Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
As usual, ONE delivers a hilarious, action packed volume that is overloaded with ridiculous characters, fight scenes, and backstory. We meet King, the world’s strongest hero. How people see him, is exactly what Saitama really is. Unfortunately, King lives a life of glory and Saitama continues to be judged by his appearance. King is a rated S hero with a huge following. Everyone loves him and monsters fear his strength; however, he’s not at all what he seems to be.
Eventually an assassin is sent after King, to discover the source of his strength and to destroy him. Unfortunately for King, this is where his secret comes back to bite him. He is, in fact, a fraud. He’s not the strongest hero – he’s not a hero at all! Turns out he was just in the right place at the right time, several times. It’s not entirely his fault that people decided he was the strongest man – but he did nothing to stop the momentum of his followers. King, unable to take on this fight, goes into hiding while Genos fights in his place. The battle goes on for quite a while and leads us into some nice backstory about Genos later on in the volume. There is a moral story to be had here – King is enjoying fame and fortune unearned and spends a great deal of time avoiding the consequences of being a fraud. He is a prime example of the mediocrity that is praised and reinforced all the time in the real world. I can think of plenty of examples of situations in which a person who has enjoyed fame and praise is revealed to be a fake created by the media.
In the meantime, Saitama finds himself in King’s apartment engaged in conversation and gaming. King reveals himself to just be a lonely, loser Otaku who enjoys dating sims. Eventually Saitama gives King a huge piece of advice on how he can become a hero and the story moves on. King’s apartment gets destroyed, Saitama saves him, and now he has to decide if he’s going to be a hero. I know I am glossing over that fairly quickly but only because there is so much more packed into this short volume.
We meet the scientist who created Genos. When Genos returns to the lab for some adjustments, we can see that the relationship they have is akin to a father/son love. The scientist has real concern that Genos is pushing himself too hard and wonders if Saitama is a good influence. He asks to meet our baldy hero, so I suspect we will be seeing more of the scientist in future volumes. It was definitely nice to finally see where Genos comes from.
This volume definitely feels like the building blocks to a more complex and intriguing story as the series continues. At the end, we’re shown a bizarre meeting at the Hero Association that backfires completely and ends up in battle.
The main story in this volume is shorter than in previous volumes but we’re given tons of bonus manga and flashbacks. We’re even treated to Saitama’s first real fight, before he lost his hair. I’m convinced this is my favorite volume so far. I actually prefer seeing Saitama in his native environment – shopping malls where he looks for good deals, small apartments where he plays video games, etc. This volume is more relaxed and provides a much needed break from the endless absurd fighting. Yes, there is fighting in this volume, but it’s complimented by backstory and humor. At this point in time, if you want to jump into this series you’ll need to start from volume one. I can’t see anyone understanding what is happening without going in order. This series is worth reading the first seven volumes to catch up.
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**This item was provided for review.