Oyasumi Punpun is the best example I have ever found of something which you should not judge by its literal cover. Looking at the picture on MAL, I initially thought the story was about some young girl and a weird penguin/bird thing and only really added it to my list because it’s ranked #15 on this site. It was not until after I read another manga by the author, Asano Inio, called Nijigahara Holograph, and looked more into what this manga was actually about, that I finally decided to read it. And I could not have been more wrong in my initial assumption. But enough
about that intro which was just to help dispel any similar thoughts people looking at this manga might have, I’ll get into the real review now.
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 the 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 a scientist in space. Many characters talk about how he is too kind and often hurts people because of his kindness and how easily he apologizes for things.
Punpun is one of the only parts 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. In the later chapters, I feel like Punpun becomes mean and a little annoying at times, though this is mainly due to an overload of stress and is honestly not really anything too surprising given his difficult circumstances. 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 care 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 life 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.
Oyasumi Punpun is one of the greatest coming of age stories told in any form of media. This story is a very relative tale of alienated youth riddled with heavy accuracy. The story is very well developed and is partially due to its long timeline spanning from Punpun's life in elementary school to his early 20's. It deals with many mature issues like sex and depression all told in a frank manner that is coated with a strange dark sense of humor and supreme melancholy. There is a lot going on including a couple of side stories involving people that are or were once in
Punpun's life, like his uncle and his old classmates. There is also a side story about a strange cult that has been foreshadowed in the very first volumes and is slowing becoming bigger and more important to the story. Inio Asano's storytelling talent is probably best showcased in this series. He manages to keep the story strikingly relatable while throwing wacky surrealism in and weaving together one huge moving piece with many plots and characters.
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.
I really hated Punpun. No, not the manga. The character. I'll get to this in a minute.
I was reluctantly dragged into reading this bizarre tale during its brief boom in popularity. Its ensemble of morally repugnant but nonetheless interesting characters even sort of drove me away at first. The story is not for the faint of heart. The early story deals with themes like domestic abuse, suicide, rape, divorce, and violence to name a few. The minute you start liking a character, they screw up. And you /can't/ like them.
And I hate Punpun. Punpun is a sort of head-in-the-clouds Joe Schmo abstracted as a bird
cartoon, probably the most recognizable part of the comic. And despite his violent behavior, his confusion, his flaws, by the end he was... oddly easy to relate to. He's a bird or a pyramid or a devil 20-some, he's an amoral and severely depressed Japanese Holden Caulfield. He's disillusioned with love and sex. He's fixated on hatred and death.
But despite the bleakness and, frankly *a little too postmodern for its own good* style, I couldn't recommend it higher. Especially if, like myself, you are mentally ill. Oyasumi Punpun offers a word of comfort for the lost, for the depressed, for the failures.
Similar titles, Welcome to the NHK, Aku No Hana, I could probably name quite a few, deal with these issues well, but are far more plot-centric. Punpun works in a sort of plotless style not unlike slice of life, except said slice is more like the whole pie.
Oyasumi Punpun will make you feel. Bad, good, confused, I don't know. I can't say I've read another manga so powerful. Artistic brilliance. Compelling characters. There's more to personally analyze here than House of Leaves (see: striped-shirt litterbug incident, Pegasus cult, the god of poop, Punpun's personal God).
Without spoiling anything this manga doesn't give you a feel-good message. It does, however, tell you: "Hey, I understand you're a basket case. And you don't think you can make it. But there's more of us out here! So hang in there. Life might never be good, but sometimes everything will be okay."
A wise man once told me - "son, you better study hard or I'm going to beat the fuck out of you right here right now". And he did. When I was in middle school a cute girl I really liked went out with the most athletic rugby player who then smugly told me that she moans like a siren in bed. Pshh, asshole. In my college years I consistently woke up to the sounds of my room mate screaming "harder harder!". Sigh. Finally, in my twenties I realised that all those people were gone from my life and despite all they've unwittingly done to
my psyche I started to feel rather lonely. That's 'Oyasumi Punpun' in a tangential nutshell.
But enough of my sentimental autobiography, let's cut to the chase.
The story follows Onodera Punpun and focuses on the struggles his mind experiences to comprehend exactly how humanity operates as he grows up from being a kid. I like the fact that this manga portrays life in its crudest form. We all remember the shit we've done as we grew up and we all have a few skeletons in our closet. Well think of 'Oyasumi Punpun' as a massive skeleton party. Drinks all around!
The cast is full of... people. Alcoholics, violent maniacs, horny sluts, smug loners, idiots, nutcases. And they all interact with each other. Why, you could mistake this work for being the 'local news' section of your town's newspaper. Friendships are formed and broken, relationships consummated and older bearded men run around the streets with their cocks out. And all you do as reader, is watch that world through the eyes of someone who doesn't understand it but is desperately trying to.
The artwork here is absolutely magnificent. I marvelled at Asano's (mangaka) skill at being able to adapt his style to fit the mood every single time. And while on that topic, the style coupled with the story will mostly make you feel depressed and surely reminisce of your younger years. So yes, the artwork is top notch. Every character also feels alive and vibrant, not only because of detail but because the artwork so conspicuously presents their emotions.
You probably won't enjoy this manga; that doesn't mean it's bad. Who the fuck likes waking up in the morning? But apparently it's good for you. Same here. 'Oyasumi Punpun' is an unbiased whole picture of life. We have but a single mind so our views are naturally biased and rational in nature to keep us sane and optimistic. Asano gives you the mind and experiences of every character in this manga, so everything appears without bias... factual... cold... depressing. And then we begin to see that sometimes life can be a lot more cruel than we thought.
One hell of ride this has been. Went so far down the memory lane I forgot where my home was. But don't we all have those moments sometimes?
