Warning: This interview contains serious spoilers to Goodnight Punpun, is very long, and will answer an alarming amount of the questions you had about that fucking manga. Also, if you like this interview, might I also recommend Matt Thorn’s debunking of the myth that Asano is transgender?
–Congratulations on finishing Goodnight Punpun. How does it feel?
Inio Asano: It’s good to be finished, at long last.
–It’s your longest work yet. A kid could have entered elementary school and graduated by the time you’d finished.
Asano: Almost seven years. I’d had the outline of Goodnight Punpun laid out from the start and I’ve known for years now how it would all end, so it’s felt like it’s been finished for a long time, for me. But I couldn’t let myself slack off. I had to see it through to the end, or else I wouldn’t be satisfied with myself. So I stuck with it, and in the end it came out as double the length I’d planned it to be (7 volumes). So, yeah, it really is good to be done, at long last.
–I interviewed you back when volume 3 came out, and you said at the time that you made up the overall plot of the whole manga in about 30 minutes. What was the story that you’d come up with at that point?
Asano: What I had planned at the time I’d finished the first chapter was that it’d tell the story of this boy named Punpun as he grew up, spanning roughly ten years.
Asano: The heroine was Aiko, and if you were to label it by genre, it’d be a love manga. A romance. The turning point of the story was to be some sort of incident that happens partway through, after which Punpun and Aiko go on the run, and then the second half of the story was supposed to be like a road movie.
–So the gentle tone of the story back when the characters were in elementary school was always going to be violated.
Asano: I’d known from the start that an incident would happen later on, and I wanted to make it as absolutely shocking as possible, so I decided I would take the time to fully draw out their silly childhood. Continue reading