So far, One Punch Man has not only been a standout show in both the superhero and shonen genres, celebrating them even as it criticizes them, but has been hands down the best series of the fall season. I suspect that, even had the fall season been stocked with better shows, it would have been among the best offerings with ease.
Seriously, what the fuck is even going on with The Perfect Insider? That show makes no sense, yet still tries to be pretentious as hell about itself. Every week is an unbearable slog, to the point I prefer watching old reruns of Castle to wasting my time on it.
Nothing against Castle, mind you. It’s one of my favorite shows, but when reruns of any show, especially ones you’ve seen five times, are better viewing, that says something.
Yes, I’ve seen pretty much every episode of Castle at least five times. What can I say? Nathan Fillion really is ruggedly handsome. Sure, he’s no Lou Diamond Phillips, but who is?
Where was I?
Oh, right. One Punch Man.
One of the things that really makes OPM such a standout is the perfect balance they strike between being a parody, and being its own original thing. This whole idea of a superhero, with impossible abilities, who is both bored by his powers, yet still deeply invested in being a hero, even if makes him hated by the world, is fascinating.
The heart of that, really, is Saitama’s almost reactionary nature. Most of the time, he stumbles into his own heroics. His only real investment in doing heroics is to sit around watching the news, waiting for something to happen that looks like it might be a challenge for him. Otherwise, he only gets involved when the actions of bad guys directly inconveniences him.
The villains he faced in the first episode, for example. He only fought them because they looked strong. The car demon thing he took out because the guy was pestering him. With the House of Evolution, he only fought against them because they were possibly going to make him miss a sale at the supermarket. The Paradisers, because they were giving bald people a bad names. So on and so forth.
As a hero, Saitama is a very much a dichotomy. He only wants to battle the strongest, in the hopes of finding a fight worthy of his absurd abilities, yet is driven by a deep, personal, moral code that is utterly at odds with the popularity based nature of the worlds heroes. Even more interesting is that he doesn’t see his viewpoint as being particularly noble. To him, it’s just the way things should be, so it’s what he does, without any kind of deeper thought given to it.
He’s weird, is what I’m getting at. Saitama is just a huge weirdo. Though, really, that’s sort of what makes him such a compelling character. He’s an oddity, in every way.
While his oddity has always been a major part of the sow, this week, it’s on full display as Saitama finally finds himself possibly facing a foe worthy of him.
First, however, we have to deal with Godzilla.
Okay, yes, I know it isn’t really Godzilla, but c’mon! This is obviously a good natured jab at Japan’s favorite monster. And really, you can’t do a proper Japanese parody without having a Godzilla stand in show up at some point.
So, after the defeat of the Deep Sea King, and the Subterrans, the King of the Dinosaurs wakes up and proceeds to go on a stomp about, intending to rule the Earth, blah, blah, blah. You know, the usual stuff evil doers want, until they get it, and find themselves having long, philosophical conversations with toy birds while their evil henchmen sing Ozzy Osborn songs.
The military proves woefully incapable of stopping Godzilla… er… I mean, The Ancient King, ruler of the dinosaurs. Yeah. That’s what I meant. Not Godzilla. Though, I’m gonna keep calling him Godzilla, because The Ancient King is a dumb name, and doesn’t have any of the panache of Godzilla.
Anyway, the military has only been trying to lead him to a certain spot, after which a passing bomber drops Tornado on him. You guys remember Tornado, right? Pissy little psychic gal? Yeah, she flies down to face off against Godzilla, but before she can do anything, she gets a phone call ordering her to fall back.
Needless to say, she isn’t happy about it, and proceeds to bitch out whoever is on the other end of the phone, while Godzilla fumes about being ignored. When he gets too pushy, she tells him to shut up, because it’s rude to bother people when they are on the phone. Surprisingly, he waits for her to finish.
Really, except for the Deep Sea King, all the bad guys in the OPM world are pretty polite. I think that’s nice. This world deserves a better class of criminal, after all.
