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  • How powerful is Saitama's Serious Punch?

  • Saitama, better know as One Punch Man,

  • is a character designed not to be taken seriously.

  • His power level goes way beyond 9000

  • because his strength comes from satire

  • and not any backstory,

  • so we've never really seen

  • this incredibly formidable hero,

  • though he doesn't look it,

  • unleash his full potential.

  • He will simply be stronger, probably,

  • then the strongest enemy he faces.

  • But I think, with a little bit of math,

  • and a little bit of anime investigation,

  • we can at least calculate what happens

  • when Saitama gets serious.

  • (electronic music)

  • For our analysis, we're gonna consider

  • season one of the One Punch Man anime.

  • In it, the most serious showing of Saitama's strength

  • is during his fight against Lord Boros,

  • a cyclopic alien invader who carries immense power

  • inside his Ken-doll-like body.

  • Let's take the fight blow by blow

  • until we get to Serious Punch levels

  • to see if we can get an idea

  • of just how strong Saitama can be.

  • We're gonna go step by step through this fight

  • because, by the rules of anime,

  • whatever enemy attack that you can withstand,

  • shake off, or deflect, you must simply be stronger than.

  • (laughs) Nice try!

  • This is why we have to evaluate all of Lord Boros' attacks,

  • just to see how strong Saitama has to get.

  • And Lord Boros starts out strong.

  • The first attack that One Punch Man has to shrug off

  • is a blast from Boros that the cyclops

  • claims can completely vaporize enemies, bones and all.

  • Since Lord Boros is always talking about

  • the energy bound within him,

  • how much physical energy would it take

  • to completely vaporize a person?

  • There are a few ways we can tackle this question.

  • The most direct approach might be a brute force method,

  • where we take the relative amounts

  • of everything inside the average human body,

  • all the calcium, all the protein,

  • all the water in a human body,

  • and see just how much energy it would take

  • to take those solids or liquids

  • and turn them directly into gas.

  • Going through some tedious calculations

  • that I'm not gonna show you

  • because then we would just be padding out this episode

  • like we were Dragonball Z or something,

  • you get around three billion joules,

  • three gigajoules worth of energy needed

  • to vaporize an entire person, bones and all.

  • This about the amount of energy

  • in your average lightning bolt,

  • but we should at least check this number,

  • our more brute force approach,

  • with a more practical one.

  • According to the Federation

  • of British Cremation Authorities,

  • it takes around 300 kilowatt hours

  • of natural gas and electrical energy

  • to reduce a person completely to ash,

  • to vaporize almost all of them.

  • It just so happens that if you convert this value,

  • you get just about

  • one gigajoule,

  • which means our numbers from two separate approaches

  • are in decent agreement,

  • which means our values get an S ranking,

  • but this is the low end of the energy on display

  • during this fight because...

  • Just a second.

  • Because next, Lord Boros punts Saitama to the moon

  • and this would take even more energy.

  • You've probably heard of the term escape velocity before.

  • It's the theoretical velocity at which

  • you'd have to launch something

  • off the surface of a body, like a planet in space,

  • in order to move that object infinitely far away.

  • Such that it is always moving outside of the

  • gravitational influence of that body,

  • always slowing down, but never approaching zero

  • and never falling back in.

  • On Earth, that value is around 11.2 kilometers per second.

  • You can use this theoretical velocity

  • to get at how much energy you would need

  • to put into something to punt it off the surface

  • of a planet, like Saitama.

  • You can use either side of this equation to do so,

  • either the kinetic energy needed to do that

  • with the escape velocity or how much work

  • you would have to do against the pull of gravity

  • in order to pull something off of a planet.

  • Ignoring the atmosphere, the amount of energy

  • Lord Boros would have to put into his knee

  • and then into Saitama's body is around four gigajoules.

  • However, if Lord Boros gets OPM to the moon

  • in just three seconds, as we see in the anime,

  • this value spikes to 700 petajoules.

  • That's more energy than the sun hits the Earth with

  • in total every second.

  • But Saitama shrugs this attack off too,

  • which means that his serious move

  • has to be even stronger than this.

  • What?

  • Now?

  • (sighs) Okay.

  • One,

  • two,

  • three, one hundred.

  • Boros' final move is a bit harder to put into

  • real world terms, but it should give us

  • a point of comparison for Saitama's final fist.

  • In the final phase of the Lord Boros fight,

  • the extraterrestrial being unleashes

  • an incredibly powerful attack, his final move,

  • but what this final move is supposed to do

  • depends on which version of One Punch Man

  • you are looking at or reading.

  • In the English dub, for example, of the anime,

  • he says blasting you and this planet to hell.

  • In the English manga, however, he says

  • wiping you away along with the planet's surface.

  • And the same confusion exists in the Japanese versions.

  • For this analysis, we're gonna focus on the version

  • where he says wiping away an entire planet's surface.

  • Simply because it's more interesting to me.

  • If you were an evil alien looking to

  • wipe out the surface of an entire planet,

  • how much of that planet would you actually be destroying?

