Title: Goodnight Punpun Vol. 6
Author: Inio Asano
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Slice of Life, Drama
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Volume six of Goodnight Punpun can be described in one word: Powerful. In the last volume, Aiko and Punpun dreamed of moving away together, away from Aiko’s abusive mother. Aiko believes that she should say goodbye to her before leaving as it was the right thing to do. In volume six, we open with that farewell, but the farewell doesn’t go as planned. Aiko’s mother becomes violent and ends up stabbing Aiko in the abdomen. Punpun wrestles her to the ground and begins to strangle her. Then, Aiko’s mother is stabbed multiple times and killed.
Punpun and Aiko flee, going from town to town. At this point, Punpun is being depicted in human form with only his head being a black, elongated silhouette with pointy horns. Punpun’s thoughts about what he did begin to eat away at him until he decides that he’s going to kill himself. When Punpun settles on a location to do it, he attempts to take Aiko’s life by saying he didn’t want to leave her alone and not to worry because he would be soon behind her. This is where Aiko confesses that after Punpun strangled her mom, she came to and Aiko was the one that stabbed and killed her. Punpun had nothing to worry about as he was just a bystander and not the killer.
Meanwhile, Sachi becomes worried about Punpun and goes on a search for him. She visits everywhere that Punpun was known to have been from his apartment to his school where he was studying for his real estate license. She even visited Punpun’s father, but came up empty-handed there as well.
When the story wasn’t focusing on Punpun/Aiko or Sachi, it followed Pegasus and his cult. Pegasus began to wonder if the black mark really exists, if it was just a figment of his imagination or if everyone living on the planet is the black mark. He became “comatose” in the sense where he just laid there deep in thought, almost in a meditative state until, one day, he sprung to life and talked about the harmony was approaching. This lead to a pivotal point which I won’t spoil because I’ve done enough of that already!
The story aspect of this volume was simply amazing. It’s probably the deepest that it has ever been and every story was emotionally charged. Even Seki’s story was tied into the pivotal moment with Pegasus to the point where it may be life-changing for him.
The biggest development here had to be with Punpun. He really became this dark character where he didn’t really seem to care all that much about himself or the world anymore. All of the innocence he had from the beginning of this series is all but gone. In fact, evidence of this was when Punpun and Aiko stopped a convenience store and Punpun confronted a random stranger about not throwing his can away in the trash. He nearly beat him to death over it until Aiko stopped him. He even got into a physical altercation with Aiko in public and even punched her in the mouth before the went off hopping from town to town. Even still, Aiko stayed with Punpun through it all… perhaps because she knew the truth about her mother’s death.
Aiko, herself, hasn’t really changed, but it’s due to the circumstances. She was abused by her mother and now, abused by Punpun. No matter what happened, though, she just took it all in stride as though it was expected of her to just accept it all. That’s a pretty sad situation that really makes you feel for Aiko, but when she confessed the truth, you realize that she accepted it all because she was scared to tell Punpun the truth, but knew that she had to do so one day. It was almost like her duty to stay with Punpun until she could muster up the strength and tell him. To me, it’s like she treated the abusive as punishment for this. Now that the truth is out, where does Aiko and Punpun go from here?
Sachi’s development wasn’t big, but two pretty big key moments happened for her. The first is that she decided against the abortion and informed her editor that she was pregnant. The second was coming to realize that she had misjudged Punpun and realized that she did, indeed, love him. While her revelation was pretty simple, Inio Asano portrayed it emotionally and beautifully by switching back and forth between Sachi traveling and learning more about who Punpun really is and scenes of Punpun as he is now. To see how the world viewed Punpun versus the type of person Punpun had become was probably some of the best character development I’ve seen out of this series. Sachi coming to her own feelings meshed brilliantly with this as well and with Punpun’s name cleared (so far), it makes you wonder if he will, eventually, end up with Sachi.
Hands down, this was the best installment in the Goodnight Punpun series. We got to see the characters go through so much emotion, turmoil and revelation. The volume was very character driven as the story didn’t advance as far as in previous volumes. The majority of the 456 pages was dedicated to Punpun and Aiko hopping from town to town. The real story was watching them develop and change due to Aiko’s mother’s death. The Pegasus side-story, on the other hand, I want to say that it came to a conclusion, but something about the way it happened tells me that it’s not really over just yet.
In any event, the closing moments of the volume showed that Aiko’s mother’s body had been discovered. Aiko overheard a news report talking about it. Immediately after this, the volume closes on a single white page with the words “The End is Coming.” I have a feeling that those words mean more than just volume seven, which will be the final one in the series.
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media.