Let me begin by mentioning that I enjoy pessimistic works with nihilistic elements. So given the hype of this manga, I had high expectations. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I would have dropped it before its first quarter was completed, but its extreme high ratings, on both websites I follow, left me with a drifting promise of a hidden depth, or at least of an extraordinary ending. The work was shallow and the ending was horrible, so all that's left for me to do, is to write this review and warn anyone who will listen.
This manga has only one good point; it
has a great technical structure. What I mean with that, is that the artwork, the panels, and the direction are great. Unfortunately, the technical competency of the mangaka is wasted.
It even begins with promise; managing to conjure up some locked-up nightmares from primary school. But then it's a free-fall. The time-jumps undermine the importance the prior events. The side characters eat a good chunk of space without being interesting, and -what's more important- never contributing anything. The uncle, the father, the two classmates, the overplayed cult; they offered nothing, but asked to be paid handsomely in panels.
We continue. The forcefulness of some events make the manga look silly, for instance the way Punpun lost his virginity, or the uncle's “tragic” back-story. And then it's the pretentiousness, a strong blossoming pretentiousness that manifests twofold: All these attempts to make the story a little darker, puny attempts to insert some sick or hardcore elements, and of course all those dialogs that tried so hard to appear philosophical and deep.
Last but not least, it's the ending; I expected fireworks, but a fart is all I got. The way I see it, the mangaka was a coward; he could have gone with an inspiring happy ending, or a dark one that could leave a scar. But instead, it is like he was afraid to be mainstream with the happy ending, but also he did not want to descent underground into the darkness. And that undecisiveness lead a complete failure of an ending.
I could go on, but I think my point is clear. It is also clear that my opinion regarding this manga makes me a minority, but please take note that I rarely rate so low any work, regardless of medium. So: 2.0/10.
Goodnight Punpun is a hard one to classify. Yes, it’s a comedy, but then again it wouldn’t be Inio Asano if it didn’t occasionally throw in surreal or even nightmarish elements. Whilst his previous works have always had a subtle, dark humour underlying the main story, here he brings the comedic elements to the fore, allowing him to play unfettered with the world – both real and imaginary – of small children.
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.
I didn't enjoy Oyasumi Punpun. Now, I understand that I wasn't supposed to enjoy it. But I didn't enjoy that, either.
Oyasumi Punpun (Goodnight Punpun in English) is a slice-of-life seinen manga written and drawn by Asano Inio. It follows the story of the titular Punpun as he grows up in modern-day Japan, focusing on his struggles with depression and his quest for a fulfilling romance. It's also about how he loses his faith in God as he is plunged into the real world, which may or may not be an allegory for the author's stance on escapist manga.
If that all sounds good to you,
fine; I would encourage you to give this title a try if it sounds like your kind of thing. But Oyasumi Punpun isn't a manga for everyone. Here's why it wasn't for me.
There's a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not much structure beyond that. The story is clearly divided into three "acts," each spanning a different part of Punpun's life, and each with its own climax. However, there is little foreshadowing or buildup to said climaxes; nothing to help the reader guess where the plot is going at any given moment. There is little sense of progression, and the story seems to meander through various disconnected arcs. Each arc is fairly formulaic: Punpun is unhappy, something unusual happens to him, and his visual design changes slightly. This would all be fine if it weren't for the fact that each arc is very much the same as the ones those that preceded it. As a result, the story often seems boring, monotonous, and unfocused.
This monotony seemingly exists to reflect Punpun's depressive outlook on life. While this was clearly the author's intent, it doesn't make the story interesting or entertaining to read. In fact, Inio stated in an interview that one of this reasons for writing Punpun was because he had always considered escapist manga to be "bullshit." The story itself is peppered with references to escapism, usually in the form of a God or similar belief, always portrayed as being an immature and unjustified excuse for one’s actions. Instead of wryly hinting at his messages, Inio instead decides to beat the reader over the head with them. This would be fine, but eventually the messages begin to overshadow the story, hurting its coherence and believably. Entire chapters will be dedicated to internal monologues reflecting the themes of this manga, rather than actual story progression. These chapters are only balanced out by faux-artsy segments which specifically try not to advance the plot, but these are far too common to be called "interludes." The best of these feel somewhat unique or innovative, but still boring, while the worst are tedious and totally unnecessary, only relevant thanks to their re-enforcement of the manga's already obvious themes. Inio is not exactly known for subtlety in his writing, and Oyasumi Punpun continues the tradition of shoving his beliefs into the reader's face even when he doesn't need to. In fact, with the exception of that regarding a certain religious organization, all symbolism and exposition in Oyasumi Punpun is delivered rather clumsily.
This brings me to the cult. The Pegasus cult, a group of individuals concerned with saving society from its inevitable collapse and spreading "good vibrations" to the people of the world, is one of the most commonly criticized aspects of this work, often due to its questionable relevance to the plot. And, while it is true that the side plot regarding the cult is especially rushed and unsatisfying in its conclusion, the cult itself is without a doubt the most interesting part of the story. Pegasus cultists spend most of their time calling each other silly code names and yelling into megaphones from the tops of buildings and vehicles, and are, for the most part, portrayed as lunatics. Their single-minded, overly optimistic outlook on life, combined with the constant promise that "things will change," reflects Inio's cynical view on escapism and how it does nothing to fix modern society's problems, which is a remarkably clever way for Inio to convey his message without relying on the endless stream of angst that comes from Punpun's mouth whenever he walks onto the page.
