Ian Mitchell, August 2023
Life gets pretty boring when you can beat the snot out of any villain with just one punch.
In a world of epic battles and formidable foes, one hero stands above the rest with a single knockout punch - "One Punch Man." Join me as I dive into the action-packed universe of this legendary manga series, exploring the thrilling adventures of Saitama, the one-punch hero.
While we don't host the manga, I've got you covered with all the details you need to discover where to read the One Punch Man Manga online and experience the jaw-dropping action, epic humor, and unbeatable power of our favorite bald-headed hero. So, gear up and prepare for a wild ride through this witty, explosive, and, of course, one-punch world! Read more and find the manga at our recommended source!
Saitama, an ordinary young man with no job and no prospects of getting one either. So how does this nobody become the legendary hero known simply as One Punch Man? Well, in keeping with the humour and irony of the series, there is no major backstory to speak of. In fact, in the opening sequence of the entire series, Saitama is asked by Vaccine Man (?!) who he is. Saitama replies that he is “someone who’s a hero for fun” to which Vaccine Man says, “what kind of ridiculous backstory is that?!” Its this kind of humour and self-awareness that is the charm of One Punch Man.
However, there is a kind of backstory which, ridiculous or not, is worth exploring.
In the very first chapter, we see that Saitama has kind of given up on life when he encounters one of the many strange and almost comical creatures that seem to inhabit his world. Crablante has a mission to get revenge on a kid who has drawn nipples on him with a Sharpie while he was sleeping in the park. He encounters Saitama on his way to find the kid but feels so sorry for the loser, he lets him go. Saitama decides to warn the kid but ends up fighting and defeating Crablante in the process. Its this encounter that leads Saitama to believe he has a mission to rid the world of such creatures so sets about perfecting his fighting skills.
Saitama trains so hard for three years that it, for some unknown reason, turns him bald! His training has also though given him the ability to defeat any foe with a single punch, thereby spawning our hero, One Punch Man.
So, that’s the character backstory covered, but what about the creation of the Manga series itself? Let’s then pause to take a look at the creativity and vision of the writer and artist behind One Punch Man.
The Origin Story
One Punch Man was the vison of the writer named One and then latterly a collaboration with artist Yusuke Murata. One wrote the original series as a webcomic back in 2009 and self-published it on Nitosha.net. He wanted to write something about a hero that was already fully formed as the world’s strongest man and dealt with battling fantastic creatures rather than the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
During the life cycle of the One Punch Man series, One has been known to take breaks to focus on his family. He did this fairly early on in 2010 for a year and then again in 2017 for two years. It was shortly after the first “break” that One was contacted by artist Yusuke Murata who was a fan pf the original series but wanted to help One move the story into the Manga realm. One agreed and the first Nanga “remake” of One Punch Man was published on Shueisha's Tonari no Young Jump website in 2012.
As with most Manga series and publications, the Western world can’t get enough of it so the series began publication in North America on the Shonen Jump Alpha site run by Viz Media in early 2013. A year later the first e-book was released and made available on Viz Media’s Comixology site. Then finally in 2015 the Manga print versions of the series were released and the world became obsessed with One Punch Man.
The series is released in the form of “chapters” which first appear online and then later in print form. To date, the series has now surpassed One Punch Man Chapter 180 with on average two new chapters being released each month.
One Punch Man has certainly hit the mark with fans and the story of Saitama and his many adversaries looks certain to continue.
Ways to Read the Story
As I’ve mentioned, One Punch Man can be accessed through various media both online and in print form. This makes it easily accessible to fans who are maybe new to the series or can’t wait for the next chapter to be released. I personally am a bit old-school and like to have the physical print version but with 25 volumes of the Viz Media produced anthologies currently available, that’s a heck of a lot of shelf space to take up. Each of these takes in between 6 and 11 chapters from the series but Volume 25 only takes you as far as chapter 125. You’ll therefore need to go digital for the remainder of the chapters.
There are a few ways that you can read One Punch Man Manga online but the majority will require you to either buy each digital copy or subscribe to unlock new and past chapters. Be careful as well as some sites offering free manga are malicious and can harm your computer.
Viz Media and Shonen Jump have a great app where you can read over 15,000 manga chapters from various Manga series. If you’re a quick reader and want to just binge through One Punch Man, you could just take advantage of the 7-day trial period and then you won’t need to pay anything!
