My Short Thoughts on Goodnight Punpun (おやすみプンプン) Volume 1

This is a post about something I’ve been obsessing over (also i can’t sleep for some reason so i decided to write this) and that’s Goodnight Punpun (おやすみプンプン). If you love reading, comics, or manga, please give the book a read (it’s rated M, as a fair warning). I’m doing my best to not give spoilers, because I’ve barely started reading it!

Frequent readers may find it puzzling that I have a text post about manga, which I admittly almost never do. But something about Goodnight Punpun affected me so much I feel like I had to write about it and tell people how much I love it as it has already shot to the top of my lists as one of the best things I’ve ever read.

The art is a mix of silly due to Punpun’s hilariously simple design to grotesquely realistic. It’s beautifully drawn, the environments are gorgeous, and that alone makes it a good book to just look at.

The way Inio Asano tells the story though, is what sets the book worlds apart from many other things I’ve read, even on just the first volume. In my completely biased opinion, Inio Asano is one of the masters of the comic’s medium and this book is the best showcase of what he can do (by the way, Solanin, A Girl on the Shore, and What a Wonderful World! are also books he’s made that are also fantastic). The story is carefully crafted, as he uses page turns and a variety of artistic styles to push his story forward, create surprise, lengthen tension, and brew feelings of unease.

All the characters are complex, varied, and weird, from Aiko, to the adults, to Punpun himself. He builds on a common theme, growing up as an average middle schooler, and manages to craft a narrative that sometimes feels like it was ripped from my own life. The things that Punpun has to learn to deal with, the things he is woefully unprepared for, the things that take him by surprise, those are all things I reckon we all had to do at some point or another, especially in middle school! I’m looking at you. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to deal with things you weren’t at all prepared for in middle school! Because I know I did.

It is the combination of the fantastic art along with the admittedly weird and captiving storytelling that makes even the first volume of Goodnight Punpun a highly recommended read. I’m very excited to see where this story goes.

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