Despite being one of the most ridiculously overpowered characters in all of anime, One-Punch Man's Saitama doesn't quite possess the mental abilities to match his incredible superhuman strength and endurance. One of the biggest recurring gags over the course of the popular manga and anime series is how clueless the underrated superhero often comes off, desensitized to conventional life-or-death stakes by his invulnerability and trademark trick of being able to defeat any opponent with a single, mighty blow.
However, while Saitama may not be as attuned to the world around him as his peers, there is a deceptively cunning side to the caped hero, especially visible at the end of Season 1 when Earth is invaded by a new extraterrestrial threat that is poised to overrun the Hero Association defending the planet from monsters and other menaces to society. And it is this tactful use of strategy that ultimately helps Saitama outsmart the alien invaders and save the day once again.
As the Hero Association battles against the aliens on the Earth's surface, led by the fearsome, multi-headed monster Melzargard, Saitama manages to infiltrate the alien ship and begins battering his way through, unimpeded by seemingly indestructible walls and powerful creatures dwelling inside of it. After easily slaying the alien monster Goribas, Saitama begins to actively search for the extraterrestrial leader Boros, commanding the invasion from his throne room.
As it becomes clear that no amount of reinforcements can stop Saitama from continuing his rampage inside the alien spacecraft, the invaders attempt to dissuade Saitama through an intercom to stop and return home. Stopping his assault for a moment, Saitama asks which direction is the closest way to exit the ship. Relieved, the unseen announcer tells the superhero which way to go but it is then revealed to be a quick ploy by Saitama all along to discover where the leader of the invasion is hiding, with the hero revealing his feint with a quick grin at the success of his quick thinking.
Saitama immediately goes in the complete opposite direction, eventually barreling his way into Boros' throne room where he fights the alien overlord in an epic brawl that gives him the most trouble of any fight so far in the series... Well, almost. Saitama is punched to the moon but almost instantly returns, unfazed.
After killing Boros, Saitama then finds himself disappointed that he still hasn't encountered a worthy opponent, even one that traveled all the across the cosmos to Earth. However, Saitama's on-the-spot ploy is successful at saving the day, as the alien survivors are swiftly executed by the heroes back on Earth and the remains of the ship used to construct the Hero Association's new headquarters.
Saitama's deception on the alien ship is the most manipulative and tactical the character has ever been seen in the series to date. Often the butt of others' jokes and chronically underestimated, Saitama demonstrated that he could quickly outsmart the extraterrestrial attackers and locate their leader, with the usual hard-hitting results. This trend has yet to resurface throughout Season 2, as Saitama has spent the season largely distracted by video games and martial arts instead of dealing with the hero hunter Garou or the prophesized monster apocalypse brought about by the rising Monster Association.
However, as the second season moves into its endgame, the comedically clueless hero has previously shown to be surprisingly cunning in his own, unassuming way which may save humanity from total annihilation by a new threat once again.
Produced by J.C. Staff, new episodes of One-Punch Man debut every Tuesday on Hulu.