One Punch Man is a popular manga and anime series that has captured the hearts of many with its unique blend of comedy, action, and existential drama.
Central to the narrative is its protagonist, Saitama, whose simplistic demeanor and unassuming appearance belie his overwhelming strength.
But who is Saitama, and how did he come to possess the power to defeat any opponent with a single punch? Let’s delve into his past to unravel the mystery.
A Normal Beginning
Saitama wasn’t always the bald, caped hero we know today. In his younger days, he was just a regular guy, with hair, looking for a job after completing his studies.
He was not exceptionally talented, nor did he stand out in any particular way. This ordinariness was punctuated one day when a crab monster attacked him.
During this encounter, Saitama was reminded of his childhood dream – to become a hero that could defeat any enemy with one punch.
The Heroic Transformation
Motivated by his encounter with the crab monster, Saitama decided to pursue his dream of becoming a hero. This decision led him to embark on a strict training regimen.
For three years, he did 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 100 squats daily, alongside a 10 km run. He trained without air conditioning during summer and without heating during winter.
This rigorous routine, done every day without fail, resulted in him losing all his hair but gaining unprecedented strength and speed. Other characters have speculated that while Saitama believes he gained this strength through the training, he had somehow, without realising it, lifted the ‘limiter’ on the abilities. This resulted in limitless power.
This transformation came with its own set of challenges. While Saitama achieved his goal of being able to defeat any opponent with one punch, he also lost the thrill of a challenging fight.
Battles became mundane, victories hollow, and his overwhelming power left him feeling perpetually bored and unfulfilled.
Seeking Purpose in Heroism
Even with his unmatched strength, Saitama’s journey into heroism was not straightforward. He initially began his heroic deeds as an unofficial hero, often unrecognized and even scorned by the public.
The lack of recognition and the absence of challenging adversaries left Saitama in a state of existential crisis. He questioned the purpose of his power and the meaning of his existence.
It was only when he encountered Genos, a cyborg hero, and later, the Hero Association, that Saitama started to find a semblance of purpose.
Through interactions with other heroes and facing various threats to humanity, he slowly began to realize that heroism wasn’t just about power but also about responsibility, sacrifice, and understanding one’s role in the larger scheme of things.
Saitama’s past is a tale of transformation, not just in terms of physical strength but also in personal growth and understanding.
His journey from an ordinary man to the strongest hero is riddled with struggles, introspection, and the search for purpose.
While his overwhelming power makes for comedic and epic battle sequences, it’s his human struggles and emotions that make him relatable and endearing to fans.
Through Saitama’s story, One Punch Man delves into profound themes of purpose, identity, and the true essence of heroism.