One-Punch Man (Chapters 57.2-58.1) – Review Discussion

One-Punch Man:

Chapters 57.2-58.1 – Review

Reviewed by: Tom

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“No! I’m the better parody of my archetype!”

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. Metal Bat, charged with protecting two V.I.P’s finds himself suddenly under attack from a giant centipede monster! While battling the creature to try and protect his charges, Metal Bat, the rough and tough street hero with a baseball bat, comes face to face with Garo, the Hero Hunter who’s been charging around the world, taking out every major hero he comes across.

Now Metal Bat needs to contend with the blood thirsty Garo first. But where’s Saitama? Or Genos, his cyborg apprentice?

Review:

One-Punch Man blew up with its anime last year, impressing everyone with the hilarity of its story, the epic quality to its battles, and the impressive art that was so accurately brought to life by the animators. I’ve enjoyed the One-Punch Man manga since it appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump, and while the wonky release schedule is frustrating, every chapter (or part of a chapter) is a delight to read.

So let’s jump into the discussion with Chapter 57.2. Metal Bat has been delayed from getting back to his battle with the giant centipede monster by Garo, the Hero Hunter who’s now taken out several of the top heroes in his effort to find a worthy foe. We’re treated to some incredible art as Metal Bat is handed his ass by Garo, who lands hit after hit, sending Metal Bat to the ground, or well, he would, if Metal Bat wasn’t so determined to stay on his feet.

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“How? How can you keep standing? It’s impossible!”

What’s cool about Metal Bat is how he’s basically the distilled down, perfect version of those street thug type characters from 80s Shonen Manga, with their own simplistic code of honor and ethics taken to a few absurd extremes, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Metal Bat rises back to the fight, becoming stronger and stronger from all the damage he’s been given (What is he a Saiyajin?). He taunts Garo to end this battle quickly, so he can go finish off the giant centipede monster that’s still plaguing the city.

Garo accepts the challenge and suddenly steps it up a notch, smashing the ground and throwing the sewer lid through the air towards Metal Bat (We’re actually now in Chapter 57.3! My how these chunks of chapters fly.) Garo catches Metal Bat off guard with this sudden burst of power and speed, raging on him and bruising him with a multitude of attacks. Metal Bat tries to counter with a ridiculous super move, aptly named “Killer Move Pumped Up Brutal Tornado.” He literally backs Garo against the wall with this move. Garo, no way out, decides to really show his stuff, countering every swing from Metal Bat throws and then smashes Metal Bat, finally sending him to the pavement, down and out. This whole fight is fantastically rendered by artist Yusuke Murata. Garo realizes that Metal Bat actually had quite a bit of power behind his attacks, and that, if struck, it might’ve done a lot of damage to Garo. Suddenly someone calls out Big Brother and this is where Chapter 57.3 cuts. It’s a bad cut. a bad place to stop, but what comes next is going to really work when all these parts come together for the Volume release.

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“This is why heroes need babysitters.”

With Chapter 57.4, our final part to Chapter 57, We discover that a little girl is crying out those words as Metal Bat swings his bat down on Garo, inches away from striking him and dealing a devastating blow. But he stops. Because the little girl is none other than his baby sister, who he’s pledged to never commit violence in front of. What I love about this is how great a parody this moment is. Shonen street thug heroes tend to have that softer side, that side that sends them to mush around their siblings, and to have it presented here like this, at such a crucial moment in the battle, brings about the whole absurdity of the quirk for these types of characters.

Garo smacks Metal Bat down, but Metal Bat’s sister protects him, explaining their bizarre family code of ethics. Garo, maybe not quite the monster he’d like us to believe he is, backs down and heads off. This is where we start to get back the monster association plot line, as two monsters who were onlookers for this battle between Garo and Metal Bat consider possibly introducing Garo into their schemes.

With Chapter 58 Metal Bat remembers he needs to go put a stop to the rampaging centipede monster, but collapses after his sister whacks him for considering to fight in his condition. Much to her surprise he’s out cold. Briefly the two monsters consider taking this opportunity to off Metal Bat, or even capture his sister, but Garo returns and smashes the Jelly blog of the two into mush. He’s surprised when the monster isn’t dead, and the two offer him to join their organization. For the moment he rips up the invitation and calls them disgusting, but it’s clear this is all some sort of foreshadowing for the future. Will Garo side with the monsters to some capacity or will he head to their meeting and simply destroy them all in a quest for a worthy opponent?

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“Jeez, you could be a little nicer to the Monstahovah Witnesses.”

Finally, to conclude Chapter 58 (as it turns out 58.1) We return to a battle with the giant rhino monster, vs. two meager heroes (definitely not S rank). He degrades the two of them for being weak and that’s where we cut off.

Moving forward I’m hoping Saitama or Genos will get a bit more page time, but I also know that these two are our heavy hitters, and if Saitama is going to show up it can’t be until the final hour of the battle and it doesn’t seem like we’re really all that close to the conclusion of the Garo and Monster Association’s plot lines. I’m fully expecting a new S-rank hero to take the stage and strut their stuff against the terrible monsters plaguing this poor city. And I’m sure Garo will be encountering Watchdog Man any time now.

With Garo, while I do enjoy his fight scenes and the incredible art that comes with them, I find his story to be more cliche than the others in its execution. I’m pretty sure we’ll mostly be watching Garo take down one hero after another until he finally faces off with Saitama. I’m hoping there’s some surprises along the way, but every battle seems to go the same way each time, with the heroes briefly backing him into a corner before Garo unleashes his true strength and blows them all away. After a few more battles like this I think I’ll be aching for Saitama to step in already. Otherwise I really enjoyed these four ‘chapters’ and I can’t wait to talk about One-Punch Man again next week!

Please do comment below on what you thought of One-Punch Man Chapters 57.2-58.1!

One-Punch Man is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Chapters 30-34 will be available in Volume 6 coming out May 3rd, 2016. Chapters discussed today (57.2-58.1) will be released in Volume 11, coming out sometime next year.

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