Inio Asano on Nijigahara and Punpun


In 2010 Inio Asano put out this book called Ctrl + T, which was this odd mishmash of various illustrations he’d done over the years, a Solanin side story, a couple of odd one-shot stories, and some interview-like pages of text (90% of which were pure silliness). The book doesn’t sound like much, but there were some real nuggets for fans.

Here’s a tiny one that could easily be overlooked, though: toward the end of the book are a couple of pages highlighting all of Asano’s published books up until that point in 2010, and the descriptions for a couple are of some interest. Here’s what it has to say of Nijigahara Holograph:

Having made his career with short pieces, Asano had almost always planned out his manga before setting out to draw them — until this book, that is, which he says he made up as he went along. When putting the serialized chapters together in book form, he added a good 60 pages and rearranged the structure of the story, but the story is so filled with riddles that Asano himself claims that at this point he’s forgotten what’s supposed to foreshadow what. An experimental work that continues to cause lively debate over its interpretation even now, four years after its publication!

Made up as he went along, you say! And then here are some interesting bits of what they have to say about Goodnight Punpun:

After having his editor reject his idea for a battle fantasy manga set in a hot spring resort, Asano started searching for the manga he really wanted to make, and in the end came up with a character born from the artist’s doodles: Punpun. In an attempt to break free from being typecasted as the creator of “feel-good twenty-something manga” , Asano went on the offensive with Goodnight Punpun, offering up new possibilities in the art of manga. Punpun is also Asano’s first attempt at a long-term series, which he explains should come out to be “around 11 volumes long, as I have it planned right now”. Incidentally, while almost every character and episode in the series has been drawn with some sort of payoff later in the series in mind, the game of hide-and-seek between the principal and vice principal in chapter 2 is, unfortunately, meaningless.


With the two double-page shots of Aiko crying in volume two, Asano made a declaration of intent of making Punpun a long-term series. One can see him saying goodbye to his former short-story artist’s way of using page space.

The hide-and-seek game in chapter two didn’t mean anything. There you have it — hard-hitting news, here at Mangabrog.

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