Synonyms: Goodnight Punpun
Published: Mar 15, 2007 to Nov 2, 2013
Authors: Asano, Inio (Story & Art)
Serialization: Big Comic Spirits
Score: 8.941 (scored by 4588 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Feb 27, 2012
The art is absolutely gorgeous. The speechless panels of messy rooms and hopeless youth crying in bed has never looked so glamorous. The obvious and most interesting aspect of the art in this manga is how the main character and his family are drawn. The idea of Punpun and his family being depicted as a poorly drawn cartoon birds is absolutely genius! You have to understand that these people aren't really cartoons walking around in an oblivious world but are physical manifestations of how Punpun feels about himself and his family. You really get a sense of how important that theme is in later volumes where his appearance starts to shift and understanding why that is.
The characters in this manga are really great. Asano is very good at creating solid characters, and again with the timeline, they have ample time to develop smoothly. The only thing negative I would say about the characters is that they are extreme and there is no effort in making them "likeable" because they are too busy proving how genuine they are with their actions and words. So you either you love them or hate them, It might irritate some people who don't like when characters are a little too pitiful or preachy, like people who don't like The Catcher in the Rye because Holden Caulfield "just whined the whole time."
This story can really throw you through a loop. It's very long and twisting and silly and serious at the same time so it's a not a "light read" by any means. the word enjoyment is a little off but I would definitely say this manga affected me. There are times where you will laugh and times you will feel really depressed. But all in all It's very smart, real, and stylish so if you can handle depressing stories it's well worth it. read more
Sep 14, 2013
So many manga (and actually many things in about every single story-telling medium that humans have ever had) often try to create likeable characters, a plot that while it may have many sad parts manages to rebound and become upbeat at some points, and/or very unrealistic characters or settings. Oyasumi Punpun is basically the opposite of all of that.
Despite having comedy in the beginning (which is 99% black humor anyway), Oyasumi Punpun is possibly one of the most depressing and realistic things I have ever come across. It is the “coming of age” story of a boy named Punyama (later Onodera) Punpun, and follows him all the way from elementary school until around his early 20’s. What makes this manga so special is the heavy psychological aspects surrounding Punpun and everyone else throughout the story. One of the main psychological aspects of the story has to do with Punpun’s character design. He, as well as his family, start off looking like some kind of 2 dimensional birds with long legs. His design changes a lot later on to reflect how he is feeling on the inside, but the important thing to remember is that he looks just like a normal human being to everyone else in the manga and that he does not actually look like a “bird-thing” to them.
The story of Oyasumi Punpun begins with Punpun in elementary school. The girl he had a crush on has just transferred out of his school, but shortly afterward a new girl named Tanaka Aiko transfers into his school. It’s love at first sight for Punpun. He starts to slowly grow closer to Aiko while at the same time hanging out with friends and just being a normal boy who is entering puberty. Among his group of friends (I’ll just name the ones who are important at some point later on because I don’t really remember the others) there are Shuntarou Harumi, a nice boy who wears glasses; Seki Masumi, a delinquent boy with family problems; Shimizu Koh, a strange boy who can see the “god of poop” and who has been friends with Seki since childhood. The group of about 6 boys in total is just your average group of male friends who enjoy finding porn magazines, doing tests of courage, and spending their time just trying to enjoy themselves. I won’t talk any more about the story because going any farther in any way would spoil things. There’s just so many things that Asano Inio goes into amazing detail about in this dark and depressing story that explaining any more would ruin some part of it. The story covers a lot of time as I already mentioned and Punpun’s elementary school life is only a small, yet very crucial part of the entire plot.
As for art, it’s simply amazing. The idea of making Punpun look different to the reader than to everyone else is a great way to show his true emotions in a way that showing him as he really looks could not. As for the other character designs, they are all very well drawn especially Punpun’s family who also resemble 2D birds with long legs. The people who look like normal humans are usually drawn normally, but they can look ugly at times or beautiful at times when the author wants to make them look similar to how they are feeling. Especially with Shimizu (who is usually seen with a runny nose) he can actually look very intelligent at times despite normally seeming to be the exact opposite.
Also, this manga is very mature and occasionally contains nudity, but it is never used as fanservice and is only used to increase the darkness of situations and to expand on the imperfections of the characters.
