Series: One-Punch Man
Episode #5: The Ultimate Master
Release Date: November 1, 2015
Where to Watch: Daisuki
Synposis: The episode showcases Genos and Saitama’s applications into the Hero’s Association; they both undergo the physical and mental tests and end up as Ranks S and C, respectively. Also, thanks to their previous agreement, Genos is now officially Saitama’s disciple, and coupled with the upgrades he received from Dr. Kuseno, Genos is more powerful than ever, but still isn’t quite up to the level of Saitama yet. Despite this, Saitama is still ranked lower than Genos for some reason, and it does seem that there is some hierarchy within the Association…
My Thoughts: I’m so, so, so glad we finally get to see more of the world that Saitama and Genos live in! I’ve really been looking forward to more worldbuilding in the series, and we finally get some in this episode! The Hero’s Association is composed of a lot of superheroes from many different regions, each of them registered and ranked according to their individual potential. To be honest, it reminds me a lot of the world that existed in the Marvel Comics universe after the Superhuman Registration Act occurred (and yes, I realize my nerd is showing), except that heroes aren’t forced to reveal their secret identities. If they have any. Come to think of it, neither Genos nor Saitama has (or needs) a secret identity, but what about the other heroes? Do they have secret identities that they need to protect?
Hero Association HQ. Not quite as epic as Titan’s Tower, but that’s my nostalgia speaking.
The show introduces this blue-haired guy who has apparently been watching Genos, and he even approaches Genos close to the end of the episode to welcome him into the Association. He is apparently one rank below Genos, and he has an air of confidence and charisma that makes me feel that he’s the leader type, but at the same time it seems like there’s more going on there than is immediately apparent. Something feels a bit sinister…
Speaking of which, the Hero’s Association seems to have a whole caste system to go with the Ranks: the lower-ranked heroes are looked down upon by the higher-ranks, and the higher rank you are, the more powerful threats you’re assigned to neutralize. I’m still not entirely sure how Saitama managed to score lower than Genos, however; the most we know is that Saitama nearly failed the written exam while acing the physical. It did almost feel like they had something against Saitama, especially this one A-Ranked hero. Looks like Saitama has his job cut out for him.
Best. Entrance Speech. Ever.
Now, the highlight of this episode is witnessing the effects that Genos’ new upgrades have on his performance: as Saitama’s disciple, he challenges Saitama to a sparring match until one of them is unable to keep fighting. Saitama is kind of hesitant to do this, but Genos isn’t pulling any punches. He really wants to learn the secret to Saitama’s strength, and he is willing to undergo pretty much anything to learn. To be honest, Genos is really reminding me of Peter, one of Christ’s 12 dsiciples: brash, wanting to know how to become more like his Master, and willing to follow Him anywhere. Both Peter and Genos had a lot to learn when they first joined their respective Masters, so I’m interested to see how Genos’ journey alongside Saitama changes him.
Shots are for wimps. Real men take spicy udon (wheat noodles).
Although…during their bout, Genos himself experienced the “fear-of-imminent-death” that Kabuto experienced when Saitama got serious. I really think there’s a lot more to Saitama’s power than we know, and that the series is kind of trying to cover it up with his carefree attitude. Unlike Superman, we still have no idea what gives Satiama his awesome power. We know that his face changes ever so slightly when he does use his power; maybe he’s got some kind of super spirit residing in him, like the Avatar? Maybe he can harness some kind of elemental energy? It’s such a fundamental question that we don’t have an answer to, so I’m looking forward to how it’s explained as the series progresses.
Gimme the Skinny!
Overall, this is one of those episodes that really gets me pumped for the future of the series. Heck, I almost want to continue reading the manga, but I also don’t want to spoil it for myself…it’s kind of a self-defeating cycle that I have no intention of ending. The introduction of the Hero’s Association really brought in a nice chunk of worldbuilding with this episode: metahumans are fairly commonplace in this world, but the best of the best (or something like that) are entered into the Hero’s Association and registered as official heroes. This makes me wonder what life is like for unregistered heroes: we know that they receive no recognition for their work, but how do they operate? We haven’t seen Saitama or Genos face opposition for not being registered and doing superhero work, so perhaps it’s more of a recommendation than a law?
That being said, the sequence where Saitama and Genos were undergoing their tests was a lot of fun to watch, but it did raise some questions about the hierarchy of the Association, where despite the obvious power level that Saitama exhibits, they don’t seem particularly interested in him; rather, their focus is on Genos. I wonder what that means for Genos as the series goes forward: why is Genos singled out? What does that mean for him as a hero? And how will that affect his relationship with Saitama? I’m really loving how each subsequent episode builds on the last, yet leaves room for more, and I’m looking forward to more episodes.
The highlight of this episode was the battle between Genos and Saitama: to say it was epic wouldn’t give it enough credit. Another sequence that shows the love that Madhouse is putting into this series, it really showcased the upgrades that Genos received in the last episode, and like Goku going Super Saiyan, Genos has totally ascended to a new power level. He’s still not quite as strong as Saitama, but he does put up an impressive fight that both shows his new strength, and yet reaffirms the gulf between his power and Saitama’s.
The relationship between Saitama and Genos reminds me of the relationship between Christ and His disciples, and by extension, how we as Christians should strive to be like Christ. While we obviously don’t need to try to fight our Master, or prove our worth to Him, we should be willing to give our all to become more like Him. Genos undergoes pain, he struggles, and yet he still manages to come back stronger after each of these. His failures only push him more to want to become like Saitama, and so should our struggles push us to be like Christ. We won’t be able to reach His level of love and holiness…but we can try. And with His strength, we too can become heroes in this world.