Review: Goodnight Punpun Vol. 5

Big Comic Spirits (2007-2013)

Story/Art by Inio Asano

Summary: This is a story that tells the tale of young Punpun, a normal boy living a normal life, except with one small twist: he sees himself as an anthropomorphic bird, and he sees his family in the same way. So follow Punpun as he journeys through life complete with heartache, heartbreak, family issues and a rather peculiar connection to God. While everyone else seems normal, Punpun is rather unique.

 Review: Life is but such a fragile thing… full of twists, turns, and all the other descriptions you’ve ever heard anyone describe about it. Nothing is sacred, and often to seek happiness we must wade through those moments in life that make us feel like we’re in hell.

This volume continues to explore Yuuichi’s cycle of depression, and we get to learn why he left his family and fiancé during the two-year time skip that this volume also picks up on. Punpun makes a resolve about life and also experiences something truly coveted… and Seki and Shimizu continue their odd relationship that I can only wonder if it will start turning into something more…?

Well, let’s discuss now.

I said last volume that I wasn’t a huge fan of Inio making yet another time skip so soon after the last one, and I still stand by that even as I write this, but the new time space gives Inio the chance to play with a very important part of Punpun’s life: his first sexual adventure.

Like most young teens, as Punpun gets ready for high school, he dreams of getting laid. If only he would be able to do that, he’d be happy. But life generally doesn’t work out that satisfactory. As Yuuichi continues his running away from life, his fiancée finds herself in a vulnerable position of depression that she seeks to feel the void through kind Punpun.

Robbing him of his first, real sexual experience only to make herself feel better for a short while. What makes it doubly suck is that later she brushes it off as if it never happened, and I don’t blame Punpun’s frustration over the whole situation.

Yuuichi on the other hand spills the beans on why he left to a former Yakuza taxi driver. Yuuichi is an interesting character in that he knows what he is, and yet he continues to try and run from it. Much like his fiancée, taking advantage of things that will make him feel better at the cost of others. But after having an affair, something he warned her that he might do, the burden was too much to bear.

I’m not sure how many months he’d been gone by this volume’s beginning, but I will give his fiancée – who’s name is Midori, by the way – credit for remaining so open to forgiving him. It’s something that I don’t think I could personally do, but it shows just how deeply she cares for the man. And allows Yuuichi to finally feel what kindness is truly like.

The final story arc belongs to Seki and Shimizu, which let me just point out it’s quite interesting to me which characters Inio has decided to give all the big arcs to and focus on. Punpun, is Uncle, and two boys who were once his friends and now at this stage seem like distant acquaintances. I feel like somehow all their stories are going to converge big time coming soon.

Seki and Shizmizu have an interesting relationship, and I do wonder if it will turn into something more or if they’re just going to stay platonic. It’s perfectly fine if Inio just wants to make them just friends, but generally this much emphasis isn’t put on two friends unless there’s something deeper hidden underneath. It’s a common story trope, just look at the whole of Naruto and Sasuke’s friendship. It started with a kiss.

Seki gets paid to kill a man, and it’s interesting the storyline he’s being taken down. Whether he does it or not I won’t discuss for now so that you can find that out, but depending on where this goes his storyline could be the second best right behind Punpun’s. Shimizu is kind of just a tag along for now, but his story is more of a looming subplot and I do wonder where it’s gonna go if anywhere.

This volume was pretty good. Inio is very good at immersing you in his world, and making you forget any little things you dislike about it. Yes, I dislike the latest time skip quite a bit, but I also like the current stories coming out of it so it’s still a bunch of give and take. Punpun’s tale of woe is one of empathy and forgiveness and I continue to be excited for where it’s heading.

Final Score: 4 Stolen Firsts out of 5

DERRICK-imageDerrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.

You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net

@KazekunForever

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