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: Since its beginning, I have talked about the darkness that looms within Goodnight Punpun as Inio Asano takes a microscope to the human soul and lets us watch helplessly as its torn apart within the confines of these pages. There’s been a lot of very dark things happen in this series, and the thing that makes them all so terrifying is that every action is based completely in reality. The biggest difference is that we had the escape of watching these incredibly bad things happen to what we perceived to be a walking, talking bird boy.
Not a human.
That all officially changes this volume. It changes fast, it changes hard, and it changes in the blink of an eye. As Punpun and Aiko approach her mother about the possibility of Aiko moving out to live with Punpun things turn their darkest yet. Aiko’s mother is possessive and hungry to keep power over her daughter. She has no remorse if anything bad happens to her, and only thinks selfishly of herself.
This then leads Aiko’s mom to turn to drastic measures and attempts to murder her daughter. Yeah, I said it turned its darkest yet. Which then leads into the biggest twist of the series thus far: Punpun killing Aiko’s mom. From this point on Punpun turns from looking like a bird boy to looking human in all features except for one: his face is shrouded in complete darkness, elongated and he has devil horns.
This is symbolic of his bird boy shroud coming off, his humanity spilling out, and the dark spot that has clouded his mind for many volumes now having exploded. Punpun doesn’t care anymore what good or bad thing happens to him anymore. To him, the world isn’t the rose color he once knew it as a kid, now it is only darkness.
This is depression at its deepest stage. When the world has flat out defeated you, and nothing seems like it could be good again. Punpun and Aiko spend most of the volume after this drastic tonal shift – that actually doesn’t feel completely out of place – diving around figuring out what to do now that they’ve buried the body and left Aiko’s home. Majority of the second half of the volume is also spent on Pegasus, and we finally get an entire chapter explaining what Pegasus is even doing in this story.
While the connection to him and Punpun’s stories still remain unclear, it was nice to see a bit more clarification as to why I should even care about this storyline at all. It’s still the weakest storyline however, being so shrouded in mystery as to why it truly exists, but we get a lot of explanation about Pegasus himself.
When comparing the first half to the second half of this volume, the first half is definitely the better of the two. Adding such a deep new layer to Punpun’s saga while the later half almost feels like its stalling until the next volume. However this is still a really, really good volume overall and I am so excited to see what happens next in the story.
If I’m being honest, I still don’t care about the Pegasus storyline. And I probably won’t until the crescendo when both of these stories collide. My hope is that I can look back on the entire series concerning Pegasus and go: “Ohhh, I see now!” So that’s what that meant!
I think that would be great.
Overall, wonderful volume. It really nearly had me in tears in that first half. And I’ve been told the final two volumes are even darker. Inio, you worry me… you worry me so much for my poor Punpun…
Final Score: 4.5 Dark Spots out of 5
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