Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
The hero hunter, Garo, continues his massacre while Saitama decides to enter a combat tournament. In the meantime, Class S Hero Metal Bat has been assigned to guarding a Hero Association executive and his son. All of this is the perfect recipe for trouble.
This volume contains all of the humor one would expect from One-Punch Man while also containing some more serious moments of development. Garo shows himself as a legit threat to the Hero Association as he continues to hunt down targets. He has become far more accurate in his hunts since forming a relationship with a young boy who has a Hero Guide detailing the specs of each hero and where they hang out. A good portion of this volume is Garo going to hangouts and attacking heros. The rest of it follows Saitama on his comical adventures.
Saitama does some very loose investigating on Garo, coming to the conclusion that the Hero Hunter will eventually come after him. On a hunch, Saitama tracks down Garo and casually follows him before declaring that he was looking for him. Garo, surprised to see Saitama instead of a known hero, gives him a swipe but misses. To which, Saitama says, “you trying to rob me?” which is the only response you can have when you’re the one doing the stalking. A little scuffle ensues and Garo finds himself in a very unpleasant place the next morning. This is all written very comically when you realize Saitama was out shopping. It seems a lot of things happen when he goes on a grocery run. Following this, Saitama sneaks into a martial arts tournament under another hero’s application. The prize money is huge, so he couldn’t resist. Think of all the groceries he could buy! The tournament is another scene of humor as Saitama sneaks in with a gigantic black wig that doesn’t even resemble the person he is impersonating.
In the meantime, Metal Bat is stuck courting around a Hero Member Association executive and his son, who really seem to be awful people. They are drawn with clownlike features – big lips, silly hair, and tacky suits. With association money, they indulge in gluttony and greed. Eventually a freak of a monster appears and Metal Bat has to protect his charges, even though he didn’t want the job. This is one moment I would have liked Metal Bat step aside and let the father and son get what’s coming to them, but instead he fulfills his duties to protect.
Saitama finally starts showing interest in his job as a hero, although the motive is perfectly self-centered. The Hero Hunter is supposed to have unsurpassed strength, which seems true as he plows through high ranked heroes. We do see; however, in a brief encounter with Garo, that Saitama has a good shot at defeating him. I suspect Garo may need two punches, unless Saitama was being kind in their meeting. Saitama takes on the role of a detective – unintentionally, he starts to learn about Garo even when he isn’t thinking about him.
Garo has been in the spotlight for some time now. We now know that Garo is human and he was Master Bang’s top student. However, he trained for the purpose of power and strength instead of wisdom and peace. Eventually he realizes he had nothing more to learn. While there is no mention of family or friends, he can manage relationships. Although the relationship he shares with the boy with the hero guide is parasitic, nonetheless, Garo finds him useful and tells him to go home during crisis.
Metal Bat is incredibly patient and loyal to his assignment. He has to protect an official and his son, who are fat snobs with no manners. Trapped in a sushi restaurant with them, Metal Bat has to endure watching them eat and complain about the quality. They also continue to put plates back which irritates Metal Bat to no end. You can clearly see the difference in social status between them since the tacky official has no qualms with putting plates back on the belt. As soon as Metal Bat has reached the end of his ropes, he needs to protect these two awful humans. He does so with all of his skill and ensures their safety. This is a surprising turn for someone who was about to knock the official out himself. At the end, it shows that Metal Bat earned his ranking and is the kind of hero you’d want on your side.
This volume was fun to read although it contained a lot of filler. The segment with Metal Bat could have been accomplished in just a few pages, but instead it gets prolonged by ridiculous monster attacks. Fortunately, the main story makes up for the filler. Following Saitama through the streets behind Garo and then seeing him in a wig are two scenes that make up the best parts of this volume. They are both comical and informative. I was able to get a laugh while learning some important backstory that will be helpful in later volumes. The writing in this series continues to keep my attention. Additionally, the bonus side manga was so good I almost forgot I wasn’t reading the main story.
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**This item was provided for review.