One-Punch Man Special + 66-67 – Review

One-Punch Man:

Chapters Special + 66-67 – 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?

Review:

Chapter – Numbers:

This bonus chapter deals with Miss Blizzard’s attempts to force Saitama to join her gang. He declines outright, but she convinces him to agree to a winner takes all match between her team and his. Saitama returns with the best of the best, three S rank heroes that all easily outstrip Blizzard’s men. However, she’s unphased and convinces Saitama to sign himself away in a contract for their match up. This bonus chapter is the very definition of mediocre, at least these early pages. The humor is often predictable, with gags and resolutions to gags seen coming miles away.

While normally everyone there would wipe the floor with her, they all neglected to realize the match up involves facing her people in a video game fighting contest. As Saitama, Genos, Silver Fang are all defeated, it’s left up to King. Which isn’t much of a surprise for long time readers as well all know the truth to King. It’s clearly meant to be comedic, but because the resolution can be seen so clearly, so obviously, it just doesn’t present us with anything memorable.

Though it looks like he could be doing something a bit more adult under there.

Meanwhile Child Emperor designs a face mask that measures power levels. He tests it out, giving everyone a basic score. Without warning a monster appears nearby, Spiderino, a half man half spider monster. According to Child Emperor’s new power level mask the creature is only 420 in power, yet it makes short work of one of the heroes who measured at 759. Turns out the bottom half of the monster is near 7,000 in ability. Many of the heroes are easily defeated, but thankfully Genos, Saitama and the others are nearby, easily making short work of the monster. There’s some fun play here with power level mechanics and criticism of the shonen genre’s reliance on such a thing, but overall it’s pretty standard stuff, for One-Punch Man anyway.

Child Emperor is disappointed they defeated the monster so quickly, but decides to take the opportunity to measure everyone’s power. Silver Fang and Genos both decline/are unable to be measured. He instead measures Saitama, but the mask cracks and claims he’s unmeasurable, which Child Emperor takes to mean that Saitama is absurdly weak. But when he measures King, since King is the best, he just assumes King has too high a power for it to measure. It’s a fun little nod to the truth behind King, unlike earlier.

Blizzard appears, but she’s still stunned from King having defeated her entire gang. To add insult to injury Child Emperor scans her and claims she only has 19 in power. Saitama talks some sense into her, to stop chasing after her sister. Blizzard gets mad at Saitama and unleashes her ability at just the right time, as swarms of little spiders come out of the corpse of Spiderino, threatening to infect everyone. With the menace finally defeated Child Emperor comes to the conclusion his mask can’t measure some abilities and decides it’s no good. Besides it’s broken anyway. How’d that happen?

To wrap everything up Blizzard is forced to buy Saitama and Co. dinner. Overall it’s a pretty meh extra chapter. It’s amusing, but nothing special. I do wonder if Shonen Jump will continue to print what are ultimately meant as extras for the collected releases. I guess I feel like I don’t really need to see this that badly and they are best left as fun little additions for anyone who picks up the collected volumes.

Chapter 66:

Back to the main story, the octopus monster is rampaging through the city. It makes short work of any hero it comes across and despite a heroic stand off by the hero, Bones, the monster even makes short work of this hero powered by milk. It’s then Death Gatling arrives with a group of other A and B list heroes. However, before they get a chance to fight Flashy Flash appears. He tells them all to shut up and watch as he strikes the octopus down, or fails to, as him taking out all of its eyes, Death Gatling’s surmised weak point for the beast, only makes it madder! This is a fun sequence playing with and reversing expectations. That said, One-Punch Man continues to buckle under criticism that I feel becomes more and more poignant: It becomes exactly what it sought out to parody.

This iteration of One-Punch Man is, of course, a redrawing of the original webcomic work, and features content not initially included in that original version. I unfortunately don’t know which parts are new and aren’t, but what I do feel is the longer we linger in these arcs, the tournament and the Monster Association, the more things feel like padding.

