おやすみプンプン７ (Goodnight Punpun 7)
Author: 浅野いにお (Inio Asano) (2010)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★1/2
Inio Asano is my favourite manga-ka (along with Naoki Urasawa). His most famous work is probably Solanin, which was recently made into a film earlier this year. His stories are strongly character driven and highly realistic. But what makes this particular series stand out from the rest of his manga is that the main character is Punpun, who looks like this:
(A bird? A chicken? What in the world is that?)
Punpun is a regular human guy, just like you and me. In the 7th volume of Mr. Asano’s acclaimed series, Punpun is growing to be more independent, acquiring for himself an apartment. Yes, Punpun now lives alone, works several jobs at once and tries to cope with school as well as his never-ending desire to find his childhood sweetheart. I was quite fond of this volume, particularly Chapter 70, which contained entirely of snapshots of Punpun’s life in downtown Tokyo; needless to say, it made me extremely nostalgic, bringing forth a wave of memories upon viewing the very familiar everyday scenes. Though I didn’t like the scenes involving the weird ‘love and peace’ cult that meets on the rooftop of some random building, it was Punpun’s tough mental journey that really hit me. It is by no means a hopeful manga; in fact, everything seems to go wrong, but it is because of precisely that fact that you can’t help but cheer him on. Those who have asked themselves the questions, “What’s the point of living? Why am I even here?” will find Punpun extremely relatable.