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Batarou is the slash ship between Garou and Metal Bat from the One Punch Man fandom.
Garou and Metal Bat's first encounter was during the Monster Raid Arc in chapter 57. Garou (known as Hero Hunter) was interested in hunting one of the S-class heroes, Watchdog Man, until he heard the city announce a disaster level of Demon and that Metal Bat was busy fighting monsters. He decided to pay Metal Bat a visit. At the same time Metal Bat was fighting monsters known as Rafflesidon and Senior Centipede. He and the monsters seemed to fight on equal ground, but after Rafflesidon's unsuccessful attempt to completely get Metal Bat to succumb to its gas technique which would make anyone else to lose control of their movements and fall asleep, Metal Bat defeated both monsters with a single strike each.
As things were calming down, suddenly a dragon level monster known as Elder Centipede emerged from ground. It's massive form hard to miss and it's target being Hero Association's sponsor and the sponsor's son - who Metal Bat was assigned to protect - that forced Metal Bat to take action. Metal Bat is fighting Elder Centipede until he gets launched hundreds of meters across the city. It's also when Garou arrives on the scene when Metal Bat flies past him. Initially thinking Metal Bat was defeated, Garou decides to go after Watchdog Man then, but Metal Bat casually just walks past him and is going back to fight Elder Centipede. Garou stops Metal Bat by being absolutely delighted to know that Metal Bat is fine that he tells him he is now "hunting him".
As Metal Bat and Garou are fighting, Garou keeps dodging Metal Bat's attacks and manages to hurt him a lot. Despite this Metal Bat keeps on going. Garou is surprised by Metal Bat's persistence despite his numerous injuries. He still thinks Metal Bat is at his limit, but Metal Bat keeps drastically rising his power and speed until Garou's attacks aren't even fazing him. Garou asks Metal Bat how he's able to remain conscious after such horrific injuries, to which Metal Bat gives the simple response that his fighting spirit was keeping him going. The concept makes Garou confused and curious. Garou then throws a manhole cover at Metal Bat and while Metal Bat deflects it with his bat, it gives Garou enough distraction to reach and attack him again. Metal Bat tries to hit back, but none of his attacks land. Garou keeps mocking Metal Bat and asks him if he's going to persist until he dies. Metal Bat retorts by saying he'll fight until he wins and proceeds to initiate a killing move. Garou still manages to repel his killing move and hits a blow at Metal Bat's chest that leaves him laying on the ground.
While Garou falsely thought Metal Bat was just another brute that bragged about his power, he suddenly notices how his own hands are shaking and realizing that Metal Bat may have been far more powerful than he initially thought. He thinks Metal Bat may have had a chance in defeating him. He decides to go hunt for Watchdog Man finally, but suddenly a girl is heard yelling "Big Brother!" and Garou looks over his shoulder to see Metal Bat looming demonically over him with his bat almost hitting Garou's head. Garou is absolutely shocked by this surprise attack and Metal Bat's power. Metal Bat doesn't hit him as Zenko, Metal Bat's little sister, is right there.
Garou hits Metal Bat so hard it creates distance between them and then he is walking towards him and bragging by ending this. He attacks, but Zenko is suddenly there and stops Garou and Metal Bat's fight. She tells Garou that the fight is over because Metal Bat promised to not fight in front of her. First Garou wonders why he should respect her family promise, but Zenko then glares at him and Metal Bat is watching right behind her. Garou then scratches his head and remembers he really needed to be elsewhere and respects their promise. Metal Bat gets back up and reminds Garou he was the one who wanted trouble first, and Garou nonchalantly waves his hand in the air, walking away and telling Metal Bat he got lucky. As Garou leaves, a conversation with Zenko makes Metal Bat realize he needs to get back to fight Elder Centipede, but Zenko is not having any of it. While she tries to stop him and hits him in the head, exhausted Metal Bat falls unconscious on the ground. Zenko tries to wake her brother up.
While Metal Bat is unconscious, couple monsters notice this. Phoenix Man, a member of the Monster Association, sees this as a perfect opportunity to attack him. Another monster, Sludge Jellyfish is already emerging from the nearby sewer and thinking aloud that he will kidnap Metal Bat's sister. Unfortunately for him Garou unleashes a sudden deadly attack on him from behind. As the monsters were earlier watching him, Garou tells the monster that he hates being observed. Phoenix Man joins the conversation and tries to invite Garou to join the Monster Association, unsuccessfully. Phoenix Man then is leaving and tells Garou that they will meet again if he will continue to hunt heroes. Sludge Jellyfish continues to tell Garou "just you wait" while he also leaves.
