「最強の悩み」 (Saikyou no Nayami)
“The Ultimate Dilemma”
While a week’s tennis break is probably not long enough to get out of the rut OPM has seemingly found itself in of late, it doesn’t hurt to try even if the results are, well, less than positive. OPM may not be the flop as many a comment is quick to describe, but the show has certainly found it troublesome recently of late to reach the narrative heights its previous season did. Probably not the spot I expect many of us thought we’d be in, but hey, stranger things have happened.
Although noticeable for a few weeks now, this episode is arguably the first where OPM’s current focus on multiple plots and characters really made its presence felt. From Saitama doing the usual to Garo’s two stage beatdown and everything Monster Association, it was an eclectic mix of hero-monster shenanigans, but without the key piece holding it together: the fights. Call it superficial, but OPM (at least for me) isn’t really OPM without some detailed destruction and fists to the face. No matter the philosophical banter and the deadpan humour (and oh what humour it was this time), just showing the bare trappings of duels and their aftermath isn’t really enough to make up for prematurely ripping the visual meat right from the bone. Where was the Goketsu battle, the focus on Garo’s first real loss (Saitama doesn’t count), hell even a little bit more of the gorilla I’m sure a few likely forgot the origins of? Faithful adaptation or not—i.e. Goketsu’s off-screen elimination—there needs to be something more to OPM in the action department because it’s these over the top engagements which help give strength to the rest of the material on display.
Speaking of other material, we certainly got that in spades this week thanks to a little King-directed Saitama introspection. Much like with Suiryu’s belated understanding of his limitations, Saitama too came to realize he’s not as powerful as he may think. Sure he’s got physical strength to spare (heh), but beyond those mystical one shot punches? Just as average as anyone else. The key Saitama (and even Suiryu and Garo) are quickly learning is that learning is never truly over; there’s always additional knowledge to acquire, experiences to have, power to gain. If you believe there’s nothing left to learn at all then you are arrogant and it will come back to bite you later, one way or another. Not like the caped baldy would actually lose a fight mind you (the laws of scienceTM are absolute), but no one ever said Saitama’s ordinary personal life couldn’t get a little rowdy given the right circumstances. All it takes is a single event to turn the world on its head after all, and no one, not even the strongest, can effortlessly avoid the fallout.
The only question is just what world altering event our monstrous enemies of the moment have in store for the good guys.