Warning: Spoilers for One-Punch Man, Chapter #193 (JP)In the latest chapter of One-Punch Man, Saitama finds himself wrapped up in a plot straight out of a fantasy Role-Playing Game, and once again demonstrates his incredible power by resolving this prophesied battle in a single punch. Saitama’s prophecy-busting action may have a little more relevance than just defeating this one monster, however, as a larger prophecy still hangs over the series.

Chapter #193 of One-Punch Man (#191 in Viz’s English version) opens with Saitama inexplicably hanging out in a Fantasy-inspired world, where he stops a cultist from obtaining one of nine artifacts, which would allow him to break the seal on an ancient evil known as the Cruel Dragon. When Saitama learns that this dragon is prophesied to return in the future, though, he decides to go ahead and get the confrontation over with by summoning the dragon now. Saitama then speedruns collecting the artifacts with the cultist’s help, all the while chased by those who wish to prevent the dragon from being called upon. With all the artifacts collected, Saitama summons the Cruel Dragon, interrupts its evil monologue, and destroys it in a single punch, all in time to get home and game with King.

Saitama’s “get it over with” approach to ancient prophecy is an interesting move on his part. It seems to have been made up equally of a desire to defeat a dangerous villain, as well as the hopes that this Cruel Dragon could actually provide Saitama a challenge (which it clearly didn’t). The cultist even told Saitama that the Cruel Dragon might not be a problem for a hundred years on its own, but he still wanted to go ahead and handle it now. Saitama does have a point, though: there’s not much reason to sit back and let the prophecy play out as predicted.

This funny side story gets more interesting, however, when considering that, in Saitama’s original world, the “Earth is in danger” prophecy made by Shibawawa is still in effect, which predicted that the biggest threat to the planet (and thus possibly Saitama’s first real challenge) would come soon. When Saitama was told about Shibabawa’s prophecy, way back in chapter #31, he also speculated at the time that the prophecy might come true earlier than expected, as this Cruel Dragon prophecy did. This side story may thus be hinting at a way for Saitama to deal with Shibabawa’s prophecy as well: simply draw the prophesied disaster out early and deal with it before it becomes a problem.

The Cruel Dragon story was very compressed, taking up only the first half of the chapter, but it may well be a little preview of things to come. Shibabawa’s prophecy is likely connected to God, the mysterious ultra-villain that has become a new focal point of the series, a lifeform that seems intent on destroying humanity as a whole. In fact, the artifacts sealing the Cruel Dragon have a striking resemblance with the mysterious cubes connected to God. Perhaps Saitama will be able to subvert this prophecy in the same way, once again saving the world. If there’s one thing to be sure of in One-Punch Man, though, it’s that Saitama won’t be given much credit even if he is the one who saves the world.

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