Thursday, September 3, 2015
One-Punch Man Vol 1 and 2 Review
One-Punch Man, soon to be an anime series from Madhouse and brought to the US by Viz Media, finally has its print manga edition out. If you bought it digitally, you've had the series back from a few years. Now it comes out for you to absorb the old way, your eyes to honest to goodness paper.
One-Punch Man is the story of a hero who is very little liked or even noticed by the general public. One-Punch Man is not even his name, his real name is Saitama and he states he's just being a hero as a hobby. This absurd story of a hero whose attacks are so powerful that one hit will take out any enemy might be met with contempt. A hero that takes out an enemy so easily, what, why would I read that? Getting from Saitama to taking out the villain that has sadly gotten into his path is the story and a ludicrous story at that.
The world Saitama lives in is filled with monsters, mad scientist and super-villains. Cities simply go by letters of the Alphabet as they author uses them as little more than cannon fodder in these early stories to demonstrate how powerful Saitama's enemies are. Saitama has nothing to fear from this world of Japanese kaiju that would look common place fighting the Power Rangers as one punch from him and they're dead.
Saitama interacts with these villains as a complete goof as he has no fear of their power, no matter how much they flex or transform. No matter the level of destruction, he keeps his cool. The world around him doesn't and people in it act like it's a gag manga much of the time with so many of their faces drawn ugly or weird. The first story has a little girl with "helpless child" written on her dress as a monster that looks very much like Piccolo from Dragon Ball is about to destroy the world.
Jokes fly off the page and are caught by your eyes and you'll laugh furiously at how all the hype, all the demonstration of these evil villains powers is extinguished by a man who only cares about sales at the grocery store.
The art is simply gorgeous, shifting between action scenes you would find in a blockbuster movie to the dumbest looking version of Saitama possible. Artist Yusuke Murata, who you may know from hit manga Eyeshield 21, can make the world look as fierce as possible, while leaving Saitama looking like he was drawn by a child. It's such a difference is some scenes you'll just laugh out loud not reading the words as you see our hero picking his nose or trying to look cool next to his cyborg student.
These volumes are like looking years back at me. It's just the start of the story when we're first introduced to Saitama and his cyborg sidekick, Genos. Genos looks like a Japanese boy band member crossed with the sleekest, coolest cyborg with the most powerful attacks at his disposal. He gets beaten down fast and Saitama has to save his butt. It's a nice balance as the student, with his logical advice and stern will should really be teaching Saitama.
Our hero is no alien left on this planet from a dead race, no, his origin is so far-fetched that everyone who hears it is insulted and believes it to be a lie, check it out for yourself when you pick up the series.
We're jsut getting started in One-Punch Man's world when introduced to Speed Of Sound Sonic, a ninja villain who wishes to one day defeat Saitama in battle. I swear the first time I read it I though he was a she. Mumen Rider might be a minor character, but he's the spirit of a hero that never gives up. The name Mumen Rider, means license-less Rider and makes fun of Kamen Rider.
In these starting issues we have Genos and our bald hero taking on the House of Evolution and a idiotic gang of bad guys in super suits who just don't want to work for a living. It sets the tone of how weird this world is where people can become monsters over mundane tasks.
One Punch-Man is like a less-talkative Empowered, great art, great fight sequences which easily could have been an action manga are all used for our laughter as we see everyone struggle so hard, while one man takes one punch.
Pick it up now.
One-Punch Man, Vol. 1
One-Punch Man, Vol. 2