WARNING: The following contains spoilers for "The Martial Arts Tournament," the fifth episode of One-Punch Man Season 2, available now on Hulu.
Ever since the premiere episode of its second season, One-Punch Man has moved towards a prophecy predicting a mass onslaught of monsters will overwhelm the world's superheroes and completely eradicate humanity within six months time. While many of the subsequent episodes have shown the Hero Association distracted by the human hero-hunter Garou, the self-proclaimed Human Monster, the amount of monster attacks on the city have noticeably increased. And it's reached a breaking point with the latest episode.
Picking up from the previous episodes cliffhanger ending, the Dragon-level monster Elder Centipede continues to wreak havoc on the city. The Hero Association soon discovers this is not an isolated incident; heroes around the world are being outnumbered by a rapidly increasing number of emerging monsters. With Saitama and his student Genos preoccupied by the SuperFight martial arts tournament, the heroes are forced to fend for themselves as they face new threats with audacious names and themes including Make Plasma, Rhino Wrestler, Sludge Jellyfish, Martial Gorilla, Phoenix Man and Hundred Eyes Octopus.
As the heroes struggle to defend their respective cities, we learn the assault is more of a preliminary attack than the prophesied apocalypse. After defeating heroes Pineapple and Mohican, Rhino Wrestler kidnaps the unconscious Waganma, the son of Narinki and a major sponsor for the Hero Association. With the son of one of the superheroes' most wealthy benefactors their captive, the monsters begin to withdraw from the cities, presumably to issue some sort of grave ultimatum in exchange for Waganma's safety.
With many heroes beaten down by the sudden onslaught of monsters, the prophecy is quickly proving itself to be true rather than the ravings of a lunatic seer. The rise in monsters is certainly a cause for concern in it of itself, but more worrisome is the level of coordination between the behemoths and the revelation that they possess enough tactical knowledge to target the financiers of the Hero Association rather than stick to wanton destruction.
For much of the anime series, the heroes have presented themselves as capable against the rising tide of monsters, saved at the last minute by Saitama whenever they do face a threat that outmatches them. However, with Saitama currently engaged elsewhere and none the wiser about the increasing number of monsters and their plot, the truth is revealed. The heroes are ill-prepared to properly stop the monsters across the city, overwhelmed both by sheer number and power levels.
The latest episode's destructive attack was only a first wave so a small group could kidnap Waganma, suggesting an even larger, more powerful army of monsters is lurking, one that can completely overwhelm the Hero Association. With Garou taking the focus as the primary antagonist for much of the season's initial batch of episodes, the monsters themselves are back in full force with the latest chapter. And if this first major strike is any indicator, the prophesied monster apocalypse might not only arrive in full destructive force against our heroes, it may come ahead of the six month schedule, catching the already beleaguered Hero Association when the organization is at its weakest.
Produced by J.C. Staff, new episodes of One-Punch Man debut every Tuesday on Hulu.