One-Punch Man 68-70 – Manga Review
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: Saitama one day decided to abandon chasing the life of a salary man and instead work towards becoming a hero. Years later he grew so strong that there’s no villain that can stand against him, for he finishes every single fight with just. one. punch!
(Warning: Spoilers to Follow)
Monsters have begun showing up across the globe, causing all sorts of havoc. As the situation worsens, and the monsters assault each city by storm, where are Genos or Saitama? At a Martial Arts Tournament of course! Will Saitama finally find a challenge?
Chapter 68 is centered on Saitama’s fight with Suiryu which initially is just Saitama trying to make sure his wig doesn’t come off while Suiryu struts his stuff. While moderately amusing the chapter eventually comes around to Suiryu espouse his ideals, or lack there of. Despite Suiryu’s lackadaisical view on strength and what it means, Saitama is still pinning hopes on finding a truly formidable opponent, which is pretty in line with his entire character, although I think more on the nose than previous battles.
In some ways it seems like Suiryu does prove to be a better opponent than Saitama’s fought previously, as Saitama is forced to back off if he doesn’t want to take a retaliatory kick before he can strike. Though this all comes about because Saitama is forced to protect his wig, a pretty mighty handicap. There’s also the trouble of the main plot. Since we know Saitama is going to have to take on the monster association, we know that Suiryu proving to be a match just isn’t really going to happen, giving everything here a slight tinge of the ‘filler’ feel. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
The fight takes a major turn when we learn that Suiryu is quite mocking of heroism. Suiryu argues heroes don’t really exist and we get a poignant flash away to Mumen Rider again exhibiting true heroism at the cost of his well being. In some ways Suiryu’s argument feels like a retread from earlier points in the manga, but far more in your face with its messaging and point. Suiryu of course manages to piss Saitama off and he abandons his facade to deliver a near punch ripping Suiryu’s clothes to nothing.
Saitama finds himself disqualified, on what feels like an extreme technicallity, adding a bit more humor into proceedings, something the manga has seemed to really lack the last few chapters. But Suiryu won’t have it end like this and attacks Saitama.
The battle gets pretty crazy as Suiryu uses everything he has against Saitama, but it’s still not enough. We again fall back on humor as Saitama decides Martial Arts is actually just about moving around all cool like, which again is great as the series has been more shonen hard core action and over the top than actual comedy of late.
Saitama easily ends the match and leaves the arena, leaving Suiryu and the other contestants to accept their rewards. From here the manga puts its full attention on Suiryu as if he’s meant to be a new focal character to the series. As Suiryu decides to forget about Saitama and focus the fact that he won monsters attack the stadium!
The primary storyline from the web comic finally collides with the manga’s original storyline as we discover the former winner of the martial arts tournament, Goketsu, has been turned into a monster. It’s the same plot line a previous chapter touched on in an exceedingly exposition heavy way. Here we get a better demonstration of the concept as Goketsu forces many of the contestants to eat the monster cells and transform them into full fledged monsters.
The chapter ends as Suiryu decides to fight the monsters. His prize: a date with the trophy girl from the awards ceremony.
I’m not sure how I feel about Suiryu as a focal character. One-Punch Man already has so many, and while it’s good that Suiryu is getting focus in relation to the main monster narrative, it feels a bit disappointing that Saitama has basically disappeared to give Suiryu the spotlight. Never mind that we haven’t seen Genos since he last got pulverized.
The big trouble I’m finding though is the sheer infrequency of these chapters. 68 and 69 released several months ago, with chapter 70 only just following up this past week. Such a haphazard release schedule isn’t new for the series, but I think it only highlights when the manga is feeling weak. I think it compounds the trouble One-Punch Man is having that other critics have been far less comfortable with: The manga only events are really dragging out this story arc. While there’s been some fun to be had with the martial arts tournament, it’s felt a lot of the time primarily a way to really, really pad out the narrative. The problem is the tournament has been going on too long at this point and really should’ve had fewer chapters devoted to it. As it is the tournament has really just been a vehicle for holding Saitama up and introducing this new character, Suiryu, both of which could’ve been accomplished in far fewer chapters.
Now that the main plot is coming back in, however, I’m a bit more interested in seeing where the series is going and I’ll cross my fingers that it won’t be nearly as a long a wait for the next three chapters to hit so I can do another review sooner rather than later.
Please do comment below on what you thought of One-Punch Man Chapters 68-70!