Manga Review: One-Punch Man Volume Two

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

One-Punch Man Volume 2 focuses on Saitama, a man who is a superhero for fun and can defeat opponents with just one punch. But Saitama doesn’t look like he’s that strong: he’s skinny and went bald due to all the training he put himself under in order to become this strong. Saitama has a disciple named Genos, a cyborg that is out for justice after another cyborg killed his family four years earlier.

One-Punch Man Volume 2
Written by: ONE
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 1, 2015

Volume 2 begins with Saitama being hunted by the House of Evolution because Dr. Genus is interested in finding out about his unusual strength. After Saitama learns from one of Genus’ assassins what’s going on, he and Genos go to the House of Evolution in order to preemptively strike before Genus can send out more assassins.

Not surprisingly, Genus panics when he sees how easily Saitama defeated most of his assassins. He decides to unleash his greatest weapon, Carnage Kabuto, but it’s a creature he’s kept locked up due to not being refined enough. When Genos and Saitama encounter Carnage Kabuto, the creature easily gets an attack on Genos. Saitama actually shows some emotion here and is determined to fight Carnage Kabuto. Perhaps being around Genos for the time they’ve been together has subconsciously started reminding Saitama how to start feeling some emotion again.

It looks like there’s the potential for a fight here, but Carnage Kabuto unexpectedly backs away from Saitama. Somehow, the big creature’s instincts are giving him a danger signal when he sees Saitama. I actually found it amusing to see this big and powerful creature backing away in fear from the thin and bald Saitama. On the surface, this just seems so wrong, until you remember just how strong Saitama really is. This particular storyline ends up having a rather humorous conclusion, which fits in with the amusing reaction that Carnage Kabuto displayed when he encountered Saitama.

The next story sees a group known as Paradisers wanting to create a utopia where they don’t have to work. They all have bald heads, which causes problems for Saitama because people think he’s associated with them. This leads to Saitama realizing that no one recognizes him even though he’s protected people and cities from various threats, which starts to frustrate him. At the end of the volume, we learn why this is the case, and it looks like it’ll become part of an important plot point for Volume 3. After such a lighthearted story with Carnage Kabuto, this second storyline is more serious in nature, which creates an interesting dynamic for this volume.

This second storyline also introduces a new character named Speed-o’-Sound Sonic, a ninja under the employ of one of the wealthiest men in the city. True to his name, Sonic has incredible speed that aids him with his ninja skills. Saitama becomes part of the story when he stumbles into the middle of Sonic’s battle with the Paradisers’ leader. This results in Sonic and Saitama getting into their own fight, and Saitama gaining an adversary. I expect that this isn’t the last that we’ll see of Sonic in the series.

Volume 2 starts out with a more lighthearted tone, but then quickly changes into a more serious story. That’s not to say that there isn’t any humor in the volume’s second story, though. It’s just that the second story sees Saitama coming to some serious realizations about his situation. With the way Volume 2 ends, there’s the potential for Volume 3 to start off with a more serious tone.

Readers who enjoyed the first volume of the series will likely appreciate how the story continues in One-Punch Man Volume 2. Unlike Volume 1, it appears this one may be laying a foundation for an overarching story, especially with the introduction of Sonic. While I still may not be a fan of One-Punch Man after reading the first two volumes, I can see that the second volume appears to show that series may have potential. Hopefully the next volume will continue this trend.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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