Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
At long last, Saitama has the opportunity to test his skills in the final match of the martial arts tournament. Unfortunately, the ending is rather anti-climatic for him when he’s discovered to be an impostor. This angers the audience as well as Saitama’s opponent, who decides to finish the fight. In the meantime, the Monster Association is sending giant creatures that easily dispose of Class A monsters. We also learn about a new weapon the Monster Association has at its disposal…
This volume opens up with Flashy Flash taking on the giant monster, Multieyed Octopus. Impatient, Tornado flies by and destroys the monster in an instant while leaving Flashy Flash embarrassed and sulking. Furthermore, the Monster Association has a new weapon – monster cells! Using monster cells, they can begin to recruit humans who hate the Hero Association. Those who take the monster cells are guaranteed a longer life span and more power. Of course, the cells actually make them into monsters but if you’re willing to join the Monster Association, you’re probably not thinking about the cons of becoming a monster, anyway.
While this goes on, Saitama progresses fearlessly through the competition despite his paranoia that he’ll be found out. Saitama.. ahem, I mean Charanko has many exciting fights which are made even better because he almost loses his wig in each one. Eventually “Charanko” defeats his opponents and gets to face off against the undefeated Suiryu, who has won every tournament. This is an intense and lengthy fight that covers the second half of the book. Both of them spend the first few minutes of the fight playing with each other, shocking the crowd because they’re used to Suiryu winning each fight with one swift kick. It’s the first time they have seen someone evade Suiryu’s attacks. Eventually he punches the wig off Saitama and wins by disqualification. This brings the tournament to an official end, but the DQ win isn’t enough for Suiryu. He continues to attack Saitama, only to discover he’s there for the same reason – to find someone stronger so the fight doesn’t end in one punch!
Saitama doesn’t change in this volume, but instead remains the same hilarious baldy with a lifeless expression on his face. He doesn’t get to show off too much of his skill since he has to spend the tournament trying to keep his wig on. This results in many rounds of evading attacks until Saitama has to end the fight. I understand this is a manga and we’re allowed to stretch reality a bit but we’re already doing that with the “one punch” gimmick. The fact that nobody notices it’s Saitama in a wig shows how oblivious the audience is.
Suiryu is a Ranma 1/2 looking character who is known for being undefeated. He won all of his matches up until Saitama with a single kick, making him the formidable opponent Saitama is looking for. Unlike Saitama, he isn’t calm and he doesn’t wear an empty expression. He is proud of his accomplishments as a fighter and isn’t afraid to brag. Minus flirting with the girls and you realize Suiryu has a lot in common with Saitama.
Amai Mask is another hero, who is also a pop idol! We see him at the end of the volume when the Monster Association decides to pay one of his concerts a visit. He wipes them out quickly, leaving his fans thinking the monsters were props for the show. The ending to volume 13 makes it obvious we’re going to be seeing more of Amai Mask very soon.
This series truly never disappoints. Although it is formulaic, Saitama’s careless attitude and expressionless face really is enough to carry the over the top plot. As the series progresses, the monsters become more ridiculous as do the heroes who are fighting them. I think that is what I love most about this series. It’s as if each hero or villain is a ridiculous caricature from the shonen genre… One Punch Man is aiming to be the campiest campy thing on earth and I love it.
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**This item was provided for review.