One Punch Man is one of those anime where you can know almost everything about it just from the title. But as you watch the show, you may wonder how Saitama is able to destroy everyone he comes across. So how did Saitama get his powers in One Punch Man?
Saitama got his powers through a workout routine that ended up breaking his limiter, opening up his maximum power levels above that of a normal human. One Punch Man is a type of comedy anime that hams up shonen tropes as one of its main appeals.
Let’s look at the explanations given in both the anime and manga as to the origin of Saitama’s power, as well as the reasons given by other characters as to why Saitama can just one punch any enemy he comes across.
Origin of Saitama’s Powers in One Punch Man
Saitama is basically the source of his own powers. His workout routine was strictly followed for several years but when looking at the actual contents of his workout, many may point out that Saitama doesn’t even do more activity than other weaker people around him.
For example, when telling his routine to Genos and explaining how it all worked, Genos couldn’t believe that such a routine would lead to anything but middling results or barely keep a body at maintenance level strength and endurance.
Geno’s reaction is understandable after all Saitama professes to only doing 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and 10 kilometers of running. If we take all of these exercises without weights, then Saitama is not even hitting a gym bro routine at this pace.
Of course, not many gym bros are doing running, let alone 10 kilometers or just over six miles, but the point still stands.
Funnily enough, this training regime is what Saitama points to as the reason why he went bald, but how Saitama could really know this is anyone’s guess.
If we reference the manga as opposed to the anime, then the manga is still quite vague about the origins of Saitama’s power.
The mention of a limiter is made several times in chapter 88, with a limiter being described as the internal limit that all humans have which prevents them from growing too strong.
As Saitama was able to remove or disable his internal limiter, he could keep growing in strength without bumping into this limit like everyone else.
Why Is Saitama So Powerful in One Punch Man?
It is true that Saitama ends all his fights with one punch, but this is just the first hint that the series is not taking itself super seriously.
One Punch Man is more a parody or satire, taking tropes relating to the shonen genre and making fun of them. Some just call it a comedy anime.
Common examples include Saitama’s habit of killing everything with a single punch, the existence of superhero organizations, and then some expected outcomes of such a society, such as an area of the city completely devoid of people because of danger.
While the term gag anime is often used when talking about One Punch Man, it is not strictly a gag anime. Saitama’s strength is not a gag per se, but it is more the immense strength in comparison to anything else that gives the series a gag-like feel.
It is more just the stark contrast between the weakness of other heroes and the almost guarantee that Saitama will win any encounter, no matter how powerful his opponent seems to be, that gives it a bit of a surreal atmosphere.
Gags are generally episodic. They rely on recycling a specific pun, joke, situation, or character repeatedly.
It’s often compared to a single sketch in a stand-up comedy show. So it’s a bit unfair to call One Punch Man a gag anime. Instead, Saitama’s great strength is a plot device.
Other common comedy elements are the ridiculous downplaying of other vital shonen themes such as the compressed nature of Saitama’s training, or the prevalence of weaker heroes getting together to defeat a strong enemy only to be destroyed in seconds.
However, we also see other characters endeavoring to break their own limiters to unlock further powers to get on the same level as Saitama, such as Garou. Other characters, such as Genus, even lay out the supposed things that need to be done to break one’s limiter.
Genus states that it was more than Saitama kept up with his routine even though he was coughing up blood and basically couldn’t move anymore because his body was broken. That sheer demonstration of effort is what helped him break his limit.
This means it’s wrong to focus on the actual acts that Saitama did, but more on what that meant for someone in Saitama’s position; someone who has not worked out much in their life suddenly doing some relatively high-impact training.
Another hint that this series is not taking itself overly serious is the litany of other characters that are references to other common tropes.
This includes characters such as Lord Boros similar to Broly from Dragon Ball Z, Garou like Doomsday from Superman, Ancient King who is Godzilla, and Bang who is Zeno Zoldyck from Hunter X Hunter.
However, as the whole point of One Punch Man is to be a light-hearted comedy fighting series, in the end, it is important to understand that Saitama’s power is supposed to be ridiculous and out of proportion. This absurdity is a key theme throughout the story.
For example, Saitama successfully got more powerful following this routine, but other characters tried and failed, apparently while doing the same thing.
The other characters who become exceptionally strong, such as Monster King Orochi and Garou, tended to follow a process that exposed them to constant near-death experiences. References also to God by Genus could also reveal that Saitama’s power is supernatural.
However it happened, it is thought that Saitama’s lack of motivation and purpose before when he started his training allowed him to go through this transformation without also losing his mind, as he didn’t have much, to begin with.