A good site that I found though to read One Punch Man free Manga is here at onepunchmangas.com. Every chapter up to 189 is available for free with no sign up or subscription fee so definitely check it out. This obviously isn’t an officially affiliated site so has no legitimate connection to the publishers and you will get pop up ads from time to time.
You could also of course buy Kindle versions via Amazon or other e-book versions if you wish but these will be at a cost for each volume.
So, I’ve given you Saitama’s backstory, the origins of the series and how to read it but what about the story and the chapters themselves?
Well, let’s take that deep dive in now and have a look at what’s in store when you read One Punch Man. I’ll go through the chapters as they are presented in the Viz Media volumes but beware of spoilers though!
Volume 1: Chapters 1-8
This is where the story really begins (obviously) and gives you the very brief backstory that I’ve already covered. Once Saitama has completed his training he is now the hero One Punch Man but is bored with the fact that his opponents are so easy to defeat. He therefore goes in search of more challenging foes but along the way meets a lone cyborg named Genos who kind of steals his thunder by defeating Mosquito Girl. Genos is on a quest for justice (what else?) but wants to become One Punch Man’s disciple and treats him as his master.
Volume 2: Chapters 9-15
Saitama learns from Genos bout the House of Evolution, a laboratory set up by scientist I. Genus (yes, you read that correctly!) who was disillusioned with the state of humanity. He wanted to create the ultimate being and ended up creating super monsters. Unable to recruit anyone to work with him he clones himself and sets to work.
He hears of One Punch Man and wants a sample of his DNA to splice with his monsters but Saitama and Genos are having none of it and battle ensues. The second half of the volume deals with Saitama’s battle with a villainous group of superhumans and he becomes aware that no one actually knows who he is. He and Genos therefore decide to try out for the Hero Association Registry.
Volume 3: Chapter 16-20.1
Following on from the previous volume, Saitama has defeated countless monsters, but is upset that, although he is in his own words, a hero for fun, he still craves recognition. Being part of the Hero Association's Registry is the only way he can change this so, together with Genos, Saitama decides to take the Hero Association's test. The trouble is, are they good enough to can they pass the test?
Volume 4: Chapters 21-23.1
(Spoiler Alert!) Saitama is now a certified hero after passing the Hero Association Registry test with Genos. Un fortunately, alongside the fame and notoriety with comes great responsibility (look out Spiderman). As part of his duties he's required to perform one heroic deed per week but while Saitama endeavors to meet his weekly requirement an imminent danger is hurtling towards Earth!
Volume 5: Chapters 24-28
To stop a Demon-level crisis (there are several different crisis levels which you’ll find mentioned throughout the series) Saitama and company head into the fray. Saitama has been designated a Class S hero by the Registry but even he is no match for the Deep Sea King! In order to protect the civilian population, the heroes will have to fight harder than ever to rid the world of the latest threat.
Volume 6: Chapters29-34.1
A fairly brief synopsis for this one as to not reveal too much. The Hero Association calls an emergency meeting and all Class S heroes are needed. Saitama status has been demoted to the lowest level of hero but he tags along to the meeting anyway. They’re informed that the great seer Shibabawa left the following prophecy: “The Earth is in danger!". Not much help really so thanks a bunch Shibabawa! As they no nothing more about what the danger is, they must be on their guard and wait to find out.
Volume 7: Chapters 34.2-36.1
So, it seems the prophesized danger is an alien invasion so Saitama and a group of Class-S heroes finally finds a way to fight back and take the initiative to the aliens. They manage to infiltrate the alien mothership where Saitama meets and fights (what else?!) the alien Boros. Realizing that Boros has immense power, Saitama puts aside his usual humorous approach and decides to take the matter seriously. Will good prevail over evil and will the Earth be saved?
Volume 8: Chapters: 37-39.1
One of the Hero Association’s most powerful Class-S heroes, King is known as the strongest man on earth. He’s feared by everyone, even his Association colleagues but most importantly, monsters also fear him. However, a shadowy organization sends an assassin after him, and the real and the shocking truth about King is revealed.
Volume 9: Chapters 40-46.1
The Hero Association comes under attack! This isn’t for the first time but this one is a bit strange, The attacker is an admirer of monsters called Garo and after taking out the heroes he finds at the Association, he simply leaves with no reason given. Strange but this could lead to further developments later on.
