“The Ultimate Disciple”
The Meteor & The Suffering of Z-City:
These past few episodes have felt much more like the One-Punch Man I was initially hoping for, devastating meteors and all. The introduction of the Hero Association has injected so much more life and variety into the series, and from what I’ve heard the stalker points are adding up as well. Will it match early expectations? Perhaps not, but it will by no means be a failure. I think, rightfully so, plenty of people weren’t sure how this was going to turn out after the first four episodes, when it appeared it was already stagnating. But my expectations were proven wrong, and here we are now.
The first half of this episode was definitely the more impactful and memorable half. Meteors are fun, and from the first few minutes of this episode I was thinking to myself: ‘I can’t wait for Saitama to save the day once again.’ And of course, that’s what happened. It’s predictable, but it does feel good for such a simple guy to deliver the final blow. However, we did get to meet some more S-Ranks along the way. Silver Fang “Bang” (Yamaji Kazuhiro) is your typical badass old guy. His design feels very old-school, and his wise words provided an appreciated perspective on the superhero industry as a whole. He understands what it means to be a hero – being the 3rd strongest – so I hope we get to see him properly in action in the near future. The other S-Rank we meet is Bofoy “Metal Knight” (Genda Tessyo), who doesn’t appear in person, but manages to test his own missiles while he can. Again, we’re seeing different perspectives within the top class of the Hero Association – some want to save the world, others are in it for their own gain and growth. By the end, however, Saitama’s epic one punch is the highlight of the episode. Genos’s attempts looked fantastic, but they didn’t quite make a dent compared to his mentor, who smashed it into a hundred pieces, causing a meteor shower to rain over the city…
Saitama the Hero:
After seven episodes, Saitama is finally getting some recognition, now being bumped up to C-5 after playing a part in saving Z-City. Of course, we know it was almost entirely his own effort that saved the day, but the media and the association assume that the S-ranks were the ones who did most of the work. If that weren’t the case, he’d likely be way up at Genos’s rank right now, but that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? However, with partial credit comes the blame for what followed. The mini meteors raining down on the city were hilarious, but at the same I was left thinking that something so devastating being played for a joke was an odd choice. Thankfully, the entire latter part of this episode was focused on the repercussions of his actions and the blame that was thrown at him as a result of the damage.
At the end of it all, it’s quite silly. The tanktop brothers are clearly more interested in taking revenge on someone who bumped down their own rank as opposed to tackling the issue at hand. Conveniently, no one even died, so no one really has any right to complain. But they do so anyway, and a mini fight breaks out. It’s satisfying to see Saitama effortlessly destroy them, before going off on a rant to the civilians watching over him. Unfortunately, what should have been a powerful moment ended up rather jarring, for me at least.
I’ve not had an issue with Furukawa Makoto’s voice acting up until this point – if anything, I’ve really dug what the voice he’s given Saitama – yet when he started that high-pitched screaming I was taken aback. It sounded completely different from what we’ve heard so far and was more like a shrill than anything else. Admittedly, I’m not an avid lover of seiyuus, except for whenever they deliver a phenomenal performance, but this one stood out for the all the wrong reasons.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Aside from the questionable voice acting at the end, this was another great episode. At this point it seems like One-Punch Man has found its feet, as we appear to be adapting the material that best shows off what makes this so enjoyable. Saitama is still a strong lead (in more ways than one), and I’ll be keen to see how he deals with now being recognised, after getting no credit for his previous efforts. He’s still got a way to go before he breaks into the top ranks, but it’s a journey I’m excited to continue watching.