(Big Comic Spirits 2013)
Story and Art by Inio Asano
Picking up directly where last volume ended, things were a lot less ambiguous this time around as things were explained clearly and without conceit. No, there was no time skip last issue; Punpun’s new look was his new confidence in himself as a new person. And the lie he tells himself ends up extending to Aiko for a good portion of the volume. Thankfully it doesn’t last all volume as Punpun FINALLY gets the guts to talk to both Sachi and Aiko about his problems and his lies. And you know what happened, they took them all in stride. It made me appreciate Aiko as a person and in fact by the end of the volume I actually started to care and, dare I say, like Aiko.
However I do think Sachi is Punpun’s fated person, and though by the end it’s left out in the open whether the two of them will be able to make amends enough to finally be together… I am still holding out hope it’s these two who get together in the end.
Something Inio really does have a good grasp on is what it’s like to live in perpetual depression. Punpun’s world is falling a part right before his eyes, and as stated in one chapter he ends up being defeated by everything. It’s tough to see it happen, and it’s easy to give up once it all starts tumbling down. I’ve been there, I know how it feels.
Unfortunately, Aiko has it worse as we find out she’s been regularly beaten and abused by her mother but she doesn’t have the heart or courage to leave her.
I think it’s this childhood we really never got to see from Aiko that always made her feel so distant and conniving when in fact she was struggling just like everyone else to find an identity for herself. This is what caused her to wrap up Punpun’s tiny little heart in her hands and not even realize it. It’s probably because we got see such little interaction with Aiko’s lifestyle that it was hard to feel anything for her for so long.
Now I know what drives her, or doesn’t, what makes up her character and why she does everything she does. She literally feels their all her best options for a happy life. And she also believes Punpun can give her that. Whether she truly loves Punpun or not is yet to be seen, but I don’t doubt it’s completely genuine.
So here are, finding Punpun in the crossroads of two women who love him, and no idea what to do about any of it. This is a boy who, in 20 years of life has known only pain. And we’ve watched him come to terms with it all since he was a little kid who didn’t understand, to now a 20 year old who understands all to well.
Poor Sachi, who finds herself pregnant with another man’s child, and on the day Punpun was supposed to go with her to get an abortion, he instead runs away with Aiko… the next few volumes are going to be incredibly interesting to say the least.
We also get a little bit of Pegasus this issue, but not much, not enough for me to care as it all continues to be really vague. I just hope his storyline is going somewhere interesting, because we’ve spent way too much time on this guy who keeps talking about the end of the world but he’s not really… doing anything until then. And I just don’t know if maybe it’d been a better idea to introduce him later in the series instead of offering up so much actual time on his storyline and then dragging it out like Inio has been.
I’m really excited to see the story picking up so strongly and staying that way. There’s still 3 volumes left though, so who knows what’s going to happen at this point. This volume didn’t seem to end on a time skip like Inio usually does every two volumes, but next volume could start on a time skip. Really, who knows at this point except those who’ve already read Punpun before me?
This volume was great. I’m really happy about that. Inio needs to work on his pacing with storylines, at least some more than others, but overall a solid outing. Really excited to see what comes next.
4 Bad Choices in Life out of 5
You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net