As unconscious Metal Bat and Zenko are in the background, Garou is hidden behind a nearby building, his face is hidden in the dark while he says "Disgusting."
We get to see (presumable) a first glimpse of Garou's version of "fighting spirit" while he is fighting Bang and Bomb, and is in huge disadvantage, but he then gets the strength to turn the tides a little and breaks the ground to get them to back off him. Then when he grabs a huge tree off the ground and holds it as a weapon, it's shown how a mysterious aura - similar to Metal Bat's - is flowing through him. Bang (and Bomb) is loudly asking where does that sudden power come from even when Garou is in such a bad state.
Garou is held still by Gyoro Gyoro's psychokinesis and can't move until he overcomes it by first moving his feet. Garou says he is slowly getting used to the psychokinesis. This surprises Gyoro Gyoro and he is wondering how he can move. Garou then thinks about Metal Bat while he wonders if "this is the so-called fighting spirit".*
*Official Viz translation and volume release have translated this as "Maybe I'm just pumped up" - not mentioning anything about "fighting spirit" ("fighting spirit" is mostly an OPM fandom's preferred translation from Japanese as it describes Metal Bat's power more).
Chapter 126 (online)
While Garou is fighting against S-class hero Superalloy Darkshine, it first seems like Darkshine has the upper hand in the fight, thanks to his immacuable hard tank-like body and powerful attacks. However, soon Garou starts to become faster and hit harder which Darkshine notes. This seems to parallel or is similar to the moment when Garou noted Metal Bat's increased power and speed back in their first fight.
Chapter 131 (online)
Metal Bat escapes the hospital while not fully healed yet to go help the other heroes in the fight against Monster Association, though it's shown that Metal Bat is especially interested in going after Garou "the Hero Hunter" as it's shown he is thinking about him and his whereabouts.
Chapter 149 (online)
Metal Bat finally arrives on the Monster Association fight scene and comes across four powerful Black Sperm monsters who he then asks about "the Hero Hunter's" whereabouts. They are first confused by Metal Bat's presence and question, but then attack him which leads to Metal Bat performing a counterattack on them. It kills them instantly. He then realizes he got rid of them before getting any answers.
Bad Boys (chapter 157)
They finally meet again after half-monster Garou has started to take on a gigantic monster known as Sage Centipede. As the centipede tries to attack the escape/rescue helicopter, that also has Tareo in it (Garou's important child friend), that forces Garou to take action and protect it by trying to distract the centipede. It doesn't go as planned and the centipede manages to hurt Garou with his ally, Evil Ocean Water. After Saitama deals with Evil Ocean Water, Sage Centipede decides to charge at the escape helicopter. Garou goes instantly after him, but notices someone else charging and jumping to attack the centipede on the head.
Metal Bat is then seen jumping and attacking with one of his fighting spirit techniques at the centipede's head, paralleling the moment when he was fighting Elder Centipede before Garou and Metal Bat first met. He is then in similar manner thrown off and falls down to the ground. Garou notices this and is surprised to see Metal Bat there and as Metal Bat is also rising back up from the ground, he too notices Garou running towards him and recognizes him instantly. He then starts to yell angrily and thinks Garou is there to again ruin his fight with another centipede. As he attacks Garou, the half-monster dodges the attack and continues to run past him so he can continue to chase after Sage Centipede. Metal Bat is not having any of it and runs after him. He continues to shout at him also by saying how Garou seems to have finally shown his true colors by turning into a monster and how he isn't letting him get away this time. Garou thinks he is just "another pain in the ass" and seems to not want to deal with him as there is more important matters to handle - like dealing with the centipede.
They are running on the Sage Centipede's back when suddenly a helicopter with news crew inside flies close by and the centipede tries to attack it. Metal Bat reacts fast by running past Garou and then jumping in the air to deflect the attack before it hits the helicopter. As he does this, Garou then jumps on the helicopter to shout at them to leave and they are scared of the half-monster so badly that they retreat fast and gets to safety. Metal Bat takes notice of this and is confused by this. Then after Garou jumps off the retreating helicopter, he charges towards Metal Bat with a kick and Metal Bat is ready to defend, but then Garou goes fast past him at the Sage Centipede and attacks him. Metal Bat takes also notice of this and is more confused than ever.
They both are then dropping down on the ground to stand to their fighting stances, back-to-back. Metal Bat asks Garou "what the hell is going on". He tells Garou the obvious: that he is protecting a helicopter and then attacking a monster after he had turned into a monster also. Metal Bat then tells him he seems to be more mentally "straight" after becoming a monster than what he was before. Garou just answers calmly at him to "shut up", and explains that he only helped the helicopter so they can tell the world how terrifying he is.
