Goodnight Punpun

Alt title: Oyasumi Punpun

Vol: 13; Ch: 147
2007 - 2013
4.378 out of 5 from 3,807 votes
Rank #107
Goodnight Punpun

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.

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*SPOLER ALERT* There are minor spoilers in this review. Oyasumi Punpun is a strange way of looking at a slice of life. The story (so far) follows Punpun Punyama from an elementary schooler with a weird attraction to a bullying girl through to a university student Punpun making sense of love and betrayal, all portrayed through the eyes of someone who looks like a bird. At its heart I'd say it's a manga about a child growing up with divorced parents and the issue of identity, as Punpun looks more like a person as the manga progresses. But then I'd say it's none of those things, it's just a comedic slice of life about a quiet person called Punpun. Story - The story is your typical slice of life but on a much grander scale as you get to witness Punpun growing up, his longstanding love for the girl he knew as a child (not the bully), coming to terms with his parent's separation, understanding his depressed uncle and finding out how his childhood friends grew up. It starts off heavy with comedy but as the story progresses it becomes more serious whilst still keeping its utter craziness. Art - The art is terrific, it starts off perfectly with Punpun as a hilarious small bird with no arms that stands on his seat rather than sits and is at least a foot smaller than everyone else, the fact that Inio Asano can make a bird fit in so perfectly when surrounded by people is quite something. The reason I have given it a meager 6.5 is because as the story progresses, the laziness of how Punpun is drawn increases, first the frills go, then the form, until he's just a misshapen rounded rectangle with hands and legs. You might argue this shows his development and how he's losing his identity because he wears brands and becomes just another Hollister Hipster rather than Punpun as an individual, but it was still disappointing to lose part of what made the manga so funny. Characters - The characters are very unique, from Punpun's love Aiko, a complicated daughter of a cult religious organisation to Punpun's uncle, a depressed middle aged bird who steps in to help his sister (Punpun's mother) look after her child. Almost everyone has a scarred past, even the minor characters, which may be a shout out to modern anime and manga where the main character always has a hidden past or it may just be the author's way of making the manga more interesting. Overall - Read it when you're in the mood for a surreal slice of life but don't read it because you enjoyed Yotsuba&! because they are completely different slices of life. The manga will keep you reading but you have to be in the mood which is why I've given it an 8 overall.


Oyasumi Punpun is a manga that I treasure so, so much. It is right up my street, and several other people’s, too: dark, realistic, interesting, compelling, and overall ingenious. It’s rare that I find manga as amazing as this. The characters of Oyasumi Punpun are portrayed so efficiently, so well that even now, months after finishing it, I’m always looking up different theories and facts about them because they are just so damn interesting. Punpun’s character design kept me intrigued and curious all the way through. I’ve never come across a manga or anime whose main character is portrayed differently to how the other characters see them, and whose form seems to change depending on their current state of mind and emotions. It makes the protagonist more subjective and relatable, allowing the reader to really identify with them and immerse themselves into the story, almost as if our protagonist’s issues and feelings are being directly projected onto us. The secondary and minor characters were excellent too, particularly Punpun’s family and friends from school. Right from the start, his life at home is put across as being a mix between average and downright miserable: his father seems like an asshole, his mother can’t stop drinking, and his uncle doesn’t know what to do with his own life. The sheer realism and dark, up-front writing are truly what makes this an excellent story, and even at the beginning when Punpun is just a child, nothing is censored from his or our view, which makes this a lot like a real life situation rather than a planned-out story. We ourselves are being thrown into his situation first-hand. Nobody’s actions, intentions or personality are sugarcoated in this, ever. Inio Asano writes them with the assumption that we’re mature enough to handle such heart-wrenching and seemingly unfair behaviours and outcomes, and I absolutely loved this. Punpun’s childhood is portrayed especially well. Instead of his school life being portrayed as happy-go-lucky and innocent, we’re faced with things we ourselves all faced as kids at school: people sneaking off to places they shouldn’t, being bullied, being curious about what sex is, and having their own individual issues despite being too young to deal with them. It’s all so natural and relatable that I could not stop reading once I began, and for me, binge reading is the sign of a high quality manga. The art style is very distinctive. I instantly recognise the other works and drawings by the same manga artist. The visuals are quite a bit different to other manga, mostly due to the character’s faces and bodies having a more realistic touch to them (other than Punpun’s family, obviously, being as they’re all depicted very differently). In short, I absolutely loved the art. Some of the characters’ facial expressions throughout the manga are so heartfelt, so genuine, and sometimes a little crazed and insane, which fits the story’s dark and generally harrowing theme very well. It’s not your typical manga art style. It pays extra attention to detail and stands out above the art I’ve seen in most manga I’ve read. I’m honestly struggling to find anything to criticise - it was just amazing almost all the way through, a real gem that I feel lucky to have read. If I was to find anything to criticise though, I felt that Toshiki Hoshikawa’s character and the concept of what he stands for was a tad forced and didn’t really fit in well with the rest of the plot and characters. I didn’t dislike it, but I feel that it took a significant amount of focus away from the main plot and came across to me almost as filler because I felt it was unnecessary. But all in all, Oyasumi Punpun is a true masterpiece, and I think it’s well worth a read. I was almost disappointed about finishing it because I enjoyed it so much. Inio Asano truly is talented and after reading this he’s become one of my favourite manga artists. I’d personally recommend this for anyone who wants a change from your typical moe, shounen or fantasy manga and instead wants something more realistic and dark, because this fits the bill perfectly. Oyasumi Punpun truly is a revolutionary piece of work in the world of manga, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even have that much experience with manga. It’s just so unique and creative in an endless amount of ways, and I cannot recommend it enough.

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