One Punch Man takes a week off from one punching things, mostly, to do a little world building, and what I can only assume is to spend some time setting up some future story lines. I say assume because we are already half way through the season, which doesn’t leave a lot of time to carry through with all the setting up they are doing.
I’m growing suspicious Madhouse has plans for a second season, but doesn’t want to commit to anything just yet. Likely because they aren’t completely sure the show is going to be a success. I guess hedging your bets is something even highly successful anime studios feel the need to do these days.
It makes sense really, and as a recent conversation over at Anime Evo on the subject of Fairy Tail and their woeful inability to do filler taught me, the global economic downturn of the last few years has impacted everyone, everywhere. As such, even studios like Madhouse have to be careful how heavily they invest, and in what.
Basically what I’m getting at is that it seems Madhouse is planning for a future with OPM, while still not committing fully to it, just in case. Due to the still shaky nature of global finance, even with OPM being pretty successful, that doesn’t automatically mean it’ll get a second season, but Madhouse is obviously hoping for it from the way they structure things, and tell the story.
Mind you, we can get endless seasons of Law & Order and CSI, in endless variation, and the Kardashians are still on tv. I can only surmise that it is cheaper to shovel shit than it is to make quality television. Sad state of affairs, right there.
Anyway, on to episode six of One Punch Man.
After five days of being hero, Saitama hasn’t had any fights with bad guys, and the city hasn’t repaired the street out front of his apartment building. In a surprise plot twist, there will turn out to be a reason for the latter.
Meanwhile, Saitama is killing time reading a manga while Genos makes extensive notes on Saitama’s training regime. Yes, despite being registered heroes, Genos is still a dork, and Saitama is still lazy. Nice to know all those crazy powers aren’t going to waste, isn’t it?
Saitama tries to come up with something, anything, he can teach Genos, but is pretty much drawing a blank. Even his strength training won’t help, what with Genos being a cyborg and all. In a sign he actually does take this whole master/disciple relationship at least somewhat seriously, Saitama starts to flip out about the whole thing.
This lasts only until Genos reminds Saitama that as a Class C hero, if he hasn’t had any hero activity after a week, he’ll be booted out of the Hero Association. Remember that part where it had been five days already? Yeah. Saitama ain’t done shit.
Already flipping out over not knowing what to teach Genos, Saitama flips out even worse over realizing he’s about to lose his chance at being recognized for his efforts. He’s been watching the news, but nothing has been happening, which is when he learns that as a Class C hero, he’s suppose to be dealing with purse snatchers and the like.
Yes, Superman will only be acknowledged for stopping purse snatchers. What a crazy world we live in.
Even worse is the fact that Saitama doesn’t know this. Seriously, dude. Doing research is not a super power. It’s common sense. You have a computer. Look this shit up.
Oh, right, sorry. Forgot what show I was watching for a minute there. Again. Again, again, I mean.
Anyway, Saitama starts throwing on his costume, so he can go look for some bad guys to stop, when he gets a bright idea. For him, that’s actually a pretty big deal. Suddenly turning serious, he informs Genos that what drove him to his strength training was his burning desire to be a hero. Since Genos is a cyborg, that kind of training is pointless, so what he needs is a change of mindset. To have that same kind of drive, and passion. As his master, Saitama instructs him to set a goal for himself, to reach the top rank of Class S heroes. To dedicate his mind to that, and that alone, and become stronger because of having such a goal.
It’s all totally bullshit, of course, as Saitama literally made the whole thing up off the top of his shiny, bald head. Genos doesn’t know that, however, because he is a puppy, and instantly agrees to adhere to his master’s teachings. Relived to be out from under that rock for the moment, Saitama heads out to find a bad guy to stop.
Running at super speed through… apparently everywhere, Saitama finds… nothing. Not a single blessed thing. Nobody, anywhere, is doing anything bad. As the sun sets, an exhausted and frustrated Saitama decides to head home, and worry about it all tomorrow.
What’s interesting about all of this is that we know Mumen Rider is the top ranked Class C hero. Since those in Class C basically have to be out on regular patrol, looking for trouble, and actively trying to stop it, this actually puts Mumen Rider in a whole new light. He may not have any actual powers, outside of being an excellent bicyclist, but he take his job seriously, and obviously has done a lot to earn to his position.
