Sunday, February 7, 2016

One-Punch Man (manga, vol. 2) story by ONE, art by Yusuke Murata, translated by John Werry

One-Punch Man is an action comedy series. It's licensed by VIZ Media.

Review:

In the first half of this volume, Saitama and Genos learn more about the House of Evolution, the group behind the genetically modified beings they battled in the previous volume. The House of Evolution was founded by an evil genius who believes that humanity's continued evolution should be artificially assisted. Genos and Saitama battle the evil doctor's most powerful and least emotionally stable being, Carnage Kabuto.

In the second half of the volume, a terrorist group that believes that nobody should have to work decides to go after the richest man in town. The man's bodyguard, a ninja named Speed-O'-Sound Sonic, battles them – and also Saitama, who he mistakes for a terrorist because Saitama and the terrorists are all bald.

Since I liked the first volume of this series, I decided to pick up volumes 2-4 when I spotted them at my local Walmart. Unfortunately, this volume wasn't quite as good as the first one. Either there were fewer jokes, or what jokes the volume had weren't as funny. I did enjoy the moment, near the end of Saitama and Carnage Kabuto's battle, when it looked like Saitama had finally managed to feel horrified about the damage that a monster like Carnage Kabuto could do. As usual, what he was actually freaking about was something much less heroic. I also enjoyed everyone's complete refusal to believe the secret behind Saitama's amazing strength and invincibility. Even hero-worshiping Genos thought Saitama was lying.

The second half of the volume barely had Saitama in it, much less Genos. I imagine it was more about establishing a one-sided rivalry between Sonic and Saitama. It's possible that Sonic could become another one of Saitama's eager followers, like Genos, but his positively evil grin screams “villain” more than “future hero wannabe.” But we'll see.

It looks like the next volume will be at least partially about Saitama and Genos getting themselves into the Hero Registry. Amusingly, although it's likely that Saitama saving that annoying little boy three years ago probably inspired the creation of the Hero Registry, no one ever thought to ask him to register or even seemed to remember that he existed.

Here's my favorite bit about the Hero Registry: “What the world refers to as heroes are those professional heroes listed in the registry. Any unlisted individual claiming to be a hero, no matter how active, is viewed askance and considered nothing more than a pervy freak who spouts irresponsible nonsense.” (182) I have a feeling that getting into the registry will be more difficult than Saitama expects.

This wasn't quite as much fun as the first volume, but I still have high hopes for the next couple and don't regret having bought them already.

Extras:

A 14-page prequel comic featuring Saitama back when he was still in training and had all his hair. Also, one page of translator's notes, one of which is important for understanding one of the volume's jokes.

Read-alikes and Watch-alikes:
  • Gamerz Heaven (manga series) by Maki Murakami - Those who'd like some more over-the-top humor might want to try this, although I should probably mention that only the first two volumes were ever released in the U.S. I've written about the first two volumes.
  • The Devil is a Part-Timer (book) by Satoshi Wagahara, illustrated by 029; The Devil is a Part-Timer (anime TV series) - I've only seen the TV series, although I eventually plan on trying the light novels. Another action-filled comedy with heroes and villains who have to worry about mundane things like rent and groceries. I enjoyed it, although I never got around to reviewing it.
  • Tiger & Bunny (anime TV series) - I haven't seen this yet, but it's another superhero series in which the superheroes aren't always very heroic.
  • Gin Tama (manga) by Hideaki Sorachi; Gintama (anime TV series) - Another action comedy series starring a less-than-heroic hero. I've written about volume 6 of the manga - be warned, my post contains spoilers.

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