Another poor soul brainwashed by all those “Got Milk” commercials from childhood.

As the creature is about to smash through Death Gatling and the others, Tornado arrives and scrunches the entire thing into a neat little ball. After a bit of rival like banter between Tornado and Flashy Flash, we snap to the Monster’s lair and learn that whatever this massive monster thing is, it has the ability to make more monsters. Now, with what I said above, I feel like Chapter 66 just barely remains a parody. The Bones stuff is funny, the Death Gatling and Flashy Flash pages are awesome, aided by some really sick characters designs, and the revelation for the monsters works quite well too. All that said, I think One-Punch Man is beginning to sink beneath it’s own, tired formula. I can’t help but read Chapter 66, after being away from the series for a few weeks since I last reviewed it, and feeling like I’ve read these chapters before, as if what’s here doesn’t feel all that new, but rather One-Punch Man’s past events with a fresh coat of paint.

Chapter 67:

Elsewhere Atomic Samurai, Bushi Drill, Okama Itachi and Iaian are meeting to ascertain how to deal with Garo. Inside Atomic Samurai talks with several leaders of the Holy Order of the Sword on the Garo situation. But interrupting the meeting one of the masters, Haragiri reveals that he’s in league with the monsters. Apparently to attain greater power he’s consumed Monster Cells, turning him into a monster. He insists the rest eat it and attain true power alongside him. I actually really dislike this chapter. First, we get bogged down in a talking heads scene discussing Garo and the threat he represents and how to handle him. It’s a lengthy several pages that feel, honestly? Unnecessary. It then abruptly shifts to an entirely different topic, a shift I feel like the manga doesn’t really pull off, or make feel important and necessary. It almost happens arbitrarily.

As he transforms he warns them that he’ll kill them if they don’t side with him. Despite his threats Atomic Samurai makes short work of Haragiri. Atomic then leaves the meeting and gathers the others to work together and crush the Monster Association. So we shift to Haragiri, just to bring the whole Monster Association plotline back into play and that shift doesn’t really work. It feels forced and, ultimately, kinda stupid as Haragiri is killed within mere moments and seemingly without much effort. It makes the Monster Association stuff by proxy feel, well, weak.

Unappetizing is what they are.

Sure the manga is always on a timer “How long until Saitama comes into play and One-Punch’s the day away.” But right now I feel like he isn’t even really needed. If Monster Cells offer such a pathetic buff up, why even be worried about this? It’s a weak development.

Meanwhile Metal Knight uses his robot, captive within the Monster’s lair, to ask what their true goal is, which is apparently centered on achieving a “higher stage” as well as indicating Humanity’s biological weakness.

Back at the tournament Saitama takes the stage against his semi-finals opponent, a pseudo white supremist/neo nazi type character that he defeats with just one punch, while yawning too. With such an upset the crowd goes wild. Then Suiryu takes the stage and they prepare for the final round. Although Saitama is afraid Suiryu has noticed that he’s wearing a wig. With Saitama back on the page the manga feels a bit more interesting again and, in some ways, this tournament arc holds the most of my attention for these three chapters today, even though it’s the content I’m most sure is original to the manga. The writing feels a bit more clever here than the special chapter, and Saitama’s humor doesn’t feel like a bunch of reused jokes.

Overall these chapters are a bit disappointing. We seem to be falling into a pattern with the monster battles, an over focus on plot lines that are less interesting, or too bogged down in details. I’m hoping that the next set of chapters I review finally finish off the tournament arc, pull us back to the Garo story, and get Saitama actively working on those plot lines. That’s where One-Punch Man is at its best and we really don’t need all the padding its getting bogged down in of late. I’ve been more accepting of it up till now compared to other critiques, but I think it’s time we really start catapulting the story forward.

Please do comment below on what you thought of One-Punch Man Chapters 66-67 and the One Shot Specials!

One-Punch Man is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Chapters 56-61 are available in Volume 11. Chapters discussed today (66-67) will be collected and released sometime next year.

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