Warning: SPOILERS for chapter #181 of One-Punch ManFans of the Saitama and Tatsumaki “ship” can rejoice as chapter #181 of One-Punch Man confirms that the most discussed romance in the series could indeed be real. Still, it does it in the hilarious, light-hearted style typical of ONE and Yusuke Murata’s successful manga.
In manga and anime fandom, a “ship” is a relationship between two characters that is never officially shown or confirmed in a series, but fans hope and want to be true. In One-Punch Man‘s case, the tone of the manga and Saitama’s oblivious attitude make it very unlikely that the protagonist will ever end up in an actual romance. The Psychic Sisters Arc, however, plays with these elements to tease a hilarious love triangle between Saitama, Fubuki, and Tatsumaki.
One-Punch Man Confirms Tatsumaki As A Weak Spot For Saitama
In chapter #178 of One-Punch Man, the “battle” between Saitama and Tatsumaki took an unexpected romantic turn. Annoyed at the destruction caused by the Tornado of Terror, Saitama suddenly hugged her and jumped away from the Hero Association building, bringing her to an open space. Tatsumaki’s facial expression after Saitama’s hug showed she was flustered and embarrassed, hinting that she was not actually displeased with this physical contact and unleashing the fans of the Tatsumaki-Saitama “ship”. Chapter #181 then surprised everyone again. When Saitama suggests they should return to their original location, Tatsumaki steps close to him and stays silent, clearly expecting to be hugged once again before they fly away. When Saitama misses the clue (obviously), Tatsumaki gets angry and starts pummeling him again.
Fubuki’s feelings for the bald hero were all but confirmed by her crushed reaction when Saitama called her an “acquaintance”. However, in Tatsumaki’s case, it seemed she was just testing Saitama to see if he is strong enough to protect her sister, while also taking advantage of a rare chance to go all out with her powers. Her reaction to the hug could have been mere shock caused by the fact that Tatsumaki usually keeps everyone away, physically and emotionally. However, her expression and actions after Saitama suggests going back clearly mean that she wants to be hugged again.
One-Punch Man Is Handling Romance In The Right Way
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Tatsumaki has developed romantic feelings for Saitama but, considering that this sequence is very different in the original One-Punch Man webcomic, it’s clearly a nod to all the fans of this romance. However, it’s all resolved with a comedy twist, in classic One-Punch Man style. This series is a comedy to heart, so even if the authors like to tease romantic developments, they are doing it in a way that fits the tone of One-Punch Man, building up fans’ excitement for Saitama and Tatsumaki‘s weird romance, but without alienating them with a sudden change in style.
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The latest chapter of One-Punch Man is available from Viz Media.