Previously on Anime Reporter, (the name I have chosen as one who reports largely on anime, though clearly also on manga, as well as film, video games and whatever else I feel like), One Punch Man Volume 01 was reviewed (spoiler: it’s excellently weird and funny). Stay tuned (i.e. continue reading) for the next instalment of… me giving my opinion on this manga… Volume 02! (That’s chapters 9-15 plus a bonus chapter).
Okay, so I didn’t cover a huge amount of plot in the last review, wanting to let things develop a little bit more before I got into the story and, while things haven’t developed to the degree that a spoiler would ruin much of anything, I’d still strongly advise checking out my review of the first volume, or, (dare I say) better yet, check out the first Volume for yourself, because it is phenomenal!
Okay, we’re all spoiler-safe now? Sweet! Pressing on swiftly then! Last volume saw our beloved baldy, Saitama dealing with a monstrous menagerie of human/animal hybrids. He also picked himself up a deadly and devoted disciple in the form of the cyborg Genos. We’ve seen just enough of Saitama to know that he considers his superheroism to be a hobby and that he’s also getting pretty bored with the fact that all of his enemies are defeated by a single punch. Well, that’s probably not going to change any time soon, or else the series will need a new name, but that doesn’t mean that this volume isn’t overflowing with humour, surprise and some fantastic new characters.
Saitama and Genos set after the mind behind the animalistic villains of last volume, bringing them to the House of Evolution, where a truly mad scientist still hides his most abominable creation. Saitama also reveals his biggest secret, the reason behind his tremendous strength… or at least what he thinks the reason is… (I’m not sure he’s the most reliable source). When all’s said and done with this storyline, there are still far more questions than answers, but it’s all still warming up.
The second half of the volume takes an interesting turn as a bunch of young, shaved-headed young men are tearing up the city, generally causing chaos as they revolt against wealth and capitalism in some pretty sturdy robotic power-suits. Saitama can’t stand for anyone giving bald-headed people a bad name so sets off to take care of them himself, though he’s mostly beaten to the punch. The original owners of those power suits aren’t too pleased with Hammerhead, the ringleader who stole them and, well… let’s just say things are about to get a whole lot more ninja-assassiny right about now (wink, wink, subtlety).
There’s really no big reason not to check this title out. It’s got action and a veritable heap of humour, but it’s somehow all refreshingly down-to-earth and original. Characters interact in the most bizarre ways and Saitama’s attitude is hugely enjoyable. It’s honestly a little like when One Piece’s Luffy is bored, picking his nose, while everyone else around him is terrified or in awe of some colossal moment. That moment is Saitama’s default position and it works oh so well in an unstoppable superbeing. Where this volume wraps up is where I’m really interested though, no not in the bonus chapter that gives a glimpse of his earliest heroing days (back when he had hair). It’s in the end of chapter 15. It really paves the way for some big-time world-building and I genuinely can’t wait for Volume 03.
Which is why I’m finishing this review right now so I can start to read it!
One Punch Man Volume 02 is currently available from the wonderful wordsmiths at VIZ Media, so don’t hesitate to pick up your copy!