Before I get back into complaining about what this manga did poorly, let's talk about the artwork. It's admittedly fantastic - every character that the reader is supposed to hate looks intensely punchable and obnoxious (there's even a guy who looks exactly like a dick!). The whole thing feels like it was shot from a small camera thanks to the use of perspective and fish-eye effects, which further the story's candid style and oppressive tone. Inio is good at drawing plot twists, too. Just about any remotely surprising thing that happens in this manga will get an extra-large "reveal" panel, usually a zoomed-out version of the close-ups which preceded it.
Unfortunately, there's a problem here as well. With the exception of these "reveal" panels, there's not much variety or meaning in Inio's layouts. His choice to draw the manga as though it is being viewed through a camera's lens causes action shots to feel lifeless and dead, thanks to the camera's "snapshot" nature. Once again, was it intentional? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Nope.
Some drawings ignore the focus of the scene altogether. Conversations especially are full of disorienting layouts, while the aftermath of these conversations is usually a page or two of a character walking or sitting in solitude (if another character is trying to talk to them, there will be an annoying amount of close-ups), interspersed with plain black panels and white text, followed by a zoomed-out "reveal" panel. And even the reveals lose their charm in time, becoming a common occurrence and therefore not feeling special or surprising when they turn up. The tone of the drawings, much like the tone of the series, is painfully static. There is no variety; nothing to keep a reader interested or wanting to read on once the over-use of certain panels and page layouts becomes apparent. Great art is meaningless if an artist is going to confine themselves to a single, overly specific style of drawing for the entirety of their work.
All of the characters in Oyasumi Punpun can be boiled down to a single sentence, usually which mentions that they are depressed, sexually frustrated, annoying, immoral assholes, or some combination of the four. Punpun in particular is easy to define: He does whatever you don't want him to be doing at any given time in the story. He's less a character and more so a laundry list of things that people aren't supposed to be doing in their life. He's also supposed to be a self-insert - but who wants to project themselves onto a character whose every action they disagree with, and whose mouth does nothing but spew meaningless, faux-philosophical gibberish in a futile attempt at self-justification?
On the topic of characters who are thinly veiled stand-ins for real people, Sachi would have been a perfectly permissible author insert... if she hadn't spent a large portion of her time on-page rambling about why hyper-realistic manga has value and why it's silly to criticize it. This aspect of her character is at its worst when an entire chapter is dedicated to Sachi explaining her own manga series to her publisher (91, in case you're interested). The chapter feels less like a characterization of Sachi and more like Inio venting about criticisms he considers to be unjustified, which causes a major break in immersion for the reader. Moments like these - times when Inio lets his own messages get in the way of the story he wants to tell - can be found throughout Oyasumi Punpun, and their jarring nature can cause the major dramatic scenes which they are followed by to lose their emotional impact.
Even the characters the reader is supposed to sympathize with are difficult to get attached to. Some have backstories so tragic that they are unbelievable, while others are so seemingly perfect that their inevitable downfall is painfully predictable, causing the reader to be wary about growing to like them. Furthermore, to say that the manga's realism provides justification for its characters' unlikability is absurd, as characters are perfectly capable of being simultaneously realistic and sympathetic. To say that this manga would lose its uniqueness if its characters were likable is, however, correct - and it admits what is perhaps the work's greatest flaw.
ENJOYMENT [1/10] -- FINAL SCORE [3.5/10]
As an artist, Inio has the right to tell whatever kind of story he wants to tell. However, as a consumer, I have the right to agree or disagree with the opinions and messages that he presents in his work. I previously alluded to Inio's statement that escapist manga is "bullshit," and I would like to take this section of the review to express my disagreement with this stance. Escapism is an important part of modern society; in many cases it is the only thing that keeps life worth living for people. As Oyasumi Punpun is, at its core, a story about depression, Inio should be aware of this fact. And, although it is better to face one's problems and change the negative aspects of one's life than to simply ignore them, there is still value in escapism. It could be what prevents someone from getting depressed or, better still, be exactly the thing that pulls them out of their depressed state.
Frankly, to imply that the world is a meaninglessly dark and crushing place that is doomed thanks to humanity’s own over-reliance on the valueless practice of escapism reflects an immature, self-important, and almost contradictory outlook on life - one with which I wholeheartedly disagree.
To put it bluntly, Oyasumi Punpun is a manga that successfully achieves exactly what it sets out to do, but whose inherent flaws arise from its very success. The problem is that I fundamentally disagree with the misguided reasoning behind Punpun's message. When one sets out to read manga, one is likely looking for some form of entertainment; if not, one is looking to learn more about themselves or the world around one's self. You don't learn anything that you didn't already know by reading Oyasumi Punpun, and it most definitely isn't an entertaining story to experience. Why, then? Why should you be reading something that achieves its own goals, but, by achieving them, loses most of its value as a literary work? If you're not a critic or an aspiring artist yourself, why would you want to read something that is intentionally unpleasant to read?
[+] Hyper-realistic, if you're into that stuff
[+] Unique art
[+] Achieves its goals with ease
[-] Painfully boring to read
[-] Reflects immature views on life and society
[-] Liking it makes you a NORMIE! >:D
[/s for that last one]
Recommended alternatives: 20th Century Boys (manga), 3-gatsu no Lion (anime/manga), Persepolis (graphic novel).
Agree? Disagree? Have a tomato to throw? Come and take it up with me on my profile! I'd love to talk with you, no matter who you are or what you have to say.
(I, sadly, have to make this announcement - Gonensei is more psychologically rigorous than Oyasumi Punpun. Although, Punpun is still the better overall work of art in terms of combining techniques and storylines.)
Once upon a time I wrote a review about Oyasumi Punpun pretty far back. I think it was neither good nor bad. I threw out some stuff about a movement I had only a hazy knowledge of and linked it to a bunch of stuff that had nothing to do with the story and threw out some names definitely in order to appear smarter than I really was. I think it was probably
stupid to try and categorize anything like Oyasumi Punpun like that.
