Maybe you’ve heard of One-Punch Man from one of your friends. If you haven’t, here’s a quick synopsis: It’s a now-popular anime about a dude who literally kills his enemies with one punch.
We could get into the satirical appeal of the series, but we’ll save that for a later time. Instead, let’s talk about the series’ most relatable scenes—the moments that remind us that although Saitama (aka One-Punch Man) is superhumanly strong, he still has to endure very human problems.
These little reminders help to emphasize the humor present throughout the series, and prove that, at the end of the day, superheroes are just like us! OK, not really. Like, not even close. But it’s nice to see that they do still experience some of the daily struggles of living a somewhat average life.
1) Experiencing an existential crisis in your bathtub
Yes, an existential crisis can occur anywhere and everywhere. But after a long day of working (or, in Saitama’s case, fighting), it’s understandable that you’d have one in the comforts of your own bathroom. In the first episode, “The Strongest Man,” we learn that Saitama is feeling unfulfilled as the world’s strongest man. Whether it’s an extraterrestrial being or some mad scientist who has turned his bro into a buff giant, the hero takes out his opponents in one punch. It’s inevitable: You get really good at what you do, and you miss the thrill of a challenge. Therefore, Saitama is left living his days on autopilot, fighting monsters and villains with absolute ease, only to return home and dream of a noteworthy battle that’s yet to happen.
2) Having a great dream ruined by an alarm
Not all of us dream about fighting some of the deadliest warriors in existence after realizing we’ve reached our physical peak. But we feel you anyway, Saitama: We all have dreams that speak to a certain desire. What’s worse is having that desire make itself present in our subconscious, only to be interrupted by an unexpected alarm (because let’s be real, although we set our alarms for a certain hour, we still never really know it’s coming). By the end of “The Strongest Man,” we’re fooled into believing Saitama has finally met his match, only for him (and us) to realize that it’s nothing but a dream—and consequently smashing his alarm through his apartment floor.
3) Trying to kill a mosquito
As seen in the second episode, “The Lone Cyborg,” although Saitama has physical strength that could put some of anime’s strongest warriors to shame (sorry Goku, as well as the rest of the Saiyan lineage), he has a formidable foe in one of the most annoying insects to ever be created: the mosquito. Yes, a blood-sucking insect that also manages to cause death regardless of its near-microscopic size is Saitama’s most formidable opponent so far in the series. The entire sequence is comically relatable, the scene perfectly capturing a universal struggle and torment.
4) Involuntarily listening to someone else’s problems
We also learn in episode two who exactly our lone cyborg is: Genos. He literally offers us his life story shortly after appearing at Saitama’s apartment, with the latter noticeably anxious about hearing the former’s backstory. There are two great things about this entire sequence: its satirization of the anime-backstory-formula (a character is introduced, and they proceed to spend several minutes explaining their life, often accompanied by a collection of flashbacks that are long enough to lead to the next commercial break), and its execution in conveying a dilemma that’s shared by human and superhuman alike. How many times have you found yourself being honest with someone and saying, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have the time to talk to you right now,” only for that person to continue talking to you? It’s one of the most LOL-worthy moments so far in the series—because of how painfully accurate it is.
5) Fear of missing out (on bargain day at the supermarket)
It’s safe to assume that Saitama lives like an average person. He doesn’t own an extravagant home or mansion, and he still purchases his own groceries, because he’s not living that lavish life like Handsomely Masked Sweet Mask. So naturally the guy freaks out about almost missing bargain day at a local supermarket. Just when we finally think Saitama has met his match in Asura Rhino, he takes him out with a single punch and attempts to make his way to the store before it’s too late. Saving a couple bucks on groceries whenever possible should be taken seriously at all times, especially if you’re like most of the human population in not being able to relate to DJ Khaled’s Snapchat success stories. We should all strive to be like Saitama in these situations: fighting the figurative and literal Asura Rhinos of our lives (hopefully never the latter, because then we’re all doomed) in hopes of scoring that much-needed store special.
6) Wondering what to eat for dinner
We’ve all been there: thinking about what we want to eat when we should be listening to this person blabbering at us. In the time that it’s taken you to choose some meat or pasta from the 16 choices you started with, that person might’ve told you something very important. Food trumps all, as Saitama reminds us in this brief moment from episode five, “The Ultimate Master.” Snek, some guy who ironically embodies everything he warns Saitama and Genos of becoming now that they’re registered heroes, gives them a pointless lecture on what being a hero is. Both couldn’t care less, which is why Saitama is visibly disinterested, chewing a piece of gum and contemplating what he should eat later. Ultimately, he ends up getting udon with Genos—shortly after kicking Snek’s ass.
7) Chilling in your apartment, waiting for something to happen—but not actively looking for something, either
OK, so it’s not exactly the same, considering Saitama is waiting for a criminal or villain to fight—but you can still relate to the daily struggle of waiting for something to happen to make leaving the comfort of your apartment worthwhile. As we see in episode six, “The Terrifying City,” Saitama has been sitting around hoping for a news report that addresses some danger occurring in the city but learns from Genos that the news only reports major incidents (which should be something that everyone knows, but apparently not). All this time Saitama has been picking his nose and eating junk food as someone was probably mugged or beaten (or both). Fortunately for us, we’re just waiting to hear about a cool party that we’ll consider going to for a few seconds, only to go home early and catch up on that hyped Netflix show. But we still know how you feel, Saitama.
Photo and GIFs via Daisuki