Garou then continues to point at the escape helicopter in the distance and tells Metal Bat that the "giant-ass thing" (Sage Centipede) is after the escape helicopter. He then continues to tell Metal Bat that the brat he and the other idiots (heroes) are protecting is there so Metal Bat should act as a decoy like a "nice little hero" even though Garou himself isn't expecting much from it. Metal Bat then kicks Garou in the face and yells at him about how he dares to order him around like that. He then continues to argue with his own take of how he doesn't understand why Garou now tries to act like a "good guy", but that there is no way he is teaming up with a monster who before attacked him. He then says it's Garou's fault he couldn't finish off Elder Centipede before and that he will take this new centipede alone so Garou should back off.
Then Garou starts to angrily argue back at Metal Bat. He tells him he was the one who "tore him to shreds before so why is he trying to act tough" and that "saving the brat should be a top priority" so why is Metal Bat just trying to stroke his ego here. He then yells in anger that Metal Bat calls himself a "damned S-class hero" (and for what).
While they argue Sage Centipede thinks aloud that they are noisy little insects and tries to kill them, but both are absolutely furious so that they just attack the centipede together in anger and shout at him to "shut up".
2Bad (chapter 158)
Metal Bat and Garou are attacking Sage Centipede with their special techniques, but Metal Bat notices he doesn't do any damage to his exoskeleton and Garou notices that even though he manages to destroy the centipede's head and other areas, he regenerates instantly without a problem and then just continues his attempt to catch the escape helicopter. Sage Centipede then is thinking how the half-monster (Garou) is a nuisance, but Metal Bat is not an issue. He then wonders should he take him hostage, but the idea is shut down fast when he witnesses Metal Bat and Garou start to argue again. Garou shouts at Metal Bat how he hasn't even put a single scratch on the centipede and if he doesn't start to put some work in he "will kill him" and calls Metal Bat "meathead bat". Metal Bat then answers by shouting if Garou wants to get his brains smashed out and calls him "a damn monster".
They then calm down a bit and continue to race after the centipede. Garou says they really need to destroy the centipede from head to tail at the same time if they would want to see any process happening, but Metal Bat then is questioning how many people with S-class level power would it even take to do so. Soon Metal Bat notices he is falling behind and tries to catch up. Garou is then telling him to leave if he isn't going to keep up.
Soon Sage Centipede manages to catch the escape helicopter despite Garou and Metal Bat's attempt to stop him. Tareo and the Support Team heroes are inside the helicopter. Garou is worried about Tareo when he witnesses how Sage Centipede has the helicopter in his antennas. The centipede soon notices how Metal Bat and Garou have frozen in place when he is holding onto the helicopter and he mocks the half-monster and the hero. Then the centipede starts his special technique by hitting Garou and Metal Bat with his hundreds of massive fists. Metal Bat is defending and yells "fighting spirit" as he feels like getting overwhelmed by the attacks. Garou doesn't say anything while he also defends and takes on the attacks.
After the destructive attack barrage Metal Bat has disappeared and Sage Centipede then snatches Garou into his fist and holds him tight. It doesn't last long as Garou gets some support from the heroes on the helicopter, one being a hero named One Shotter and the other Gearsper. Together they manage to shoot at Sage Centipede's eyes and head, which gives Garou enough time to get out of his clutches and then attack the centipede with powerful attacks. The kids and the heroes on the helicopter cheer him on. Then Garou tries to destroy the centipede's antennas, so he can get the helicopter off them, but it doesn't go as well when Sage Centipede is charging towards Garou.
But suddenly just before the centipede manages to attack Garou, Metal Bat joins the battle with an absolutely powerful attack that severs the antennas and the helicopter is free in an instant. Garou is first watching Metal Bat in wonder, but then catches the falling helicopter. Metal Bat tells the centipede that he sure did beat him up a lot and "pumped him up with fighting spirit". Garou is looking at Metal Bat and smirks. He says Metal Bat sure hasn't changed, meaning he hasn't changed since their first meeting and fight. They are still on the air when Sage Centipede is absolutely surprised by Metal Bat and asks how he can get stronger despite the horrible injuries. Metal Bat then says aloud that "a man is at his most powerful when he has somebody to protect".
