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One-Punch Man: Saitama & Garou's First Clash Is Not What We Expected

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for "The Hunt Begins," the third episode of Season 2 of One-Punch Man, available now on Hulu.

As the principal antagonist of One-Punch Man's second season, Garou, the self-proclaimed human monster hunting down Z-City's superheroes to ensure a prophesied monster apocalypse, was always going to come to blows with the series' main protagonist, Saitama. And, surprisingly, by the new season's third episode, the two powerful figures finally cross paths for the first time, kicking off their eagerly anticipated showdown.

Having successfully defeated every single member of the Hero Association he's tracked down over the course of the season's first three episodes, Garou remains the biggest threat in the city during Season 2 despite only being a human rather than the hulking monstrosities that the Hero Association is accustomed to quelling on a regular basis. Growing stronger with every hero that he beats, Garou's regard for himself correspondingly increases until the final moments of the episode when he randomly finds himself face-to-face with Saitama on the streets of Z-City.

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Saitama had learned of Garou's existence from his friend and fellow hero Mumen Rider after the crimefighting cyclist was beaten within an inch of his life with the S-class hero Tank-Top Master the night before. Visiting both heroes in the hospital the next day to learn about this new enemy and give them bananas, Saitama is intrigued by this new threat that relies on speed and precision rather than overwhelming strength; a marked difference than the monsters he effortlessly defeats as part of his never-ending search to find a worthy opponent.

Upon learning from the fledgling martial artist Charanko that Garou was one of his master and fellow Hero Association member Bang's best students, Saitama becomes even more curious about learning more about the world of martial arts and its crimefighting possibilities. Charanko informs Saitama that the city is having a massive martial arts tournament soon, exclusive to registered martial artists. Gravely injured by his own failed attempt to rescue Mumen Rider and Tank-Top Master from Garou, Charanko is unable to enter the tournament himself as originally planned.

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By the end of the episode, Saitama encounters Garou outside of a wig shop. Unimpressed by the unassuming hero's appearance but decided to fight him as part of his bloody hunt nonetheless, Garou smashes a massive karate chop into Saitama's shoulder so powerfully that the sidewalk beneath the bald superhero completely shatters. Characteristically nonplussed, Saitama confuses Garou and his attack as one from a common mugger and reciprocates with a karate chop of his own that leaves Garou in a senseless heap at his feet.

It is then revealed that Saitama wasn't hunting his friends' attacker at all, but rather trying to buy a wig to disguise himself as Charanko and enter the martial arts tournament in his place. That the anime protagonist and the Season 2 villain happened to cross paths on the street was purely a coincidence, and Saitama still doesn't;t realize who he just dispatched with a single blow.

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As Saitama seeks to learn the ways of martial arts in his continuing quest to grow even more powerful, Garou has just singlehandedly been dealt his largest unequivocal defeat since his debut. The villain will inevitably recover from this confrontation with an ax to grind for the low-ranked hero, and perhaps a pledge to not underestimate him in the eventual rematch. However, given Saitama's seemingly limitless power levels, Garou apparently has a long way to go to even remotely compare to the hero.

Produced by J.C. Staff, new episodes of One-Punch Man debut every Tuesday on Hulu.

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