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Goodnight Punpun vol 4


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Goodnight Punpun vol 4 back

Inio Asano

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Page 45 Review by Jonathan

"Thinking about the round heads of these children...
"... filled with dreams and hopes like weird water balloons...
"... made Punpun...
"No...
"... never mind."

Just when I thought Punpun might be in danger of getting his shit together...

As with previous volumes in Page 45's Inio Asano section (reviewed), time has moved on once again since volume 3 and now Punpun is forlornly adrift in post-education 'adult' society. But whereas before at school he could mostly keep his head down, go unnoticed, and hide from his woes - primarily induced by the collection of weirdoes that comprise his family, plus girls he was obsessed with, oh and God who kept popping up unsolicited to have a word with him - now he's starting to realise there's just nowhere whatsoever left to hide from the big bad world...

Yes, it's time for Punpun to meditate deeply in his own inimitable way upon thorny, pressing issues like gainful employment and somewhere to hang his hat. Ah, and the ever-elusive concept of sexual coupling, of course. All the sorts of day-to-day practicalities that Punpun is not particularly well equipped to deal with after his... strained upbringing, and perhaps if we're being unkind, limited savvy. To start with at least... Yes, Punpun will surprise you - well he certainly did me - as after eventually realising that doing absolutely nothing isn't a long term solution to his problems, he tentatively begins to apply himself to the rigours of everyday life. Punpun-stylee, of course!

But then we'll see the return of certain characters who threaten to rock poor Punpun's world (and hormones) even further off-kilter than before whereas, for a change, his family, or what's left of it, doesn't seem to be particularly impacting upon his shaky mental wellbeing. Even his Uncle, last seen losing the plot spectacularly in volume 3 seems to be holding it together. Well... in the manner of a kettle of water at 97.9 degrees C and rising rapidly, that is... I fear he's only one misplaced letter away from going fully postal. What is it with that family?

And as for God, he's seemingly gone on sabbatical. Even in Punpun's hour of deep existential crisis / neediness (come on, you didn't think he could get through a full volume without at least one near-total nuclear meltdown-sized wobbly, did you?), when he does his secret-codeword, ridiculous jig of a dance call, the resultant silence is absolutely deafening. Not that God isn't listening, you understand, he just wants to fuck with Punpun a bit...

Inio Asano's epic treatise on the socially dysfunctional struggling to survive amongst us continues. Some might say he has a keen eye for exposing the ever-present undercurrents and riptides that threaten to destabilise the most unsure of mental equilibrium at a moment's notice for his readers' pleasure. Others might just say he's one cruel bastard.

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