Then Metal Bat is calling Garou by his name and telling him that there is a huge batting net 500 meters ahead. Garou realizes what he means and throws the helicopter fast at the net that is far enough from the fight. The net manages to catch and stop the helicopter from going forward. When the helicopter and everyone inside it are safe, both Metal Bat and Garou drop down on the ground and are absolutely fired up to fight. Metal Bat yells that they have no other choice than stop the centipede right there. Sage Centipede is yelling at them how the other insect (Metal Bat) couldn't even do anything to him before so what can their "pathetic team-up" even do to all his 6666 legs/fists working in tandem. He then starts to perform an ultimate attack that makes him spin around so that he becomes a gigantic drill-like attack that's pointed towards the monster and the hero.
Garou is whispering and asking Metal Bat does he have a plan for the centipede's regeneration to which Metal Bat answers in whisper as well that they just have to smash every inch of its body while dashing. Garou just says that's what he figured as much. Just before the centipede's attack is hitting them, they perform their version of an individual powerful counterattacks which then smashes every inch of the centipede's body horrifyingly. Though thanks to the powerful regeneration it doesn't take long for him to be back on his legs, but Garou and Metal Bat did surprise and confuse Sage Centipede so that he wonders where that perfect coordination came from and why a monster and a hero can do something like that.
It's then revealed that Garou and Metal Bat didn't even try to coordinate anything. The reason why their individually released techniques happened to form a combo attack was due to the fact that despite their vast difference in raw power, the nature of that power is extremely similar. Then thanks to that they are (unconsciously) able to resonate and amplify each other's powers. It's then told that "as if Garou was lifting him up, Metal Bat's destructive power exhibited an explosive increase, and because of that resonance Garou's power, too, increased".
After their powerful combo attack Metal Bat managed to crack the centipede's exoskeleton so that Sage Centipede was so surprised that he reacted by hitting Metal Bat hard so he is out. But as he hit Metal Bat, Garou then goes right through the centipede's body. Sage Centipede notices how the hole doesn't regenerate and wonders why. Garou is then seen carrying a gigantic heart-like core on his hands which he figured was the reason Sage Centipede could regenerate. The centipede is absolutely in panic and demands to get it back, but Garou then throws it straight up into the sky and tells the centipede to go get it. Sage Centipede then curses and goes after his core, in which Garou then jumps right after him.
Metal Bat is then seen laying exhausted on the ground and speaking weakly aloud that Garou better win this fight. And that they need to put a rain check on their "final battle".
Garou and Saitama have been fighting and Garou's monster form has been evolving at the same time. He also has been getting stronger, but despite this Saitama easily throws him away. Then Saitama is wondering aloud why Garou is acting like a hero if he wants to pretend to be like a monster and mentions that Garou did help heroes fight the monsters, deal with the centipede and save people. Garou is then frustrated by Saitama's words and is asking when did he help any heroes. Then there is a panel where he mentions how "Meathead Bat" (Metal Bat) just happened to be on the scene and he only used him to be more efficient. It's shown how Garou's thought vision of angry Metal Bat is saying "Who are you calling meathead?".*
*Official Viz translation has translated this part so that Garou is calling Metal Bat "Musclehead bat" and Metal Bat's text reads "Who, me?!"
In the end Saitama beat Garou, and the Hero Hunter let himself be beaten up by the Tank Topper Army and other angry heroes as they took their revenge on him. As Garou is clearly getting damage from the other heroes, Metal Bat yells at them to stop beating him up as it looks like they are only beating an injured guy now. The heroes are then asking him on what side is he on as Garou was the one who beat them up a while back. Then Sweet Mask is telling Metal Bat that a monster like Garou should be executed, to which he answers that he never agreed to that. Saitama also agrees with Metal Bat. Eventually, thanks to Tareo (and King), the Hero Hunter runs away, leaving Metal Bat and the other heroes surprised when he disappears out of their sight.
Batarou is not the most popular ship in One-Punch Man fandom as the characters first interacted only in one scene where they were mostly fighting against each other. A hero versus hero hunter/monster-to-be. Despite this fans of the ship noticed a spark between these two characters.
The ship was introduced to public in late year 2015 when the manga chapter with Garou and Metal Bat's fight was first released. After that its popularity started to rise and many fans created a bunch of fanart of them. Few fanfics were also created and especially even today in AO3 diligent writers like to post fanfiction of them. But due to the manga's slow update schedule and the story still ongoing with many different elements happening same time, the ship's popularity has quietly declined over the years. Though even today there are few that still keep posting and following Batarou content and new people still join to quietly enjoy the ship's dynamic.
But now, thanks to chapter 157 (Bad Boys), after Metal Bat and Garou met again and after their very "old married couple" styled arguments and absolutely hilarious, but wonderful dynamic in the chapter, Batarou has managed to again bring back interest to the ship and fans are loving it.
