Goodnight, Punpun Goes Beyond Caricature


Punpun Onodera is a normal 11-year-old boy living in Japan. Hopelessly idealistic and romantic, Punpun begins to see his life take a subtle—though nonetheless startling—turn to the adult when he meets the new girl in his class, Aiko Tanaka. It is then that the quiet boy learns just how fickle maintaining a relationship can be, and the surmounting difficulties of transitioning from a naïve boyhood to a convoluted adulthood. When his father assaults his mother one night, Punpun realizes another thing: those whom he looked up to were not as impressive as he once thought.

As his problems increase, Punpun’s once shy demeanor turns into voluntary reclusiveness. Rather than curing him of his problems and conflicting emotions, this merely intensifies them, sending him down the dark path of maturity in this grim coming-of-age saga.

From MAL

Written by Inio Asano
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher Viz Media
Demographic Seinen
Volumes 13

Punpun is not a bird, he appears as a bird to the viewer, as does his family, but they’re not birds and that’s not how the people around them see them. Aka, they’re people, but they’re just presented as caricatures. In a way, it makes the domestic violence and problems appear simple at first, until you realize what a mindfuck this series is ,and how depressing it truly is.

Warning: this is one of the darkest series I’ve read, and needs more trigger warnings than you might realize at first.

I discovered Oyasumi PunPun thanks to Deviantart, back when it was used (is it still used??) and wondered why there was a cute girl with a bird. Might say, lured by the cute, fucked by the dark. Props to Inio Asano for that!

Punpun is a deeply depressing, touchy series that might look like it’s only a gag or funny manga, but slowly goes down to the depths of hell to the end, progressively getting worse.

I’m not going to spoil this, but let me assure you to not expect a happy ending for this. This is not a cute, bubbly story. This touches upon rape, abuse, domestic violence, dreams and death, suicide, and so many more I’d just need to do a skull warning label for the series.

But…and maybe this is the masochist in me, I couldn’t look away and I had to know what happens and how it ends. Even if it’s miserable and it’ll make me wish I never did, PunPun is extremely well drawn, paced and extremely luring.

This is not a fantasy, Sci-Fi, or shounen, but a slice of life seinen that doesn’t pull punches, and throws in your face what you thought you were expecting from a story featuring a cute bird. I’m sure you weren’t expecting to get your feelings fucked with, or to have to experience the dirt-bags that clung to this series like snot to a nose.

I’m not sure I can explain why I loved it, and why I rated it so highly, but it didn’t disappoint me. Even with not delivering in some things I hoped to see, it was still so raw and real, I couldn’t help be blown away by it.

I won’t say to go read it. Perhaps check MAL, check around, think carefully, look at the tags and if you do read it, may you safely cross over this river!

Happy readings everyone and stay safe! (´∀`)

Have you heard about this manga before? Have you read it? If so, I’d love to know what you think of it!


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