Goodnight Punpun Review

Goodnight Punpun Review


I want to start this review of Goodnight Punpun (Oyasumi Punpun / おやすみプンプン) by saying it’s the best manga I’ve read. There are other great manga that I really like. But, Goodnight Punpun is better than them all. And, I don’t think it’s close.

I also only finished this series yesterday and I’m still processing my feelings. It almost feels too soon to review it. But, I don’t have anything else lined up to review today. So, I’m going to do my best anyway.

Now, before I get into the review, I need to give you some warnings. The first is that I will be including major spoilers in this review. If you haven’t read Goodnight Punpun, I strongly recommend doing so before reading this.

The second is that this is a mature series with mature themes that will be reflected in this review. That includes sexual violence and self-harm. If those are things you don’t want to read about, skip this review.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the life of Punpun Onodera.

Love at First Sight

From the start of the series, we’re supposed to identify with and feel sorry for Punpun. He’s an awkward kid who has a crush on the new transfer student, Aiko Tanaka. We’ve all been there. But, very early on, it’s clear that Punpun isn’t as helpless as he believes.

He has friends, his crush likes him back, and even though he has problems at home, others have worse problems. Specifically, Aiko has worse problems. And, this is something I want to focus on throughout this review. Punpun isn’t the victim of the story; Aiko is.

Well, I should backtrack a little bit. Punpun is very much a victim. But, if we’re looking at who has the most tragic life, it’s Aiko. And, from the very start, she attempts to reach out to Punpun. She views Punpun as someone who can save her.

Aiko Tanaka introducing herself to the class from the manga series Goodnight Punpun
Aiko Tanaka introducing herself to the class

Aiko’s story reminds me a lot of Sodachi Oikura’s from Owarimonogatari. Sodachi had a bad life at home and attempted to get her friend Koyomi Araragi to notice. But, since they were kids, Sodachi didn’t know how to explain what was happening and Koyomi didn’t pick up on it.

That’s what we see with Aiko and Punpun, as well. Aiko’s mother is a member of a cult and is trying to indoctrinate Aiko, as well. Punpun sees this but doesn’t think much of it. Because his parents often argue, he just thinks, “I guess everyone has their own circumstances.”

Despite what’s going on at home, Punpun lives a relatively normal life. That’s why he can’t understand that Aiko’s situation is different. When she asks him to run away with her, he thinks she’s trying to exert control over him. But, the opposite is true. She wants him to protect her.

The Woman Who Ruined Punpun

Okay, let’s talk about the one time when Punpun was the victim. He plays the victim a lot. But, I’d say there was only one time when he was the actual victim. This was when an older woman took advantage of him.

Obviously, the first bad female influence in Punpun’s life was his mother. But, from what I remember, the worst she did was neglect him. She never actively hurt him, even if she said she was going to at one point. I’m pretty sure that’s why Punpun’s father hit her and sent her to the hospital.

But, the one who ruined Punpun’s life was Midori Ookuma. At the time, Midori was the girlfriend of Punpun’s uncle and was in her 20s while Punpun was in his teens. And, when they were alone together in Midori’s shop, Midori assaulted and raped Punpun.

Midori Ookuma raping Punpun from the manga series Goodnight Punpun
Midori Ookuma raping Punpun

It was very clear that this was not consensual. At first, Punpun tried to get away from Midori. And after, we see Punpun crying. Midori was an adult whom he trusted, and she violated that trust. After this point, Punpun never wants to be around Midori, despite her best efforts to “fix” things.

And, I say that Midori was the person who ruined Punpun because this is the start of Punpun’s downfall. From here on out, Punpun has a twisted relationship with sex. Multiple times later in the story, we see him get pushy when it comes to sex and also rough.

Before the Midori incident, Punpun was timid. After, he doesn’t take “no” very well. And this leads to a few failed relationships. Notably, though, this only applies to women his own age (or younger). I guess with those women, Punpun feels like he’s the one who can take control.

Punpun’s Only Real Relationship

Most of the things that go wrong for Punpun post-Midori are his own fault. The way he treats others leads them to distance themselves from him. But, there’s one notable exception, and that’s Sachi Nanjou.

Punpun’s relationship with Sachi is the only semi-healthy relationship he’s ever had. It’s not a great relationship as they’re both kind of using each other. But, it’s also not exactly harmful. They both know what they’re doing. Neither wants to commit to a full relationship, but they use each other for companionship.

It also helps that Sachi is older than Punpun by a few years. In this relationship, Sachi’s the one with the power. She’s a strong-willed woman who wouldn’t be pushed around by Punpun even if he tried — which he doesn’t. And, there are many times when Sachi refers to Punpun as her pet and tells him all he has to do whatever she says.

Sachi Nanjou meeting Punpun in a bar from the manga series Goodnight Punpun
Sachi Nanjou meeting Punpun in a bar

That might make Sachi sound like an abuser, but she’s not. She cares a lot about Punpun and basically wants to protect him from himself. Why should he do whatever Sachi says? Because if he makes his own decisions, he’ll mess things up and regret it.

Sachi’s a good character and a pretty good partner for Punpun. However, there’s still one girl that both Punpun and I can’t get off our minds: Aiko. No matter how good things are with Sachi, she can never live up to Aiko.

Why, though? Why is Aiko so important? This gets explored more in the later volumes of the manga. But, what it comes down to is that Punpun has an idealized view of Aiko. Aiko was Punpun’s first true love. And, because of that, he views her as infallible. Nobody can replace Aiko.

Aiko Deserved Better

There’s a lot I could say about the end of Goodnight Punpun. But, I’m going to try to keep it short. This is when Punpun lives long enough to see himself become the villain. And, as the title of this section states, Aiko deserved better.

After reuniting in their 20s, things don’t go well for Aiko and Punpun. They end up killing Aiko’s mother and going on the run together. That might seem too wild and out of character for them. But, it makes sense within the context of the situation.

It’s also during this time that they both realize that they’ve changed. Punpun realizes that Aiko isn’t the perfect girl she was in his head. And, Aiko realizes that Punpun’s not the sole person she should have been relying on to save her all this time.

Punpun calling a beaten and bruised Aiko cute from the manga series Goodnight Punpun
Punpun calling a beaten and bruised Aiko cute

Despite that, Aiko still loves Punpun. But, Punpun grows to despise Aiko and begins lashing out at her. He yells at her, calls her names, and even physically abuses her. At one point, he even punches her in the face, knocking one of her teeth out. And, in case you didn’t notice, this makes her look as she did as a child.

Eventually, Punpun decides that he’s going to kill Aiko. Part of the reason could be because she’s weighing him down. She’s suffering from a stab wound that’s infected so she can’t move quickly, and the police know her name and what she looks like.

But, to me, the big reason is that he wants to preserve his ideal version of her.

In the end, Punpun never kills Aiko — she does that herself. He wakes up one morning to find her hanging. This was the part of the series that hit me the hardest.

Final Thoughts

The very ending of Goodnight Punpun made me angry. Aiko’s tragic life ended in a tragic way. But Punpun? He got to keep on living. He went back to his friends and Sachi and continued living his life. It should have been the other way around. Aiko’s the one who deserves to be alive.

So, as I stated at the start of this review, Goodnight Punpun is my favorite manga. I gave it a 10/10 and I don’t expect anything else to dethrone it. Inio Asano did an amazing job of getting me invested in these characters. And then he did an amazing job tearing it all away from me.

The one thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the cult led by Pegasus. But, that storyline still had a good conclusion, too. Looking at it as a whole, it was good. However, reading individual chapters that focused on the cult was sometimes hard to get through.

Anyway, if you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out

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