Monday, September 12, 2016

Manga Review: GOODNIGHT PUNPUN Volume 2


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

MANGAKA: Inio Asano
LETTERS: Annaliese Christman
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8621-2; paperback (June 2016); Rated “M” for “Mature”
432pp, B&W, $24.99 U.S., $28.99 CAN, £16.99 U.K.

Creator Inio Asano (Solanin, What a Wonderful World!) has a new manga.  Entitled Goodnight Punpun, the series is a coming-of-age story that focuses on Punpun Onodera, a boy in middle school and his adolescent trials and tribulations.

VIZ Media is publishing Goodnight Punpun as a seven-volume graphic novel series.  Each volume is an over-sized manga paperback containing two individual volumes (called “parts).  Goodbye Punpun Vol. 2 contains Part 3 (Chapters 24 to 34) and 4 (Chapters 35 to 46).

In Part 3, Punpun agonizes over former elementary school crush, Aiku Tanaka.  They have had no contact for two years and now Aiku seems to be dating Mamoru Yaguichi, Punpun's teammate on the badminton team.  Yaguichi, rumored to be well-endowed, also has his own doubts, about both Aiku and badminton, so he is ready to bargain with Punpun about Aiku.

In Part 4, Punpun's uncle, Yuichi Onodera, his mother's younger brother who lives with them, is also going through a crisis.  He has seemingly had a reunion involving Midori Okuma, a 25-year-old.  She resembles a 16-year-old girl with whom Yuichi once had a trouble/edgy relationship.  Meanwhile, Punpun has a chance to be with the girl of his dreams...

The Goodnight Punpun manga is bold and adventurous.  It is a teen drama that goes where only the best teen drama comics dare to go.  Teen angst, family dysfunction, sex and sexual tension, and social politics bubble and toil under the surface of what looks to be straight-forward adolescent drama and melodrama – but is more..

Truthfully, Goodnight Punpun Volume 2 defies description.  It deals with the turmoil and struggles of early teens, of course.  However, creator Inio Asano digs hard into the dread that is the uncertain future.  The stress of the now always seems to coexist with the unknown shape of things to come.  We could always tell the characters to not worry about tomorrow – to simply live in the now.  But where is the fun in that?  We wouldn't have the wonderful Goodnight Punpun and its constantly agonizing characters if they didn't worry about next year.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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