By Dustin Cabeal
If there’s a hotter franchise to come from Japan in the past few years, then I don’t know what it is. I have been approached by so many people regarding One-Punch Man due to the anime, that it shows that it’s transcended just being a manga.
Too bad the manga is moving super slow at the moment which is likely to stifle the popularity with the general audience that it’s currently capturing.
I had read volume twelve before even picking up the book to read. This year I bought a subscription to Weekly Shonen Jump and found that there wasn’t much for me to read due to half the books being ones that I follow in trade. What I ended up noticing after my review for One-Punch Man vol. 11, was that this series wasn’t that a far ahead of the “Weekly” releases. I was able to catch up quickly, and so I spoiled the enjoyment of this volume by doing that.
Which is strange because I didn’t like what I read. I didn’t hate it, but it got the point that it just felt like a lot of half battles and unfinished scenes. The story is all over the place, and it’s on One’s shoulders that it is like that. The monsters are attacking everywhere; the heroes are fighting and losing to them here and there. Then there’s the fighting tournament, which is fun and great on its own but feels completely out of place at the moment. It’s obvious that One wants Saitama to make the guy he’s destined to fight in the final bout, a hero, but none of that is in this volume. I can’t give partial credit for what I think it’s building towards.
Instead, this volume is a lot of incomplete feeling scenes. There’s a ton of time spent with Genos fighting and his fighting style and the psychology behind it, just isn’t very interesting. Genos’ character continues to drift from interesting more and more. There’s just not enough time spent with Saitama… which is getting tiring considering he’s the star of the book. There is a great side story at the end involving King and Saitama in which King continues to live off of Saitama’s rep, but this time unbeknownst to him.
The art, of course, is amazing and likely the reason that the story takes so long to release. I won’t complain about that because I would rather have consistent and beautiful art from Yusuke Murata. There’s what I’m calling the new “Okay” in which Saitama which his shitty wig says, “I went to the toilet” and it’s just… it’s wonderful. I hope someone puts it on a shirt, which is probably the biggest mishandling of the merch for One-Punch Man, not enough shirts. The art continues to be impressive.
It’s unfortunate that this volume falls a bit flat. Usually, I praise One for balancing everything, but here it’s just kind of a mess at the moment as everything is trying to circle back around to itself. That and it might just be one of those unfortunate breaks in which the chapter requirement was reached for the volume, and the next one will end up having all the payoff. We’ll see, it’s weak, but it’s by no means bad or worth skipping.
One-Punch Man vol. 12
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Publisher: Viz Media