I think a review should be more than just a momentary exchange of what is good or bad because, well, the old belief is that everybody derives something different from even the crappiest work of art. There’s the pragmatic side to it. You’re only gonna live here for a few decades. At most you’ll be here for a hundred years. I don’t think transhumanism is going to take off while you’re around. How are you going to spend it? Thankfully you have people who’ve treaded the same ground before you and they surely have a lot to say about life and about what to read and not to read. Since they’re kind enough to have an opinion you might as well just go and take it. What’s more the more streamlined it is the better because, hey, why read a review in the first place. I just need the verification that my choice is correct with a few brief words like ‘the art is good’ and ‘the story is amazing’ and I can be on my way, experiencing that work of art that is so much better and greater than that crappy review.
So of course the review, in this instance, becomes the platform for people to jump at a work of art. This is completely okay of course. Like I said we don’t live forever and we’ve got stuff to do like actually reading a work rather than reading about someone talk about a work. But you know in between that work of art and yourself is this human being, who, after being moved by said work of art so immensely, decides that he has to say something about it. And that person himself is a person with completely different circumstances from yourself and he’s also a creator in a sense because he’s thinking about how best to convey that feeling of ‘must-read-this’ to you. And yet this person isn’t just satisfied with placing his feelings on a scale because he thinks that its utterly insane to lump together all the feelings invoked into a rating or a set of lines about ‘characters being likeable’ or anything like that. In fact he’s also a greedy person because he craves attention and he wants to be able to convey the same nexus of feelings that the artist of the work he just read was able to convey to him. This greediness prevents him from ever being a mere spectator to this reader-Manga divide and he feels he has to get his dirty paws into this ‘transaction’ between the two parties. So his review becomes, not really a review, but kind of a half-essay partly-autobiographical partly-stupid thing that in the end becomes so completely obscure that it eliminates any ‘must-read-this’ that was conveyed in the first place.
It gets even trickier when you have a Great Work. Something in the 10s scale in your subjective rating system. Something that you feel you have to tell, no shout, to the world about from the rooftops just because it happens to be so good and you experienced not just great beauty but great empathy and everything that is good about living in the world. Something that sticks to you and you have to crown it in your little head with all the other Great Works out there as the thing that, because you read it, proves to you that human life is not completely worthless or useless or unkind or relentlessly stupid; and that the very existence of such Beauty is validation for the whole thing. It’s a work of art that cleans up the whole human slate, of all the pent up longing and worthless lingering that seems to go on in everyone’s life. A work that tells you that in the end great things to appear and you should go on hoping and desiring and keeping your ambitions inside you because maybe “you are here—that life exists” and that “you may contribute a verse”.
Because hey life didn’t deal you a bad card. You came far enough to be able to read Oyasumi Punpun in all it’s entirely and really understand it and get into it and for a few hours your brain was fried with the fuzzy despairing love for humanity that seems to emanate from the computer screen as you soak in the pages. And afterwards Punpun and Aiko and Seki and Harumi and Sachi and Midori and Yuuichi are all real live breathing moving figments that live and breathe in your head because of how all their troubles and worries and actions seems to just absolutely strike this indefinable deep chord within you. You’ve gotten this far. You haven’t been killed in a freak accident before 12 and you haven’t become so completely hopelessly broke that you can’t even afford to read Oyasumi Punpun in the first place. You may not be an artist who can absolutely capture everything great about life in 147 chapters but hey you still made it far enough to say that you tried or you’re going to do it one day no matter what because that’s the only thing to live for now.
And when you read this Great Work you just can’t write anything normal anymore and your heart is pounding and you can’t think of anything but convey convey convey the complete experience to someone else, even a sliver of it, something that can be shared, that can be burning on inside their hearts, even if it’s just a flicker, for the years to come. You want to be able to do that magic that he did over so many pages and you want to want to want to have that level of observation and imagination and experience that he had but you’re so hopelessly young or inexperienced and you’re so hopelessly deluded most of the time and you have to ornate your words with the speech of dead kings in order to hide this small insignificance as an artist growing within you.
And this anxiety is making you sick to the stomach but it’s also making your brain churn and you just have to get something down onto writing because that’s the way you react to something so utterly and stupendously beautiful, and reading it twice makes it stronger and your brain is now absolutely overflowing with that raw painful ambition which is so so far away from your current state of affairs.
And you can’t stop thinking and living and your senses fall into hyperactivity and your brain latches on to memories of the most insignificant small bits of conversation going on with your co-workers that day, or the way your parents probably think you’re too detached from being cooped up inside all the time seeking Great heart-shaking Works and how it’s close to impossible being able to convey anything at all even to your own family, unless you had even an ounce of the virtuoso skill and throbbing empathy that Inio Asano had while making his magnum opus. You think about how many years left you have to live, and what you’re going to do in the meantime, and how you should be kinder and be on the look-out for the small powerful things in life and you should have a greater sense of self-esteem and keep watch of all your dreams and seek always to be empathetic to other human beings because, as Inio Asano so eloquently proved, they are all dissonant chords breaking off one another, but there’s a reason and a music flowing behind the scenes. That you may never understand even your closest friends and that the momentary complete connection between two people may be so transient and illusory and yet so awe-inspiringly shattering that some people spend their whole life looking for it. That many people are enclosed and solipsistic but that in some ways this can also make them strong at certain times. That it’s easily to fall into a cycle of misguided self-despair and ruin yourself, but it’s also never too late to be saved and to extract yourself from the pit, no matter how far you’ve fallen. That whether you’ve been dealt a good or bad hand, you’re still beautiful anyway so you should live on in as great and honest a way as possible. All these musical notes and scales falling behind the scenes where we can’t see them and even if you become mad trying to grasp the music you should still try anyway because what else is there left to live for but to connect with other humans? And that even if they aren’t mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, at least they’re still mad enough to be here and to pass them, for a moment, in this endless stream of life, is just about the greatest thing in the world.
