One-Punch Man is one of those series that has taken on a life of its own now that the anime is a hit in America. The concept behind it allows it to make fun of and comment on superhero comic books. In the recent volumes we’ve also seen it capture the heart and horror of monsters. As writer One and artist Yusuke Murata have explored lead character Saitama and his malaise at being the greatest fighter ever they have done a great job exploring the world and the many characters around him. This volume is no different.
In this latest volume, developments with the Monster Association may put a new enemy stronger than even Saitama on the stage, Garo deals with the conflict of being a monster but also needing to kill children, and a vampire that grows stronger with longer hair enters the fray. Much of the narrative focuses on Garo, opening with him dine and dashing after eating everything on the menu. It creates a hilarious low-stakes situation for Saitama after he realizes he doesn’t have his wallet after eating his meal at the very same restaurant. He soon finds a way out but feels really bad about it. Meanwhile, Garo is literally saving a child’s life from two monsters who think he’s not really a monster himself.
This volume isn’t quite as funny as one might expect, but that’s okay thanks to the work done with Garo. He himself is unsure of what he wants to do now that he’s a self-dubbed monster. When a child comes in between him and a monster threat however he puts it all on the line to make these monsters go away. He acts the part of the hero even if he doesn’t want to admit it. Meanwhile, the Monster Association leader relays some new info that could spell doom for all the heroes of the world. We’re talking dragon level threat baby!
Possibly the biggest draw in this volume is how One categorizes the many characters we’ve seen up until this point midway through the book. Through full and double-page splashes we gain an understanding of how many groupings work which helps explain their relationship to each other. Among these explanations is an explanation of limiters. One-Punch Man has broken free of his limiter and it’s an idea that adds a bit of explanation to this character and others who seem to be able to do anything.
A weakness in this volume is the lack of humor, but also the tacked on vampire character. They are added in late into the narrative to ramp up some action while Garo is down for the count. It’s not very interesting since and seems to read like filler.
This is a good volume with some additional info about the lore of One-Punch Man thrown in as well as some great scenes with Garo. Saitama may be in it infrequently, but it’s still fun to see his disinterest in being a superhero continue to carry on.
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