Review: One Punch Man (Volume 1 – 21) by ONE

Rating: 9.75/10

Synopsis

Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem—he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of superpowered boredom?

Review

“If you really want to become strong, stop caring about what others think about you. Living your life has nothing to do with what others think.” – Saitama

Thank you so much to Viz Media for providing review copies of the available 21 volumes of this Manga in exchange for an honest review.

From start to finish I consumed this manga. There is just so much to love about it. Starting with the fantastic art and humor that parodies the superhero genre as a whole and becoming more as the author delves deeper into this world and the lives of its characters.

Saitama is a hero for fun. He trained for three years to become powerful and now he cannot find anyone that poses a challenge to him in a fight. He is so powerful that almost every opponent can be finished in one punch, hence the title of the manga. I thought Saitama was a fantastic character. His personality is as complex as any real person. Ranging from stoic and bored to ecstatic at the thought of a challenge and everything in between. Saitama is a really good example of being yourself. He never cares what people think. He just wants to do his best to have fun, help people when he can, and not be bothered.

“What is evil? What is justice? All those pretty words mean I should go die because the majority wants me dead! This is absurd! They can all go to hell.” – Garo

Although Saitama is the titular character, there are so many characters in this one that are a blast to follow. From the incredible range of monstrous villains to the Hero Association’s roster of heroes, there was always someone new and exciting to discover, some new power to explore. I think my favorite character has to be Garo. Garo is a human who is a very strong fighter, but who uses those powers for not very good things. He doesn’t show up until quite a few volumes have passed, but when he does he blasts onto the scene as a morally gray character who you’re not sure about his motives, but for me I couldn’t help but root for him. He is a complex character that became a huge part of the plot and I can’t wait to see where his story goes.

I would regret it if I didn’t at least briefly mention Genos as one of my favorites as well. Genos is a cyborg who is Saitama’s pupil and is very protective of him. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Genos’ ultra serious, matter of fact nature and the care free, laid back nature of Saitama. Their friendship is really cool to see as it grows and matures.

But if you ever get in a tight spot… I will be there.” – Genos

The art in this manga is amazing. Yusuke Murata does an excellent job of portraying everything from the incredible fight scenes to the background settings. Murata truly brings this world to life with his incredible illustrations!

The plot is basically non stop action. There are short pauses in between arcs, but they are typically quite brief and each arc has a new monster threat that Saitama and/or the Hero Association have to deal with. I love that each new monster is completely unique, having their own specific power level and abilities. Throughout the narrative there are questions of purpose, identity, and self sacrifice that keep this ofttimes silly, incredibly fast paced story grounded.

I really love how the author parodies the superhero genre by completely flipping many of the typical tropes on their heads. The biggest trope being that the hero is typically this perfect looking character, but Saitama just looks like an ordinary guy that you wouldn’t look twice at. There are many more parodies throughout the story, some subtle and some not so subtle, and almost all of them gave me the notion that the author was laughing to himself and smirking at the reader as he wrote each scene.

One Punch Man, when it comes down to it, is just an absolute blast. Perfect for someone who hasn’t read manga before as well as the manga veteran. This is a rip roaring, action packed story filled with fantastic characters and beautiful art. I can’t wait to read more of it as the series continues!

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