The Hero Association (ヒーロー協会, Hīrō Kyōkai) is an organization founded by the multi-millionaire Agoni that manages all of the cities' heroes. It operates independently of the government Agoni also established the National Hero Registry (ヒーロー名簿, Hīrō meibo), the database that embraces every recognized hero. The Hero Association uses a hierarchical class system to organize its heroes, with four classes and individually numbered ranks within respective classes (classes C, B, A, and S).
Hero Association headquarters in A-City
Hero Association headquarters (currently)
Hero Association meeting room
Three years before the current storyline, the Hero Association was founded by multi-millionaire Agoni, whose grandchild was saved from a mysterious being by a passerby. After hearing about the incident, Agoni came up with the idea for the National Superhero Registry and founded the Hero Association using private funds of businesses and donations from the public.
When it was founded, the Hero Association was initially divided from C to A-Class, and a similar system was used for monsters. For example, the disaster level Demon was not called "Demon," but simply "Mysterious Being that could only be defeated by a group of A-Class heroes."
The creation of the S-Class only came about as the Hero Association staff recognized that certain heroes were able to consistently defeat monsters that other top-ranked heroes failed to defeat. To prevent rare talents from being hidden, they formed a special class. This new class specializes in combat ability and is treated on the same level as an emergency army division. This new class came to be known as the S-Class.
Expand to see original webcomic information. Beware of spoiler content.
After the incident with Garou and the Monster Association, the organization falls under threat of replacement by the Neo Heroes. They also find themselves faced with a lot of corruption scandals regarding the illegal activities of donors and employees, as well as the fact that they tend to neglect to control their S-Class heroes, especially Tatsumaki, in terms of collateral damage caused during their heroic activities. Furthermore, the rising number of losing battles between heroes and Mysterious Beings has caused the public to lose their faith in the competency of the organization. Finally, some people are now aware of the dark side of the organization, in terms of some of the more arrogant, inept, and violent heroes who now begin to pose a bigger threat to the organization and the general public as a whole.
Recently, Sweet Mask proposes the Supreme Hero Production Project with Saitama at the central focus, slowly making Saitama into the spotlight of Hero Association's executives. This, however, falls apart when Sweet Mask reveals himself to be a monster to the public in order to defeat Pesky Clown. The Hero Association is now in even greater peril now that Sweet Mask, their greatest supplier of donation funds, Top A-Class Hero and high-end advisor is no longer with them. Sitch and the Bespectacled Worker then contemplate the gradual demise of the Hero Association.
The Hero Association Staff are the people who send reports to the public, whether it's a monster, natural disaster, or any other crisis.
The Hero Association also has an armed branch separate from the heroes. They are seen protecting the Hero Association Staff at the headquarters and guarding the border of the Z-City Ghost Town; thus, they exist primarily in a support role. They are fairly well-equipped, having access to armed and armored vehicles, as well as body armor, assault rifles, and grenade launchers. Security guards at the headquarters wear business suits and carry concealed pistols.
Hero Association armored vehicles
Soldiers of the Hero Association
Hero Association helicopters
National Hero Registry
The National Hero Registry is a database that contains the names of every officially registered hero. Any person not registered in the National Hero Registry is not recognized as a hero and, as such, is always looked upon as a delusional weirdo, regardless of how many times they saved the world.
Hero Entrance Exam
To become an official hero of the Hero Association, a candidate must pass an entrance exam. The entrance exam consists of two parts:
- Fitness Test - The fitness portion of the exam tests the physical capabilities of the candidate, such as agility, reflexes, and physical strength. The known components of this portion of the exam include side-to-side jumps (for 30 seconds), a 1500 meter run, weight-lifting, and squat jumps. The anime version of the fitness portion adds shot put, whack-a-mole, and punching machine components.
- Written Test - The actual content of the written test is currently unknown, but Genos referred to both the Fitness and Written Tests as a "walk in the park." Genos also remarked that the written exam was "too easy to be called a test..." The written test is designed to assess the candidate's "sense of justice"; one staff member of the Association mentioned that it had an essay section.
Passing the Entrance Exam has the following actions:
- A hero is officially recognized by the Hero Association.
- A hero is entitled to monetary compensation in proportion to the amount of hero work he or she does.
