One-Punch Man 81-83 – 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. Things take a dire turn as not only do the heroes have to contend with a wave of monsters, but Garo, the hero killer. However, just as the heroes close in around Garo, it appears the Monster Association, the horrible beings behind the attacks across the globe, have other plans for the great and deadly hero killer.

Review:

My love for One-Punch Man admittedly dipped quite a bit during the whole Tournament filler arc, which seemed to drag and drag. Now however that we’re back focused on Garo, the Monster Association, and build up to another incredible confrontation I can’t help but be more hyped than I’ve been in months. It’s not just the series itself, but manga in general as One-Punch Man gives me the perfect kind of chaos and tension I’ve been dying to see for ages now.

Just as long as you don’t turn into that guy that punches through walls whenever he loses a Tekken match you’ll be okay.

Not only does Chapter 81 (admittedly the one chapter we’re discussing that’s months old now.) feature an incredible fight sequence between Genos and Garo, but constantly flips panel to panel who has the momentary upper hand. The intricate nature of the fights, the heavily detailed artwork all come together to create one of the best Manga fights I’ve read this year. We break up the intensity with a little Saitama comedy before it’s back to the Mayhem. But it’s not just a straight fight between Genos and Garo. Before long the Monster Association pops up, and various aspects of the story all start to come together. Garo’s fights with previous heroes, his adaptability, the Monster Association’s grander goals, and Bang and Bomb’s gradual pursuit of Garo. It really feels like a culmination of everything we’ve had going on between the endless slog of the tournament.

Chapter 82 only ups the chaos with some severely brutal action as Garo finds himself continually backed into a corner. It only makes it all the more compelling when we do another brief, but deep dive into Garo’s origins and what drives him. His frustration as a child forced to always play the role of a villain, the inherent nature of popular kids ganging up on the weak, and how that ties into/establishes his hate for heroes actually makes Garo feel like a fairly understandable, if not perhaps relatable, villain. You almost find yourself rooting for him as he’s against the ropes and just a few hits from finally caving to Bang and Bomb’s onslaught.

Why not both?

What makes this entire sequence so memorable though is the sheer wealth of escalation as things continually expand beyond control. Just as Garo seems to be in his final death throes, expending the last of his fight, the Monster Association arrives with their big hitter, Centi-Choro.

However, past all that praise are a few nagging elements. The crazy escalating insanity takes a pause to regurgitate exposition required to understand Centi-Choro’s ultimate defeat by the end of the chapter, and feels like something we should’ve found a way to establish earlier. There’s also the fact that Genos just got wrecked a few chapters ago, and subsequently rebuilt, making his thrashing here feel a tad repetitive. That said, the chapter culminates with incredible artwork and a wholly wonderful dramatic finish that makes it easy to gloss over the minor missteps.

Chapter 83 takes a breather then, setting up the new status quo in the aftermath of the Monster Association’s big push. We get to see tons of tension between the various heroes, the work put into preparing for the next major confrontation, and hints that something altogether more sinister awaits the Hero Association. There’s a slew of new developments here, little reveals like our first glimpse of what Metal Knight actually looks like. There’s a lot to disgest, and without the memorable character designs it might be a tad frustrating trying to follow all the various avenues we’re dealing with, but Murata’s talented artistic flare makes it work.

Yeesh. Poor kid.

Thankfully Saitama also takes a more proactive role, and it won’t be long it seems until we’re onto our next crazy confrontation. Overall I love this chapters, and were exactly what I needed to reinvigorate my general interest in Shonen manga on a whole. Truth be told sometimes I feel I’ve grown too old for the genre, with having read so much shonen it’s more tropey elements have really started to nag at me. But ever so often a series manages to really surprise and impress me, sucking me right back in and making me feel like a teen again. One-Punch Man 81-83 is exactly what I needed and stand, in my opinion, as some of the series’ best chapters yet.

Please do comment below on what you thought of the latest One-Punch Man Chapters!

One-Punch Man is published weekly (sort of) in Shonen Jump. Volume 13 released 3/6/2018. Chapters discussed today will be collected and released sometime next year.

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