But really who gives a shit? Because in the end you’re still alive and life hasn’t dealt you a bad enough hand and you’re either going to or have already read Oyasumi Punpun, so maybe you should be happy about that.
“Life is immeasurably difficult, things hardly ever work out as planned, and people are generally shitty.” –Goodnight Pun or anyone who has ever worked a 9-5 job.
Goodnight Punpun is the dark coming of age story of some little shit who agonizes over anything and everything.
Goodnight Punpun has three conflicting stories. The first story, told in book one, is about a young boy named Punpun who has a crush on the new transfer student Aiko. Together Punpun and his friends go on all kinds of misadventures like trying to find porn, going to abandoned factories, and etc. Of course, things are not
always good as Punpun has to deal with his parents fighting and other hardships. At this point in the story Goodnight Punpun is essentially Stand By Me with more misery porn and it is wonderful. There is mystery, soft super natural elements, and an endearing message of struggling through life’s problems.
The second story, told in book two through five, is about an older Punpun who gets sad at the mere act of being alive. Things have not worked out for Punpun for one reason or another and we see him delve into Shinji levels of self-loathing and… not much else. Still obsessed with Aiko for whatever reason, Punpun lives day to day without much meaning. He tries to get women and do other normal things but he is kind of an awkward asshole. He also sleeps with his uncle’s girlfriend and jerks off into the ocean. This part of the story is essentially the worst parts of Evangelion and gets repetitive quickly.
The third story, told in book six and seven, sees the author being replaced by Gen Urobuchi (albeit he is less of hack than he usually is). Things take a turn for the edgy as Punpun reunites with Aiko only to be forced to kill her abusive mother in a bizarre encounter that quickly escalates. Punpun and Aiko then flee and the story fades away into a fever dream of an ending with Aiko hanging herself and an exhausted Punpun resigning himself to die at the abandoned factory he and his friends went to as kids. However, Punpun is “rescued” when his friend(?) Sachi finds him. In the final scene Punpun has a chance encounter with Harumi, a childhood friend who had moved away long ago, giving Punpun a fleeting sense of nostalgia and then the story ends. This ending is poetic in a number of ways. All of Punpun’s previous actions are made meaningless with nothing working out for him even in the end where he is denied a silent exit from this cruel world and is forced to continue a miserable existence. There is no fanfare, rather than burn out the story simply fades away. It is absolutely ordinary and realistic in a way that stories rarely are. For the story told in the last two books, I couldn’t think of a more fitting ending.
Both the beginning and ending of Goodnight Punpun are beautiful in their own right, but they don’t necessarily work together. There is a weird disconnect where the first part of the story is melancholy but still hopeful while the ending is brutally unforgiving and cynical. Other peculiar choices put both stories at odds with each other as well. The soft but pervading super natural and mystery elements, ranging from serial killer confession tapes to psychic cults, work well for the beginning but not so much the ending and, ultimately, don’t go anywhere anyways. While I like both angles neither are nearly as effective as they could have been separately. Instead Goodnight Punpun is left in an awkward middle ground where it is too spectacular to be ordinary and too ordinary to be spectacular.
Other than the inconsistency in tone I felt the characters and plot, at least the side ones, were largely inconsequential. Despite being interesting they don’t really add to the main story significantly. Even if you could enjoy them for what they are, they never go anywhere and don’t have much of a pay off if any at all. They also slightly suffer from the Tarantino effect where you hear the writer in them more than the character to the point of intrusion. It is not too bad, but I would say it walks a fine line. That said I still see a lot of talent in the writing concerning the side characters and plots, but one area that’s surprisingly lacking in writing is the relationship between Punpun and Aiko. Punpun’s obsession is questionably convenient and a hard sell at best, and considering that’s supposed to be the driving force behind most of his actions I was left wanting.
To be fair what Goodnight Punpun does well it does really well. It may not have the cleanest execution but it is still pretty impressive. On a technical level the art is wonderfully detailed and expressive and that alone is worth some merit. I suppose, in the end, one way of looking at things is that two thirds of the story is good, but I have to ask what could have been with just a little bit more polish. And though it may also be the case that Goodnight Punpun and I simply have different philosophical views I can’t help but think of the old saying- pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. As cliché as it is, it is just as true, so I guess I'll end with my own cliché quote.
Life is immeasurably difficult, things hardly ever work out as planned, and people are generally shitty, but, you have to move on.
(I had written a review for this previously, but I feel that I did not do this series justice. This is my second attempt).
Oyasumi Punpun is, without a doubt, one of the most compelling manga I have ever read, and one of only a handful I would say are seminal masterpieces in the medium. I initially read it based on a recommendation from a friend. The unique design of the main character and initial parts of the series led me to believe that this series was just a fun slice-of-life story about a quirky japanese boy...which is technically accurate, but to reduce it to that
would be underselling this manga a great deal.
While the story of Punpun's life is, indeed, initially rather comical and full of child-like wonder, you realize in retrospect that this is merely the natural result of it accurately portraying what it is like to be a child. As the story goes on and we see more of the people surrounding Punpun you begin to see the chilling darkness that surrounds most of the cast, who are troubled by a slew of mental problems common to most people who are just trying to get by. As the story goes on this cynicism grows more and more prominent, like a dark abyss beckoning you further and further in as you watch Punpun become increasingly damaged and lose much of the innocence he had as a child.
