One-Punch Man's lead, Saitama, is one of those anime characters that's nearly impossible to dislike. His all-powerful punch combined with his complete nonchalance at being a hero make him both formidable and admirable. After all, how can anyone pass up a guy who's a hero for fun?
But even if Saitama's motives for being a hero are fairly straightforward, fans only get brief glimpses into what else is going on in the guy's mind. Sure, everyone knows that Saitama enjoys shopping and playing video games. But how much else can fans claim to understand about one of their favorite anime heroes?
So here are 10 things you probably didn't know about Saitama.
American One-punch Man fans probably won't have heard of Anpanman. But he's a children's character that Japanese fans will have grown up seeing. And viewers have connected Saitama's design to Anpanman's, suggesting that One-punch Man creator, ONE, based his style choices off of the longtime cartoon hero.
And it's easy to see how this could be the case, given how much Saitama resembles Anpanman. The bald head and simplistic facial features are obvious similarities, but even Saitama's clothing mirrors Anpanman's. The red and yellow colors are switched, sure, but the basics are the same, right down to the gloves, belt and cape.
When ONE first began drawing One-punch Man, he published it as a free web comic on his website. Back then, the artwork was incredibly simplistic — perhaps in an attempt to add even more comedy to an already humorous story. The characters' designs became more complex, however, as the story went on to become a manga, and then an animated series. That's because ONE had another artist illustrate the anime.
There are times during the show, however, that reference the creator's original art style. Especially during the first season, the anime throws in nods to ONE's drawings. Remember Saitama's famous "OK" moment after he punches Boros to no effect? That's a tribute to ONE's art style, even if it's still a bit more detailed than the image shown here.
Saitama is a fairly unique name. But fans wondering how ONE came up with it shouldn't overthink its origins. The One-punch Man creator actually named Saitama after the Japanese province where he lives.
Of course, tracing the backgrounds of Saitama's nicknames are far easier. Caped Baldy is a particular favorite among the fandom, a name given to him by the Hero Association. And One-punch Man, well, that one's self-explanatory.
During One-punch Man, viewers spend plenty of time watching Saitama grocery shop and run errands. In fact, some of the funniest moments of the anime stem from these types of scenes. There's even a moment mid-battle as he's fighting Carnage when Saitama laments that he missed bargain day at the supermarket. Priorities.
But while most fans know how serious Saitama takes his shopping, less are aware that the hero actually worked at a convenience store prior to becoming the Caped Baldy viewers know and love. ONE confirmed this fact during a Q&A. One of Saitama's experiences while working at the store was depicted in a picture diary that used to live on the creator's website.
Piggy-backing off of the last point, there was also a time that Saitama faced some financial struggles. Before joining the Hero Association, he worked part-time jobs in order to pay for his lifestyle — which was a pretty frugal one at that. He essentially lived off of vegetables, something he still does at times, even after joining the Hero Association. He also struggled to pay rent, another thing that carries over into the series, given that Genos pays his rent now.
Being a hero for fun doesn't pay lucratively, it seems, but it at least makes Saitama a more relatable character.
Before Saitama ever becomes an official hero, he saves a character coined "Ball-Chinned Kid" from Crabman, a monster that attacks the boy in a park. The act of kindness seems pretty insignificant at the time — just another moment in the life of a hero-for-fun. But it has a larger impact on Saitama's world than even he realizes.
As it turns out, the kid Saitama rescued is the grandson of Agoni, the multi-millionaire who founded the Hero Association. Agoni came up with the concept of the organization after hearing what transpired between Saitama and his grandson, meaning that Saitama was the foundation that the entire association was built on. He has no idea, of course, and neither do they. To them, he's just another B-Class hero.
For someone who can knock out his enemies with a single punch, it seems like Saitama would have a pretty brutal exercise regimen. But when he explains his methods to Genos, it becomes clear that Saitama's workout is actually pretty doable. In addition to running 6.2 miles every day, he does 100 situps, pushups and squats.
OK, so the average person might not love Saitama's workout. But someone who's practiced in the art of exercising might be able to keep up. Sadly, they probably won't develop super strength in the process.
Even though Saitama can often be seen living off of vegetables, he does indulge on occasion. In fact, during one of the One-punch Man special episodes, Saitama ventures to a restaurant to dine out — with Genos following him, attempting to get a better idea of his master's routine. Imagine his surprise when his master simply wants a side of french fries.
When Saitama leaves the table to go to the restroom, Genos wanders over and steals a fry, claiming that it's evidence. He doesn't think his master will notice. But when Saitama returns, he's dismayed to see that the long, soft fry he had his eye on is missing from his plate. As it turns out, he much prefers those to the short, crispy ones. Weird.
During the One-punch Man episodes that give fans a glimpse inside of Saitama's apartment, viewers can clearly see a bookshelf in the background. And it turns out that the hero's manga-reading, anime-watching fandom have something in common with him, because Saitama appears to read plenty of manga himself. (Or, at least, we can assume he does given the amount of manga he owns.)
If you look closely, you'll also find manga related to ONE's other series, Mob Psycho 100, from time to time. And that isn't the only reference to his other anime you'll find...
It's a known fact that ONE likes to drop Easter Eggs of his series in his other works, frequently referencing One-punch Man during Mob Psycho 100 and vice versa. There are plenty of these that appear throughout the first two seasons of the series, as well as in the mangas. One that stands out specifically is in the One-punch Man manga series, when Saitama wears a shirt that reads "Mob Psycho 1000000" on the front.
Yes, the last part has a few extra zeroes, but one thing is certain: It seems that Saitama is a fan of whatever version of Mob Psycho 100 that exists in his world.