By Dustin Cabeal
Oh Goodnight Punpun, how I’ve missed you. The only thing that’s disappointing about reading Goodnight Punpun is that I can’t find anything else like it to read. Hell, I don’t even necessarily think I want to read anything like it, but it would be nice if there were an option. At the very least, someone could provide an artistic style similar to Inio Asano for all of us to enjoy, but I guess that’s what makes him original.
This volume of Goodnight Punpun is different and similar in many ways. It’s also terribly relatable, at least on a personal level for myself. The story deals with Punpun figuring out if it’s his childhood love he wants or his adult love and which would be better for him? The series had always teased Aiko, even when the story moved away from her, but now she’s back in this volume. I can tell you that since it’s on the book cover… that’s the rules of spoilers, and for fuck sake, it was obviously going to happen at some point. It’s still not entirely clear to me why the childhood friends are still involved, but I can only imagine that they’re going to come back together at the very end and give this series a circular ending.
As for the volume, itself, it’s very weird because Punpun loses himself and finds himself all at the same time. And none of it can be summed up in a review. At this point, you’re either along for the ride, or you’re never going to check it out. Which is too bad because the character work that Asano does throughout this series is masterful. There are so many characters, but it’s never overwhelming to the story, it’s never daunting nor is it annoying but instead refreshing and interesting. Asano writes a story that is very immersive, allowing you to feel a part of the world and often times the melancholiness of it all. You can’t read Goodnight Punpun without feeling something, and usually, it’s a bit of emptiness because Asano captures the very real “what the fuck is the point of it all” moments of life and graphs it on Punpun’s birdlike face.
The artwork continues to be impressive. The first volume is brilliant looking and great, and it gets better and better, but this volume is just something else. There’s something rawer about it, something that feels more personal. Punpun goes through another visual change in this volume as well, and I won’t spoil what it is, but it’s far more startling than his pyramid phase that’s for sure.
Goodnight Punpun is by far the best manga series I’ve ever read. There’s a lot of manga and comics that I enjoy and love. Prison School comes to mind, but Goodnight Punpun is extremely original and stands out from anything else. It’s not only an instant classic, but it’s 100% original as well. If you want to read something new, something that doesn’t follow traditional storytelling and has masterfully found a way for the reader to participate and feel a part of the story, then look no further than Goodnight Punpun.
Goodnight Punpun vol. 5
Creator: Inio Asano
Publisher: Viz/Viz Signature