The story's characters are, indeed, perhaps the strongest part of Punpun. As far as manga go they are highly unusual. Most of them cannot really be called "good people", as they frequently display acts of pettiness, depravity and self-destruction. This is however, contrasted by their moments of selflessness, compassion, and love. The result is actually uncannily lifelike, as most people are extremely complex and do not easily fall into arbitrary categories of "good" or "bad". Through its characters, the story represents the darkest parts of humanity, the side of us that nobody wants to acknowledge.
Asano's compelling narrative is heavily aided by his impressive artistic skills. The choice to represent Punpun's family as crudely drawn cartoon birds was a stylistic decision, not borne or any lack of artistic skill. The designs are actually quite flexible, and frequently alter to show more realistic features during key moments, such as bulging eyes or twitching hands. The result is incredibly powerful and highly unnerving, showing an imagination and skill that is rarely seen in most comics.
Almost every single other character has a unique, distinctive design that immediately tells them apart from everyone else. Asano is not afraid to make his characters ugly, and in fact does so quite frequently. The attractive characters stand out all the more as a result of this, and it adds to the series' introspective, realistic tone.
The backgrounds are actually CGI, derived from actual photos. This is something Asano has been criticized for, but to me it does not really make a difference. Tools are just tools, and the result is incredibly stunning and adds to the series' mesh of realism and surrealism, so I have no complaints on that front.
In the end, what makes Punpun such a powerful, emotionally gripping story is that it is bursting with life from every pore. None of it feels trite or derivative, none of the characters fall into predictable molds or character archetypes, the story's events are hard to predict, and the themes of depression, isolation, despair, and nihilism are handled in a very mature, relatable fashion.
While the ambiguous moral standing of the characters and the series' emotionally oppressive tone means that it is not a work that can be enjoyed by everyone, it is still an extremely well-crafted manga that is worth a look. As someone who has struggled with clinical depression for years, I have never read something that portrayed the suffering of the human condition quite like Punpun does.
PunPun is one of those manga's that will appeal to some and be completely foreign to others. I caught some of the allegories and symbolism, but at the same time I felt there was a lot that just went completely over my head. Like the author was throwing paint on a canvas and saying it has a deeper meaning.
Let me first say if you aren't one for depressing coming of age stories, this series is not for you. Because this series is as long winded and depressing as they come. Sure, the beginning starts of really interesting, kid goes to elementary and makes friends.
They go to explore an abandoned building and then skip off into the night. That part was enjoyable, everything past that just felt like 'wah my life sucks'.
You can sit there and say I'm too dumb to get the symbolism that may have been there. But a review merely a point of view from a different view, not the most popular one. Final verdict, read with caution, you may or may not like it.
As a writer myself, I'm well-acquainted with the narrative concept of Chekhov's Gun; that is to say, an element deliberately introduced into the story's ecosystem should also be deliberately resolved. Oyasumi Punpun stands as a monumental testament to narrative illiteracy precisely because it fails to realize this fundamental principle -- and this is a terrible shame because it had a genuinely fascinating start. Right from the beginning, the reader's mind will be filled with questions about where this mysterious bird creature has come from, and what role it will play in human society. Is it an alien? A monster? A spirit?
The answer to these
questions is 'who knows', because there's never even an *attempt* to explore Punpun's origins. In fact, the story marches on entirely irreverent to the fact that Punpun is a mysterious bird-creature of evidently inhuman origin. No interaction or story-beat is remotely influenced by his nature or circumstances; imagine E.T. except everybody treats the alien like it's simply the new kid on the block.
This is a tale entirely without a connecting thread - a useless, vapid, unambitious trudge that will leave the reader bereft of meaningful emotions or experiences. I sincerely cannot recommend this to anybody except those who have lost their will to live.
Almost everyone has felt at one point during their lifespan that their lives have hit rock bottom, that the world is conspiring against them, that nobody out there has a worse life than they do. For the most part, of course, this is untrue, save for the one unlucky fellow on the bottom rung of the ladder, and their lives do begin to slowly climb upward again.
Oyasumi Punpun (eng. translation Goodnight Punpun) is a psychological drama/coming-of-age story by realist mangaka Inio Asano (author of another one of my favorite works, Solanin) about that one unlucky fellow who can never seem to catch a break
in life. Bleak and depressing, Oyasumi Punpun is proof that the literary significance of manga can rival that of classic novels and serves as a testament against all that believe manga to be deficient in literary value. While certainly not an accessible, easy-to-read manga, and definitely not a recommendation for someone in an unsavory mood, There are a multitude of reasons why I consider Oyasumi Punpun to not only be one of the best manga, but one of the best coming-of-age stories I have ever read.
Oyasumi Punpun tells the tale of eponymous character Punpun, who, after witnessing the divorce of his parents at an early age, begins to struggle on the path towards adulthood, as challenge after challenge threatens his daily life and sanity. There is no dream to achieve, no quest for redemption- you simply follow Punpun in his interactions with the human world as he grows from a child into a young adult. However, the execution of the story is superbly unique and flawless. Inio Asano’s realism reaches a shocking new level as each interaction not only manages to surprise you at what the world is capable of but also serves as a reminder of just WHAT the world is capable of. Layer on some masterfully dark humor and a touch of symbolism here and there, and you get a wonderful coming-of-age story, compelling and chock-full of very powerful yet realistic emotions.
Inio Asano's realistic artstyle is powerful in that it is conveys his the realism in his story and characters perfectly and passionately. The quality and detail put into his backgrounds is astounding and a feast for the eyes. From bustling city landscapes to the night sky, Inio Asano is able to create a realistic and immersive backdrop. Coming across a background spread during a chapter is always a delight. One small gripe I do have with the backgrounds, however, is that sometimes they are TOO immersive. In a panel where many, many characters are drawn, I often find it quite difficult to find the locations of the main characters, leading to slight confusion.