Once she finishes up her call, Godzilla decides to try stepping on her, but she can fly, so that doesn’t work out. He gives her some shit, pointing out that a giant meteor is about the only way to stop him, before gearing up to fire breath her. Tornado, though, figures a giant meteor is just about right, and psychically pulls one down on him like it ain’t no thing, wiping him out.
Let’s all just take a moment to kind of try to wrap our heads around the fact that this gal can actually telekinetically yank a meteor down onto the Earth. At least Saitama won’t be lonely being absurdly overpowered anymore, because holy shit.
While Tornado huffily waits for the plane to come pick her up, we go to visit Bang’s dojo, which is atop a ridiculously high cliff, only accessible by way of a million step stair case. We all feel sorry for the Hero Association guy who arrives by car to visit, but only for a moment, because Bang is busy showing off his moves to Saitama and Genos.
Bang’s martial arts style, Fist of Flowing Water Crushing Rock, is apparently what lies behind him being considered a Class S hero. Since he’s actually ranked 3rd, it must be one hell of a martial arts style, too, which is what makes it kind of surprising that he only has one student, a rather over eager young man named Charanko.
Seems Bang is hoping to teach his fighting style to Saitama and Genos, but neither are overly interested. Saitama because he’s Saitama, and Genos because he’s only interested in absolute destructive power, not self defense. Charanko takes this kind of personally, because he is the top disciple. He’s also the only disciple, so, not really a thing to brag about.
He tries to challenge Saitama and Genos, but Genos grabs him by the throat, and Charanko gives up instantly, like the champ he is. Genos wonders if he is really the best Bang’s dojo has to offer, and learns that yeah, kinda sorta. Seems Bang use to have a lot of students, but his actual top disciple, a dude named Garo, went nuts and beat the crap out of everyone else, putting them all in the hospital. This makes Charanko the best by default, what with there not being anyone else at all.
When Saitama learns Bang beat the snot out of Garo, he guesses the old man packs a bit of a punch. Charanko, never missing a chance to be a dipshit, takes offense at that and tries to dress Saitama down by reminding him Bang is the 3rd ranked among Class S heroes. Bang shuts the kid down, though, pointing out that Saitama is way stronger than he is. Charanko has time to be astonished by that before the Hero Association dude reaches the dojo, exhausted from his climb, and declares that all Class S heroes have been summoned to City A headquarters. That includes Genos, who the dude is happy to see it loitering around.
Bang agrees and leaves Charanko in charge of the dojo, clearly hoping that when he returns, it won’t be to learn that the kid burned it down by accident. Genos asks Saitama to come along as well, since he knows that the Hero Association only summons all Class S heroes when the threat level is Dragon or Deity, and figures Saitama may come handy. Saitama agrees, since he’s got nothing better to do.
When they arrive, they meet another Class S hero, Atomic Samurai. I have no idea how the Hero Association comes up with names, but this one at least sounds like something right out of a Western comic book. The guy is a bit a jerk, but nowhere near as bad as Amai Mask, so he’s pretty okay. Naturally, Saitama immediately insults him by calling him middle aged hero dude. Atmoic Samurai doesn’t care for that, as he’s only 37, which Saitama is shocked to learn isn’t considered middle aged.
Dude, seriously. I kinda wanna punch you now. I’m sure at 42, he’s think I was a geezer. Jerk. If I didn’t have arthritis, I’d take you over my knee!
Never mind that.
Lurking on the sidelines is Tornado, who promptly decides Saitama is there for some creepy reason and orders him to leave. Saitama wonders who the kid is, setting her off. Genos makes the introductions, then promptly ignores her, which makes her even more frustrated.
Now, I know I kinda poke at Tornado a bit, but in reality, her attitude is kind of understandable. She has genuine superpowers in a world where people in themed tank tops are considered heroes. Plus, she’s a woman, so she has to prove herself twice as hard as a man does, and she’s kinda short, and lets face it, we live in a society where supermodels are considered the standard. If she’s got a chip on her shoulder, there is no doubt she comes by it honestly.
