Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oyasumi Pun Pun #13

As 2013 comes to a close, so does my favourite manga series, Inio Asano's Oyasumi Pun Pun (浅野いにおのおやすみプンプン). Definitely the longest series that Asano has ever written, an emotional roller-coaster.

One of the reasons I started writing this blog was because I found that a lot of Japanese culture sites cover media that is unappealing to me. I don't want the shallow pop idols, ninja pirate robot action adventures, pre-pubescent protagonists for socially awkward man-childen with a lolita complex. I want real depth of character, social commentary, an engaging story. And Inio Asano never fails to deliver. The final episode of Oyasumi Pun Pun concludes an amazing story of innocence lost, the difficulty of adolescence, growth, loss, sorry, responsibility, and so much more.

Reading Oyasumi Pun Pun I'm reminded of Dan Savage's It Gets Better campaign, it doesn't deal with homosexuality, but it does deal with isolation and depression in young people. And I do find a final message of hope, even after great lose, if you can hold on and weather the down times, you can improve your situation and move on.

Each volume of Pun Pun comes in a simple coloured jacket, volume 13 is white (check under the jacket for some beautiful hidden art work). A symbolic finish to the series, as you can't handle the comic without leaving a finger print, which mirrors the central theme of loss of innocence. Everything you interact with leaves a mark, you can't erase it and go back to a white slate, and you must deal with the consequences of your actions.

I've talked a lot here without really saying anything about the story. If you've kept up with the story so far you may realise there is little hope of a happy ending for Pun Pun and Aiko. I expected the worst, and I was still surprised by the events, and there is hope for the future.. for some.

Oyasumi Pun Pun is without a doubt my favourite manga series. As a piece of art it ranks along side my favourite novels and movies. I can't recommend it highly enough. Sometimes shocking, sometimes funny,  sometimes scary. Always beautiful and always brilliant.

Inio Asano on Twitter:
Pun Pun at Shogakukan Comics:

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