Punpun is a relatively normal elementary school student; he goes to lessons, does his homework and gets on well with his classmates. Unfortunately, it’s everyone else around him that’s bonkers! With a crowd of crazy teachers playing hide and seek or having extreme reactions to even the tiniest situation at school, his father kept at bay on domestic violence charges, and only his unemployed layabout uncle to look up to Punpun’s life is anything but simple. However, despite the mayhem surrounding him, Punpun still continues to quietly live on, contemplating his dreams, experiencing the joy and terror of falling in love, and trying to deal with his anxieties about sex, religion, and growing up.
Somehow, the main character in these bildingsromans manage to be pathetic and lovable at the same time. Similarly, I'm never sure if reading these manga makes me happy or incredibly depressed. I do know, however, that if you liked the adolescent drama of one, you will definitely like the other.
20-something Meiko Otani is restless, living day to day with a job she hates and an unemployed boyfriend who'd rather be playing in a band. Like others her age, she struggles to find her place in the world and a purpose in life, so in an attempt to make a fresh start, she makes the decision to quit her job. Together with her friends, Meiko will embark on a journey of self discovery to find what will truly make her happy.
Ciguatera is named after an illness caused by a toxin that bioaccumulates in fish. Solanin is probably not named after solanine, a poison found in various nightshade plants, BUT if it were, it would be pretty apt.
Sorry about that. Anyway, both of these seinen slice-of-life manga capture a bit of the toxic ennui endemic to everyday life. But among all these depressing portions, utter joy is mixed in, and all sorts of other life experiences. If you liked the tone, pacing, and how the subject mattter was handled in one, definitely check out the other.