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Punpun

Take a poorly-drawn cartoon bird who never speaks, a broken family, an afro-clad 'god', mentally troubled children, outright insane adults, a large dose of surrealism as well as realism, and a soul-crushing amount of cynicism and you have Oyasumi Pung-Pung.

Oyasumi Pung-Pung ("Goodnight, Pung-Pung") is a supremely bizarre Seinen manga by Inio Asano about the title character, Pung-Pung. Pung-Pung is young, innocent, and naive child, who, in some kind of strange stylistic choice, is depicted as a simplistic sketch of a bird despite everyone outside of his family looking like a normal human. He has no real dreams, his father is an abusive deadbeat (at least, he appears to be), and his mother is a drunk who regrets having him, but Pung-Pung has one thing: a pretty girl named Aiko whom he fawns over. Well, her, and an afro'd and slightly useless god he can summon by chanting 'Dear God, dear God, tinkle-tinkle hoy!'

The story begins as Slice of Life comedy, following Pung-Pung through his childhood as he deals with his family life, his school life, his social life, and his budding romantic life. While noticeably dark, it also contains a hint of child-like innocence. However, as the series progresses, it develops into an extremely dark Coming of Age story, with all innocence being wiped away. While the humor remains, it takes a backseat to experiences of Pung-Pung, his family, and his acquaintances as they deal with the hardships of adolescence, adulthood, and life in general.

Currently, the series is ongoing with ten volumes out in Japan. The series is however available in Italy and France where other works by Asano were published, in spite of the apparent obscurity of the series and the very mature themes it addresses.

Tropes used in Oyasumi Punpun include:
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Pung-Pung every now and then.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Seki and Shimizu every now and then.
  • Abusive Parents: Aiko's mom
    • Also, the 16-year-old daughter of one of Yuuichi's art students claims that she is a victim, but it's ambiguous as to whether she was lying to get attention.
    • Or Seki's dad, a neglectful drunk.
    • Sachi's stepfamily comes off this way as well, although their abuse was more verbal/mental.
  • The Ace: Yaguchi. Handsome, outstanding athlete, gentlemanly, and rumored to have a huge dick. He sadly lost (maybe) his athletic ability due to his injuries. Probably the only male character in the manga who is not broken or crazy in some ways.
    • Pung-Pung probably also used to be an ace in the eyes of others (good looking (apparently), good grades but not nerdy, cool and aloof), until Kanie gave him a Heroic BSOD that completely drained him of all confidence, leading him to where he is now.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:

  "He correctly predicted the Aum Shinrikyo Cults Attack, 9-11, and even the Marimokkori character.

