The Deep-Sea King has invaded City J! With even the Class-S heroes proving to be no match for him, who will save the city?
The Deep-Sea King and his minions have invaded City J, terrorizing its citizens. The heroes of the Hero Association have arrived on the scene to do battle, but even the Class-A heroes are quickly defeated by the King. Sensing a battle, fabulous Class-S hero Puri Puri Prisoner breaks out of prison to take on this villain! With the cyborg Genos and ninja Speed-o’-Sound Sonic joining the fight, these heroes are forced to use all of their powers to save the city.
Picking up right immediately after the Deep-Sea King’s invasion of City J in volume 4, this volume spends its entire length following the zany cast of heroes as they fight this villain. This was a change from the range of smaller and more quickly settled fights the series has shown so far, as we get to see multiple heroes take on the Deep-Sea King in an extremely entertaining and lengthy fight. I really enjoyed getting to see multiple heroes fight, keeping things interesting while bringing the story toward its epic if somewhat inevitable finish. Despite spanning the length of this volume, this fight is crisply paced and never drags on, letting Yusuke Murata’s brilliant artwork do much of the exposition.
Although the overarching story largely recedes in the background in favour of the action, one of the most interesting aspects of this volume aside from the action was the involvement of a wider variety of heroes outside of Saitama in the fight against the Deep-Sea King. This formed the meat of the story as we got to see a little more about each heroes’ personality as they fought against the King, with each of their little personal stories forming a part of the larger overarching fight. It was interesting to see the interactions between a wider variety of heroes, helping to flesh out the world a little bit outside of Saitama. As a result, this volume made the world feel developed enough that when Saitama does arrive on the scene, there is a little more context to chew on to give scenes more of an impact instead of the same joke (Saitama showing up an decimating a villain) that the series has relied upon heavily.
I particularly enjoyed the introduction of Mumen Rider, a Class-C hero who knows he isn’t particularly strong but wants to save people nonetheless, as he demonstrated a lot of the heart that feels right at home in a superhero series. Rider’s introduction played in nicely with Saitama’s own subtle development, and I enjoyed seeing the continuation of the thread in the previous volume that saw him taking heat from citizens because of the extra bit of personality this development imbued Saitama with. I’m liking that the series is slowly starting to develop Saitama beyond a one-note (yet extremely funny) character, and this volume did a good job in that regard after the fight with the King. This culminated in a touching finale that was an excellent emotional capstone to this arc which was extremely satisfying while appropriately understated.
There’s not too much else to say about Yusuke Murata’s art in this volume but to note that it’s absolutely astounding. The amount of detail that he draws with is truly impressive, making this volume a visual treat. Panels are laid out well and the drawing are uncluttered, making the action scenes really pop. There are also a number of full-page spreads in this volume that emphasize some of the climactic moments, turning this volume into something out of a blockbuster action-movie. As usual, Murata shifts from a cartoony version of Saitama to an extremely detailed one to emphasize the shift in tone reflecting variance in our hero’s attitude, complementing the ebb and flow of this story effectively. One-Punch Man is such a strong series visually, and this volume might be Murata’s strongest effort yet.
If there is one thing to knock this volume on, it’s that the series’ trademark humour isn’t really anywhere to be found. This is understandable considering the volume focuses on creating one seriously epic fight sequence, but at times I found myself wishing for just a few moments of comedic relief. The series had balanced this aspect well in the previous volumes, and I would have liked to have seen just a tad more of that in this volume to keep things from getting overly serious. The one bit of comedic relief attempted was Sonic’s reaction to Puri Puri Prisoner’s trademark “Angel-Style” fighting, but this just sort of fell flat and wasn’t very funny.
One-Punch Man Vol. 5 is a fantastic culmination of the heroes’ fight against the Deep-Sea King, delivering a thrillingly action packed fight that is a visual showcase thanks to Murata’s artwork. Although those looking for the series’ trademark humour may be disappointed, this volume was excellently paced and entertaining throughout. I also enjoyed the bit of development we get for Saitama, leading to a finish that comes together in an emotionally satisfying way.
One-Punch Man Vol. 5 was translated by John Werry and published by Viz Media on March 1st, 2016. Based on ONE’s original webcomic, this series is authored by ONE and drawn by Yusuke Murata. The series began in 2012 and is still ongoing in Shueisha’s online Young Jump Web Comics. Volume 6 will be published in English on May 3rd, 2016 and there are 10 volumes currently out in Japan.
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