Chapter 158 (2Bad) continued Garou and Metal Bat's fight against Sage Centipede and it gave a huge "soulmates" symbolism thanks to Garou and Metal Bat's powers reacting to, resonating and amplifying each other because how similar the nature of their power was. The fans already were aware of the foreshadowing and the similarities between these two, but the chapter basically confirmed that together they can be (almost) unstoppable. And that they basically complement each other, which only has made fans happier to know.
Unfortunately both chapters (Bad Boys and 2Bad) have also been very controversial topics with certain people in One Punch Man fandom as those have given birth to a lot of "this is fanfiction", "why are they gay" and "this isn't OPM" comments. There are few actual criticism involved also, but those belong to completely different topic. Some of the frustration is understandable, because how long Monster Association arc has been going on and people want to already get to the finale. Despite all this the general opinion in the fandom is that the chapters are alright and people have enjoyed Metal Bat and Garou's team-up a lot.
Shitty Teen Squad
The One Punch Man fandom has also created a "Shitty Teen Squad" which basically includes Garou, Metal Bat and Genos doing silly things together as friends. Usually Metal Bat and Garou has been introduced as this chaotic duo that Genos tries to keep up with (or he is just done with them), but there are times when Metal Bat and Genos are the more mature ones and Garou tries to (or manages to) cause chaos. Other variations can also exist.
There are also versions of this where Garou and Metal Bat are pining for each other in romantic sense and Genos has to deal with them. In some stories or fandom posts Genosai is usually written with Batarou.
- Before Garou met Metal Bat, he mostly learned physical techniques by stealing other heroes fighting styles, so when he met with Metal Bat and fought against him, he was fairly confused by Metal Bat's so called "fighting spirit". Garou didn't learn how to use such a power until much later. It's most likely also been a very helpful key to unlock Garou's monster form.
- Both Garou and Metal Bat has been shown showing a more softer side of themselves towards children.
- They also seem to be soft towards animals (especially cats): There is an extra comic page in volume 17 where Metal Bat and his sister Zenko are shown walking until Zenko notices a box floating in a river where two cats are meowing. Metal Bat runs and jumps in the water to save the cats, but as he reaches the box he notices that Garou has also reached the same box. They start fighting in the water while one of the cats flies to Zenko and the other flies to Tareo, Garou's child friend. Then both Metal Bat and Garou return to their respective children while drying themselves. Metal Bat and Zenko officially also have a pet cat named Tama, which they love a lot.
- It could be said that while Metal Bat is Zenko's actual big brother, Garou could be thought as Tareo's big brother figure.
- Garou and Metal Bat have few other similarities between them that lets fans believe they could be compatible as partners.
- Example: They both don't want to give up on anything and nobody. They both are also stubborn and proud in their own way. They also seem to not want to hurt innocent civilians.
- Their personalities in general seems to fit very well together as they hold similar principles, yet differ in some - which only makes the characters feel like they are from the same coin, but different sides (like soulmates).
- Their color palette has suspiciously been similar also (red, black, white). In manga it clearly is seen as Metal Bat has black hair, white shoes. While Garou's hair was white during their fight and the shoes were drawn black. Metal Bat and Garou's colors in clothes also were mostly opposites.
- In webcomic version Metal Bat wasn't involved with the Monster Association situation. In manga version he is added to shown to be looking for Garou. ONE once said in Niconico interview that if Metal Bat was around during the situation against the Monster Association (in webcomic version), it could have been fairly different so we will see how different it will be in manga now.
- There is also interesting parallel between Garou in manga and Metal Bat in webcomic:
- As Garou fought and lost to "Monster King" Orochi, his unconscious body was then chained and he was then tortured by the Monster Association's "Monster Princess" Do-S.
- In webcomic in different story arc (that has yet to be adapted to the manga - spoiler warning!) Metal Bat was investigating Neo Heroes' two security guards weird behaviour and when he got too close to comfort for the answers, suddenly two brainwashed heroes attacked Metal Bat who the security guards didn't stop when Metal Bat asked them to. Learning that they will try to catch him and perform unethical cyborgification to him, he then fights back. He is moment later put to sleep with tranquilizer darts and his unconscious body is chained up to a solitary room. Unlike with Garou, Metal Bat's unconscious body is left alone to heal so he would be in perfect shape for operation. Both Garou and Metal Bat also break free from their chains in their respective stories.
- Also: In webcomic in the same story arc Neo Heroes are after Garou and when they found him, they try to use the same tranquilizer darts at him too, unsuccessfully.