Now that we’ve dipped our toes into the world of heroes, One Punch Man is ready to dunk us face first into the water. This episode was saturated with S and A-Class heroes leaving little time for Saitama or Genos.
But that might have to wait because apparently, there is a monster living in City Z.
Let’s start off with some vital information. As a C-Class hero Saitama has to stop at least one crime a week or his ranking will fall. Unfortunately C-Class heroes act as the Dudley Do-Rights of the hero world; assisting little old ladies cross the street, fending off purse snatchers and help kittens out of trees. I know Saitama is a hero after my own heart when we find out he’s been reading manga and being lazy up until the last minute, he’s a true role model. After he searches desperately for crime (to no avail) he gives up saying, “I’ll leave tomorrow’s problems to tomorrow’s me.” Might now just be my personal motto.
On the last day of the week he searches for crime only to have it find him when Speed-o-Sound Sonic arrives. I’m happy to see this character reappear and even more ecstatic for Saitama who has found a villain to slay, too bad he doesn’t really realize that Sonic is a bad guy.
Sonic busts up some buildings and causes mayhem in an attempt to catch Saitama’s attention, but instead he brings another hero onto the scene. Tank-Top Tiger, a man with a… you guessed it, Tiger print Tank-Top has come to put the villain in their place. It’s nice to know I don’t have to be ashamed with my lackluster superhero names because the standards of this world are pretty basic.
Tiger lasts two seconds in the face and Sonic and Saitama finally realizes he has a villain he can beat. The fight, well it isn’t the normal high action sequences we are use to but this episode isn’t about that. Instead Saitama’s finishing blow to Sonic is done off screen, proving that Saitama’s actions are secondary in this episode. Instead the focus is on the other heroes who “protect” this world.
There are a lot of them after the ten-minute mark we get a rapid-fire introduction. I couldn’t write down all the names, nor would I want to bore you with that. There’s no telling who will be reoccurring and who won’t be. One new addition clearly stood out, giving us a “big bad” vibe. Tornado appears to be a harmless girl who floats around, but the way the association scrambles to keep her in check reveals this is a character we can expect a lot more from in the future.
A few others who were wacky enough to catch my attention include Watch Dog Man, a man in a dog outfit and a Bojack Horseman look alike named Horsebone, I dare you to google that name.
This speedy run down happens as the associate does its weekly check on Cities A-Z. It appears each city has at least one S-Class hero who protects it and reports in, but this isn’t firmly established. What’s interesting to note is that this episode calls out a lot of the events that happened on early in the series when one hero reports on the cleanup status of the city destroyed by the giant in Episode 1, and a update on Hammerhead from Episode 4.
As they go down the list it seems the cities lower on the totem pole witness more monster attacks, finally ending in City Z which has become a proverbial ghost town. This is also the city where Saitama lives.
In a way this sheds a lot of light on something that has been very subtle throughout the show so far. In the first episode and onward we don’t see a lot of people around Saitama’s apartment building, and there are plenty of scenes showing him walking down an empty street by himself. I had just assumed it was because people were locked up in their homes, or simply weren’t out but now it seems he might live in a part of the city that is completely abandoned. This information puts of whole new weight on that loneliness he expressed early on.
Rumors have spread about the city’s high monster count and people have either fled to the city’s center or have moved entirely. Either way, the Association sends two A-Class heroes out to investigate the situation.
Our two new heroes are Golden Ball and Spring Mustachio. They walk just outside of Saitama’s house where debris from the last fight against the animal hybrids still lingers, taking in the destruction they believe the rumors they’ve been told.
There is a monster living in City Z.
Oh and there is also a monster walking down the streets of City Z. We are never given a name but since it looks exactly like the Pokémon Tangela, I’m going with that.
Tangela makes quick work of the two A-Class heroes, but the fight is still entertaining because we get to see these new heroes in action. Alas, with their defeat and the way Saitama knocked out Snakebite last episode leaves my opinions of the A-Class pretty low.
Or maybe that is just the “magic” of One Punch Man. That compared to Saitama, everyone in this show leaves me underwhelmed. The only one who has impressed us all enough to stay by Saitama’s side in Genos.
This episode is lacking in the punching department, so it’s a relief when we finally see Saitama. Walking home down the empty street after a trip to the grocery store, Tangela is surprised to see what appears to be a normal human and attacks. Their seaweed like body reminds Saitama that he forgot the *Konbu at the grocery store before the camera flashes away. Our next shot is of Saitama boiling some newly found Konbu which he now has an ample amount of.
More importantly with the defeat of Golden Ball and Spring Mustachio, other heroes are now less inclined to venture far into City Z. When a few arrive to provide back up, all that is left for them to see is a large hole in a nearby city. They assume it is the work of a monster and maybe they’re right. Saitama sure can seem like a monster with his strength.
Though there is a lack of Saitama and Genos in this episode I have to commend it for what they did with City Z monster. It just brings home the idea that Saitama’s lack of presence and the fact that he appears to live in a ghost town has made him a creature of legend. On that, people are starting to fear him even though they should be doing just the opposite.
I’m still reeling from the fact that this is the first episode without ANY punching. It’s a different episode, but not a bad one. One Punch Man had to expose us to the inner workings of its world eventually and that means less time with Saitama and Genos and more time with its wacky heroes. If the next episode can work in more interaction between these split groups this show will be on track for solid upswing.
Overall Rating: A
*A Note on Konbu: Konbu is an edible kelp like substance used in many East Asian dishes. For the Japanese it is often used in soup stock.