Series: One-Punch Man
Episode #6: The Terrifying City
Release Date: November 8, 2015
Where to Watch: Daisuki
Synopsis: It’s been 5 days since Saitama’s debut as a professional hero, and as a Rank C, he needs to find crime to fight if he wants to keep his registration. Also, as Genos’ official master, he feels the need to give him some sort of instruction, but isn’t quite sure how. After searching the city fruitlessly for crime for an entire day, Speed ‘O Sound Sonic shows up looking for a fight, and Saitama takes him out just in time to keep his license. Meanwhile, a seaweed monster appears in Saitama’s neighborhood in City Z, and the Hero’s Association dispatches two heroes to assess the threat.
My Thoughts: This episode was a lot of fun; it widened the scope a bit to not only focus on Saitama, but also give us some insight into the Hero’s Association and how they respond to threats. They have a very S.H.I.E.L.D-esque way of finding and classifying threats, and they dispatch heroes according to the location and the type of monster. The main guy who dispatches heroes looks a bit like Saitama did before he lost his hair…I wonder if there’s a connection between them? Also, we’re introduced to a turquoise-haired hero named Tornado, who apparently has the telekinesis powers. This series doesn’t introduce new characters for no reason, so I’m looking forward to the role she plays in the story.
I’m probably overthinking this, but he does look a bit like the younger Saitama…
Speaking of new characters, Sonic reappears in this episode! He shows up as Saitama is searching the town for crime, and challenges him to a fight. He’s obviously still salty about losing the last time, kind of like that little brother you always beat at Smash Bros. Saitama tries to ignore him at first, but when Sonic swings a katana at his face…
The tryhard villains are the best.
Saitama goes full boss mode and bites the sword in half.
Guess he didn’t have his iron that morning…or steel…
Dang. When Saitama’s in the zone, he’s in the zone. Despite this, Sonic thinks it’s a good idea to attack innocents to make Saitama attack him, and he gets put down fairly quickly. But I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Sonic: self-proclaimed rivals tend to stick around in anime, and I will say that I’m enjoying the relationship that’s developing between him and Saitama. I’m half-expecting for the season finale to have some type of threat that Saitama can’t deal with alone, and Sonic has to team up with him and Genos to take it down.
The rest of the show is fairly standard fare: we see a new monster appear in Saitama’s neighborhood (it reminds me of Squid Girl, but with seaweed instead of tentacles), and we see the two heroes dispatched to destroy it (Spring Mustache and Golden Ball) get their butts kicked. In fact, it takes a hungry Saitama to come along and defeat it, and use its seaweed appendages for some soup.
In the aftermath, the heroes that were dispatched to assist Mustache and Ball remark that it must have taken a hugely powerful monster to create the type of damage that resulted in the aftermath of Saitama’s confrontation with Seaweed Girl. Which, to be honest, is the most hilarious thing when you realize that all the rumors about powerful monsters congregating in the abandoned area of City Z were referring to Saitama destroying all the monsters that came to that area; since no one knew who he was, they assumed that extremely powerful monsters were congregating there. We even get to see some monsters discussing this towards the end of the episode, so it’s definitely leading up to some confrontation with a hugely powerful monster later on in the series.
Speaking of which, near the end we’re taken to what might be an underground crime boss, who is being informed of what happened in City Z.
She looks rich and has a lot of servants. Something’s up.
She looks like she’ll play a role in the upcoming episodes, but we have no idea why right now. More questions that need to be answered: in true Saturday morning cartoon fashion, One-Punch Man keeps you wanting more in next week’s episode.
Gimme the Skinny!
All in all, I really enjoyed this episode. The focus of the episode widened just a bit; it wasn’t just focused on Saitama and Genos as we’ve seen in past episodes, but we got to learn about the Hero’s Association’s method of dispatching and monitoring heroes and monster activity. A few new characters were introduced that I do believe will come into play later on in the series, and I’m looking forward to seeing Saitama find more allies (and maybe enemies?) in the Association. It seems like he represents a more relaxed attitude towards the business, rather than the more competitive outlook that other high-level heroes seem to have. I do have a sneaking suspicion that the entire Association will have to unite at some point towards the end of the series to face a threat that no hero can face alone.
But then, that raises the question: if there comes a threat that Saitama cannot face alone, what happens to the story? The core of this series is that Saitama is searching for a purpose in his life, despite his overwhelming power. In his own words “overwhelming strength is boring”. If Saitama faces something that he can’t defeat with his own power, doesn’t that fulfil his purpose: to find a true goal to strive for? But then, if he does defeat whatever it is, will he have found satisfaction? Or will he need something else to fill the void in his life?
And that then brings us to the question: does Saitama want to be fulfilled?
If he has filled the void in his life, what else is there for him to do? Can he still exist as a hero? It’s like the dichotomy between Batman and the Joker: if Batman is gone, there is nothing for the Joker to do. No one to stop him if he terrorizes Gotham, no one to foil his plans at the last second. It’s not funny anymore. In fact, this is explored in the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, where the Joker enters a comatose state when Batman disappears for several years.
Without a purpose, we have no reason to live. But that lack of purpose is what makes us live. It makes us search for what we lack, in an endless search for self-fulfillment. As believers, we don’t have to wonder what our purpose for living is, because it is provided to us in Christ. But outside of Him, how can we exist? How do unbelievers find purpose outside of Christ?
They don’t. They try, but despite the endless searching, the dozens of religions and rituals, the surgeries and the entertainment, the food and the “love”, those without Christ cannot find true satisfaction. The search is ever-long, and never satisfying.
So I don’t believe that the series will bring in a threat that Saitama can overcome. His struggle to find purpose resonates in all of us, even believers. Even with the goal before us, the motivation to keep going can rise and fall, and I’m looking forward to watching Saitama struggle through it all with his characteristic nonchalant attitude. Keep it up, One-Punch Man.