Last time we saw Saitama and Genos enter the House of Evolution, a lab run by a singular mad scientist bent on improving mankind by any means possible even if his experiments create grotesque chimera-like beings. The most powerful monster in the House’s arsenal being the Carnage Kabuto (also called Asura Rhino depending on the translation), a Beetle-Rhino-Human hybrid with power and bloodlust so intense, he has to be kept locked up in an purpose built battle room where he slaughters hoards of the scientist’s clones everyday. Wanting to study Saitama’s body, the scientist unleashes Carnage Kabuto at Saitama and Genos to bring him back ‘dead or alive’.
In the anime, Saitama’s fight against Kabuto is the show’s first major fight. Though I watched the show over a year ago now, the horrifying kabuto beetle smacking Saitama so hard he flies across the room remains the reason I fell in love with the series. The animation, the writing and the character designs were so exciting, I had to stay for more.
In the manga, the fight goes a little differently and is a great example of how anime/manga adaptations should be adaptations and not direct transfers. Unable to actual make characters fly across the space, the fight between Kabuto and Saitama focusses on Saitama’s conscience. In carnage mode, Kabuto has lost all control and will pillage and destroy nearby villages for weeks on end and with Genos already defeated, its up to Saitama to stop him. You get panels of Kabuto rising from the ground like a demon striking, you have close up views of Saitama being hit and struggling to defend himself. It’s a treat for the eyes even though it doesn’t have the fast and furious movement of the anime.
In the end Saitama does defeat Kabuto, and in one punch, as usual. The reason wasn’t that Kabuto will destroy everything in his sight though, it was because if Kabuto destroys the city, Saitama won’t be able to shop on supermarket discount day.