Oyasumi Punpun Vol.1 by Inio Asano
Series: Oyasumi Punpun #1
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Mature Young Adult/Adult
Genre: Seinen, Humor, Slice-of-Life
Synopsis: Witness the titular Punpun – who is depicted as a tiny, caricatured bird in an otherwise normal human setting – as he copes with his dysfunctional family and friends, his love interest, his oncoming adolescence and his hyperactive mind.
Oyasumi Punpun is bizarre. This manga is a slice-of-life but it can get very surreal, strange, and even frightening. But it can also be very sweet, in a weird sort of way. I’m actually quite in love with this manga already. Bizarreness and sweetness are my two favorite things after all!
Before I say anything else about this manga, I must say this: I suggest that only mature readers pick up this manga. Oyasumi Punpun deals with sexuality, abuse, and even deals with religion a bit. Nudity is also scatter around. Also, Punpun’s hyperactive imagination, which is very surreal, can be disturbing. Seriously, there are actually a couple of panels that show dancing vaginas.
Oyasumi Punpun is about the life of a little bird-looking character named Punpun. Punpun, while looking like a bird and has a family that looks like birds, lives in a human world. He lives with a dyfunctional family, goes to elementary school, prays to a God, and even has a crush, an eccentric girl named Aiko.
This sounds pretty normal, if you exclude the fact that Punpun is drawn as a bird. That’s the beauty of this manga– the fact that it is able to make seemingly normal things weird. It’s filled with surreal imagination, strange characters, and art that depicts emotion in a peculiar way. The story is a normal coming of age tale that is made bizarre just because of those three things. (Well, the story is mostly normal… something happened towards the end of the volume that just made me go ‘waaat?’)
But what makes Oyasumi Punpun so loved by me is the title character Punpun. Even though he is drawn like a bird, Punpun felt like a very real character to me. The way he goes through life, his reactions to things, and just the way he looks at the world as a whole is a pleasant thing to read about. Yes, his character is sort of sad, but it felt very dear.
We don’t get to see much of the supporting characters in this volume. Aiko is the only one we get a real glimpse at. Aiko starts out as a very sweet-looking girl who gives Punpun a quick kiss on the lips when he says he loves her. Although, after several chapters, the reader realizes that she may not be a completely sweet girl. She actually gives off a dysfunctional vibe when the manga allows a deeper look into her personality, in my opinion.
Along with the other aspects of the story, there is a fair amount of humor in this manga. All different types of humor, in fact. There is the fun kind of humor, the dark kind of humor, and the sexual kind of humor. I can’t say that I laughed much, but I did smile a few times.
The art is certainly something to be impressed by. It is beautifully detailed and perfectly fits the mood of the manga. The most remarkable thing about Asano’s art, though, is the peculiar way facial expressions are drawn. They are extremely exaggerated at times, so much so that they really etch themselves into your brain.
So, this first volume has gotten me really fascinated by this series, which seems to be very different from normal slice-of-life manga. And gosh, I am scared to say this, but I really love the facial expressions in this manga.