Anime Reporter heads into new manga territory now for the first volume of One Punch Man (chapters, or “punches” 1-8, plus a bonus chapter).
This series, as a rather cunning reader might well work out, follows a superhero with an uncanny knack for defeating all of his enemies with a single punch. Now, this isn’t exactly his power, it’s just that he’s become strong enough that nobody quite seems able to withstand more than just one-helping of fist-shaped justice. Saitama, as he’s actually known, pretty much became a superhero for lack of a better idea, and developed his incredible strength over time through training. The biggest problem he has is that it’s all just become a bit boring now, since there isn’t really such a thing as an interesting or suspenseful fight as far as he’s concerned.
This doesn’t make him too famous or feared, as most of his foes are pummelled or killed before they have much time to realise what’s happening, but it does much for an incredibly gratifying character to watch. Much like One Piece’s Luffy, Saitama’s underwhelmed reaction to most foes and fights is a pretty amusing trait to watch and this first volume does a superb job of somehow making a series where you know the main character won’t come close to losing look like a fantastic idea.
The plethora of baddies on display even in this first volume is wonderful, parodying not just supervillain norms but all manner of fantasy/sci-fi tropes and making it look easy. The art style changes dramatically between moments of action and humour, carrying the tone of the plot instantly and effectively.
There are the very first crumbs of a plot and a big bad menace on the horizon, but I don’t want to give too much away. Take it from me; if you like superhero series, or the idea of seeing superhero conventions twisted entirely on their head, (I mean, how does Superman not get bored stiff with every bank robbery he effortlessly foils?), then you need to check out this series. And you can, because it’s currently available in English!
I’ll be checking out Volume 02 soon, so watch this space, where I can get into a few more gritty plot points with relish!
See you next time,