Elsewhere though, Miss Blizzard who is a Class B, Rank 1 hero at the Association visits Saitama at his apartment with the view to making him her subordinate now that his ranking is so low. Saitama however is obviously not keen on the idea and has other ideas on the matter!
Volume 10: Chapters 47-54.1
Garo rears his ugly head again and increases the scope of his wave of destruction. This puts the hero world in a spin as damage caused by Garo intensifies with heroes and monsters alike falling foul of his attacks. Of course, Saitama thinks this is the perfect time to enter a martial arts contest! That’s right, the world is crumbling around him and he enters a contest. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns! We all know though that he’s probably got a plan up his sleeve.
While all this is going on, we’re introduced to the Class S hero Metal Bat who is assigned to guard a Hero Association executive and his son. Obviously, this doesn’t go as smoothly as Metal Bat hoped.
Volume 11: Chapters 55-59
The main focus of this volume is centered around the Metal Bat storyline. Metal Bat is what might be termed a punk and has a smart mouth to go with his attitude. This comes into play when confronts Garo for the first time.
We also learn in this volume about the Monster Association which, unsurprisingly, is the counterpart to the Hero Association. Their main goal isn’t made clear at this point but it’s probably safe to assume that they want to put the Hero Association out of action.
Volume 12: Chapters 60-65
The carnage continues as the martial arts competition reaches the finals stage and the fighting in and outside of the ring is fierce. Saitama of course makes easy progress through the competition. Away from the tournament the Monster Association continues its seemingly unstoppable reign of terror over the world with battles raging between heroes and monsters. Casualties are heavy on both sides so its now a question of who will be left to fight on.
Volume 13: Chapters 66-69
We meet the giant monster, Multieyed Octopus (no guesses as to what that looks like!) and the Class A heroes struggle to contain it. Class S hero Flashy Flash joins the battle which means the tides could turn for the heroes…or maybe not! The Monster Association continues to wreak havoc and the attacks increase. However, its still unclear as to what their final objective will be. Elsewhere, Saitama has reached the semi-finals of the martial arts competition.
Volume 14: Chapters 70-73
Chaos ensues at the martial arts competition as the monster Goketsu makes an appearance. His plan is to turn the competitors into monsters by imbibing them with monster cells and the plan works! The tournament champ (spoiler alert!) Suiryu is tasked with fighting the newly “monsterized” fighters one by one but is then joined by Saitama who ably assists in the battle.
Volume 15: Chapters 74-78
Following the martial arts competition, Saitama has now become even more incredibly strong but he’s still not enjoying being either a hero for fun or having the recognition he originally craved. He receives some sage advice from King about how to live as a hero but it doesn’t seem to lift Saitama’s mood. Elsewhere, Speed-O’-Sound-Sonic is close to being caught by the Monster Association.
Volume 16: Chapters 79-84
While everything has been going on with the martial arts competition, the alien invasion and the heroes v monsters battles, Garo has been doing his own thing. However, this could be about to end as he is surrounded by heroes. Undeterred by the overwhelming odds against him, he uses his immense strength to defeat the heroes one by one. Genos though has other ideas about Garo getting loose and joins the fray. Meanwhile, after his “chat” with King, Saitama is becoming increasingly annoyed by his fellow hero.
Volume 17: Chapters 85-87
Can we have ore battles between heroes and monsters you say? Well of course! This time Garo is pitted against Bang and his brother and finds the battle one step too far. He’s close to death but the Monster Association tries to rescue him by unleashing Centichoro. Bang and the other heroes raise the threat level to Dragon (there it is again!) and struggle to overcome the monster until Genos again joins the party.
Volume 18: Chapters 88-90
It seems that Saitama is unaware of some of the things that have been going on around him. Maybe the martial arts competition wasn’t the best thing to be doing with all this carnage going on! He finally crosses paths with Garo but is still none the wiser as to Garo’s role as a hero hunter. In the second part of the volume, King can no longer contain his murderous blood lust so sets out to confront Garo himself.
Volume 19: Chapters 91-94
The Monster Association kidnaps the young boy Tareo who has great admiration for Garo. Therefore, Garo feels compelled to rescue the boy so finds himself alone in the den of lions which is the Monster Association hideout. Another rescue operation is underway by the Hero Association who must try to save Waganma. Elsewhere though, none of this turmoil seems to be bothering Saitama, Genos and their friends as they enjoy a nice meal at Saitama’s apartment!
