02 Oct / One-Punch Man (vol. 1) by ONE, illustrated by Yusuke Murata, translated by John Werry
Meet Saitama – albeit you’ll need old-people glasses to see the tiny type in the small box in the Table of Contents which seems to be the one and place inside the book that reveals our hero’s name. [The rest of the book is just fine, even for old eyeballs.]
“I am a hero,” he introduces himself. “My hobby is heroic exploits. I got too strong. And that makes me sad.” What’s a hero to do when he’s so powerful that he’s lost all sense of enjoying that “rush of battle”?
Still, he tells his latest foe he’s “a hero for fun,” although the monster just ain’t buying it: “What kind of ridiculous backstory is that?” the wannabe destroyer demans, just before our ‘fun hero’ knocks him out with – you got it – just one punch. WHAM!
Yeah, so his backstory is indeed a little more complex. Three years ago, Saitama was unemployed and had just left an interview at which he failed rather miserably. He runs into a vicious monster who dismisses our jobless grump and decides it would rather pick on the little kid with an oversized cleft chin. Saitama notes that “with the birthrate so low, [he] can’t let [the monster] kill that kid.” In fact, he’s had enough of the job hunting thing and would rather save the little guy instead.
So he does.
Three years of training later – so intense that he’s reduced to a mere single-line-drawing-bald caricature-who bears a vague resemblance to Avatar Aang, minus the arrow – Saitama “becom[es] “the hero [he] dreamed of becoming.” [Illustrator Yusuke Murata humorously notes on the very first page, “Your face is so simple yet so hard to draw!” as Saitama looks warily at Murata’s oversized pen.]
Being One-Punch Man keeps Saitama mighty busy. The world has no end of vicious enemies who want to kill us all, including a pair of brothers – one brains, the other steroided brawn – a mutant super-she-mosquito, and a few oversized swamp creatures. Along the way, he reluctantly picks up an apprentice who talks far too much.
The brutal challengers? They keep coming! Just how long can that single punch send them packing?
An epic adventure of good vs. evil with equal parts gore and goofiness, One-Punch Man is poised to sucker-punch his way to earning your devotion. The exquisitely detailed art mixed with the jarringly reduced line drawings of our shrunken hero is surely a strange but irresistible sight to behold. Being bored might ultimately be our hero’s greatest enemy, but fascinated readers will be anything but.
Tidbit: One-Punch Man is coming SUNDAY, October 4th to a screen near you. Saitama makes his anime debut in Japan, and Stateside fans can catch the first episode on the same day for FREE on Viz.com and Hulu, too.
Readers: Young Adult
Published: 2012 (Japan), 2015 (United States)
© ONE © Yusuke Murata
Original Japanese edition published by Shueisha Inc.