Unlike this guy.
Yeah, it’s the next day, and Saitama still hasn’t found any bad guys to stop. Good thing he’s calm and collected under pressure, isn’t it?
Even though he’s in a full blown panic, he still manages to catch a dagger that was thrown at him. Oh, look, Sexy Hedgehog is back! Before you correct me, let’s all notice that Saitama can’t remember his name, either.
Okay, so it’s Speed O’ Sound Sonic. Not Seed on the Ground. Not Lost and Found. Definitely not Jack O’ Lantern Panic. All of which Saitama guesses at. Because he’s an idiot.
Sonic doesn’t find this funny, and begins to launch into a monologue about how he has been searching for Saitama, presumably with a great deal of detail about how he has trained harder than ever or something. He doesn’t get a chance, though, since Saitama flat interrupts him to say he’s busy today and walks away.
Sonic is even less amused and attacks him with a sword, which Saitama bites in half. Yes, bites.
It happened so fast, though, Sonic didn’t even see it, and decides to take a step back. Saitama tells him again that he’s busy, adding that he’s also pissed, so anyone who gets in his way is going to get punched. Sonic decides that isn’t funny, and nearly pisses himself.
Before he can do anything, however, a big guy in a tiger stripped tank top shows up with a little girl, who claims that the bad man over there is scaring people. Saiama laughs at that, telling Sonic that everyone thinks he’s a villain, until the tank top guy explains to Saitama that the little girl is talking about him.
Turns out, running all over the city in yellow tights with a freaked out look on your face is a good way to be confused for a weirdo. Well, it’s Saitama, so maybe confused for is the wrong phrase here. He is definitely a weirdo.
Anyway, Saitama reacts to this with his usual grace.
Okay, so, maybe grace is a strong word.
The tank top guy, who as it happens is a hero known as… wait for it… Tank Top Tiger, is a Class C hero who is responding to complaints about a freaky looking guy scaring people, aka, Saitama. Saitama insists he’s a hero, too, and gets a lecture from Tank Top Tiger about not scaring people. As folks in the gathering crowd begin to recognize him, Tank Top Tiger, who wins the award for stupidest hero name EVER, makes Saitama an offer. Go crazy, and let me beat you up for my own reputation.
Now, I have no doubt that this would have not gone Tank Top Tiger’s way. However, I’m also figuring out that Saitama would have been the bad guy in this scenario no matter what he did, which seems to be a bit of a running gag in the show. Regardless, it goes neither way, as Sonic is now bored with all this, and throws some exploding shuriken at Tank Top Tiger, knocking him out cold.
The crowd freaks out, and people start fleeing in a panic, as Sonic figures out he can force Saitama to fight him, and Saitama still hasn’t figured out Sonic actually is a bad guy. Even when he saves a little kid from getting crushed by a car that was thrown into the air by Sonic going on a rampage, he doesn’t get it.
Saitama, you really are an idiot.
Slowly, it dawns on him, however. So very slowly. Once it does, however, he one punches Sonic into a crater, wondering if this will count as hero work. Because priorities!
Elsewhere, the Hero Association lets us know that Sonic actually is a bad guy, just in case we hadn’t figured it out yet, by explaining that he was suspected of being involved with all manner of bad guy activities, like assassinations. Last I checked, that is still classified as villainous, unless the U.S. government was doing it, then it was patriotic. Obviously, Sonic is not an American.
This leads the Hero Association to talk about the ghost town sector of City Z, which happens to be the same city Saitama lives in. As it happens, there’s an entire section of the city that has been abandoned by people, due to lots of strange happenings and monster sightings. While the water and power still run to that part of the city, pretty much nobody lives there, because it isn’t safe.
Can we all guess where Saitama and Genos happen to be living right now? Yeah.
Seems the Hero Association is interested in what’s going on over there, and has decided to dispatch a couple of heroes to investigate. A young woman who appears to be floating shows up, asking what all of this is about. She’s known as Tornado, and for the first time since Saitama, we see a person with actual super powers, as she appears to be able to levitate anything and everything she wishes.
No, Genos doesn’t count as having super powers. He’s a cyborg. Being a cyborg isn’t a superpower. It’s cool as hell, but it isn’t a superpower.