  • Attempted Rape: Pung-Pung to Kanie, but fortunately she slaps some sense into him before he can go through with it.
  • The Atoner: Pung-Pung's uncle.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Midori. She rapes Pung-Pung after Yuuichi's actions leave her emotionally distraught.
    • The 16-year old daughter of Yuuichi's art student. She used her body to persuade an adult to try to kill her mother, and Yuuichi was almost trapped.
  • Blatant Lies: Pung-Pung's father keeps sending him letters that he is off fighting giant space aliens. Pung-Pung didn't buy it when he was a little kid and thinks his father is being an idiot.
    • Almost justified since Mama Pung-Pung was actually sending him those letters, so he wouldn't hate his father.
  • Break the Cutie
  • Broken Ace: Pung-Pung, but now he's completely broken.
  • Book Dumb: Seki doesn't bother going to school but is able to find work and take care of himself anyways.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Pung-Pung.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Pung-Pung towards Aiko, initially. The entire Pung-Pung family is like this in general, one of the motifs in the manga is how they cannot communicate effectively with each other.
  • Catch Phrase: Pung-Pung's elementary school teacher says, "Juuust kidding". Also, Pegasus says "Good vibrations!"
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Pung-Pung and his friends actually meet Sachi very early on, at the miso factory. However her face appears very different when she shows up again due to her plastic surgery.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Shimizu, as well as Pung-Pung at times.
  • Cult: Aiko's mom is a member of one, much to her embarrassment.
  • Coming of Age
  • The Cynic: Yuuichi
  • Death Equals Redemption: Subverted. Mama Pung-Pung apologizes to Pung-Pung before she dies for treating him badly, but even then Pung-Pung still can't bring himself to love her.
  • Domestic Abuse: Leading to Pung-Pung's father becoming a Disappeared Dad after putting his mom in the hospital.
    • Subverted. It turns out that he only knocked Pung-Pung's mother unconscious because she was hysterical and trying to kill herself.
  • Driven to Suicide: Pung-Pung's mom and uncle, but fortunately they are not successful.
  • Dysfunctional Family
  • Gonk: Tons of characters. They generally look normal with the exception of, say, having horribly glazed eyes staring in different directions, or gaping smiles. One of Pung-Pung's childhood friends, Komatsu, has eyes that are a little too open, and sure enough, the audience loses sympathy with him at the same time he goes completely Gonk.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Seki certainly seems to think so.
    • The series itself seems to think so.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Seki
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Pung-Pung's currently sporting one.
  • Heroic BSOD: Seems like every major character suffers at least one.
  • Ho Yay: Seki and Shimizu.
  • Humans Are Good / Humans Are Bastards: The series alternates between the two so much that it's hard to tell which the ending will go with.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Pung-Pung tries to pull this off, but it doesn't work very well.
  • Informed Attribute: It is occasionally implied that Pung-Pung and his uncle are good looking. Presumably they don't look like cartoon birds to everyone else.
  • It's All About Me: Several characters get called out for being self-centered, notably Pung-Pung by Kanie.
  • King of All Cosmos: God is... well God is kinda weird.
  • Lady Drunk: Pung-Pung's mom.
  • Love Triangle: Pung-Pung-Aiko-Yaguchi. Yuuichi also ends up cheating on two different partners twice.
  • May-December Romance: Yuuichi has a very brief one.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The volume covers are a solid color embossed only with a picture of Pung-Pung or one of his relatives--Volume 1's cover is pretty representative of the others.
  • Non Standard Character Design: Pung-Pung and his family. The design's recently changed from the bird sketch to a tetrahedron. Yeah, a tetrahedron.
  • Not Good with People: Pung-Pung, as well as his some of his classmates
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Shimizu, despite his dreamy tendencies, seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders and merely lacks the independence to show it.
  • Put on a Bus: As the story goes on Aiko become less and less prominent, and after Pung-Pung leaves for high school she hasn't been seen since outside of flashback.
    • Though as of chapter 72 she appears to have returned.
    • She returns in a big way at the last few pages of Chapter 89, the last chapter of its volume. Good cliffhanger.
    • And as of now, "God". He wouldn't appear when Pung-Pung called him after moving into his apartment and hasn't been seen since. Counts as a bus because well, he's god.
  • The Quiet One: Pung-Pung. See Silent Protagonist.
  • Raging Stiffie: Pung-Pung on his date with Kanie. She doesn't notice.
  • Rape Is Okay When Its Female On Male: Averted. Pung-Pung is raped by his uncle's girlfriend, and it's most certainly not okay.
  • The Rashomon: Mama Pung-Pung's injuries in the first volume. Later we find out that there's more to the story than just husband-on-wife Domestic Abuse.
  • Romantic False Lead: Yaguchi
  • Sadist Teacher: While not outwardly violent, Pung-Pung's elementary school teacher seems to get a lot of joy out of screwing with his students' heads.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Pung-Pung's cartoon bird appearance gets locked into a faceless prism after he starts living alone. Nanjou snaps him out of it.
  • Shrinking Violet: Pung-Pung
  • Shout-Out: In chapter 19, Yuuichi yells at a taxi driver to 'use the mushroom boost'. Also, Shimizu once brags to another student that he can do a Kamehameha.
  • Silent Protagonist: Pung-Pung only speaks through internal monologue. However, this doesn't appear to prevent him from communicating with others.
  • Silent Scenery Panel: Frequent among all of Asano Inio's works.
  • Slice of Life
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Far on the cynical side, as noted above.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Word of God actually spells it Pung-Pung, not Punpun
  • Take That: Asano Inio makes quite a few blatant stabs at the current trend of childishness in anime and manga, including a very poorly drawn young girl in her underwear drawn in the last page of chapter 89 prompting readers to buy the next volume standing next to an equally poorly drawn anthropomorphic crocodile, and an unusually placed rant by a nameless character about the "impurity" of actual women over 2-D fictional variants.
  • Title Drop: Used at the end of an arc, right before the Time Skip.
  • What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Characters include a god of poop in an alien spaceship, a perpetually smiling, photorealistic god with an afro, and for crying out loud the main character is a cartoon bird living among realistic humans.
    • The surrealism has been toned down significantly in the recent chapters.
      • Except not, since Pung-Pung turns into a walking tetrahedron.
      • Pung-Pung's character's design has always been non standard. Other surrealist features common in the initial chapters like Gonk characters, God, weird poses, freakish actions and the like have been significantly toned down. Some have disappeared altogether.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The most outstanding one has to go to Midori.
    • And now Pung-Pung!
  • What You Are in the Dark: The reason Seki doesn't kill a cheating boyfriend he was hired to kill.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Seki is afraid of fire, after the incident at the miso factory.
  • Woman Scorned: A woman who was cheated on by her boyfriend hired Seki to kill him.
    • Seki being Seki, he doesn't carry through with it. The woman also regrets using him as soon as he gets her orders.
  • Yandere: Aiko threatens to kill Pung-Pung if he breaks his promises. She was probably joking, but she certainly came off as frightening to Pung-Pung.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Pung-Pung's coworker says this to him. Pung-Pung's mom also says this to Midori while she's in the hospital.
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