Annotated Anime: One Punch Man episode 8


S-Class Went To The Sea Sea Sea (King)

If last week's installment of One Punch Man was about complicating the world of heroism for our man Saitama - and to an extent, for us as observers of the show's world, this week's episode is all about intensifying it.

In a word, things get real this week.

It's ironic, then, that the "realness" of today's big setup comes courtesy of two characters that are practically impossible to take seriously, and for reasons that aren't really funny, in all honesty.

I am, of course, referring to the big baddie, the Sea King, and the most powerful non-lead  character we've seen fight, the S-Class Hero Puri-Puri Prisoner. Both are, unfortunately, tremendous missteps in the enduring quest for sensitivity in anime character design, since they act and speak like raging gay stereotypes of that peculiarly Japanese, "Cho Aniki" variety. 

For the uninitiated, it's worth pointing out that Japan's conception of gay stereotyping runs slightly differently than in America and the west. Over in (In)Glorious Nippon, the things usually held "suspect" are the hyper-masculine, bodybuilding types, with looks and designs pioneered by the likes of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Fist of the North Star, and others. Yup it's not the effete, effeminate fashion-hound of a guy that trips your average Japanese person's gaydar, but the genetic beast lobster

I am, of course, generalizing, but it's telling that Sonic, who's also in the episode and normally wears an outfit that's more snug than body paint, is the one that gets treated like a hyper-cool male badass. In comparison, Puri-Puri Prisoner is basically a prison rapist. Hard not to look at that and wonder why these S-Class types are still called "Hero". 

But, it's not all bad. They may be terrible stereotypes, but Sea King and Puri-Puri Prisoner actually still manage to be pretty cool. Prisoner does it by going way over the top, striking a flamer-hulk performance that recalls the likes of Cars and AC/DC from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Sea King does it by being the most powerful and terrifying baddie the show's yet seen. 

Unlike the Colossal Titan ripoff from episode 1 or Carnage Kabuto, the Sea King's out to kill, and makes mincemeat of anyone he comes across, eventually breaking into the emergency evacuation shelter in order to slaughter the puny humans inside.

This is where things get more intense, as clearly doomed heroes still make a stand, despite knowing they're far outclassed and don't stand a chance. Even a jerk like Snake-Bite Snek gets some redemption. As most folks can agree, heroism isn't about your actions when you're not being challenged. It's about what you do when you're so scared you've soiled yourself.

[Watch more of One Punch Man on Daisuki!]

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures



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