Punpun

It’s difficult deciding how to word everything in this. Since binging an over 100 chapter-long manga that was meant for serialization isn’t normally something done or should be done. Especially in this case where the original magazine was published weekly so as to give some space between the chapters. Nonetheless I’ll give my thoughts on the experience as well as I can, in case this all becomes wiped again in the future.

To recap, I have just finished reading all 147 chapters of Oyasumi Punpun in roughly six hours, give or take a few halves. I will say that it has been quite the ride, and that currently most of my upper torso is paralyzed at the moment. Since, typically at this point, you usually just slouch back and think for a while before returning to reality.

Nevertheless, let’s begin.

The art is good, like really good. About near Homunculus levels of detail and direction. The best parts are either massive wide shots, usually taken in the side portrait position, or incredibly shaded half-body shots, where the characters expressions are fully unveiled. The choice to make Punpun appear to the reader as a small bird is also a nice touch, making him appear more fragile and innocent than a normal kid would look like.

I will note that during the entirety of the read I was listening to synthwave and that I am already familiar with Catcher in the Rye to the extent of recognizing the similarities between two stories.

Plot-wise though, I would actually consider Catcher in the Rye to be a better story, mostly because it’s more tightly written and has a certain unreliable narrator. Then again, this might as well be comparing apples to oranges since the two works are in different mediums.

Overall, its a good read. Grueling to get through, but still a good read. Thing is though, it ends on a happy note that still makes you feel empty inside. I suppose this is more or less from the fact that barely anyone hit any consistent highs morally speaking. As in most of the cast would fluctuate between certain extremes with some in permanent lows, but none of them ever really were consistently nice or whatever. It brings me back to a comment said about it, that a lot of it is misery porn, and I would agree. The few highs that each character reaches, especially Aiko, felt specifically done in order to stir shit up when the distressing inevitable happens.

(Fuck, the hanging scene was really well done. Side shot with great distance. Man, that’s good).

Anyway, would I ever read this again?

Hell no. I read it out of curiosity, got invested into the world it presented, and was left with nothing but a regretful melancholy about the inevitable state of the world, the inevitable highs and lows that exist everywhere.

A lot of other people said that they’ve cried from reading this, and maybe it’s because I read to fast, but the most extreme I felt was a firm tugging on the heart strings. So, I guess it satisfies the quota.

As a final note I should want to make this distinction for any future person that stumbles across this. If Catcher in the Rye is about tragedy becoming a catalyst for disillusionment and cynicism, which then ends with a rather warm feeling of happening, the Punpun is about repeated tragedy resulting in being unable to function as a person, then leading to further tragedy. To use a hastily created metaphor, Catcher breaks a person and has him try to avoid the sharp bits that are now himself. Punpun breaks a person and has his broken pieces serve as the only available tool for interacting with other people. There’s also a difference between antagonism and self-loathing between the two, but that should be discussed in an actual review or retrospective and not just a post-credits rant.

In summary, it’s a good read, but don’t read it again, if your active memory is still as good as it is now. If anything, I would compare it to having surgery done: you need to do it if necessary, but intentionally getting yourself into the situation is just foolish and self-destructive.

Advertisements

On Mint

Why is it that mint gum seems to be more potent that artificially flavored fruit gum, like watermelon flavored or whatever?

Is it just more long lasting since mint’s almost never in any of the foods we eat. Like is mint ice cream delicious to some people because it has a sort of exotic, rare taste similar to spicy food or exotic cuisine, like the snakes and stuff?

 

On Suicide

So I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic and ultimately, through my own nihilistic outlook, derived that actually committing suicide doesn’t amount to much.

Let’s set the situation first.

Some kind of depressing or critical mistake has happened and you feel like ending it all. Or, perhaps life seems to be continuing in a monotony where nothing feels interactable or “real.” Or, maybe, everyone else seems to be moving forwards while your feet are stuck in the ground and while everyone else seems to be achieving something with their lives you’re just stuck in this single spot, trying to inch ahead even if it’s a vain attempt.

Evidently, the worry here is over the future and the uncertainty of it, and how that uncertainty means that future presents will be either miserable, or feel like it is miserable.

Though, what is the point of suicide then?

If the point is to avoid feeling miserable, why go about removing feeling all together. It seems nonsensical since the opposite of misery is joy after all. There are some nihilists that might say that the opposite of any feeling is actually feeling nothing, but that’s like saying that the opposite of water is nothingness or that the opposite of salt is not being able to taste anything at all. It’s a way of thinking that uses the idea of something existing and using that characteristic to find an opposite in nonexistance. But, that entirely ignores all the other characteristics of misery. Since, aside from being something that exists, salt is an ingredient, an existence meant to fuel taste, not just something meant to be eaten. In other words, it has characteristics to it besides just filling up space.

Likewise, misery has characteristics to it that make it more than just a state of mind. It’s a feeling. A feeling of dread, of anxiety towards the unforseeable future and regret towards the unchangable past. The dread is in the present, the eternally shifting present that seems never to remain still enough for you to take everything in and make a decision entirely under your control.

But, opposite of misery is joy, and you can’t achieve joy by getting rid of everything. If the goal is to escape misery, or anxiety, or regret, then suicide doesn’t accomplish that, since you can’t feel the escape. Since you’ll be dead.

