I love the idea of shared universes in anime. There is just something so cool about the possibility of your favourite characters from separate manga series being able to canonically meet. But it’s still much rarer in anime. I think the only one I can truly think of is in Isekai anime, when the characters from Konosuba: God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World and Overlord had a crossover. But what about something more recent, like in the case of Mob Psycho 100 and One Punch Man? Could their protagonists be related?
Sadly, as much as people want Shigeo Kageyama and Saitama to be related, the only thing they truly share is the same mangaka. And said creators penchant for creating OP main characters to play the leads in their story. ONE certainly has a pattern going on so far, but I’m not mad at it. Both One Punch Man and Mob Psycho 100 are extremely fun for what their plot is. I mean, seeing two extremely powerful people want nearly nothing to do with the glory that comes from being revered? It’s entertaining, to say the least.
Often Shonen has a pretty formulaic setting. You have the plucky protagonist who bumbles his way into the plot with sheer good will and talks about how he still has room to improve. But he’ll do his best and raise others along the way, because he’s just that sociable and kind. And yet, both of ONE’s Shonen stories go the opposite route. There is no build up when seeing the characters get stronger through trial and error. They just throw the viewer in the path of this absolutely jaded and plain looking person, who is the Son Goku of their world and expect us to go along with it.
But while Saitama and Shigeo aka Mob don’t share blood, they do share many other similarities. After all, you know what they say about birds of a feather. So, let’s discuss the parallels between the two characters in Lore Analysis – where we take a close look at the history of certain manga and anime to see what it can reveal to us. Today, it’s the very unassuming Gods of Shonen!
Saitama: A (Literal) One Hit Wonder?
When Saitama burst on the scene, the landscape was pretty generic. Strength meant respect and the goofiness came from the protagonist’s personality traits. But One Punch Man was different. The straight-faced protagonists with a serious tone aren’t edgy or cool. They’re comedic relief.
This was so strange in a world full of plucky, happy go lucky characters that raised themselves on the power of friendship. But they got serious and emotional when things got tough. Saitama wasn’t like that at all. He trained himself to be a hero on a whim, and then just became the best at it. He wasn’t doing it for some lofty goal or to get the girl he wanted. He wasn’t even doing it out of some noble sense of being. It’s so interesting how unassuming his character is until he’s cornered into fighting back.
Even his name reflects how absurdly powerful yet completely bland he is. All it takes is one punch, and his opponent is on the ground. But it’s so uninspired at the same time and that’s it – that’s the joke. Saitama is aloof and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
Shigeo Kageyama: An Esper Who Just Wants The Normal Life?
So, on paper, Shigeo Kageyama is your typical protagonist written by ONE. Like Saitama, he is super OP, to the point where his nickname ‘Mob’ reflects how frightening his strength can be. But that’s the thing: he wants nothing to do with any of it.
Where Saitama and Mob differ is in how Saitama is more comfortable with his image as a powerful hero, while Mob wants nothing to do with his powers. Mob is not one for the limelight. He wants to stay in the background and would happily give his powers up if it meant he could just confess to his crush. Truthfully, being the most powerful Esper on Earth means absolutely nothing to him. Because all he really wants is to be normal.
And like, that makes sense. Where Saitama is a salary man, probably in his 20s, Shigeo Kageyama is still barely a teenager. He wants to live an ordinary teenaged life, not one where he’s fighting off other talented psychokinetic people.