Saitama breaking the fourth wall in One-Punch Man #194 has fans questioning its significance and what it means to the story. Breaking the fourth wall shows that Saitama knows he’s in for a story, but it may just be a one-time joke and not a major aspect of his character. Another subtle fourth wall break at the beginning of the chapter hints at Saitama’s perception and may allude further to his understanding of the fourth wall. The following chapters will reveal the truth.
Warning: Spoilers for One-Punch Man Chapter #194 (Japanese release)Man one punchSaitama’s Saitama has had some pretty crazy abilities over the years, from slaying monsters to banishing Jupiter, but his latest feat in chapter #194 sees Saitama overcome that barrier. fourth wall. Although it may seem like a simple joke, this scene has had fans very excited since its release because of what it could represent.
In this chapter, Saitama becomes increasingly bored with Flashy Flash, Genos, and Speed-o’-Sound Sonic, and calls King out. While they spend time together, Saitama shows King a photo of Manako (Oculette in the Viz translation), the monster who helped him and Flashy Flash in the Monster Association Headquarters. They quickly set a trap and capture Manako, with Saitama reporting back to Flashy Flash that they did it “in about three frames.”
Although there are some fourth-wall jokes, Saitama himself has never directly broken the fourth wall in a One-Punch Man story before. However, the question remains: what does this disruption mean?
Breaking Saitama’s fourth wall could be important
When a character breaks the fourth wall, it suggests that the character themselves are aware that they are in a story and that the world they live in is not the real world. A famous example in Western comics is Marvel’s Deadpool, who frequently breaks the fourth wall by mentioning the fact that he is in a comic book. Breaking the fourth wall is an important part of Deadpool’s character, but it’s not necessarily a major aspect of the character. It could also simply be a one-off joke, as is the case here, and shouldn’t be read into too much.
On the other hand, although this is the most direct fourth wall breaking in this chapter, there is actually another fourth wall breaking that is a bit earlier and more subtle. When Flashy Flash begins his duel with Saitama at the beginning of the chapter, Saitama moves very quickly, suddenly appearing near Flash. In fact, suddenly Saitama’s image was not redrawn but enlarged and copied, as if he was moving too fast to be drawn in more detail. This is also considered a breaking of the fourth wall, as the character’s abilities in the story determine how the comic is drawn. That, combined with Manako found in the “three panels” comment, suggests that there may be a little more fourth wall awareness on Saitama’s part.
While it’s unclear what Saitama’s fourth-wall breaking means, it’s certainly a moment that caught fans’ attention. A character who is aware of their own nature as a work of fiction can be a very powerful thing, allowing them to overcome the limitations of someone who still believes themselves to be real by acknowledging that the limits of they are as fictional as they are. It’s even possible that fourth wall awareness is the real secret to Saitama’s strength Man one punchbut that is something that only later chapters can prove with certainty.