Review by Ian Keogh
Almost all the soap opera plots writer One has introduced over the past few volumes have to wait for the opening sequence as S class hero Metal Bat takes on the giant centipede rampaging through the city. As seen on Yusuke Murata’s sample art, that’s a battle worth postponing any plot for. However, it turns out to be only Metal Bat’s secondary concern as Garo’s still on his mission to take down all S class heroes. Where is Saitama when monsters are attacking City W? Still at the martial arts contest where he’s hoping to win some cash. It takes eight pages just to introduce the contestants, so this isn’t a plot One is dropping quickly, and it’s nowhere near finished by the end of the book. In terms of wild characters, the martial arts bunch aren’t very different from the categorised heroes, but tend to look down on them as being commercial and taking the easy route, whereas the martial artists are somehow purer.
This selection immediately ranks over the previous books simply via more than three quarters of the content concentrating on the main story rather than that coming up short against several bonus chapters. The monsters One creates are every bit as imaginative as heroes, but allow Murata to stretch himself via not being restricted to designing human forms. A skyscraper sized octopus covered in eyes is the stuff of nightmares.
The bonus chapters begin with Saitama hanging out with King watching superhero videos, but he’s summoned by the Hero Association to team with some other B class heroes and take on a monster. While all the bonus chapters have to greater or lesser extent informed aspects of the main story, this one is relevant for introducing corruption within the Hero Association and for reinforcing Saitama’s decision to work alone. A short final piece takes a look at Metal Bat. It’s funny and charming and the ending to his participation in the main continuity is also admirable. There’s so much trouble, never mind a contest to complete, so One was never going to wrap anything up here, and the chances of him doing so in 12 are slim, but this has been a better volume than 9 or 10.