Also, she can drag meteors down from space and use them to kill Godzilla. There’s a certain level of arrogance that’s gonna come with that. So, while she may have an attitude, I’m willing to bet there’s a lot more to it than we’ve seen so far.
That aside, we quickly move to join the gathering of Class S heroes, a couple of which we’ve met prior to now. First off is Puri-puri Prisoner, followed up by Metal Bat, Tank Top Master, Flashy Flash, Watchdog Man, Superalloy Blackluster, Pig God, Drive Knight, Zombieman, King, Child Emperor, Atomic Samurai, Bang, and last, Tornado, all introduced in order of their ranking.
Metal Knight, who we met during the meteor crisis, is strangely absent, as is the rank 1 among Class S, Blast.
Before we move on, I want to take a second to touch on a couple of things. As each hero is introduced, we are given a tiny bit of insight into their characters by way of their thoughts. Triple P is busy ogling Genos, apparently unaware he has no… um… functioning parts. Superalloy Blackluster thinks everyone is checking out his muscles. You get the idea, and the only reason I bring it up is because Watchdog Man’s only thought is that somebody farted, making him my favorite, because I have the emotional maturity of a 12 year old.
More importantly, though is the names of these heroes. Geeze. Some of these are genuinely bad. Metal Bat is a just a dude with a metal baseball bat. There is nothing Bat themed about him, making orphaned billionaires everywhere cry. Pig God is just disgusting, mostly because he lives up to the name. Flashy Flash, though, has got to be the worst name for a superhero ever. I’m just thankful he’s not wearing a trench coat.
Zombieman, on the other hand, actually sounds interesting. I don’t say this just because I have a zombie themed novel coming out next year, either, or because I recapped Gakkou Gurashi earlier this year, or because I am a huge fan of zombie fiction. I say it because… uh… well okay, it is because I am a huge fan of zombie fiction.
Except The Walking Dead. That show sucks.
Saitama asks for some tea just before a guy named Sitch shows up and convenes the emergency meeting. It seems Metal Knight and Blast are impossible to reach, making them pretty piss poor heroes. That aside, Sitch proceeds to give them the situation, making his name the best pun ever.
First, however, he informs them all that before they hear what he has to say, they need to know that they have been summoned to save the planet. Before he can tell them the details, they need to either agree to work to solve the problem, or leave. Nobody will lose standing for leaving, but they can’t know the details for fear of creating a mass panic if the info gets out.
Metal Bat acts like a jerk for a bit, and Tornado tries to out jerk him, before Flashy Flash shuts them both down. I can only boggle at the fact that a guy called Flashy Flash is the voice of reason here.
Last weeks post credit scene comes into play here, as it turns out that the old lady we saw then is actually Madam Shibabawa, a famous psychic who could predict the future with 100% accuracy. She couldn’t predict everything that would happen, however, and was limited to only six months in advance, but the predictions she did make all came to pass without fail.
Ya know, I guess even when you only make two or three predictions, but with total accuracy, that’s still better than Miss Cleo.
Anyway, seems she passed away while choking on a cough drop, but before she did, she said the Earth was in trouble. This is a big deal, because she never used the word trouble before, which can only mean that whatever is coming, could possibly end all life on Earth. That, my friends, makes this a pretty big deal.
Considering the quality of politicians we have here in the United States, it’s not an epic deal, but still, a pretty big one.
Child Emperor takes a turn being a dick, pointing out that this really isn’t a big deal. Sitch shuts him down, though, which ends up prompting the rest to try and figure out how to be ready for a battle for the fate of humanity that could happen anytime in the next six months. Saitama interrupts to point out that it also means it could happen that very day. Sitch agrees, though he isn’t sure who Saitama is.
In an uncharacteristically badass moment, Saitama assures him that all this means is that it’s a good thing he’s there. He no sooner utters this line of absolute truth and confidence than the Hero Association building comes under attack. Looks like Madam Shibabawa was right on the money.
