Series: One-Punch Man
Episode #7: The Supreme Pupil/ The Ultimate Disciple
Release Date: November 16, 2015
Where to Watch: Daisuki
Synopsis: A giant meteor is heading towards City Z, and the Hero’s Association calls in its S-Rank heroes to stop it. Unfortunately, only Genos and two other heroes (Bang and Metal Knight) show up to stop it. Despite their efforts, the meteor nearly destroys the city until Saitama shows up and destroys it. In the aftermath of the event, some people are still not sure how to think about Saitama as the destruction of the meteor still caused a rain of fragments that destroyed part of the city.
City Z has its own branch of Hero’s HQ. Does every city have one?
My Thoughts: This was truly an action-packed episode that shows the strength of the storytelling in One Punch Man: it manages to weave a lot of thought-provoking questions and ideals in amongst the explosions and superhero antics. It starts off with a fairly by-the-book superhero problem: a meteor is heading towards the city and the heroes need to stop it, bla-bla-bla, we’ve seen this before. We’ve even seen the last-second save before, but there was a lot that was different about this particular event.
First off, we get to see Genos grow as a character through this situation. When he first rendezvous with Bang, he’s told that it’s useless to attempt to stop the meteor, and that he should evacuate with everyone he loves. The S-Ranked hero Metal Tiger even unleashes a full missile barrage at the meteor with no effect. But Genos isn’t going to give up without a fight, and he whips out a new set of prototype arms to try and fully incinerate the meteor. But then…he pauses. What if he’s not strong enough? What’s the point? For once, we see the flaw in Genos’ seemingly perfect exterior: underneath the metal, he’s still a kid who lost his family and is trying to do the right thing in the world. He wants to get stronger, but he doubts his ability.
Genos’ struggle here is very similar to the struggle of many Christians when we face adversity. When we’re in a place where we have the opportunity to stand up against the flow of the world for Christ…when the moment comes where we have to either put up or shut up, we pause. Can I really do this? What will they think of me? Does it really even matter?
Like Genos, we’re still trying to figure out how to live in this world. We want to save those around us…but when those who appear stronger than us can’t seem to make an impact, then we wonder why we should even try. If we’re even good enough.
Quality talks with Bang.
One of the reasons that God provides us with communities of believers is so that we can all be encouraged to work together and encourage one another in our moments of weakness. And this is exactly what Bang does for Genos: he notices Genos’ hesitation and encourages him to give his all. And this help from a friend is exactly what Genos needs to push him fully into his conviction; he will not die without giving his all to help those he loves. And with that, he puts all of his power into his Incinerator and fires.
And nothing changes.
Genos has the most pitiful defeated faces in the show…
Genos had given it his all, but there was nothing he could do. His own power was not enough to stop the impending destruction. He had failed.
And then hope walked in, wearing a yellow jumpsuit and a white cape. Saitama, Geno’s master, saves the day with mere seconds to spare. The meteor is destroyed, and while there are still fragments of it raining across the city, no one has died.
Saitama has saved the city. By all rights now, he should be recognized as worthy of the adoration of the people, and notoriety amongst the Hero’s Association. But the opposite occurs. Most people are actually angry at Saitama for what they lost because of his actions. In fact, some heroes even try to discredit him: Tank-top Tiger gets his older brother (Black-hole Tiger, because you obviously can’t get any more original than that) to bring a mob together to ridicule Saitama in order to break his pride.
The people he came to save hate him. Sound familiar? It should: Jesus Himself suffered through the same thing throughout all the Gospels. “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him” (Jn 1:11). Words that really describe Saitama: despite the level of power he shows, despite all of his good intentions, even the Hero’s Association doesn’t care about him. The parallels between Saitama and Christ really thicken when he confronts those who were annoyed at him for the destruction of their city. Their complains boil down to simple materials losses: not the loss of anything essential to their survival. In essence, their complaints against him were because of the items they had to give up for their salvation.
And in response, Saitama gets pissed. With good reason too: he never saves anyone because he wants a pat on the back or praise, but because he wants to. Similar to Christ driving out the money-changers in the temple, Saitama is angry at the people’s focus on materialism rather than salvation; with no thoughts of gratitude for the selfless act of salvation offered to them, the people turn immediately towards the things they’ve lost.
And how often are we like this as Christians? We take for granted to awesome gift of salvation offered to us through Christ, and we focus on the small things. I can’t go see that movie with everyone else; Why can’t I dress that way; It’s not fair how differently I have to live, and so on. We get so stuck on the small things we can’t have that we neglect the great gift that we’ve been given. And this is a very wrong position to take.
This was yet another stellar effort on the part of Madhouse in adapting the One-Punch Man manga into the medium of anime. The action sequences were slick, the art style really does punch (pun fully intended) the viewer in the face with how vibrant it is, and the story manages to make me think with each episode, which is the highlight of the series in my opinion. Superhero cartoons on the whole tend to have a lot of morals and interesting stories, but One-Punch Man is a series that takes simple morals a full step farther than most do, in my opinion.
This episode in particular really stepped up in its portrayal of Saitama and Genos in the role of Jesus and His disciple, respectively. We see Genos overcome his fear of death in order to do his best to serve his Master, but in the end he is still dependent on his Master’s power, even when he does give his all. Saitama reflects Christ in his selfless approach to his heroism, and his righteous anger and those who are ungrateful for what he does. The parallels are strong with this anime, and I believe that it’ll only get stronger as the series goes on.
Saitama’s just full of awesome quotes.
To be honest, at this as the halfway point in the series, I’m surprised at how much depth the series has. As a superhero anime, I had expected a few general lessons on the use and misuse of power, but the wide variety of ideals explored in the series so far is surprising, and it’s making me want to see more of Madhouse’s works. I’ll definitely be looking into their other series in the future.