contains spoilers of One-Punch Man chapter #169One-Punch Man, the hit manga created by One and Yusuke Murata, has the perfect answer to the growing trend to put a Multiverse in any entertainment franchise. Known for satirizing the classic tropes of the shonen manga genre, One-Punch Man just took a shot at the parallel universes and alternate timelines that seem to be everywhere nowadays.
Introducing the idea of a multiverse is a great way to revitalize a franchise and introduce both brand-new characters and re-imagined versions of old ones. Marvel made the concept popular and commercially successful in recent years, and other entertainment franchises quickly followed, including manga such as Dragon Ball Super. One-Punch Man also recently introduced the idea of a multiverse in its story by making Saitama travel back in time, creating (and erasing) an alternate future timeline where all other heroes are killed by Garou. However, the series also stayed true to its comedic and satirical roots.
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In chapter #169, it is revealed that Genos is the only person who remembers the future timeline, after connecting with the core unit of his future self, brought back by Saitama (who instead forgot everything). When the bald hero asks for an explanation, Genos goes on a long explanation about the multiverse theory, parallel worlds, time travel, the law of causality, the theory of relativity, and so on, that bores Saitama so much that he immediately stops listening. In this instance, Saitama is a stand-in for audiences who often have a hard time following the complexities of these theories.
From the way that the scene is presented in the chapter, it is clear that the authors are making fun of the concept of a multiverse and of time travel, which can both get so complicated sometimes that it’s best to just stop trying to understand them and enjoy the story. However, some multiverse-based stories can become so convoluted that they lose direction and purpose, as is sometimes the case for Marvel. In One-Punch Man, instead, the focus is put (by Genos) on Saitama’s sense of heroism, which allowed him to transcend space and time to save everyone.
It is also hilarious that Genos believes Saitama is just being modest, not wanting to take credit for his actions, while the bald hero has actually no idea about what happened, as is usually the case. Rather than using Saitama’s ability to time travel to introduce a multiverse of alternate worlds and characters, One-Punch Man proved once again to be one of the most unconventional manga series on the market, making fun of the multiverse trend and of how it makes stories unnecessarily complicated.