As it turns out, a group of weird flying demon looking dudes are attacking, lead by the self proclaimed Sky King. Which kind of makes sense, as it follows that the Subterran King, Deep Sea King, and Ancient King all came before him. Sooner or later, the Sky King has to show up, I suppose, and if the law of increased magnitude holds, he is even more badass than any of his predecessors were.
Good thing the alien invasion happens and he gets killed instantly, ain’t it?
Ah, One Punch Man. I love you and your wacky plot twists so much.
The thing that killed the Sky King and his brethren is seriously weird, and seems to have several heads atop Clayface’s body. If that isn’t weird enough, the giant spaceship suddenly hovering over City A promptly levels the entirety of City A. In a single volley.
Shit just got real, folks.
The Hero Association survived, however, because it was built by Metal Knight. The rest of the city is not so lucky, though, and we watch as a father manages to rescue his son from the debris. The multi headed Clayface thing, which I’m gonna call Headsup, for no real reason, finds them and is about to kill them when another hero intervenes.
Wielding a sword and wearing armor, this hero, who I’m just gonna call Knight Man, since it fits in with the rest of the goofy names heroes in this world get, urges the civilians to flee, which they do, proving they are smarter than your average New Yorker. He nearly loses his head for the trouble, too, but is quick enough to escape, leaving his helmet to get flattened.
Turns out, Knight Man is an apprentice to Atomic Samurai, and was only here waiting for him to get out of his Class S meeting. I’m assuming, based on his actions, that Atomic Samurai actually instills a code into his students, as Knight Man faces of against Headsup without a moments hesitation, even though it’s pretty easy to figure out this thing is some kind of alien invader.
Makes him a pretty standup guy in my book. It does not, however, make him very effective, since Headsup can regenerate at an absurd rate. Before we get into that fight too much, we head back to the Class S meeting where Sitch is having a meltdown, mostly because sensors indicate that City A has been 99.8% destroyed.
Now, I do want to take a second here to point out that City A isn’t called that just for alphabetical reasons. From what I’ve picked up during the show, City A would be the single largest city on Earth. Just how big it is, is hard to guess, but it would have to be at least twice the size of New York, counting all the boroughs. So, let that sink in when we say it’s been 99.8% destroyed in a single instant.
That’s some serious shit.
The Class S heroes decide they should head outside to survey the damage and see if this is related to the prophecy. Genos starts to ask Saitama to go with them, but Sitama is gone, having casually jumped through the ceiling. Not to beat a dead horse, but seriously, a building that just withstood what this one did, and he just jumps through it like it ain’t no thing.
Just how the fuck tough is Saitama, and more importantly, how did he really get this way?
While Genos does his awe struck puppy dog routine, Saitama is marveling at the size of the alien spaceship. Deciding to jump over to it, again, very casually, he dodges weapons fire, which comes in the shape of a giant shell. By which I mean, fucking giant. When that doesn’t hit him, the ship opens up fully, but Saitama dodges all of that, too, before kicking one of the shells.
Ya know what, I give up. Saitama is crazy powerful. He not only stops the shell in the mid air, when it must be traveling at least a thousand feet a second, but kicks it back at the ship. I know a little about the laws of motion, and kinetic energy, and with that single act, Saitama seriously just blew my mind.
For real. Who the hell is this guy?
Down on the ground, Knight Man is continuing his battle with Headsup, and not faring well. In fact, he loses his entire left arm to a single blow from the creature, and is about to lose his life when Headsup splits into five different creatures, one for each head. Before it can finish off Knight Man, Atomic Samurai shows up to take over the battle, saving his students life.
When Headsup tries to reform, Atomic Samurai cuts it down again, placing himself between the monster and his student. Knight Man tells him that swords cannot beat the creature and urges him to flee, but Atomic Samurai assures him that despite the loss of his arm, Knight Man isn’t finished yet, before ordering him to stop bleeding. The guy may be a dick, but he obviously cares about his student.
