Art: Yusuke Murata
Translation: John Werry
What They Say
Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem – he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! For three years, Saitama has defeated countless monsters, but no one knows about him… That’s because he isn’t in the Hero Association’s registry! Together with Genos, Saitama decides to take the Hero Association’s test! But can they pass?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Starting the volume off with some strong visual gags, we join Saitama as he absolutely crushes the physical portion of the Hero Association’s certification exam. As it turns out though, he obviously didn’t do so hot on the written exam, as he just barely scrapes by and becomes a Class-C hero, while Genos becomes Class-S with a perfect score. Following a silly bit with an uppity hero giving a seminar to them and then overstepping his bounds, we get a chapter in which Genos convinces Saitama to spar with him. And this chapter is one that steps back entirely to let Murata flex his art skills, giving us a showcase fight that’s an absolute pleasure to look at from beginning to end.
Next up, Saitama runs into his first problem as a hero, as it turns out a C-Class hero needs to keep themselves active or risk being dropped! And as this obviously doesn’t mesh with Saitama’s lackadaisical lifestyle, he soon finds himself desperately darting around town, trying to find a crime to take care of! In the midst of this Sonic decides to step in and make a mess of things… at least until our hero realizes that the assassin probably counts as a villain, solving his problems.
For the final main story, we join two other heroes, the A-rankers Spring Mustachio and Golden Ball, as they investigate a ghost town with rumors of a horrifying monster. Of course it turns out that Saitama steps in at end to take down the foe (in an especially amusing nonchalant manner), and obviously he ends up being the likely source of the rumors. However, what’s neat here is that we get a real nice look at some other heroes (and a goofy monster of course), which really helps to expand the world of the story. Plus, it makes for a nice change of pace to see some characters fight in the over the top manner of the series without the obvious flow that Saitama’s presence brings.
In the bonus chapters, we get another look at a younger Saitama, and then a story about a grunt of a hero struggling to keep afloat in the politics and powers of the hero business.
With this volume a bit of structure starts to form around the concept of professional heroes, but fortunately that doesn’t do anything to impede the great humor the series has shown thus far. There’s still plenty of great gags throughout, and we do get some minor character introductions here that feel like the start of the overall world of the series really fleshing out. And of course it bears mentioning that we get one outstanding chapter focused entirely on flexing the visual prowess of the series in a crazy sparring match, which makes for an absolutely stunning experience. Once more, this volume proves that the series packs one of the strongest punches of any manga out there, so be sure to give it a look if you haven’t yet.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015