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The main character of Oyasumi Punpun. Initially depicted as a vague, childlike drawing of a bird, Punpun is very optimistic and serious as a child. He falls in love with a girl named Aiko, and his promise to her to go to Kagoshima becomes his drive for the remainder of the story.
- Classical Anti-Hero: Is meek, withdrawn, depressed, bad with people and plagued with self-loathing.
- Despair Event Horizon: Punpun reaches it after killing Aiko's mom.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Aiko ends up hanging herself, and after the timeskip the state of his relationship with Sachi is ambiguous.
- Driven to Suicide: Attempts this by stabbing himself in his injured eye in the final chapters. Luckily, he doesn't succeed, as Sachi saves him at the last moment.
- The Everyman: One of the interesting things about the way the story is structured is the contrast between Punpun's unusual design and how much of an ordinary japanese boy he is otherwise.
- Eye Scream: Aiko stabs him in the left eye with a fork after fleeing the scene of her mother's murder. She stops herself, though.
- I Miss Mom: Averted. Punpun never liked his mother, and even after she gets cancer, apologises to him for all that she did, and dies, he still can't bring himself to love her.
- Jerkass: While he starts off good-natured, he slowly becomes more antagonistic to others as time passes. This culminates during his young adult age, where he becomes an all-round abusive jerk.
- King of All Cosmos: The God Punpun summons whenever he is stressed and in need of advice. He's... kind of weird. He reveals later on that he knows that this "God" is really just him speaking to himself.
- Non-Standard Character Design: Starts out as a bird, and from there changes into several different forms. No one ever comments on his strange appearance, implying that the Punpun we see is actually a reflection of his feelings.
- Silent Protagonist: Played With — Punpun communicates with others just fine, though his speech is depicted in black narrative boxes instead of the standard speech bubbles, which serves to add to his detachment from others. He finally speaks with speech bubbles in chapter 144.
- Troubled Child:His upbringing has had its consequences on his mental state
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He was very innocent, quirky and optimistic as a child, but the neglect, abuse and negative influences from everyone around him causes him to eventually become bitter, cynical, abusive and even a murderer, though he was partly doing it to "save" Aiko.
Father PunyamaPunpun's well-meaning but inefficient father.
- Bumbling Dad: He's much warmer to Punpun than his wife, but has trouble holding down jobs, is implied to be a bit of a drunk, and is generally kind of a goofball. He also writes silly letters to Punpun filled with obvious lies about how he's saving the world from aliens, which causes Punpun to write him off as an idiot. It's eventually subverted a little when it's revealed that Mama Punpun was sending the letters so Punpun wouldn't hate his father.
- Demoted to Extra: After he gets divorced, he moves to a different town and has a much smaller presence in the story, only appearing every now and again.
- Domestic Abuser: He gets caught by Punpun standing above his mother, lying unconscious on the floor with a huge bump in her head. The two get divorced shortly afterwards. It's eventually subverted when it's revealed that he was actually trying to prevent Mama Punpun from badly hurting herself.
Mama OnoderaPunpun's conflicted, abrasive mother.
- Abusive Parents: She isn't actively abusive, but is generally a very cold and neglectful parent to Punpun. When she gets cancer and is on the verge of dying she realizes how awful she was and apologizes to Punpun saying that she genuinely loved him and wished she could have been a better parent. It ends up being too little too late, since even after that, Punpun can't bring himself to love his mother.
- Gag Boobs: She has a set of very noticeable, large and goofy breasts.
- Ill Girl: She comes down with cancer and eventually dies
- My God, What Have I Done?:She has this and apologizes to Punpun for how she's treated him while she's terminally ill.
Yuichi OnoderaPunpun's uncle (on his mother's side). He serves the role of a guardian to Punpun in lieu of his mother's neglect and his father's bumbling, but is eventually revealed to have his own issues.
- Parental Substitute: He serves as a (seemingly) more stable source of authority and guidance in Punpun's youth, knowing how cold his sister is towards him.
- Your Cheating Heart: He has a major problem staying faithful to one woman. This causes him immense guilt and nearly leads him to commit suicide after he cheats on Midori.
The transfer student from Punpun's elementary school, and his crush. She takes a quick liking to him and they become good friends for their time in elementary school.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with. In later chapters, she gets a bruised eye, a missing tooth, and several bloodstains on her face; she also has several bruises on her shoulders. On the other hand, she still remains remarkably attractive under all the wounds, far more so than most other characters
- Broken Bird: Just as bad, if not moreso, as Punpun. Her crippled mother abuses her physically, emotionally, and verbally, and forces her to take part in her cult.
- Childish Tooth Gap: Is introduced missing front teeth, despite seeming older than the usual five-to-eight when those teeth fall out. Subverted as she's much darker than the trope goes for. Is referenced again near the end when two of her teeth get knocked out as an adult, which further subverts the trope.
- Continuity Nod: She bites Punpun's finger so hard that her front tooth comes out, making her look like she did when they first met. This is a symbol of her regressing character development.
- Driven to Suicide: She is found to have hung herself in chapter 139.
- Hair Color Dissonance: Canonically has brown hair◊, but the majority of fans depict her with red or greenish-blue/black hair instead. The many official images/manga color spreads depicting her with different hair colors do not help at all.
- Inconsistent Coloring: Her hair is brown but is depicted as teal, red, and a few other colors in colored art.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Invoked by Punpun. Is horribly, horribly deconstructed in later chapters.
- Put on a Bus: She becomes scarce after Punpun enters middle school, and by the time they're in high school, she's nowhere to be found. She comes back a short while after Punpun leaves high school and moves into his own apartment.
- Stepford Smiler: The depressed type of Stepford Smiler; although it's noted by several characters that she's bad at faking a smile.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: One of the colour spreads◊ in volume 11 gives her black-green hair, or at least black hair with green highlighting.
An aspiring manga artist who Punpun eventually becomes involved with.
- Author Avatar: Seems to be one for Inio Asano, to a degree. They're both mangaka, and many of the beliefs she espouses towards making manga seem to reflect Asano's own philosophy on writing manga. She even gets a haircut similar to that of Inio's later in the story. The manga she eventually makes also appears to be Solanin.
- Cannot Spit It Out: She's a bit too proud to straight up tell Punpun how much he means to her.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: She gets pregnant by her ex-husband, and initially plans on getting an abortion, but decides to keep the child in the end.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's very abrasive, frequently delivering "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Punpun, but she cares about him all the same and is a good person all around, just a bit rough around the edges.
- Last Girl Wins: She's the last prominent female character Punpun meets, and is eventually the one he ends up with, though the specific status of their relationship is ambiguous.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Downplayed. She's fairly bright and optimistic and helps to bring out the best in Punpun after the funk he's in brought by Azusa's "The Reason You Suck" Speech, encouraging him to work harder, and the two become romantically involved.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Is this with Miyuki.