4.511 out of 5 from 251 votes
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.
Both are bleak but occasionally uplifting stories about aging, loss, regret, dreams, romance, those kinds of things. Kurosawa and Punpun are pretty cynical works with some humour thrown in. It would seem that they have similar morales too.
Shuichi Nitori is an elementary school boy with a secret: he wishes he were a girl and likes wearing their clothes. With the right outfit and his cute, effeminate looks, he is often able to convince people that he is someone else - or even something else. Unfortunately, although his best friend and object of affection, Takatsuki, accepts him as he is, she does not return Shuichi’s feelings. Moreover, school is an unforgiving place and Shuichi walks a fine line between liberating his true self and being labeled a freak by all his peers...
Both manga are about children growing into teenagers while dealing with issues like love, the onset of puberty, friendship and feeling disenfranchised or not being accepted for who you are. They're also very similar in that they feature a lot of characters, plotlines and angst. All this is told with an understated social-realist tone: there's not much in the way of melodrama or easy answers in either work.
I wholeheartedly encourage fans of either of these works to check out the other.