Miss my previous review? You can find it here!
As Garo’s brutal battle comes to an unexpected end, heroes assemble to battle the monster association’s latest threat – a massive centipede monster! Will the other heroes be able to overcome the unwieldy threat? Or will Saitama’s obsession with video games lead to their untimely demise?
The volume kicks off with a badly-beaten Garo, bordering on unconsciousness, recalling painful memories from his childhood. Forced to “play the monster” as a child, and always losing to the more popular Tatsu, his repressed emotions eventually manifested with violence.
Shocked. Shocked, I say.
Realizing that once again the “heroes” were going to win, Garo summons a final assault from an unknown pool of stamina, but just as he’s about to charge Bang and Bomb, he’s swept up by an unknown monster, who carries him back to the Monsters Association hideout.
In the wake of Garo’s abduction, a new monster makes an appearance – Centichoro. A massive centipede monster with impossibly thick armor and the ability to regenerate, he proves to be too much for Bang, Bomb or Genos to handle…even though Genos launches what would typically be an inspirational “finishing combo” that includes getting swallowed whole and blasting himself out from inside.
As Genos once again laments his weakness, King appears to antagonize Centichoro by stating that Blast, the top hero that nearly defeated him before, was on his way to kick his butt. Of course, Blast is nowhere to be found. Instead, Saitama unloads a Serious Punch and promptly ends Centichoro’s existence.
In the aftermath of the attack, Saitama, Bang, Bomb and Genos head back to Saitama’s place to play video games. Because…of course they would.
Blizzard, still reeling from the loss of her special division, is going to Saitama for help, and is confused when she finds some of the most powerful heroes in the world gathered around a table discussing Pokémon-esque strategies. Insistent that they make a plan, she doesn’t make much headway until Saitama realizes that the hero hunter that he wanted to meet (and fight) was the one who got kidnapped by the Monster Association. So, Saitama sets out to find him! (And punch him.)
The final chapter reveals Garo at the Monster Association hideout. Awakening after his grueling fight against the heroes, he finds a small “elite” band of soldiers that had been captured by the Association being tormented as the monsters decide what to do with them next. Ultimately, Orochi challenges Garo to return with the head of a hero within the next 24 hours in order to cement his membership in the Monster Association.
The question is: does Garo even want to be in the Monster Association?
Another action-packed volume of One Punch Man, with just enough nuance to keep things interesting! The rapid transition from the Garo/Heroes fight to the Centichoro conflict really helps the initial chapters fly by, with even more work being done to make Garo a convincing anti-hero.
The action remains crisp, with fantastic work being done in the major conflict with Centichoro. Genos’ ultimately futile barrage is a visual feast that properly captures the speed and power with which he unleashes his attacks. Similarly, Bang and Bomb’s coordinated martial arts moves are brought to life beautifully as well.
While the bureaucracy of the Hero Association is meant to be a running gag of sorts, it does feel like the narrative slows down a bit too much whenever we switch back to the hand-wringing executives and organizers, safe within their ivory tower.
On a side note, I feel like Blast is becoming that “girlfriend” that “goes to another school”. Are we ever going to see this sucker? Bah.
In any case, volume 17 delivers plenty of what One Punch Man fans have grown to expect – insane action, ridiculous monsters, and nonsensical hero bureaucracy. As the Monster Association arc approaches its climax, I can’t wait to see what Garo has in store – or Speed of Sound Sonic, who makes a brief cameo near the end of the volume.
Looking to add this volume to your collection? You can pick it up below: