Sorry these are late, I have RSI in my hand which was making it even hard to type without hurting.
Saitama soon learns that being a C-rank hero means that you must engage in regular hero activity or else your name is removed from the registry. Any other time it would be easy for him to find some baddies to vanquish, but now of all times everything is peaceful. To make matters worse, he is antagonizing civilians by running around frantically and creeping them out. Meanwhile, Genos is only becoming more and more famous, without even having done anything, solely due to being S-rank.
‘Luckily’ for Saitama, Sonic is still around and is determined to act like a little shit and goad Saitama into fighting him again by endangering all the townsfolk, so he is at least able to get some hero-ing done.
It’s also revealed that the city Saitama and Genos live in is now a complete ghost town where monsters routinely gather, and there are rumours that a particularly deadly and powerful one may be living there. The agency sends two high-ranking heroes to scout things out – Golden Ball and Spring Moustache – but both are cruelly defeated. The monster that defeated them wasn’t even the one from the rumours, either, but one that came to the area because of those rumours. Of course, Saitama is able to defeat this one easily. Now, the agency’s are monitoring ‘City Z’ with great interest…
A great deal of this episode was world-building for One Punch Man’s setting, which is a little more interesting than that sounds like it would be. There’s a lot of rules and regulations to being a hero that Saitama never really had to bother with before, and I’m actually kind of glad that all that stuff in the beginning that I at first took as being the shows ‘whatever lol’ approach has actually had consequences. Saitama’s city is deserted because of all the monsters he’s already fought, and it’s actually pretty sad to consider that the reason nobody knows about him is because so many of the people that used to live there are undoubtedly dead. The only reason he even stays there himself is because he doesn’t have to pay rent and he can easily deal with the monsters. But you’d think the Hero Association would have looked into things a little earlier than this.
I enjoyed the episode for what we got to learn about the other characters but in the end, no one is anywhere near as fun to watch as Saitama and Genos. The big fight with the seaweed monster, Golden Ball and Spring Moustache was actually one of the lower points of the episode because I just didnt really feel any connection to them as characters. (Plus, it was obvious they were going to lose the fight, there was no need to stretch it on that long). At least some of the other Hero Assocation characters, like Tornado the green-haired girl in the opening, look a little more interesting than them.
There’s the implication that the ‘strongest monster’ living in City Z is likely just Saitama, but I’m not ruling out other possibilites at this point.
An asteroid is incoming, which would result in the complete desctruction of numerous cities. Who you gonna call? S-Class heroes! Unfortunately, Genos and a guy called Bang (AKA Silver Fang) are the only two that actually respond to the invitation, as the other S-classes were either too far away or don’t want to bother. They are eventually joined by ‘Metal Knight’ – or rather a robot controlled by him from a distance, but even with the 3 S classes together they are unable to do anything to stop the approaching asteroid. Saitama shows up just in time and punches it, which saves the day…to an extent. It actually breaks it up into smaller asteroids that still cause an immense amount of destruction in the city.
Despite having done the most heroic thing possible since becoming a registered hero, many of the civilians start to blame Saitama for partially destroying their home and question his competency. Since his C rank jumped from 342 to 5, some even believe he cheated his way there by stealing a stronger hero’s glory. However, it starts to become obvious to the viewers at least that Saitama is one of the few heroes that actually does act in the interest of the civilians rather than fame alone.
I was hoping to see more of Tornado in this episode but sadly we don’t. The whole asteroid thing was pretty unexpected, seeing as the last episode made out that the next thing to happen would be a bigger investigation into City Z. However, One Punch Man did teach me that the ‘Torino Scale’ is a real thing used to measure the danger level of space-borne objects approaching earth, and considering that this is more or less my name I found that a nice bit of trivia.
What this episode was mostly about was the revelation that the entire Hero system may be somewhat corrupt, and its handle in a way that’s a lot more sombre than I would have expected from this show starting out. Although he’s initially shown as something almost like a gag character to begin with, Saitama is a really solid guy. It takes a true hero to put up with all that he did in this episode and still work to protect as many of the people insulting him as he can – even if he isn’t the greatest at being on time or minimizing damage, he still does a better job at it than the other Heroes who mostly seem to only care about their own fame and safety. (Even the Heroes who willingly have put themselves in danger so far seem to do so more out of hubris than bravery, too.) It’s really only Genos that sees what an amazing guy Saitama really is, and its somewhat bittersweet.
I’m also pretty sure that Madhouse have the time of their lives animating Genos’s action scenes because they definitely seem to put the most heart and pizzazz into pretty much any scene where he does something cool-looking. I just hope the poor guy can get some more scenes where he actually succeeds at doing something.