With news that season two of One-Punch Man in production, now is the perfect time to celebrate this weird, amazing anime – which is why Mumen Rider is our Character Of The Month!
Note: This character study focuses on Mumen Rider from the anime and includes spoilers.
Job: Hero: C-Class, Rank 1
Weapons: gauntlets and a bicycle named Justice
Appearance: average height and appearance, Mumen Rider has spiky brown hair and wears glasses. His hero outfit includes armor plates, a green helmet, and knee pads.
Summary: Mumen Rider (which roughly translate to Licenseless Rider) is the purest cinnamon roll to ever live. He’s kind, thoughtful, selfless and the very definition of what it means to be a hero. He’s bae for sure (and I definitely didn’t take the UQuiz “Which One-Punch Character Would Be My Soulmate” six times just to get him as an answer).
RELEVANCE TO PLOT
As magnificent as Mumen Rider is, he is a secondary minor character. We don’t even see him until Episode 4, and even then, he doesn’t have any real significance to the plot until Episode 7. When he does serve the plot, Mumen Rider is often seen providing support to higher ranking heroes such as Saitama or Genos or protecting citizens from monsters.
Mumen Rider is a static character. However, since he is a supporting character, viewers learn more about him as time passes. The first time we see Mumen Rider, he is serving the public in a quiet way: he frees a child’s balloon caught in a tree branch.
From there, we see him face a gang of ruffians calling themselves the Paradise Group. He gets defeated easily and is rushed to the hospital. The next time he has screen time, Mumen Rider is bringing main-character Saitama to fight a horrendous monster called the Sea King. When Saitama jumps off the back of Mumen Rider’s bike to investigate something, Mumen Rider continues forward – heading straight to what is sure to be his death.
The Sea King, a villain so evil I spit at his name, has risen from the sea and plans to eat every human he can get his hands on. By the time Mumen Rider arrives, the sea-folk leader has already killed two higher ranking heroes and defeated another five heroes. But the cyclist hero doesn’t stop trying. And it’s this scene that reveals why Mumen Rider is bae – he knows he’s one of the weakest heroes, an average person with no special powers – yet he’s willing to sacrifice himself and delay Sea King’s advance on the civilians hiding in the evacuation shelter until stronger heroes arrive. After Saitama saves the day, Mumen Rider writes a simple thank you note to the powerful man, revealing a level of gratitude and respect most people never achieve.
If season 2 follows the manga/webcomic, then Mumen Rider will have a bigger impact on the plot, but until then, the battle with Sea King is he’s most significant moment.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE CELEBRATED
Mumen Rider needs to be celebrated because of how kind he is, a rare trait among anime characters who tend to be overly dramatic or cruel for cruelty’s sake. While he’s riding to face Sea King, he stops at a red light, simply because it’s the law. There’s no one else on the road, but Mumen Rider stops because he always does the right thing. In a world filled with selfish heroes, deranged villains, and rampant cynicism, Mumen Rider has found the strength to not only hope for a better future but also do what it takes to make that dream a reality. He’s just a regular person, but he does his best to serve his country. And really, isn’t that the definition of a hero?
Mumen Rider also provides a mirror to Saitama’s life. Mumen Rider is the weakest hero we’ve met, but he’s the most celebrated while Saitama is the strongest person on Earth and one of the least liked heroes. Mumen Rider allows the audience to view the anime’s universe through a different lens, adding a new perspective and more depth to the show.
WHAT WRITERS CAN LEARN
Make your minor characters real people! Often, writers tell to flesh out the protagonist, the antagonist, and supporting characters (like the best friend/co-workers) but forget to make minor characters anything more than just a blob of plot-pusher. Minor characters usually only have one scene to shine, so it’s imperative for readers to connect with them quickly. Fleshing out their backstory, giving them motivations, having more than just a simple explanation of their appearance will allow for your audience to get a better feel for who that character is.
In this day and age, when fans can triumph a character back from the dead (see: Phil Coulson), it’s important for writers to remember any character that gets more than a second of screen time will not be forgotten; there will be Tumblr blogs dedicated to just them.