One-Punch Man 72-73 – Manga Review
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! But the tournament concludes, and as Monsters steadily batter the cities of the world, one wonders when exactly will Saitama finally notice all the chaos?
There’s a bit of a numbering error for the last couple chapters of One-Punch Man in U.S. Weekly Shonen Jump (72 to 74.2 to 73) but we’re basically covering three chapters/portions today. Ultimately these three chapters form the beginning of the end for the Tournament side story and finally thrust Saitama towards confronting the main monster association narrative. This development can’t come soon enough. We’ve wallowed in ‘filler’ content, or manga only adjustments to the story, for quite a long time. I really have to wonder what our author has been thinking fleshing out the story quite this much. Was he compelled to by the editorial team? Did he add this content because he felt the original was somehow lacking? I don’t know the answer but I do feel it’s been a mistake to dwell so heavily on this Martial Arts Tournament and I’m glad these chapters finally push us past it.
Chapter 72 mostly acts as a catch up/info dump on the current state of the Monster Association’s operation. We learn what their objectives are, and are reminded of what they’ve currently accomplished. It’s a welcome passage, at least if you’re reading One-Punch Man in the irregular release format. It might feel a bit unnecessary once it’s collected as a Takubon/Graphic Novel.
We also get a fight between Goketsu and Bakuzan, which I kinda think just serves as more padding. Sure it re-establishes how terrifyingly powerful Goketsu is, but we pretty much already knew this. The art is great though and keeps it from feeling entirely like a waste of time.
The second half of Chapter 72 (accidentally listed as Punch 74 Part 2) sees Bakuzan terrorize Suiryu, who cries out for a heroes help despite looking down on heroes during the tournament. I actually think it’s a pretty compelling moment. We see this rather arrogant individual cut down and entirely change his tune as he’s sucked up by hopelessness. Despite his unflattering, douchebag persona, you actually kind of feel bad for him as he’s driven quite close to death. I had been wondering what the purpose of his character was up till now, especially as he, of course, turned out to be no match for Saitama. I think he’s used well here to add a more emotional punch to things. I don’t think this moment quite rises to the likes of the Mumen Rider and Deep Sea King showdown, but it’s decent enough.
It also makes for a really epic comeback as Saitama finally appears on the scene (fashionably late as any Shonen hero is.) Chapter 73 then really sets us back on the proper path as Saitama makes short work of Bakuzan, who seems to have just a little bit of PTSD from his match before with Saitama.
There’s some great focus on Saitama discussing things with Suiryu, who gradually comes around to the idea of wanting to be a hero too, which happens after he sees Saitama then make even shorter work of Goketsu, sending the super villains head flying across the city and back into the stadium. I love the back and forth here between Suiryu and Saitama, including Saitama’s classic side quips, thought bubbles and general brazen honesty. While the Goketsu fight is entirely off screen, I think it works, seeing as we know it was solved with just one punch anyway.
We also briefly catch up again with Genos, although his scene is little more than a last ditch attempt to sell us on Goketsu’s might. These moments continue to have a diminishing effect as anyone still following the manga knows how it’s going to play out. There’s got to be a subversion of this soon, otherwise it just grows more and more predictable.
That said, these last two chapters that have pulled me back in to One-Punch man’s narrative and really have me dying for the next set of chapters (Though who knows when that’ll be.)
Overall it still took way too long to get to this point. Too much time was spent bidding time in the Tournament Arc and I wish we hadn’t drawn things out quite so much. Now that things are back on the right path I hope we can keep the ‘filler’ content to a minimum. I also wonder, when we finally get a One-Punch Man Season 2, how much of this additional content they’ll keep in. I think it’ll be a mistake if they dawdle quite as much as the manga has, but I don’t hold a lot of hope for them trimming it back down again.
Please do comment below on what you thought of the latest One-Punch Man Chapters!