The battle against the Monster Association has been raging in the One-Punch Man manga for a long time now, but it seems the tides may finally be shifting in the heroes’ favor in the latest chapter. With the monster organization lacking leadership and its base thoroughly destroyed, it once seemed the battle might have ended already, but top-ranked monsters – including Fuhrer Ugly, Homeless Emperor, and Black Spermatozoan – have continued to fight back with devastating force.
The heroes have been scattered amongst the wreckage of the base, and this separation has proven to be extremely dangerous, allowing for individual heroes, like Sweet Mask, to be crushed by exploiting their weaknesses or defeated outright like Child Emperor. Others, like Flashy-Flash and Saitama, are currently missing in action, having teleported away unexpectedly after running into the number one hero, Blast. Tornado, the number two hero, is also nearly taken out after an incredible psychic attack, so victory was still quite a ways away.
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However, the heroes have begun to work together better and were able to get the word out for help, and finally, some long-awaited reinforcements are on the way. Showing up briefly in English chapter 141 (Japanese chapter 143) is a team of swordsmen, led by the A-class hero Spring Mustachio, looking astonished at the absolute devastation of the battlefield. They’re actually the Council of Swordmasters, who first appeared way back in chapter 67. Atomic Samurai had appealed to them for help with defeating the Monster Association, and while they aren’t heroes, they eventually agreed to fight, and it seems that time has finally arrived. Additionally, several lower-ranked heroes who had been hospitalized have recovered enough to return to the fight, including the Tank Topper Army and the survivors of the Blizzard Bunch. They’re all presumably still on their way as well. Genos and Bang are also on their way to help after Blizzard was able to get Genos’ system under control.
It’s not just the arrival of more heroes that marks a shift in the tides of battle. While the monsters’ ability to cooperate had already begun to fall apart with the loss of their leaders, like Monster King Orochi, they may soon begin to do the heroes’ work for them by killing each other. The top-ranked monsters are engaged in a “free for all” competition as to who can kill the most S-class heroes, but that has quickly led to infighting, as they accuse each other of kill stealing. Homeless Emperor first interrupted Fuhrer Ugly while he was trying to kill Child Emperor, and Black Spermatazoan has begun analyzing Homeless Emperor’s attacks for weaknesses. Fuhrer Ugly and Gums, who had been fighting together, are also beginning to step on each other’s toes.
This is a fairly conventional turn of events, with the selfish nature of evil characters getting in the way of their victory and the cooperation of the heroes helping them to avoid defeat, but it still comes as something of a relief after the absolutely brutal beatdowns dished out by Fuhrer Ugly and the others over the past several chapters. The heroes aren’t out of the woods yet, and they did take a few more hits this chapter, but it looks like the Monster Association’s ultimate defeat is just around the corner.
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