I wanted to touch briefly on a comparison I’ve seen making the rounds sometimes, between Saitama and Reigen talking to their respective pupils.
The debate here is often regarding who’s in the right. Is it ok to run away, or should you always try to face the danger?
Well, the problem is that to water the argument down to this is to miss the point of these two moments entirely. Saitama isn’t saying it’s not ok to run away. He’s saying it is a hero’s duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Reigen is saying that Mob *isn’t* the hero, and he doesn’t have to be. It’s not his duty to shoulder the burden and sacrifice himself for the sake of others when it would only cause him harm.
These are two ideas that can and should coexist. In one way or another we’re all the “heroes” Saitama mentions; there’s always going to be problems we have to solve, situations we have to manage because no one else will, because it is for the betterment and safety of ourselves and others. If we run away from those responsibilities, there is no one else who can clean up for us.
But on the other hand, there are issues that aren’t ours to fix. You may find yourself in a situation where you don’t want to be, where trying to fix the problem can make it worse, where unnecessary pressure is being put on you to shield everyone else at your own expense. And in those instances, it’s better to walk away.
Not everything that’s expected of you is your job to handle, and not every problem you come across can be walked away from. As human beings we need to be flexible, come into every situation with the knowledge that there is a choice to be made on whether this is something that needs our attention, or if it’s something that isn’t our burden to bear.
***(Editing this with the addendum because I think its really important for people to see)*** Edit:
I just wanted to add something to this because a lot of people have been mentioning it in the reblogs.
Mob is indeed a child. None of this responsibility is his.
But Genos is not a completely different story. He’s only 19 years old. Certainly old enough to do things for himself and to be taking on some responsibility, but not old enough to take the whole world on his shoulders like he’s trying to. There are older, more experienced heroes who should be there for these grand battles. All too often we cheer when Genos steps in to fight the big bad, whether it be the Deep Sea King, Garou, Centichoro, whoever. But consider the fact that he isn’t the only S-Class in existence. He’s not the only person whose job it is to protect the general populous from these monstrous beings, he’s just the only one who bothers to step up and do it.
In a weird way, Reigen’s message applies to him too. Not in the sense that he should run away, but in the sense that it’s not solely his responsibility. It’s pretty obvious that Genos suffers a lot from this idea that he has to be there no matter what, or he’s not growing as a person, not being a good disciple. There’s potential for this to change into a healthier mentality, but for the moment, Genos is constantly throwing himself into dangerous situations and barely making it out alive. What Saitama is telling him isn’t meant *only* for him. It’s a testament to the times they live in, a nod to the fact that high level heroes pick and choose what emergencies they want to respond to instead of always being there to save the day, the way you would expect. The thing is that neither of these approaches is really the right one. Genos throwing himself into harms way all the time isn’t necessarily heroic as much as it it self destructive, but it’s his only option when everyone else has decided not to show up at all. In the reality that they face, where threats to humanity are so constant, it’s not possible for a single person to be a true embodiment of a hero, because it’s not a world that can be saved alone. Genos needs help. He needs other heroes to realize what it means to actually be heroes, and to step up as well to face the danger.
I want to reiterate that both Saitama and Reigen’s messages are universal and coexist. Some things are problems that you have to step up and handle, somethings aren’t solely your problem, or even your problem at all. Some situations aren’t Mob’s problem, some things only he can handle. Some things are up to Genos to fix, others he won’t be able to do alone, because it’s the responsibility of other heroes to stand by him for the sake of humanity. It’s not about age, because no matter how old you are, it’s important to keep this in mind.