The backgrounds are even better than the character designs. The varying settings that take place in different locations throughout the manga never slack in a single frame and stay consistently good throughout the story. The art right from the beginning is great which is something I can’t say about all long manga that are published over many years. One feature of the art which Asano Inio often uses is that he will keep the same background for several panels but the images in the foreground (people, objects, etc.) will change. While I normally don’t like repetitive panels (or shots in anime), Inio uses this to increase the psychological aspects as well as the importance of these scenes. He makes the reader focus on what is happening and draws you in in a way where you suddenly realize five chapters later that you are not actually in Punpun’s world but are sitting in the real world. And this repeats many times (at least it did for me) over the course of the manga. The art is so realistic and perfectly depressing that it just fits this manga so excellently in every aspect and I really can’t find anything bad to say about it.
Now, the characters are possibly the most “interesting” part of the manga. As I mentioned in the very beginning, these characters are not meant to all be likable. In fact, none of them are my favorite characters despite this being one of my favorite manga. But that’s not really the point, since they are meant to be realistic. I would never consider myself or any of the people in my life one of my favorite characters if they were in an anime or manga. Real life people are much simpler than anime characters that each have bold hairstyles, unique weapons, perfect figures, etc. Real humans are not perfect, do not always have a happy ending in life, and are usually just some unnoticeable background character that you pass by once or twice during your life but leave no impact on you at all.
Punpun is your average Japanese person aside from the slightly inflated psychological issues at times (but still never something that real humans have not experienced). As a child, Punpun’s uncle taught him that if he said a certain phrase, God would appear to him and help him in his time of need. Inio depicts God like a bad imaginary friend who looks like a black guy with an afro and usually gives Punpun poor advice that is kind of like a “worst case scenario to do” rather than actual help. Punpun’s journey to becoming an adult is a difficult one filled with family issues, romantic problems, sex, alcohol, depression, different jobs, etc. Oyasumi Punpun is not a happy story at all, and Punpun never even goes one chapter without being sad, questioning himself, or making a bad decision at some point (aside from the chapters that he is not in). He has many flaws and as he grows up, he starts to notice more and more of them. Punpun is the kind of person (as is often stated) who is always looking back into the past and has a hard time looking towards the future. With his kind of depressing life, looking at his past is not the most enjoyable thing to do. He has many regrets and things he wishes he could do differently if given the chance. As the story progresses, he falls farther and farther away from how he used to be as a cheerful child who dreamed of becoming of scientist in space. Many characters talk about how he is too kind and often hurts people because of is kindness and how easily he apologizes for things.
Punpun is one of the only places where I think the manga has a couple problems. While overall I actually like Punpun a lot, sometimes he just makes decisions that are a little too stupid even for him. More in the recent chapters (around where the story is almost finished at the moment), I feel like Punpun has kind of become mean and a little annoying at times. It’s not enough to hurt the manga overall, but I thought I should mention it. Inio acknowledges that Punpun has changed a lot as well by drawing him in an extremely different way than he was ever depicted before. Punpun's main source of drama comes from remembering his middle school crush Aiko. Punpun seems to always be going back and thinking about Aiko, and much of the parts that I dislike a little about him involve her.
Seki and Shimizu follow kind of a side story for most of the manga. After middle school, they never really see Punpun at all, yet they are still very important characters in the story. They have been friends since preschool and Seki has always had to take of Shimizu. Shimizu is just a strange boy who can see the “god of poop” in a way that is kind of similar to how Punpun can see God (minus the horrible advice that Punpun gets). As they grow up, they try to stick together but many problems threaten to tear their friendship apart. Seki has always been a delinquent and keeps getting into more and more trouble. Shimizu has always been gullible and somewhat childish but he tries to become more independent. I really enjoy their story and I think they're two of the better characters in this manga. Their relationship is just like a bond between two really good childhood friends and is very believable.
Throughout the manga, Punpun goes through different drama and relationships, problems and anxieties, and different designs. The characters he meets (especially the girls he is close to) change each time. The story often focuses on characters other than Punpun in order to piece together the entire story. I won’t talk about all them as it would take too long, but if you want to see all of the characters who are very important at some point, just go to the character list.
This is now one of my favorite manga and only the second that I have given a 10/10 rating to. It’s a masterpiece that shows how real life works and how all of the problems in real are not easily solvable like they are in many stories. It may be one of the most depressing manga out there, but if you can handle that kind of story as well as many mature themes and some nudity, then I highly recommend Oyasumi Punpun. It’s not something you should go into lightly, but if you enjoy these kind of life-changing stories, then this is something you should not miss. It’s almost done now, and the author mentioned at the end of chapter 134 that the manga would be ending this winter. read more
Aug 30, 2013
The story centres around the main character Punpun, who, along with his family, is depicted as a sort of 2d bird… That is most definetely not to say the Mangaka, Inio Asano was lazy in his approach to the art of the manga, on the contrary, Oyasumi Punpun has some gorgeous art, in both the scenery and in his drawings of the other characters, bringing out such glorious emotion in each and every one of his characters.
