July 21, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Gabbing Geek Manga Review: One-Punch Man Volume 4

The "One-Punch Man" may have a heck of a punch, but his general lack interest causes other problems for himself and the world around him.

One-Punch Man is about a self-trained superhero, a young man who took to superheroing because he was very bored.  For reasons that make no sense, he is so strong he can literally beat any opponent with a single punch.  That doesn’t do much to relieve his boredom.

It actually turns out that simply punching things once doesn’t make things easier for anyone.

Saitama isn’t really called “One-Punch Man,” but he might as well be.  He’s bald, scrawny-looking, and people constantly underestimate him.  However, he’s now a registered superhero, and if he wants to keep his registration, he must either perform one heroic deed a week or else move up in the rankings to get out of that obligation.  Saitama chooses the former, sort of.  He’d need to care more about the superhero thing in order to know what he’s doing.  Fortunately, his idealistic apprentice, the cyborg Genos, is more than happy to keep his master informed.

That said, writer ONE found a way to make Saitama’s half-assed acts of heroism less helpful.  You really can’t just punch out your problems.  Saitama can, for example, destroy a massive meteor before it flattens his home town, but that just means smaller debris rain down on the city instead.  Sure, no one gets hurt, but that’s a lot of property damage.  Other acts only cause people to go looking for revenge.  And for all Saitama is completely apathetic towards being a hero, he’s still probably a better man than other heroes he encounters who care more for popularity or being cool.  Say what you will about Saitama, but he really doesn’t care about the public’s acclaim.  ONE does introduce some more heroes to his narrative, and while some, like the old man called Bang, seem pretty heroic, others are more like self-centered jerks.

For all the creators set up One-Punch Man as a comedy, I will say artist Yusuke Murata does a fantastic job illustrating the action scenes.  That aforementioned meteor is a rather tense sequence.  Sure, it’s obvious Saitama will stop it.  But up until then, Genos alone seems inclined to actually do something about it.  What other heroes show up are either not powerful enough or just want to test a new weapon.  And even that guy with the new weapon won’t put himself in harm’s way to actually do anything.

That said, there is a sequence set in a supervillain prison.  One hero locked up in there.  He’s there by choice.  He punishes the bad guys in there.  It’s implied he may do so with the threat of forced homosexual sex.  That segment seemed wrong.  I don’t know if something like that plays better in Japan, but I didn’t care for it.  Beyond that, I really enjoy this series.  8.5 out of 10 seafolk attacks.