What’s the point of trying to drink air? Nothing, there is no point. It’s already too late to try to drink something that so often has been ingested by you.

You might say that the relative lack of “being dead” is what provides that little glimmer of hope that killing yourself will make things feel better, but like sleep the only joy or any sort of refreshedness can only be felt in waking up. And in suicide there is no waking up. At most there’s a paralyzation where things suddenly skip and the circumstances then have to be explained to everyone else that exists.

Thus, the only availible option is to try to find something, some action that may result in joy occuring. Ultimately, you need to continue existing in order to escape misery, and that can only happen by staying alive.

 

Though, I would like to say one last thing.

It’s not staying alive that’s important , but rather existing that’s important. And staying alive is just a prerequisite for existing. If there’s something else that can beat existing, though, then go for it.

Koe no Katachi

So, right now it’s still morning, though I feel the need to write about my thoughts on the movie I just watched. I may avoid saying the name specifically, but that’s more because of an unfamiliarity typing romaji than anything else.

Fair warning though, I have read the manga, all the chapters I think, so this retrospective will be biased in some ways.

Overall, it was good. It didn’t rip me apart or anything, but it was fairly good. Though, I feel that a lot of the “depth” so to say, or rather the filling, the tomatoes, the lettuce, etc., was missing.

The most apparent one is the movie arc, that was completely removed from the movie itself. Now, it has been quite a while, almost a year I think, since I actually read the manga, but the movie arc was quite important to the plot because of how it reintroduced lingering resentments. From what I recall, Shouko’s reason, or at least what built it up along the way, was her inability to contribute as much to the movie (acting through voice). In that way, it kind of separates the past and the present, something that the movie doesn’t really do all that much of.

In the manga, the past sets up the characters, and provides the events that put them into their situations, but also portrays their personalities and characters through how their past behaviors translated into their present emotional, psychological, and societal states.

In the movie, due to the lack of separation between the two time periods, it almost seems as if the plot was driven due to their past actions, rather than their current situations. I should elaborate: it more as if they are acting because of the whole bullying thing that happened, rather than because them as people are (relatively / somewhat) incompatible. Other people, if I remember correctly, have criticized the lack of depth of the characters, but I don’t remember that all too well, so I’ll just leave my opinion with the lack of depth of the situation.

Also, this is just from someone who has become overly critical of how a film is done (timing, shots, and stuff like that), I think the movie was too quickly done. Not in like it was rough around the edges or anything (it did look very nice), but that the pacing of a lot of scenes felt kind of rushed. I know that, being a movie, there are limits to how much can be added in because of time or budget, but since I read the manga, and am also reading another of the mangaka’s works as well, I kind of want to make this point.

A lot of what makes Ooima’s work interesting is how she handles paneling and action in them, being that a lot of actions are drawn step by step, without much exposition or talk over them. It kind of makes the paneling feel more human, if it makes any sense, since it’s like the characters are actually focused on what they’re doing, or are thinking about what has been said to them (which does take time, thinking is not a free action).

Thus, when I go to the movie, the lack of fidgety nothingness is kind of disappointing.

When I say that, I’m not referring to the sign language or anything (which was alright), but rather to small little details that reflect what I like to call, “Japanese silence.”

I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent here, so bear with me.

In American, or even Western, literature, film, etc. silence (that is when no one is talking) is typically reserved for portraying an awkward atmosphere that may be used for comic relief, or for a bit of “human expression” in the characters (blushing, etc.).

But, in a lot of (some really; but if Yugioh is anything to go off of, then the point still stands) Japanese works, silence and nothing happening is used to convey a character’s human aspects. This is especially so in Ooima’s paneling, as people wait, they react, and they hesitate (minutely) about what happens around them and what they are going to do.

Flip back to the movie, and the lack of empty time makes the characters’ behaviors seem as if they’re based on the dialogue alone (words, accusations, etc.) rather than being an interaction between the characters. It’s sort of like it was adapted from a light novel, or even a novel in general, rather than being adapted from a manga (graphic novel). In my opinion, it makes it feel a bit light, as if it skimmed off the surface of the manga rather than fully adapting it to the big screen.

Music was good, though. I really like what they did with the piano tracks, where the individual key presses were audible. Made it feel like you were up close to the piano (hands playing), (no harm, I hope, saying this) kinda like how Shouko would (be able to hear music, since I don’t think pitch can be established through any medium except for auditory sounds).

Good movie though. I kind of think the pacing issue is sort of the opposite of Akira’s: there, the pacing was well done, but the “open ending” left an empty taste in the mouth; here, the pacing was kind of quick, but the ending was, let’s say, more conclusive than Akira’s.

Oh yeah, the ending was a bit of a “disappointment” as well. Though, it’s not all bad, but it seems to have a different kind of meaning than the one of the manga,.

The manga’s version is more about “commitment,” or rather Ishida’s determination to go where Shouko goes in the future and their eventual “reuniting” at the high school reunion.

The movie’s version seems to be more about “growth,” and contains the idea more in a closed fashion, as in: from decent to retribution.

It contrasts with the manga’s, which is more: decent to being able to happily struggle.

Still a good movie, though. Would recommend it to anyone for a watch.