Volume 20: Chapters 95-96
Things have come to a head between the two Associations and a massive battle is on the cards. The Class S heroes therefore hold a strategy meeting but can’t agree on tactics. The whole situation only becomes worse when Amai Mask joins the argument but good news! King is there to give them impetus and things seem to be back on track. This is short lived though as the big monster battle finally begins.
Volume 21: Chapters 97-101
The ultimate battle between heroes and monsters has finally begun. The lower ranked heroes are tasked with keeping the monsters occupied and engage in intense battles. Meanwhile though, the Class S heroes take out a whole host of monsters in one go and then continue further underground into the Monster Association’s lair.
Volume 22: Chapters 102-106
Things have moved on and we now focus on Child Emperor. He uses the robotic hero Brave Giant to pit battel against the reincarnated Phoenix Man (who’d have guessed he’d be back?) but Brave Giant is no match for him. Phoenix Man then evolves again into an even stronger monster and Child Emperor fears that this might be one battle too far.
Volume 23: Chapters 107-112
As these chapters progress, you’ll notice that there are different story arcs and branches from the main feature. A lot of new and recurring characters are featured as well which is particularly evident in this volume.
Narinki’s private force is now free from Super S’s control. Bushi Drill, Okama Itachi and Iaian plot their escape, but threat level Demon monster Malong Hair appears before they can flee, and a fierce fight breaks out. Elsewhere, their master Atomic Samurai encounters a creepy opponent!
Volume 24: Chapters 113-119
The dangerous monster that can’t be cut, Evil Mineral Water, confronts Bushi Drill, Okama Itachi, and Iaian. Meanwhile, Saitama runs into the giant demonic dog Pochi and Terrible Tornado starts an epic supernatural battle against Gyoro-Gyoro!
Volume 25: Chapters 120-125
More characters here with some great names again! Puri-Puri Prisoner encounters Garo in the underground labyrinth but Garo has now become even stronger than ever! Meanwhile, Saitama becomes lost underground but manages to team up with the hero Flash. On the surface, Nyaan has some fun with a few Class-A heroes until Drive Knight appears on the scene.
Volumes 26 and 27 have yet to be released but will be available in November 2023 and March 2024 respectively. An exciting time for collectors of the books but obviously the chapters included in these volumes can be read online now.
Volume 26: Chapters 126-131
The fight against the big cheeses (unfortunately that’s not a character!) of the Moster Association is ramped up by the Class S heroes. Things are looking desperate but Tornado starts to close in on Gyoro-Gyoro’s main body. Elsewhere, Saitama is still lost in the labyrinth but will surely soon be back in the action. Garo is confronted by Backluster.
Volume 27: Chapters 132-137
Tornado is proving to be a threat to the monsters so Psychos hatches a plan to fuse with Orochi, the Monster King. Surely this would give them immense power and allow them to defeat Tornado? Superalloy pits himself against Garo but then suddenly doubts his own abilities and becomes fearful of Garo’s super strength. Back in the labyrinth, Saitama gets trapped following a cave-in. Could this be our hero’s final resting place? One Punch Man v boulders? No contest!
These chapters have yet to be released in volume form and are still only available online. That being the case it’s fairly difficult to give a brief synopsis of groups of chapters without giving the whole story away. I’d therefore urge you to read the whole series and look forward to finding out how the saga continues.
I will just say though that the different story arcs play out well in these chapters and we’re finally brought back to Saitama as the main character focus. There’s also potential romance in the air for Saitama but there’s no let up in terms of battles between the various heroes and monsters. Many new characters and a host of new monsters are introduced which should keep fans of the original story arcs happy.
The series is currently up to Chapter 186 with a new chapter being released shortly and obviously further chapters in the future so look out for those.
The Final Punch
I think its fairly safe to say that One Punch Man is a global phenomenon. From its almost humble beginnings as a free webcomic through to Manga publications and even onto Anime productions, the success of the series is beyond compare.
I think that the popularity of One Punch Man lies within the simplicity of the stories and the humor shown throughout. The hero and monster names alone are worthy of a comedy award! If you’re at all familiar with the movie Mystery Men, you’ll find some amusement in the similarity between the way names are given to the heroes particularly.
However you decide to read One Punch Man, be it through online sites or in physical book form, I know you’ll enjoy it and get a kick (or should that be punch?) out of it. After all, One Punch Man is a hero for fun, right?