The character designs are also sufficient for a story of this caliber- realistic, with highly readable expressions (yet not too exaggerated) in order to accurately portray the psychology of the characters. Punpun’s character design is interesting in this respect. At the beginning, he is shown to be a crudely-drawn ambiguous bird-like figure. However, as the story goes on, the mangaka modifies his overall character design in a number of ways that demonstrate his current psyche, making him one of the most expressive and open characters.
In conclusion, realistically drawn, expressive characters and an impressive attention to detail in backgrounds provide a storytelling medium fitting for a story like Oyasumi Punpun.
The characters in Oyasumi Punpun are the best part of the manga and drive the story well. Inio Asano creates his characters by putting normal, mundane people and putting them at the brink of despair and hopelessness. This idea is nothing new- it’s commonplace in science fiction dystopias such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Bokurano and in survival games like Battle Royale. However, what makes Oyasumi Punpun so unique is that this kind of character development rarely happens in a normal, lifelike setting such as this one. Amidst perfectly realistic situations and encounters, these highly complex characters reveal their ugliest, nastiest parts, their insecurities, their misgivings, and their fears.
The titular character, Punpun, undergoes some of the most remarkable character growth I have ever seen in manga. We are introduced to him as an elementary schooler, a bland character with an innocent mind and lacking highly distinctive traits. However, this personality is well-suited for him, as the series of events that will come to change him as he grows into adulthood will cause some extremely realistic development without letting any predetermined personalities get in the way. The way he changes and the decisions he makes, while frequently ugly and unpleasant, are highly identifiable and you cannot help but wish the best for him.
The deuteragonist and Punpun’s love interest, Aiko, is remarkably similar to Punpun in character. Selfish yet kind-hearted, Aiko has her own set of circumstances that over the course of the manga slowly change her perception of her own life and humanity itself. What is most interesting is their relationship to one another. While most love interests act as a source of inspiration and strength for the protagonists, Aiko will become one of the major sources of angst in Punpun’s life, and the decisions she makes will have the greatest effect on Punpun’s development out of all the characters in the cast. Their relationship, strained and twisted by their personalities as well as their lives, retains a single, unbreakable bond of purity and hope that compels you to encourage them to fight on.
A large and diverse set of side characters, all uniquely complex and haunted by their own inner demons, completes a cast perfect for the story of Punpun. These characters, free of any conventional traits or personalities, are driven to fully develop throughout the run of the series into some of the most refined, human characters I have ever seen.
To say that I traditionally “enjoyed” Oyasumi Punpun might be a stretch- from the beginning, this manga had intended to make you think and reflect, not read quickly and finish with a satisfied feeling in your chest. In fact, reading Oyasumi Punpun made me feel absolutely depressed. Is it a manga I’d re-read? Probably not, unless I was feeling brave enough to give it another go. But do I regret reading it? Absolutely not. Oyasumi Punpun is a manga I’m glad I read, with a story that captivated me from the beginning and characters that intrigued me from the beginning until the end. If that’s not enjoyment, I don’t know what is.
Conventional manga tropes not cut it for you anymore? Looking for a genuinely compelling and insightful psychological drama? Feel up for the challenge of taking on a rich and profound story? Then give Oyasumi Punpun a try. It might not be the manga for you, but it’ll be a manga you’ll surely never forget.
Please read this Manga.
Honestly there's not one thing i'd ask to be changed, it's perfectly polished in all aspects.
Relatively spoiler free.
Perfect. There's a raw honest realism to this story, even with some of the crazy things that happen that seem surreal. Nothing is sugarcoated. Even with many of the dark turns that happen in this story there are many things that are relatable to the average person. Which kind of takes this story to a new level.
Perfect. The way the main character and his direct family is portrayed is wonderfully unique, it gives him an innocence that couldn't be depicted in
any other way. (at least in my mind). There are still images from this manga that are permanently ingrained into my mind. The way they keep Punpuns face hidden through out the manga gives it a anonymous feeling where he could be anyone, it's easy to find yourself getting lost in/as this character.
Perfect. Everyone is so thoroughly fleshed out, absolutely everyone is interesting and has a story. There was never a moment that I felt like the story was dragging on or that a certain character had too much 'screen time'. For many characters there was a emotional trek, where at some points you'd hate them but in the end for most if not all you could understand them. Even though many things weren't 'just' in our mind, everything had a reason of why it came to be.
This is my favourite Manga of all time. I can't even see this being put to justice if it were to be adapted into an anime. Theres something about this manga, that made me feel like my eyes were opened or something had changed. I highly recommend this.
one word describes this manga REAL, Asano Inio has always made manga that had realistic emotion and stories of hardship BUT this manga is far beyond that, with great art style and characters one cant help but keep reading. At first glance it looks like some kid manga right? WRONG this manga is one of the most emotionally intense/depressing manga I've ever read. And this why i use the word REAL the story is not sugar coated there are no happy endings just like REAL life thats what this manga accomplishes the feeling of being able to relate to that characters on such a high
level almost like you are in the story yourself. I don't think i need to say this is no kid manga this is some gritty stuff in most manga nudity is nothing new but this isn't for fan service and in my opinion the explicit loveless sex scenes make this manga in particular all the more messed up.
Asano Inio you out did yourself on this one :)
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.
You might ask why i say such a thing when i've given it a 10/10, it is simple this manga is a captivating story with many more captivating characters. But it will destroy you inside.