  • Well, I've drawn Earth here to scale,

  • with Earth's crust the thickness of Earth's crust,

  • which I would consider to be Earth's surface.

  • And as you can see here, at 150 millionth scale,

  • the Earth's crust is almost nothing.

  • It's like the skin on the grape that is the Earth.

  • If you were going to destroy a planet's surface,

  • relatively speaking, although it would take

  • an obscene amount of energy,

  • you wouldn't be destroying all that much.

  • Now, what does wipe out the surface of a planet really mean?

  • If we're talking about a big anime-style fight,

  • I'm guessing Lord Boros wants to vaporize

  • the surface of the planet like he wanted to

  • vaporize Saitama's bones.

  • If that's the case,

  • we need how much energy it will take

  • to turn Earth rock into sick Earth rock vape.

  • Just like ice can go from ice to water to steam

  • if you add enough heat energy,

  • rock can go to rock vapor if you add enough heat energy,

  • so if you wanted vaporize some section of Earth's crust,

  • you would just need to know the total amount of heat needed.

  • However, the Earth is a very complicated thing

  • with many different materials

  • and many different temperatures

  • and you would have to do an equation like this

  • with specific heats, heats of fusion, heats of vaporization

  • for every single different material

  • and how much mass and it's percentages and

  • it's very complicated.

  • So, instead, we are just going to broadly approximate.

  • Estimating and approximating, I think a decent value

  • for how much energy it will take

  • to vaporize one cubic meter of Earth's crust

  • will be around 25 gigajoules.

  • The numbers are so large here,

  • even if we're off by just a little bit,

  • it won't matter all that much.

  • Now, all we have to is apply our approximation

  • to the entirety of Earth's surface.

  • If Lord Boros launched an attack

  • to vaporize the entirety of Earth's surface,

  • it would have to have enough energy

  • to completely erase what amounts to

  • about 1% of Earth's volume.

  • Do the math with our values and you'll find

  • that the total amount of energy required

  • to vaporize all of Earth's surface

  • is a million

  • septillion

  • joules, which is a ridiculous amount of energy.

  • Surely, ridiculous enough to be associated

  • with a character like Saitama.

  • But, like we did before, let's just check our numbers.

  • If this is the amount of energy to vaporize 1% of Earth,

  • what would 100% of the energy be?

  • By simple multiplication, the value would then be

  • 10 to the 32 joules and this just happens to be

  • almost exactly the gravitational binding energy of Earth,

  • how much energy you would have to put into Earth

  • to remove all of its pieces out into infinity or destroy it.

  • This is almost the value that you always hear discussed

  • when we talk about the Death Star.

  • So, our value actually makes a confusing amount of sense.

  • And, therefore, this is the amount of energy

  • Saitama's Serious Punch would have to deflect.

  • And so, by the rules of anime, Saitama's Serious Punch

  • has to be at least this strong.

  • Strong enough to evaporate entire sections of a planet

  • like it was nothing.

  • (screaming) One punch!

  • Now that we comparisons for serious punch energies,

  • we can investigate how the move actually works.

  • What?

  • It's not weird.

  • The Serious Punch, unlike other anime-style final moves,

  • doesn't look like some kind of blast of plasma energy,

  • rather it looks like a gust of air.

  • Or at least this time it looks like a gust of air.

  • The same kind of gust that put a hole

  • in a mountain behind Genos that one time.

  • So now, let's focus on the effect this move actually has,

  • parting clouds across the entire planet.

  • I think there is a real connection

  • to real world energies here.

  • This is a very simple diagram of a volcano.

  • Every so often, a volcano structured like this

  • can start to build up gasses near the top,

  • mostly water vapor and CO2.

  • When the pressure in this plug of air gets high enough

  • in what's called a Strombolian eruption,

  • this air gives way and creates enormous pressure waves

  • in the surrounding atmosphere that, yes,

  • can move and create clouds.

  • Here's a recent example caught in Japan.

  • Look how the air compresses and stretches

  • the atmosphere with the pressure waves,

  • such that it creates clouds instantaneously.

  • And here's another mind-blowingly beautiful example

  • captured in 2014 in Papua-New Guinea.

  • Look how the pressure waves almost deform the weather

  • exactly like One Punch Man was trying to exaggerate.

  • These are serious punches of air.

  • Looking to the volcano literature,

  • you can use an equation like this

  • to estimate the total energy of an eruption

  • based on the final height of the plume that it spits out.

  • The final height for the plume

  • for that eruption in Papua-New Guinea

  • that we just looked at was 18,000 meters, 18 kilometers.

  • If that's the case, that means that this eruption

  • that moved and created clouds

  • had around 10 petajoules

  • worth of energy.

  • Now, by anime logic, if Saitama can force air

  • around and from his fist more energetically,

  • trillions of times more energetically

  • than this eruption that moved and created clouds,

  • then it's anime plausible that his Serious Punch

  • could do exactly what we see in the anime and the manga.