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One-Punch Man: The Swordmasters Reveal Their Legendary Secret

Warning: contains spoilers for One Punch Man chapter 146!

One-Punch Man's Council of Swordmasters, also referred to as the Holy Order of the Sword, have long been an enigmatic group, but after chapter 146, their secret has finally been revealed. Unfortunately, it took the death of nearly every member of the group for that to happen.

The Council of Swordmasters first appeared way back in chapter 67, and were briefly seen in season 2 of the anime adaptation. After agreeing to help the heroes battle the Monster Association, they fell out of focus, and went unseen for years of real time until reappearing recently in chapter 141. Now, just five chapters later, every member aside from the S-class hero Atomic Samurai, who first approached them for support, has been killed by Fuhrer Ugly and the other executives of the Monster Association. The organization's leader, Nichirin, survived long enough to deliver a dying speech, finally revealing the Council's secret goal.

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Nichirin removed a prayer bead necklace and produced from it a sword, which Atomic Samurai instantly recognized as one of two legendary swords, also called Nichirin. The dying warrior informs Atomic Samurai of the other sword in the pair, Gachirin, and tells him to seek it out. Whoever wields both swords will be granted the title of "Sword Saint" and regarded as the greatest swordsman of all time. Discovering the Sword Saint was the reason the Council was established, and as the last survivor, that missions now falls to Atomic Samurai. This also has some handy practical applications at the moment, as all the other swords were destroyed, and Atomic Samurai was left unarmed.

The term "Nichirin" may ring a bell for dedicated anime and manga fans, as it draws from real life legends and has appeared in many other popular series, like Demon Slayer. Nichirin literally means "Sun Blade," while Gachirin would correspond to "Moon Blade," explaining the theme that ties the two together. The real life sword of Nichiren was given to a Buddhist monk and never used in battle, but rather as a symbol of the righteous fight, and was sealed away by a string of prayer beads, just as in this manga. "Sword Saint" - originally "kensei" in Japanese - is also a familiar term, one that conveys a higher level of mastery than even swordmaster, and in most cases implies a level of moral fortitude that befits the term saint. It's been used in everything from Fire Emblem to Goblin Slayer to Sekiro, and it's all but unheard of for more than one living person to bear the title.

With all of One-Punch Man's most skilled swordsmen now dead aside from Atomic Samurai, it's natural for the title of Sword Saint to fall to him, but it isn't something one just lucks into. He'll need to prove himself, and that's where obtaining the Gachirin comes in. With very little in the way of clues to go on, possessing both swords will be no easy task, and the search is sure to be a major arc for Atomic Samurai going forward. For now, though, he'll have to be satisfied with the chance to dive back into the fight and avenge his fallen comrades by using the legendary blade's power in future issues of One-Punch Man.

Next: New Satirical Manga Asks What if Harry Potter was One-Punch Man?

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