It starts out as a kind of black comedy, slice of life type manga, looking at the life of a 10 year old Punpun, and his obsession with his new classmate, Aiko. However, it gradually develops into a coming of age manga, as we see Punpun grow older, and see him and those around him make terrible, thoughtless…. and yet utterly human decisions that make them question existence… You will feel for Punpun and the rest of the cast, Inio Asano’s excellent,surreal storytelling will see to that… And trust me, there will be many such moments.
It can be fairly graphic at times, and it does seem downright depressing at times with a fairly bleak view on people as a whole. This is a tragic manga in places, but also an incredible one, it’s surreal, funny at times, nihilistic and devastating….. One of the best, if not the best, manga I have read. Read it.
Jun 11, 2008
The story revolves around said Punpun, who (along with his family) is depicted as a small, caricatured bird within an otherwise normal human world, and his interactions with his elementary school classmates and the world around him. The story weaves seamlessly between normal everyday life and out and out fantasy, starting with his heartbreak as his first unrequited love (who also appears to be the vicious school bully) transfers out, to be replaced by the new love of his life… a relationship that this time seems to be heading somewhere. The problem is that the “somewhere” would appear to be a pretty scary place.
As I mentioned, it wouldn’t be Asano if doses of painful reality weren’t occasionally driven into the story, ranging from domestic violence, to Punpun having to deal with the unintentional effects of seeing his first gravure, to a disturbing interlude when the boys get together to watch their first adult video. It’s the extreme depictions of his over-active imagination, matched at every step by a cast of bizarre characters, ranging from an odd homeroom teacher, to a special guest appearance by God… and I’m not even going to mention the Doodoo-head aliens. Oh, I just did…nuts.
Asano swings the story effortlessly between reality and fantasy, funny and nightmarish, but he never fails to keep our attention firmly glued to the page, as the story unfolds. He’s built a complex world, filled with endearing, if odd, characters and it’s watching Punpun negotiate this minefield of life that makes this a page-turner.
If you’re familiar with his work, then you’ll pleased to know the attention to detail within his artwork is as sharp as ever, as is his (by now) trademark character design. There are panels depicting ordinary scenery within this manga, that one can easily spend minutes studying, taking in all the fine details.
Goodnight Punpun is a worthy successor to Asano’s small, but impressive, body of work and possibly the one that will appeal to wider audience, than say “What a Wonderful World,” or “Solanin.” If anything, he’s raised the crossbar yet again and I’m certainly looking forward to more releases from him. If you’re looking to read something that will have you laughing out loud one moment, and cringing the next, read this. You won’t be disappointed. read more
Aug 23, 2013
The main reason I start this review off with someone whose writing can be considered the epitome of pessimistic is because I need to draw some attention to certain other avant-garde writers before I actually tackle the work of this one.
Another avant-garde writer that is pretty well known is Franz Kafka. His works are bleak and darkly humorous, depicting worlds ruled by huge mysterious bureaucracies and individuals being tossed around by unknown forces. Gregor Samsa from his short story the Metamorphosis turns into an insect for no particular reason. Josef K from The Trial is suddenly arrested for no reason and forced into a series of absurd encounters with the huge and tyrannical judicial system.
A quote needs to be drawn from a David Foster Wallace essay concerning the true nature of Kafka's prose: "Kafka's evocations are, rather, unconscious and almost sort of sub-archetypal, the primordial little-kid stuff from which myths derive; this is why we tend to call even his weirdest stories nightmarish rather than surreal."
There's an artistic movement called Expressionism. The most famous work of this movement is, of course, The Scream. The red disorientation in the background is supposed to convey exactly the intense fear and emotion of the scream itself. The artist who made the painting based it off a real life experience. He wrote in a diary entry of his "One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature".
Expressionism is about taking the pure impulses of the subconscious, the subjectivity of humans, and applying it to the material reality of life in order to portray completely how one perceives the world. Wallace's quote then establishes Kafka as an expressionist author, writing his own unconscious nightmares straight into text to build beautiful haunting allegories and tales. Beckett too, I personally feel, is a writer of this tradition; his plays reflect the pure emptiness, the pure disillusion of his own mind.
