The Fandom Post

Anime, Movies, Comics, Entertainment & More

Goodnight Punpun Vol. #07 Manga Review (Series Finale)

4 min read

”I hope that you never forget me.”

Creative Staff:
Story & Art: Asano Inio

What They Say:
This is the end, Punpun.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As a cult burns to the ground, and a couple of star-crossed lovers are on the run from the law, it’s clear that the final chapters of Goodnight Punpun won’t end on the happiest of notes. Throughout the series, author Inio Asano has made a point of weaving a coming-of-age story in a way only he can. And in this case, it means not only stripping readers of their rose-tinted glasses, but stomping said glasses to bits, and slapping the user across the face for good measure.

While Asano’s art continues to be as beautiful as it’s ever been, Goodnight Punpun is not the prettiest of stories thematically. Characters are constantly wondering their importance in life, the value they offer to society, and whether or not it’s even worth waking up the next day. It’s incredibly depressing stuff that’s undermined by seemingly mundane (and occasionally cheery) visuals, and it’s in this combination that Asano has formed something of a running theme for his story. Now on the run for the killing of Aiko’s mother, both Punpun and Aiko spend the majority of their time together wandering the endless empty roads lying in front of them. Finally, Punpun is reunited with his childhood crush, and the entire moment is perverted by the fact that they’re both involved in first-degree murder.

Intimacy between the two has been unmasked as the bold-faced escape from reality that it is, only further nailing the point that the two are in over their head. Explicit sex scenes aside, even the smaller displays of affection like a kiss obscured by a hat are weighed down by the crime they continue to flee from. At this point in the story, Punpun is no longer a flawed hero, but a mentally unstable nobody—a character who continues to make poor decisions every opportunity he’s given, and hurting only more people as time goes on. He’s lost for what to do next, and the continuous array of silent, meandering panels only further demonstrate this.

Meanwhile, Sachie continues to serve as the series’ main connection to a somewhat stable life. She’s come into her own as a manga author, and has decent relationships with those around her (the scene as she humor’s Gesumi’s relationship problems is the closest thing to endearing the series has provided). And yet, she still can’t forget about Punpun. The same goes for Mimura, who’s put his own relationships aside to search for Punpun himself. It’s in these shorter scenes that Asano is able to form something closer to a conscience. Seeing both characters, as minor as they are and late into the game as they’ve been introduced, put their own happiness aside to prioritize Punpun who’s practically thrown his own life away speaks volumes for how little time they’re given. It’s not that self-sacrifice ends up being this single god-sent moral for the series, but the fact that any sign of hope is acknowledged at all that makes this fascinating.

As friends are reunited, cults reach peak enlightenment, and a sense of normalcy is reestablished among the community, you can’t help but wonder if anything was ever learned in the multiple volumes of Goodnight Punpun. Characters time and time again have been self-serving, pompous monstrosities bound to spiral out of control sooner than later. And yet the single rays of hope that set everything right don’t exactly come off as heroic, either. If anything, the two sides only serve to give and take ad infinitum as the world continues turning. As the series’ final chapters echo those of the first volume’s it’s clear that story beats are bound to be repeated, showing that life was never all that original in the first place.

In Summary:
The final release of Goodnight Punpun puts a rather unceremonious end to the characters in a manner very much expected of author Inio Asano. Of the large cast of characters the series has accumulated, Asano almost makes an explicit point of ensuring his titular character goes through the developmental ringer to the point that even readers hesitate to relate to him. And yet as haphazard as Punpun’s journey was, it’s in that haphazardness that a very unique, moving, and thought-provoking story was formed. Feelings were hurt (usually self-inflicted), people died, and introspection became the norm. Practically every aspect of the series felt like a deterrent from ever reading the series more than once.

But as depressing as Goodnight Punpun was, it also instilled a sense of melancholy that was neither over-the-top nor reluctant. It was able to portray depression not as an ailment to be cured, but as an omnipresent being to be maintained and reigned in through life. And while no single moral can umbrella-statement the series itself, it’s that off-beat non-genre-specific brand that makes the series all the more worthwhile.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 18+
Released By: VIZ Media LLC
Release Date: September 19, 2017
MSRP: $14.99

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.