Goodnight Punpun is a manga from creator Inio Asano (Solanin, What a Wonderful World!). The series is a coming-of-age story that focuses on Punpun Onodera, a boy in middle school and his adolescent trials and tribulations. VIZ Media is publishing Goodnight Punpun as a seven-volume graphic novel series. Each volume is an over-sized manga paperback containing two individual volumes (called “parts). Goodbye Punpun Vol. 3 contains Part 5 (Chapters 47 to 56) and Part 6 (Chapters 57 to 67).
As Goodbye Punpun Part 5 opens, Punpun decides that he wants to have sex. Back to reality: Punpun, Mama Onodera, and Midori Okuma (girlfriend of Punpun's absentee uncle, Yuichi Onodera) move out of the old apartment and into a new one. Now, it's time for high school.
In Part 6, Punpun is 15-years-old and freshly deflowered. A newly-minted high school student, he meets a girl, Azusa Kanie, and it's love at first sight. Of course, one must wonder how she feels. Plus, love, crushes, marriage and death.
THE LOWDOWN: If I did not know that the Goodnight Punpun manga is fiction, I would be heartbroken. Calling it teen angst or tragic does not come close to describing this drama; such descriptions are likely shallow.
Goodnight Punpun Volume 3 defies description, which is what I wrote about Vol. 2. For all the loneliness the narrative depicts, the series is hopeful. Most of all, I think that it is about exploration. Creator Inio Asano is always digging in his characters, finding the sweet, sour, and unrelenting pungent. Poignant and heartbreaking: I think Asano finds beauty in the struggle and mystery of life. Drawing some of the characters as tubular-like caricatures does not blunt the power of this exceptional manga, Goodnight Punpun.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of youthful drama will want the VIZ Signature title, Goodnight Punpun.