Miss my previous review? You can find it here!
Note – We received a complimentary digital copy of One Punch Man – Volume 16 in exchange for our honest review.
When last we left off, self-proclaimed “Monster” and Hero Hunter Garo found himself in a tough spot – surrounded by A and B-class heroes in a tiny hut, along with a hero-loving kid named Tareo.
Leading the charge is the stoic hero known as “Death Gatling”. Determined to bring Garo’s spree of violence to an end, he’s recruited a small team of elite heroes to bring him down once and for all!
Can Garo overcome the odds to add to his infamy? Or has he finally reached the end of the road?
There be spoilers ahead!
Garo earns some serious clout as he leans on Tareo’s knowledge to counter the squad waiting for him out in the middle of the forest.
The setup is brilliant, with some serious strategy on behalf of Death Gatling and the other heroes – who would typically be vastly outclassed by Garo. Fortunately for them, Garo’s been busy battling one hero after another in quick succession, including run-ins with a handful of S-class heroes and a perceived thrashing at the hands of King (though we know it was just Saitama doing his usual thing).
At 211 pages, the first few chapters fly by as the Hero Hunter assesses the threat from the various heroes and works to counter them to the best of his ability. One of Death Gatling’s main points is that everyone is obsessed with S-class heroes, but that it’s the A and B-class heroes that do a lot of the heavy lifting to keep regular people safe. Seeing their unique abilities on display, covering close, mid, and long-range threats, reminded me of a well-balanced RPG party taking on a boss.
Despite things looking pretty bad for Garo, it was around this point that I realized that, in Infinity War fashion, One Punch Man had taken a purported “villain” and gave him a heroic arc. In the face of adversity and certain failure, his indomitable will allows him to turn it around. That, and reaching into the very earth itself to tear up massive roots and destabilize his opponents.
While it has been well established that Garo is a badass, watching him turn their abilities against one another was downright distressing at times when you realize he’s supposed to be the bad guy. Of course, this gets complicated when Death Gatling, in a final stand, attempts to mow down Garo, not realizing the hut has Tareo inside. Garo successfully deflects his “death shower”, and the resulting panel is one of the best in the volume.
I would have been satisfied with the ending of the ambush if the volume ended here, but ONE and Murata bless us with the arrival of Genos to ratchet up the action even more.
Now, at this point I found myself wondering just how much juice Garo had left. With Genos’ recent losses, it was apparent from the start that he wasn’t keen on things like “mercy” or “defeat”. However, he barely gets a handful of hits in before a pair of familiar martial artists make their entrance – Bang and Bomb.
Master finally confronts Student in a series of panels that seriously had me on the edge of my seat.
Bang proceeds to utterly wreck his former student, vowing to get vengeance for a previous pupil known as Charanko before the volume comes to a close.
The art in this volume was spectacular, with a good mixture of speed and weight in the various fight scenes. The pages fly by, and the narrative moves forward (such as it is). My biggest gripe is that there wasn’t a lot in terms of plot that was revealed, except some allusions that the Monster Association is interested in recruiting Garo.
I would say we have to wait until August 6th to see how this ends…but Viz’s Shonen Jump service has all of the One Punch Man chapters! Make sure to check it out!
Until next time!