Is not. Now hush. I’m recapping here.
Tornado seems a bit put out that she wasn’t sent to investigate. The Hero Association dude she’s talking to tells her it was deemed a Class A situation, so nobody bothered her with it, as she is Class S. She takes this entirely wrong, and nearly tears everything in the room apart before another Hero Association worker clams her down, and Tornado decides to levitate her short tempered ass elsewhere.
Nice lady, that Tornado.
While all of this is going on, a seaweed monster shows up in the ghost town of City Z. I’ve no idea what this things name is suppose to be, so I’m just gonna call it Kelpton. Hi there, Kelpton!
Before Kelpton can get too much screen time, we head back to the Hero Association Headquarters in City A, where a briefing is taking place. We all love briefings, so let’s join them.
In brief, the Class S heroes are reporting that nothing much is going on, even in City Q, which is notorious for being a terrible place to live that’s lousy with villains. Lucky for City Q, they have Watchdog Man, a dude dressed as a dog, who is apparently a badass.
We also find out that clean up and repairs from the giant back in episode one are still on going. In addition, we find out that Hammerhead took Saitama’s advice to heart is is out looking for a job. Last, we learn that two Class A heroes, Golden Ball and Spring Mustachio, are investigating the ghost town of City Z.
As they stroll through, we see the rampant destruction, as well as lots of signs warning to beware of monsters. Spring Mustachio suspects that there is a colony of monsters breeding in the area, which he explains while Golden Ball sucks on a lollipop.
Their investigation leads them past the apartment building where Saitama and Genos live, and Genos detects their presence. However, the two spot Kelpton, and head off after him, leaving Genos to more important work.
Turns out Kelpton is in the area looking for innocent people to do terrible things to, having heard this was the place to do terrible things to innocent people in. Since he can’t find anybody, he’s kinda bummed, the way super villains will be when they can’t do terrible things to innocent people.
Lucky for him, Golden Ball and Spring Mustachio show up. GB decides to take him out with… a slingshot? Yeah, that was a slingshot. A pretty badass slingshot, mind you, but still a slingshot. He gets his ass kicked for the trouble.
Turns out Kelpton can extend his seaweed. That’s pretty hardcore. I think.
Spring Mustachio isn’t about to stand back and watch his Golden Ball buddy be beaten so feverishly, and turns a handkerchief into a sword, making this whole thing very homoerotic. Not that I’m surprised, since Spring Mustachio is sporting that sweet porn stach and all.
Incidentally, Mustachio is in my spellchecker for some reason. I can’t imagine why or how, but it is. Maybe this guy really is famous.
He fends off Kelpton rather well before deciding to unleash his special attack. It involves having his sword curl in like a spring and is called Tomboy.
Yeah…. Wow. Just wow. As if it wasn’t already sexually suggestive enough.
Tomboy makes the sword extend really, really far, and I can’t stop snickering, because apparently I’m five. Kelpton dodges, however, shocking Spring Mustachio. He decides to buy time to call for reinforcements by asking if Kelpton is from the area, and learns that he’s from out of town. He heard lots of strong monsters were gathering in the area, and wanted to find out more, but has found nothing. Since there’s nothing, he figures he’ll become the ghost town monster himself.
Spring Mustachio’s stealthy text to the Hero Association is received, and they notify literally everyone, some of whom decide not to bother, because this ain’t the damn Justice League. Some do decide to go help out, however, but for the most part, the so called heroes decide not to bother with it.
Which is not good for Spring Mustachio, who has gotten his ass kicked by Kelpton. Despite obviously having some considerable ability, he is no match for Kelpton, and his valiant fight ends as he collapses, passing out from his injuries, long before any other hero even has a chance to show up.
For his part, Kelpton isn’t overly impressed. He wanted screaming, and got nothing. Bemoaning the fact he’ll never be famous if he doesn’t have people to terrify and kill, he’s about to go elsewhere when he spots Saitama coming back from the store, and decides to menace him with his seaweed.
This causes Saitama to remember that he forgot to pick up any konbu soup stock.