I have read thiis twice and i have been destroyed twice. This is a dark beauty best left alone, i have been so broken after reading this I dont think i will even get back what i have lost. This is a beauty you will have to sacrifice parts of yourself to read. This is all i have to say, read at your own risk!
Having recently caught up on this... I'll say this, I bloody love this manga.
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.
Over the last decades, a lot of authors have become a inspiration for the manga industry. Asano Inio is a good example of this, with Solanin, Nijigahara Holograph, Oyasumi PunPun or one of his recent works Umibe no Onnanoko. Particulary, Oyasumi PunPun is considered one of his most influential works and it marks a before and after in the history of manga.
If you are acquainted with Inio´s works, you should know what the initial idea of the story is. PunPun and his family are the main characters on this story. At the first view the most remarkable aspect is the appearance of the Onodera Family,
they resemble a bird or a cartoon but despite this, people see them like a normal person although his appearance is drastically different. PunPun aspect will change according to his mental state and his emotions. But it doesn´t mean story isn´t realistic, it's curiously just the opposite. Aside of this aspect, the design of the rest of characters is very detailed ( Their design is conditioned to how they are feeling in that moment) and the setting is beautiful with a lot of landscapes which are marvelous and depressing at the same time which demonstrates how masterful Asano Inio is.
The main point of this story is the adolescence of PunPun and his friends. It is a realistic vision of a bunch of youngsters who do not know what the future holds but must face reality and overcome it. After his old love had to be transferred to another school, PunPun meet Aiko Tanaka, a girl who has just transferred to his school. Punpun fall in love Aiko and both started to be very good friends. PunPun will be converted from an innocent and imaginative boy to a boy more confidence, who is decided to make Aiko happy.
Aiko will be the determination of PunPun´s behaviour, because in every moment of his life, his decisions will be conditioned by Aiko's safety who, in her youth, is worried about the future of the mankind, which is going to disappear. She grows on punpun the wish of being an astronaut so they could leave Earth together in order to protect Aiko from all the harmful things of this world (although they will part ways at some point in the manga)
Along the entire story, we will witness PunPun's maturity, experimenting new aspects of their life, which bit by bit will forge PunPun´s personality, including violence genre (Family issues), alcohol problems as a way to get away from reality, a lot of part-time jobs and new experiences such as experimenting true love and the influence of media and religious sects. Soon we will see a new PunPun, wandering in a disappointing world, where the only light is aiko (Although also interacts with other girls throughout history). Despite this, PunPun sometimes doesn´t take the right decision and generally is considered as an imperfect character who regrets his decisions in life and continues to question himself.
For all of this, it´s so difficult to identify yourself with the main characters because the majority of them act in a unusual way which may be considered non-moral (Punpun himself is a good example of this).
The story is not just centered in Punpun, also we will see a group of episodes starred by PunPun´s uncle, Sachi the artist, a religious sect and Seki and Shimizu( who can see the god of poop), a pair of old high school.
One of the main points of this story is a continuous misanthropy and critic to a human genre. PunPun have an important existential crisis and the manga is a critic of every aspect of the life which is shown. None of the characters are afraid of showing themselves as they are which reinforces the realistic point of view. It is a truly slice of life manga. At first it could be considered as a comedy but then you will realize that is a drama, mostly noticed after the PunPun's childhood. Also you will see a religious- supernatural aspects, whose main setting is an special entity called God who is probably one of the most important characters, because he represents our inners desires, the ones which we need to accomplish but we dare not.
After reading all this ( I wait so) , Oyasumi PunPun is without a doubt, a dramatical and depressing manga, but at the same time, is an slice of life combined with romance and psychological themes which makes it worth to read. Also is one of the most famous mangas from Asano Inio, what are you waiting for reading it?
As I have dropped this series when completing chater 65, I don't think it I will be able to write a decent review as of now. The reason for the drop is the deep emotional impact and scars it has left me with.
However let me remind you that this one of the most unique mangas out there. This is a must read for everyone and anyone.
Oyasumi Punpun (Goodnight Punpun) can be described as a best selling book when comparing it to Harry potter, however it is in a form of a manga and targets a specific audience. This manga describes REALITY by introducing the main
character called punpun. We are following the story by his view of reality. Although there some chapters in the story that will describe the life of the other characters. The author try's to deal with all day issues concerning individual human beings such as Redemption, Jealousy, Sex, Anger. The author really try's to keep the story to the point of realism that it increases the depth of our view of the world while moving the plot by raising the bar very very very high.
Another subject this manga tackles perfectly is the art. I am always left speechless as I turn each page. The amount of detail is incredible and incomparable to any manga I have read. If you start reading this manga you will see the segnifigence this mangaka try's to potray by the way each scene is drawn and perfectly executed. The characters such as his family ie The father and mother seems to us to be drawn by a 10 year old and the reason is due to the PunPun's attachment to them. It tells us he doens't care about those types of people who he engages with daily. However this adds weight to the overall story and gives significant effect to later development in the story.
The characters are another great peice that adds flavour to the overall effect this manga is trying to produce. The rate of development of these characters are consirded in great depth that keeps drawing the reader ever closer to PunPun's world. However as a reader I would say I have very different opinions about each and every character introduced in the manga. This is due to their extreme difference in behaviour and personalitys. You will like some or you will hate some but your views will change as the story progresses further.
Overal this is a must read story but beware of the effects it will leave you with in every single chapter. The amount of emotional unbalance that this has provided me with gave me pain and sorrow and maybe this due to me having a weak heart. However if you have the guts please be my guest to go on a roller coaster of life changing experiences. If I say to my self that I have enjoyed the manga up till now? The answer I would say be DEFNETILY YES.
I am deeply sorry that I could not write a serious review as I just cant complete this masterpeice of manga. I hope you enjoyed this short and thoughtfull review.