- An "ability" rank will be assigned based on the results of the exam (see "Classes" section below).
- A hero will be eligible to be voted upon by the public in the hero popularity ranking.
Upon reaching the A-Class:
- Every A-Class hero needs to conduct a teacher seminar after new heroes are registered, as Sneck did for Saitama and Genos.
The Hero Association makes money to sustain themselves through donations from the people across the country as gratitude for protecting them from Mysterious Beings and other threats. They also receive money through private funding from various billionaires (like Agoni and Narinki) and business organizations that provide funding with the purpose of generating a good reputation and building positive PR. The latter is the primary source of income for the Hero Association.
According to Child Emperor, some of the executives make money by illegally selling Mysterious Beings as pets and art displays.
Based on various criteria, heroes are categorized into four different classes. The C-Class is associated as composing of the weakest heroes, while the S-Class is recognized as composing of the strongest heroes:
- S-Class, with a total of 17 heroes
- A-Class, with a total of 38 heroes
- B-Class, with a total of 101 heroes
- C-Class, with a total of 390 heroes
Thus, there are a total of 546 heroes. To proceed to the next class up, a hero must be ranked number 1 in their current class, at which point they can choose to stay at the top of their class, or move up and start at the bottom of the next class up. In some cases, a hero can be placed directly into a higher class if their score on the entrance exam is high enough. And in a few rare cases, like King and Genos, a hero can be placed directly into S-Class, should they have a previous record of dealing with dangerous threats. To rise in the ranks, points are allocated based on the heroes' achievements. The exact criteria for how the system works is largely unknown, but it comprises multiple factors, several of which are combat strength, monster & criminal suppression, contribution to the public, public image, and more. Dealing with higher disaster level threats nets the hero more points to rank up. The Hero Association evaluation staff deliberates and assigns how many points each hero is rewarded with for such achievements, with Sweet Mask being one of those members. Furthermore, if a Class C hero remains inactive for one week, their name will be removed from the Hero Registry.
The ranking system of the Hero Association has bred a competitive and sometimes antagonistic culture. To retain their ranks, factions have been created within the Hero Association so that credit for dispatching threats goes to multiple heroes and their ranks all improve. The most notable faction is the Blizzard Group, led by Fubuki. They largely dominate the B-Class and prevent lone heroes from rising to the top, whether through violence or persuasion. They specialize in small but consistent heroic duties to retain their ranks. Another group is the C-Class Hero Alliance, created by C-Class heroes who often work together to perform their hero activities due to their lack of individual effectiveness. The Tank Topper Army, led by Tanktop Master, is another faction that has members across the hero ranks. Atomic Samurai also leads a small group with his fellow disciples. The Surly Brothers are another team that has members across the hero ranks. Sweet Mask is an unusual case, where he cares more about forming positive relationships with the adoring civilians and Hero Association Staff than he does with other heroes, which affords him certain privileges that other heroes do not have. Saitama is also unintentionally creating his own group, as people are drawn to him due to his incredible power.
The Hero Association ranks are plagued by bureaucracy. Even if a hero is seen performing impressive feats, their rank will increase more slowly if they're starting at a low rank, due to the flawed credit system of the Hero Association. A notable case shows if people witness a low-ranked hero (namely Saitama) defeat monsters with Demon to Dragon Disaster. It is hinted that the Hero Association's bureaucracy is the reason why Saitama progresses so slowly in climbing up the ranks, despite performing outrageous feats of strengths, such as killing the Deep Sea King with one blow or destroying a meteor with one hit. The noticeable evidence for this fact was that, even when Saitama broke all records in the physical exam by a large margin, he was placed in the bottom of C-Class, mainly due to his poor performance on the written exam, despite the fact that the person in charge of the entrance exam complimented that he has the strength of a god, after inspecting all of the testing equipment that Saitama had damaged.
Another factor is type match-ups. A prime example is when Lightning Genji fought against Maiko Plasma and Electric Catfish Man. Since they are electric-proof, they rendered his primary weapons, electric batons, useless.
