One Punch Man (2015)


Volume 9

One Punch Man - Volume 9 (2015)

Author: ONE
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Publisher: Jump Comics

The Hero Association's attempt to recruit villains into their ranks is disrupted by the hero hunter Garou, the self-styled Human Monster.

Now, I suppose the main feature of this volume is supposed to be Garou, but the cover points you instead to Fubuki and that's honestly what I like best about it (and not just for what you're assuming). I'll get to Garou in a moment. Let's talk about the lovely Fubuki first. Just on the basis of visual appeal, Fubuki had my attention from her first appearance, but she's also compelling as a character. I like the dynamics of the Fubuki Group and while their tactics are often rather heavy-handed, it's perhaps the most cohesive team in the Hero Association. Fubuki cares for her people as much as they care for her. While big sister Tatsumaki has a lot of detractors due to her rotten personality (which may or may not see some development later in the story), Fubuki has a good balance of positive and negative traits that make her interesting and gives her room to grow. I'd actually been looking at the official guidebook that I got with my initial set of the manga first and I couldn't believe that Fubuki was a B Class hero. There's actually a compelling in-story justification for it which interestingly gives her some parallels to Mumen Rider of all people. The fact that Fubuki sort of gets drawn into Saitama's circle after the initial confrontation is just icing on the cake.

Okay, now let's talk about the new arc villain Garou. Similar to Lord Boros, he's set up as a parallel to Saitama, only the thing is that he hasn't reached the peak of his power yet. That's a key point for me. He's not yet strong enough to completely dominate all his fights, so he actually has to put out some effort and there are real stakes. Having him be Bang's rogue pupil also adds another layer of intersection. The third point is how he styles himself as the Human Monster. We've seen that it doesn't take much to become an actual monster and it's interesting that he holds on to his humanity while making himself humanity's enemy. The fact that he's a growing threat easily makes him the most interesting villain so far.

We get some bloody beatdowns courtesy of Garou (and quite a few to Garou in his fight with Tanktop Master), but I'll be honest with you, I was more drawn to Fubuki's fight with Saitama (while Genos was busy trying to run off Sonic). We get some great reaction shots from Fubuki as it sinks in how badly she's misjudged the situation.

We get a neat little one-page guide to some of the Tanktoppers, to include the elusive Tanktop Girl, and there's a great omake about the Fubuki Group's efforts to buy a car for their organization.

While getting Garou on full display would probably be enough to warrant adding this volume to the collection, it's Fubuki's part of the story that totally wins me over. Fubuki's a pretty popular character and if she wins you over like she did me, then there's no question that this volume needs to be in your collection.

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