'One Punch Man' Gets a Clever 'Dragon Ball Z' Makeover

Anime loves referencing other anime, and today's crop of international anime hit series are none [...]

Anime loves referencing other anime, and today's crop of international anime hit series are none too shy about showing love to one another through both fan and official artwork. One such piece recently appeared on social media — and while fans had no trouble identifying the characters of One Punch Man, it took a little bit of deeper insight to make a Dragon Ball Z connection hidden in the artwork:

The artwork depicts One Punch Man (Saitama) squaring off with Hero Association esper Tatsumaki, aka "Tornado of Terror." However, those anime fans with long memories will know that poses of the characters are very purposeful — they're an ode to a classic image from the Dragon Ball Z manga, which depicted Goku and Freeza squaring off in similar pose.

Aside from the nice anime/manga reference buried in this One Punch Man artwork, the image has some OPM fans 'shipping Saitama and Tatsumaki something fierce. The pair are two of the most powerful heroes in the entire Hero Association — despite Saitama carrying the burden of a B-Class rating, something that Tatsumaki (the no. 2 S-Class) looks down upon. If Tatsumaki were to come to respect Saitama more — and Saitama could make some better human connections — then there would be something rich about seeing them get together. Given Tatsumaki's sharp attitude and Saitama's aloof nature, their romance would likely also be a wholly dysfunctional case of comedic relief.

In short: this is the type of 'ship that One Punch Man fans would probably love. That makes it pretty much the polar opposite of the Goku vs. Freeza rivalry that exists in Dragon Ball — unless that rivalry is exactly where the Saitama/Tatsumaki relationship is headed?

One Punch Man started life as a webcomic by series creator ONE in 2009. After going viral, surpassing seven million hits in June 2012, illustrator Yusuke Murata approached ONE about redrawing the series for a release in Shuiesha's Weekly Young Jump spin-off webcomics. Thirteen volumes of the series have been released as of this date. One Punch Man season 2 premieres in April 2019.