I…I’m in love.
I don’t even know how it happened. It all started when my brother bought the first season of One Punch Man…and then –
Then this gorgeous creature entered my life.
His name is Genos. He makes me swoon.
Me! Who can’t stand romance except in microscopic doses! Me, who hates the fourteen-year-olds-in-grown-women’s-bodies who squee about their book boyfriends like a bunch of @$#%?@ —
Why has this emotion taken over my life, and why does that hunk of metal and blond hair make my heart flutter EVERY – SINGLE – TIME?
Well, I’m here to over-analyze just that and try to arrive at a logical answer. Welcome along for the ride.
He shoots fire out of his hands.
Need I say more?
He’s a blond cyborg.
Need I say more?!
He asks to be the main character’s disciple.
Saitama is technically the main character, but in a lot of ways he’s less interesting than Genos (to me).
Genos can’t obliterate enemies with “one punch” – and he knows it. He admires Saitama’s strength, and tags after him in the desperate hope that he will himself become stronger.
But their dynamic has so much more to it than that, and as the season progresses and they learn about each other Genos’ unshakable faith in Saitama (when the entire rest of the world thinks he’s a wanna-be fraud) is part of what keeps Saitama going (when he’s really kind of bored with the whole thing and really just wants something to punch that doesn’t immediately disintegrate).
And he acts nineteen! He’s super serious, and focused, and aspirational. He’s idealistic, and wants to get constantly stronger so that he can be an even better hero!
He’s inexperienced, and he knows it. Everything about him screams green, eager, and determined.
His memories of his tragic backstory are fresh in his mind, and he’s dedicated to preventing that from happening again.
He respects his elders.
Obviously he respects Saitama, but this goes for everyone else more experienced, too.
Whether it’s a tough old grandpa/mentor type who wants these new up-starts to succeed, or a self-important veteran who just wants the newbies to stay out of his way…Genos knows he doesn’t know it all. And he’s all about letting those who know teach him.
He plays well with others, and isn’t selfish.
Genos isn’t about being a one-cyborg-show. He knows the value of working with and learning from those who have walked the path before.
When a hero out-classes him, he readily submits to their superior skill. When a “hero” pathetically fails, he moves in to fill the gap.
None of what he does is about making Genos look good. It’s 100% about service (and also about becoming a better servant).
He gets blown up. A lot.
He’s a cyborg, of course, so he just needs to get rebuild.
But Genos getting his butt kicked is TOTALLY ADORABLE for some reason. (And his battle music is pretty cool, too.)
He has a tragic backstory.
Genos’ whole family (and most of his town) was blown up by an evil cyborg. But now he’s been rebuilt to be a good cyborg and hunt down the evil cyborg. (Sympathy points!)
He’s super grateful to the scientist who saved his life, and later to Saitama (who saves his life repeatedly).
His tragedy hasn’t given him baggage…just a(n adorable) drive to do the right thing, and to protect those who can’t protect themselves. (And also get strong enough to protect them against even bigger threats.)
His chemistry with Saitama pushes Saitama to be better.
At the very least it’s hilarious the way Genos hangs on Saitama’s every word – while Saitama doesn’t really know why he’s so strong or how to help anyone else improve.
But Genos’ earnest, sincere devotion force Saitama to dig deeper, involve himself in more heroics, and embrace his mentor role (or at least make up something that sounds profound).
Genos believes everything Saitama says…even if he just made it up to sound good.
Saitama has no idea what makes him so strong, and no actual martial arts technique…but Genos doesn’t care. He knows what Saitama can do, and respects him profoundly for it.
But his naïvety also makes us laugh from time to time. Aww…
He never gives up.
Did I mention he gets his butt kicked?
Even though he can vaporize an eight-story building with one blast, he still gets “turned into bad modern art” almost every episode. (Has he ever even won a fight? I’m trying to remember…)
But not only does he look ABSOLUTELY KICK-BUTT while he’s getting trashed, it never stops him from giving it his all. Whether he’s shooting his fiery lasers at a meteor or punching an enormous monster, he pours everything he’s got into his task.
Although sometimes he over-analyzes.
He is a cyborg, after all, so data is very important to him. He’s memorized all the stats on every hero, and he tries to out-strategize his opponents whenever possible.
When he gets it wrong, that just means he’s still learning and growing and IT’S ADORABLE!
(He’s basically what Eric Kedzierski would be if Eric were a little more erudite.)
He’s smart, detail-oriented, and has a great memory.
Genos has read all the pamphlets. Contrast Saitama, who doesn’t even know what his job description involves.
Good thing he has Genos to keep track of all the details for him, tell him what’s going on, who’s who, etc.
Genos is the kid in college who actually read the textbook and aced all the tests.
Like me 🙂 except some of my tests weren’t 100%.
Can you say over-achiever perfectionist ADORABLE?
He saves little kids from certain death.
Even if it means having his back, lower body, limbs, and most of his torso melted off by acid.
I love this guy!
When he asks Saitama to accept him as a disciple, he inadvertently spills his whole life story. He’s also very upfront about why he wants to be around Saitama.
In fact, he’s open and straightforward with everyone he meets. It’s hard to imagine him attempting a subterfuge…or succeeding if he did.
He’s humble and heroic.
With all the snotty, high-powered heroes running around showing off their muscles and looking down on the “lower class” heroes, you’d think Genos would mention vaporizing that multi-story building. At least once.
He’s there to save innocent people, learn from those stronger and better than he, and support his master Saitama.
In fact, when he knows about a sufficiently enormous threat, he automatically invites Saitama to come with…even though Saitama isn’t technically in the “high-tier” group.
Genos never elevates himself. He never grandstands on a kill or tries to get media attention.
His first instinct is always the protection of civilians. His next focus is always Saitama – learning from him, appreciating his victory, or defending him from the critics.
Combine that with Saitama’s willingness to take a publicity fall for the benefit of heroes as a whole, and you get a duo-dynamic that is TRULY AWESOME.
Did I mention he’s a blond cyborg?
He also has sexy yellow eyes, tracking robot vision, and lifeform-detection technology (when he uses it).
This might explain why I’m still single.
I’ve put the bar just so, so high…
But come one. A cute, honest, driven, smart, humble, conscientious, sincere, kick-butt, building-vaporizing cyborg? With blond hair?
How is this too much to ask?
Note: One Punch Man is a fun, raucous show, but does contain a handful of scattered swear-words, heavy gore, and borderline male nudity. Parental guidance recommended. (It’s also Japanese, so make sure you get a version that will work in your area before you commit. Also dubbing is nice.)
Kimia Wood is still single and has no idea why.
She currently lives with her family somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.
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