The true expressionist visionary is the one who can find beauty, terrifying realistic beauty, in the material mundanity of life. Beckett elevates the mere act of waiting to an almost spiritual activity, a communion with the lack of a god. Kafka turns the administration into a massive monstrosity of clerks and courtrooms. Others I think have the same visionary capacity is Charles Burns who, in his brilliant graphic novel Black Hole, translates the darkness and confusion of adolescence into his art; his worlds are painted in inky black and evoke pure alienation.
What is Punpun? He is a cartoon, a kiddie drawing. He morphs into a triangle. He turns into a black square. He is sometimes seen as a human. He doesn't speak but narrates his tale like a storybook. In his world there is a God but it appears as a floating head. He lives in a world where people put on the strangest and most comical exaggerated caricatured expressions. He also lives in a world full of grief, depression, hope, introversion and despair.
How does Punpun reconcile the two images of the world he lives in? His world is one of beauty, where people such as his beloved Aiko can exist, where children can stand laughing and watch in childlike wonder shooting stars streaking across the sky. Yet his world is simultaneously also one where his father is a drunk and his family dysfunctional; where things such as loss and regret can exist; where humans can fall prey to animal instincts and become wild dogs. Punpun rewrites the world as an inversion of the famous Marxist saying, first as farce then as tragedy. His first step of coping is to pull wool over his eyes and turn everything into dark comedy, after that first defense fails he falls into bitter self-pity and depression.
This slow transition is seen through the act of growing up. As a child a mere utterance of Tinkle-Tinkle Hoy is enough to give him peace and comfort. His childlike faith broken, he falls in to erotic impulses and chases after the elusive Aiko. He turns to solitude. He finds hope. He loses hope. He finds it again. The cycle continues. C'est La Vie.
What more can be said? Asano is a veritable humanist. She realizes, most importantly, that the world exists on two planes, the material and the subjective. Dreams and imagination intermingle with the superficial reality. We attach memories to objects. We play-act comedies in our head to cope with the various things around us. We hide in paper shells crafted from the remnants of broken ambition. Realism hides this plane of subjectivity under the veneer of our physical bodies and words. Romanticism elevates feelings and emotions to a grand hyperbole, yet overstays its welcome and harks too much on aesthetic beauty. Expressionism is the truth, the stark surreal portrayal of truth in terms we all as humans can understand, truth as beauty and ugliness, truth as nightmares and daydreams. Asano is the under-the-radar Expressionist of our generation.
Beckett aimed to portray a life devoid of life. Asano is the antithesis to that. There are sufferings, setbacks, pains and troubles; anything but emptiness. read more
Nov 11, 2013
Oyasumi Punpun is such another type of beautiful; catching the essence of our day to day life and the thoughts that we cannot put into words. Punpun is a human portrayed as bird along with his problematic family. He struggles to understand himself and the world. He faces many fights between himself and his hormones. Overall, he is just your average teenager who doesn't know what to do; but the way it is portrayed is just so relatable.
Punpun aside, there are a few side stories that discuss troubles and conflict; some of which is sex. I'm not big on 18+ material but again, the way it is portrayed is just so... realistic. Lots of lust yes, but in a way that is believable and makes you think.
The artwork is FANTASTIC. The messiness of the rooms, the scenery. It's all breathtaking.
While reading, I really felt like I could relate to the characters. They go through the same day to day problems like many of us. Even though we may break down, we still keep moving forward and that's just how the characters are.
I absolutely enjoyed Oyasumi Punpun. It is my favorite series of all time by far and it left me questioning my ideals. read more
Nov 19, 2013
I will say all the negative things I can about it now, which isn't much. This manga is no walk in the park, is not casual by any means and if you're not looking for something that will probably make you a bit depressed you might not want to continue. I could say that at some parts int feels a bit drawn out, but then again, it feels as if this was the author's intention, almost as if he was trying to give as much light to the characters surrounding Punpun as possible. In the end it will be your interpretation of all this that really determines your enjoyment of this manga.
The art style is a perfect fit for the story: a mix of despair, reality, cartoonish humor, and strange love. The main characters emotion is somehow perfectly portrayed through a comedic bird. Aiko's personality and equivalent beauty will likely leave you with a strong attachment.
The characters are just some of the best I have ever seen. All of them have an interesting story to tell. Most of the characters drift away after knowing each other in school, something which is fairly akin to the real world, and move on to something new, yet hold on to their experiences with each other and grow into very different people. Oyasumi Punpun really makes you think of how life can just go about in so many different ways, and that in the end, life just happens; sometimes in a big mess, sometimes in a big bang, and goes on. It might just make you remember: One day mankind will collapse.