Page 45 Review by Stephen
"People are so stupid."
Few are more stupid than Punpun Onodera, Mama Onodera and Uncle Yuichi Onodera. Each of the family is a complete fuck-up in their own increasingly alarming, dark, dark way.
Ironically it was Punpun's father who was ex-communicated for domestic malfeasance in volume one, but you're in for such a jaw-dropping revelation about that episode here that I had to reread it three times to make sure I hadn't misunderstood. I hadn't.
Punpun is now a teenager, sporting the sort of long, lank hair that put me in mind of Harry Enfield's Kevin until he discovers hair gel to hilarious effect. It wouldn't be so funny if the Onoderas weren't all presented as minimal, cartoon birds with stick arms and legs in a world in which is photo-realistic
After obsessing with another girl in his younger years, he now finally embarks on his first-ever date.
He is embarrassingly awful at it.
Also: during it, most especially towards the end.
It is cringe-worthily comical. Until it isn't.
It's all so masterfully done, Asano presenting you with a cripplingly internalised lead character who over-thinks everything, yet who is at heart utterly shallow.
Although you may feel for Punpun when he experiences the art gallery exhibition. Briefly.
We have a whole section on our website dedicated to Inio Asano, so please click on any of the covers for far more extensive reviews, including two considerable and - I hope - considered assessments of this specific series, each volume racking in at nearly 450 haunting pages car-crash people and densely detailed art. I'm not normally so brief especially on any of my three favourite Japanese creators, Inio Asano, Jiro Taniguchi and Taiyo Matsumoto (SUNNY etc).
Strictly adults only, just like A GIRL ON THE SHORE.