In terms of unfairness, according to Death Gatling, the class system of the Hero Association is notoriously unfair to low-ranked heroes, since most of the S-Class heroes are the only ones that receive the best treatment and privileges in the organization, ranging from higher salary, physical supports, as well as a good publication for their activities to the public. As a result, no matter how much hard work and great achievements low-ranked heroes can put in during their line of work, they're seemingly ignored by the public as well as the Hero Association as a whole. They also rarely receive recognition from the Association to climb their rank or are neglected by the public due to lack of publication of their deeds, since the Hero Association wants to keep the ranking balance in check, as well as the fact that the public only cares about rank and not the true power of an individual, with the prime example being Saitama. As a result, non-S-Class heroes like the A-Class, B-Class, and C-Class heroes sometimes have to risk their life to gain recognition from both the public and the Hero Association by doing incredible things. A good example is Death Gatling's operation to lure out Garou, since had they managed to capture a monster that defeated two S-Class heroes, they would have received great recognition from both the public and the Hero Association.
Consequently, although the Association proclaims that they judge the rank of heroes based on the merits of combat ability; feats of defeating monsters; contribution to society and popularity, the organization's negative desire to maintain balance in rank and unfair treatments toward ranked heroes below S-class make them incredibly hypocritical. Furthermore, if taking into the account with the initial reason of the creation of S-Class to headhunt special talents and exceptionally powerful heroes among the low-ranked heroes, the Association can be seen as going against its very own principle as they largely ignore someone as powerful as Saitama most of the time, despite his numerous occasions of showing his unfathomable strength as well as the diligence of multiple low-ranked heroes. Ironically, their ignorance of Saitama's power directly led to the implementation of King as an S-Class Hero despite his lack of actual power.
Expand to see original webcomic information. Beware of spoiler content.
No matter the case, the organization is largely unaware of Saitama's god-like power, and the factor of balance in-hero rankings is also the reason why the Neo Heroes oppose them since they think it is unfair for the hero.
Criticism of the Hero Association
The Hero Association is not without its faults, as some people may believe. The public heavily relies on the services of the heroes to fight off dangers and should they fail, the consequences are disastrous. Despite there being exceptionally powerful fighters in the hero ranks, there also exist regular citizens that outperform the heroes, such as Suiryu and Bomb, and it calls into question their ability to defend the public. Further trust is lost when monsters simultaneously attacked multiple cities, leaving the heroes stretched thin and unable to defend properly. Showmanship that contributes to the heroes' popularity or degrades another heroes' popularity is encouraged due to how the hero ranking system works, and has skewed heroes' priorities and causes them to focus on retaining their ranks, rather than performing heroic activities.
Power imbalances among the Hero Association staff and public services also seem to be present with McCoy refusing to send help to battle a monster unless the police begged for it.
Expand to see original webcomic information. Beware of spoiler content.
Following the defeat of the S Class at the hands of Garou and the Monster Association, tensions rose further between the public and the Association. In response, a competitor association spawned, the Neo Heroes.
Additionally, Saitama trashing the Association Headquarters security system, and a large amount of property damage in a bout between Tatsumaki and Saitama rose tensions further, coming to a head with the discovery that Sweet Mask, the Association's main source of media support, was a monster.
The criticisms of the Hero Association are even present within its own walls. Several Association staff members are seen complaining about Tatsumaki and Metal Knight having the freedoms they do, and Black Sperm believes that the association is inevitably going to collapse.
- The hero examination is free to take and occurs randomly.
- The "fighting ability" ranking in each hero section refers to their own powers. For example, the fighting ability of Tatsumaki refers to her psychic power, but that of Superalloy Darkshine refers to his physical power, and as for someone who uses some kind of weapon to fight (Child Emperor, Metal Bat) it refers to their weapon-wielding proficiency.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 15, page 15
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 One-Punch Man Encyclopedia; One-Punch Man: Hero Perfection, page 96-98
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 122 (Online)
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 120 (Online)
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 15, page 14
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 7, page 2-5
One-Punch Man Anime; Episode 5
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 15, page 7
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 40, page 17
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 29, page 10
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 16, page 8
One-Punch Man Webcomic; Chapter 67, page 1
One-Punch Man Manga and Anime; Chapter 18, page 7, and Episode 6
One-Punch Man Omake; Numbers
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 95, page 55
One-Punch Man Omake; Disaster Level
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 70, page 43
One-Punch Man Manga; Chapter 61, page 22
One-Punch Man Omake; Pork Cutlet Bowl