Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: One-Punch Man Volume 5

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One-Punch Man Volume 5 is the story of Saitama, a superhero who’s able to defeat an opponent with just one punch. Saitama, along with his disciple Genos, is a member of the Hero Association and works at protecting City Z.

One-Punch Man Volume 5

One-Punch Man Volume 5

Written by: ONE
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 1, 2016

Volume 5 continues the storyline of the Sea King trying to take over the Earth. At the start of the volume, the focus is on Puri-Puri Prisoner and Speed-o’-Sound Sonic. Puri-Puri Prisoner’s sexual orientation is used for some humor in the banter between him and the Sea King, but fortunately, this doesn’t last long since the Sea King is able to overwhelm the hero. The fight becomes more interesting once Speed-o’-Sound Sonic becomes the Sea King’s opponent. It’s too bad that this particular character has it out from Saitama so much that he was willing to commit evil in order to try to get his revenge. From what I’ve seen, Speed-o’-Sound Sonic would make a decent hero with his abilities if he actually cared about helping others.

Of course, it wouldn’t be One-Punch Man if Saitama somehow didn’t become involved. But before getting to the main event, we see Genos and Mumen Rider trying to take on the Sea King. These two heroes try their best, but even Genos’ Class-S abilities are no match for the foe. Even though Saitama is able to, predictably, defeat the enemy with one punch, he does it in front of witnesses who have already heard rumors of Saitama cheating and taking credit from other heroes. You have to kind of feel bad for Saitama when he plays down his abilities by claiming that the other heroes weakened the Sea King enough for him to accomplish what he did. It’s hard enough for Saitama to be an extremely strong hero and having to deal with rumors that he’s not as strong as he claims to be. But then to find himself having to purposefully make himself look like he’s less talented than he is must add insult to injury. Genos briefly touches on this at one point in Volume 5, but the story is written in such a way that the reader is able to pick up the subtext without Genos having to say anything.

The main focus of One-Punch Man Volume 5 is to finish off the story of the Sea King. However, this volume also accomplishes the task of building on the personal conflict that Saitama has about wanting to be recognized for his extraordinary power, yet having to humble himself amidst all the rumors and negative perceptions that exist about him. But to counteract Saitama’s inner turmoil, Volume 5 also establishes Mumen Rider as a new ally for Saitama and Genos.

Fans of the series will appreciate all of the action that appears in One-Punch Man Volume 5, as well as the continuing character development for Saitama. Readers will appreciate seeing that even a ridiculously strong hero can struggle with emotional conflicts and has to make sacrifices that affect his perceptions with the public.

The reviewer received a review copy from VIZ Media

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