Headsup reforms yet again, this time into an even scarier version than before. Atomic Samurai figures out that the thing is just a foot soldier, and that the ship is the real threat, because obviously. Bang and some of the other Class S heroes show up and join him in fighting Headsup, including Triple P, who unleashes his new Dark Angel Flash attack, remembering what the Deep Sea King told him about every attack needing to be delivered with the intent to kill.
While I know Triple P is kind of presented in a way that usually I would not like, there’s so much more to this guy, it makes him a much more compelling figure than you would expect. He knows he failed before with the Deep Sea King, and he knows other people were hurt, and possibly killed, because he failed. He needs to make up for that failure, and really, with everything he has, he is trying. I can’t help but seriously like this guy, even with his bad stereotype character.
Inside the Hero Association, two of the agents we’ve seen frequently are taking charge of the situation, getting people working on issuing evacuation orders for nearby cities, getting a count of survivors, and issuing the threat level. One of them even believes this is worthy of the never used Deity threat level, which conveys pretty accurately just how bad things are.
Elsewhere, Child Emperor figures the four Class S heroes facing Headsup will be enough to take care of that, and that the real problem, the one the rest of them should be focused on, is the ship. The problem, however, is that nobody can get to it, not only because it’s flying too high, but also because the ships weapons would surely take them out long before they could get there.
Superalloy Blackluster asks King what they should do, and despite him being considered the strongest man in the world, he doesn’t think there’s any way to deal with it. He considers the best course to be to try and reach Metal Knight, which considering the firepower and drone nature of his armor, is actually a pretty smart tactical move.
Tornado thinks that’s bullshit and calls him on it while Superalloy tries to calm her down, since pissing King off could get her killed. Tornado decides to deal with the ship on her own, but Genos offers to help by using his firepower to attack it from the ground. Tornado tells him no, that she will deal with it herself, prompting Superalloy to assure Genos that pissing Tornado off will get him killed.
Superalloy spends a lot of time telling Class S heroes not to fight each other or they’ll get killed by each other. I think I’ve figured out his superpower. He’s the therapist of Class S.
Genos decides to drop the matter before Tornado gets animated into full chibi, which is probably for the best. Besides, he knows Saitama is already aboard the ship, and that it will be taken out.
Sure enough, Saitama is inside the ship and taking out any and every alien he encounters along the way. He’s also randomly punching the inside of the ship, but not too hard, since he kind of wants to fight the head alien. Before he can, he’s stopped by a weird looking thing that calls itself Groribas, which proceeds to monologue about how badass it is.
Seriously? Dude. have you not seen the previous episodes? Monologuing at Saitama just gives him more time to hit you. Pay attention, Groribas!
And, yup, while he’s chatting about his prowess and yelling out the name of his attack, Saitama one punches him in the face, which leaves him without a face. Or a head for that matter. Dumbass.
Saitama figures it’s about time the boss showed up, provided he hasn’t already one punched him by accident. Turns out, he hasn’t, and we get a brief look at him before we wrap up this weeks episode. He’s only got one eye, but he looks pretty tough. Will Saitama actually get a decent fight out of this guy? We’ll find out next week.
Not a lot of extra thoughts, as this episode is pretty straightforward, and there’s no post credit scene this week. Instead, I’ve got two things to say before wrapping up this recap.
First off, there is now a One Punch Man OVA titled Road To The Hero, which I will be recapping tomorrow. It’s well done, as has been the entire show so far, and gives a bit of a look at Saitama’s backstory. It’s listed as the first OVA, so if there’s more, I’ll cover them as well.
Yes, I’m a full service One Punch Man provider. It’s the least I can do.
Second thing, is this…
Yup. You can now get Saitama by the dozen, which actually makes him more hip than Zaphod Beeblebrox, who only ever came in a six pack.
See you next week for episode 11, The Dominator of the Universe, and tomorrow for Road to the Hero, along with my regular Wednesday Short Film highlight, and on Thursday, I’ll be talking about my upcoming novel, War Witch, yet again, this time by showing off the map that will be appearing in the book.
It’s gonna be a fun week.