Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: One-Punch Man Volume 1

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One-Punch Man Volume 1 introduces Saitama, a man who is a superhero for fun and is able to defeat his opponents with one punch.

One-Punch Man Volume 1

One-Punch Man Volume 1

Written by: ONE
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 1, 2015

Volume 1 spends almost half its time establishing Saitama, the bald hero who lost his hair and his ability to feel emotions from training so much to become strong. For a few chapters back-to-back, we see Saitama fighting against a villain, with each villain seeming to be stronger than the previous one.

Fortunately, fighting isn’t the only thing that happens to establish Saitama as a character. The reader is treated to a flashback that shows when he decided to become a superhero for the first time. To me, the most interesting part of this flashback was getting to see what Saitama looked like back when he still had hair.

The reader also gets to see Saitama wondering about the fact that he no longer seems to feel any emotions and how it feels like he’s crushing a mosquito when he fights against villains. He also finds himself wishing he could go up against stronger opponents that would force him to have to fight with more than one punch. These kinds of musings are very understandable coming from Saitama, since he really has no challenges when he’s fighting against someone. It kind of takes the fun out of it for him if he can always win so easily.

Volume 1 also introduces Genos, a cyborg that is out for justice after another cyborg killed his family four years earlier. He’s fighting against some mosquito-human hybrid creatures and when the leader of the group looks like she’ll defeat Genos, Saitama ends up delivering the one blow needed to bring the situation to an end. Genos is so impressed with Saitama that he begs to become his disciple. Surprisingly, Saitama agrees to this arrangement. It could be interesting to see the rather emotionless Saitama giving Genos a rigorous training regimen in a future volume of One-Punch Man.

When it comes to the art, I can see that a lot of effort and detail have been put into the backgrounds and into the various villains that Saitama fights. However, Saitama himself seems to have a rather minimal design to him. I suspect that this was done to emphasize the fact that he’s emotionless and different, but it can be rather jarring to see Saitama looking so different from almost everything else that appears on the page. When it comes to Genos, he may not be quite as detailed as the villains, but he doesn’t have as minimal of a design as Saitama does.

After reading One-Punch Man Volume 1, I believe that readers who enjoy manga that have a heavier focus on fighting will get a lot more out of this series than I do. By the end of this volume, there’s not much of an overarching story to keep the interest of readers who may not be as interested in looking at fight after fight. The only real upside to all of the action in the story is the fact that it makes this volume a relatively quick read.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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