With the universe expanded and a cast of background characters introduced it’s time for One Punch Man to get back to what it excels at. Nonstop action with a side of slap stick humor.
Here’s the basic set up for the episode, creatures from the sea are invading the surface in a hostile takeover. The first (of many) are easily defeated by Saitama on his way home from the grocery store. Mumen Rider shows up in time to see the after effects of the battle and quickly goes to work investigating who the C-Rank hero Saitama is.
This episode finally gave us more time with Mumen Rider, which was one of the many highlights. Since his first appearance, I’ve found the bicycle riding hero to be an intriguing addition to the cast. Unlike other heroes we’ve met, Mumen Rider is a quiet character who doesn’t outright tell us his background story, abilities, or declare his goals. That said (or unsaid) the show still gives us an idea of what kind of character he is through his actions and that is some solid storytelling.
Mumen Rider may not have the super powers as his fellow heroes, in fact, he appears to be highly average, but he has ideals of what it means to be a hero. Riding into battle no matter what level the crisis is and following the laws even as the world around him falls apart. It isn’t said, but Mumen Rider is a hero much in the same way Saitama is. They are a hero because they feel a need to do what’s right and dangit, I adore this bicycle riding nerd.
Those are my thoughtful insights for this episode, now onto the action. Because woo-boy there is a lot of action. As the sea creatures begin their assault on the city a hero by the name of Stinger begins to fight them off. He does pretty well too and seems to be a pretty cool hero but his onslaught is cut short when the Sea King arrives.
The audience becomes voyeurs as we watch the Sea King take out Stringer and a few other choice heroes who we’ve now seen in the background once or twice. The real action comes when we see Sonic again. With all the sea monsters attacking the city it seems he’s escaped from jail along with a hero by the name of Puri Puri Prisoner. Why Prisoner was incarcerated is still a mystery but Prisoner was clearly the source of great comedic value for the episode giving us the greatest transformation sequence I’ve seen in recent anime. Unfortunately, he’s also a problematic personification of a gay man; always hitting on the younger “prettier” boys who exudes sparkles with every breath, but don’t think about that. Instead, look at this amazing piece of animation featuring Prisoner’s Angel attack.
Prisoner doesn’t last long against the Sea King, but his fight is still entertaining and a nice lead up to the real battle between Sonic and the King. In the past we’ve only seen Sonic fight against a group of unruly gangsters and Saitama. The first not being much of a fight and the latter who makes everyone around him appear inferior. It’s safe to say we haven’t seen Sonic’s true ability and the fight against the Sea King is the perfect platform to see how he ranks. Not just against the villain but against other heroes as well. Stinger was A-Class and Puri Puri Prisoner claims to have been an S-Class hero, so when Sonic easily dodges the King’s attacks and even lands a few hard core hits himself it’s clear that he could easily rank high against the Hero Association’s best.
What really impresses me is how the episode manages to give everyone (including Sonic and Mumen Rider) enough screen time to develop. The same was exhibited in the last episode which I was sure would center around Genos but managed to give everyone, even new characters, some great spotlight. Prisoner only had a few precious moments of screen time and yet I can still say that such a minor character captivated me. While we don’t know every hero in the association there are a few friendly faces who show up to fight the Sea King (like Karate Fighter- I mean, Snakebite). All of this is testament to One Punch Man’s clever world building.
The Sea King is made out to be an ultimate villain, taking down the small fry heroes while we wait for the battle between him and Saitama. And boy, does this episode end with the impression that a showdown is going to happen next time. The look on Saitama’s face is enough to leave you with chills. It’s a great ending and I honestly can’t wait for more. More Mumen Rider. More Saitama. More superb action animation. Anytime an anime leaves you with this feeling, you know it is doing something right.