Back at home, Saitama is cooking some seaweed, which prompts Genos to launch into a long winded ramble about how seaweed soup is suppose to be good for hair growth, even though there is no scientific data on this. Saitama reacts poorly to all this information, which I’m sure has nothing to do with all the seaweed sitting in a box outside the front door.
Back at the Hero Association, they go over the report from Spring Mustachio and Golden Ball, who are alive, but hospitalized. The rumors of monsters gathering in the area especially interest them. Tornado shows up to bitch about how she should have handled it, ignoring when it is pointed out even she might have struggled with it.
While she’s scoffing at the very notion, a group of heroes investigates the area where Kelpton fought with Spring Mustachio and Golden ball, but only find… well… this….
News reports quickly fly that the ghost town area is too dangerous to live in, even as some monsters outside the city talk about how it’s too dangerous for them to go in there. The entire area has become a terrifying place for everyone, human and monster alike.
No idea why.
In the post credit scene, Genos reads some of his fan mail to Saitama, even though Genos hasn’t done a damn thing yet. Even worse, he doesn’t give a shit about it, while Saitama dreams of the day some one, anyone, will notice he exists.
Besides Genos, that is.
Having established that Saitama is basically the most powerful person alive, OPM has decided to take a step back, and show the larger world, to pretty decent effect. We learn a lot about the Hero Association, that there are other actual superhumans in the world, and that for some reason, lots of straight up monsters exist.
We also learn that for all its resources, the Hero Association apparently needs a manual to wipe its own ass, as they have yet to figure out that the terrible thing in the ghost town of City Z is just Saitama. Of course, even if they were to figure it out, with how firmly they have planted their heads up their asses, they’d probably think he was a villain.
This is pretty clearly a keen eyed critique aimed at the idiocy that bureaucracy creates, as it shouldn’t take much effort for the Hero Association to figure this out. It’s that they can’t look beyond their own roster and the standing of their various heroes that causes them to be unable to put it all together. I mean, for crying out loud, Saitama registered with them! They must have his home address!
Despite this, they are oblivious to what’s going on right in front of them, due to that bureaucratic inability to see past the end of their own nose. More than just a deconstruction of the superhero mythos, OPM is turning into a critical analysis of society as a whole.
Saitama is routinely confused for a villain, in part because he doesn’t act according to the predetermined ideas of a hero that society has, but also because the heroes themselves aren’t very heroic. They are more concerned with their own fame and ranking than they are with being heroic. Because of these things, nothing Saitama does is seen as heroic, even though he’s probably the only person around, besides Genos, who actually behaves in a heroic manner.
Which he does. Yes, Saitama is kinda lazy, wrapped up in his own ennui, and for the most part, a bleeding idiot, but he does genuinely BELIEVE in doing things for the good of others, and being a proper hero. He wants to be acknowledged, of course, because who doesn’t? Yet, he isn’t overly interested in doing things just to increase his own standing.
In that same vein, he fails to notice Sonic is a villain, because Saitama is use to dealing with actual threats, like Vaccine Man and the Colossal Titan from back in episode one. Those are what he considers threats, not muggers and purse snatchers, and in many ways, he’s right. Doing that kind of work isn’t being a superhero, it’s being a police officer, which isn’t what he signed on to do.
So, while the Hero Association flogs it’s own flaccid penis in a frenzy of worry over something they already have the solution to, Saitama frets about having to prove himself to a system that is never actually going to acknowledge him, causing him to deal with things that are a virtual waste of his time. Then, when something bad actually does happen, he deals with it in seconds, as the Hero Association goes into a masturbatory panic.
If this sounds a bit familiar, there’s probably a reason for that. Just say the word terrorism to somebody, and watch them yank their own dick off in their rush to tell you how terrible it all is, while completely missing the literal answer to the problem that is right in front of them.
Stop setting up puppet dictators in other peoples countries. Stay out of their politics. Quit selling weapons to whoever promises to overthrow the government that won’t kiss your ass. It’s amazing how many of the problems we have these days that we’ve create for ourselves.
While this may not be the actual parallel that is being drawn, it’s still a hard one to miss. Mostly because it’s so dead on. Right down to the part where we treat thugs as heroes, and actual heroes as thugs.
This world, Saitama, it’s never going to acknowledge you.
Next week: The Supreme Disciple