, which Saitama did not. The guys in charge of the Hero Association asked him a lot of questions about the House of Evolution, confirming that he destroyed the building. Seems they had an interest in Professor Emo and his unethical work, and think Genos took him out. This plays a large part in him being rated S-Class.
Saitama starts to look at his results, and for a second, they think he got S-Class as well, but it turns out he got C-Class, which basically means he’s been lumped in with Mumen Rider. This is largely because Saitama scored so badly on the written test. While he aced the physical portion, he almost failed the written.
Yeah. This is kinda like ranking Superman as being the same class of hero as Speedy, that kid who was Green Arrow’s sidekick. Remember him? No? There ya go.
Anyway, Genos and Saitama are asked to attend a seminar. While they are on their way, some pretty boy gets a phone call about Genos. Once they are there, this dude in a tacky suit named Snek tries to give them a good talking to. Genos looks like he’s asleep, while Saitama is chewing gum, blows a huge bubble, and has it pop all over his face. While Snek tries to have a meltdown, Saitama wonders what to have for dinner.
Now we get to the first real kicker. Seems the guy who formed the Hero Association, a guy named Agoni, set it all up three years ago, after his grandson was saved from a monster. For those who haven’t figured it out yet, the kid in question was the huge chinned kid from the first episode.
That’s right. The Hero Association only exists because of Saitama. If he hadn’t taken on Crablante three years ago, the Hero Association wouldn’t exist now. Yet, despite this, he gets zero respect from the Association, because nobody knows it was him who saved the kid.
Welcome to parody plot land. Try not to eat the mushrooms. They hate that.
Genos is thrilled, by the way, but not about getting ranked so high by the Hero Association. Instead, he’s happy that he is now officially Saitama’s disciple. Saitama, on the other hand, is kind of regretting all of this, as he’s not got the first clue what to teach Genos. Not to mention, Genos placed so much higher than him. Mostly, though, it’s because Genos is so super serious, Saitama doesn’t know what to do with him, since Saitama himself is just a hero for fun.
It’s all so totally messed up, I can’t stop laughing at it.
Back at the Hero Association, Snek is bitching about Genos and Saitama, not just for their crappy attitude, but that they didn’t know who he was. The dude he’s bitching to, on the other hand, shuts him down by pointing out how well Genos did all the way around. If that wasn’t enough, he explains that while Saitama did horribly at the written test, on the physical portion, he broke every record the Association had. He compare Saitama to a god walking around in a human body, which Snek does not take well.
In fact, he takes it so badly, he decides to try and beat up Saitama, who is walking home after parting company with Genos. Lost in his own thoughts about whether or not the Hero Association makes him the kind of hero he wanted to be, Saitama isn’t really interested in Snek, who wipes out some kung fu. This ends about the way you’d think.
The next day, Genos has talked Saitama into training with him, and the two have gone to an isolated place to avoid damaging anything or anyone. Genos explains a bit about how as they grow in fame, they’ll get hero names, and Saitama frets about being tagged as Caped Baldy.
That done, Genos wants to go all out on Saitama, and have him do the same. Basically, Genos figures he’ll improve if he spars with Saitama. Which is actually a good idea, and this fight sequence is so beautifully animated, it’s just breath taking.
Honestly, this is classic Madhouse. Where some of the previous fight sequences used different styles of animation to lend a certain absurdity to what was happening, with this one, they show off just how talented their animation team is. It’s brilliant, beautiful, and trademark Madhouse quality.
Genos throws everything he has at Saitama, and damn, is it a fuck ton of awesome. Saitama, however, just avoids everything, and pokes Genos on the cheek. Genos does not take this well, as he is very serious. You know, like always.
Finally convincing Saitama to take this sparring match seriously, Genos realizes very quickly he should be careful what he asks for.
Yeah, that up there. Saitama did that. With the wind from his punch. The one that didn’t even connect, because he stopped himself, so he wouldn’t kill Genos. Seeing that, Genos agrees to go have dinner with Saitama rather than spar more.
The two end up having a friendly eating contest, which Genos wins, because he’s a freaking cyborg. This is interrupted by the pretty boy from before, a dude named Amai Mask, the top ranked A-Class. Seems he wants to have a chat with Genos, and while Saitama is worried the guy might be here to try and beat Genos up, like Snek did with him earlier, Genos agrees to talk with him.
I should point out that Amai Mask is apparently a big shot, since everyone in the diner is drooling over him. Why, I don’t know. I swear, if these people watched anime, they’d know he probably a secret villain or something. The dude is dripping in smug.
In the end, it seems Mask did just want to talk. Why, I’m not sure, but I get the feeling he was getting a feeling for Genos, under the pretense of welcoming him to the H.A., something Genos doesn’t really give a flip about. With that done, Genos and Saitama head for home, with Genos leaving Saitama early.
For a closing shot, we see Mask looking out over the city, musing on what an interesting person Genos turned out to be.
The after credits scene has Genos asking to move in with Saitama, who isn’t wild about it until Genos drops a massive wad of cash on the table. For some reason, he’s very welcoming after that.
As usual with One Punch Man, nothing is really what it seems at first in this episode. First off, there’s the fact the Hero Association Saitama only barely gets to join only exists because of him, though nobody knows it. Then there’s everyone’s fascination with Genos, while totally missing that Saitama is the most powerful person in the world.
The plot, such as it is, of Saitama seeking recognition for his efforts is certainly moving forward nicely, just not in ways I expected, as those two bits I mentioned above show. If I was a betting man, which I’m not, I’d still say it’s safe to wager that much of the show is going to revolve around nobody buying that Saitama is really as strong as he is, and him having to go miles out of his way to prove it, again and again.
In other words, the show is basically about Superman, if nobody believed he was Superman. It’s a hysterical concept, and I’m curious to see where it goes from here. After the little sparring match between Genos and Saitama, we have had it reiterated just how strong Saitama is when he’s holding back, and coupled with his kind of lazy attitude, it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with being a hero that nobody believes is a hero.
While I don’t expect the show to get serious at any point, the idea being explored is interesting, and funny enough, to keep me coming back, and looking forward to what happens next.
Next week: “The Terrifying City”
Sounds like fun times for all ages.