Tropes pertaining to the cast of Goodnight Punpun.
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.
- Anti-Hero: Though he started off the series as an innocent boy, his obsession with Aiko and his shame at how that whole affair fell apart affects his emotional and mental development well into his young adult years. It isn't helped by the fact that Midori statutorily raped him in a moment of emotional weakness for the both of them, driving him further and further down an emotional sinkhole of selfishness, self-loathing, and social ineptitude.
- Broken Bird: Literally.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: According to one chapter
- Classical Anti-Hero: Becomes meek, withdrawn, depressed, bad with people and plagued with self-loathing as the story progresses.
- Despair Event Horizon: Punpun reaches it after killing Aiko's mom.
- Destructive Romance: His childhood crush on Aiko, the ensuing guilt he felt at failing her, and being statutorily raped by Midori at such an emotionally fragile time culminates in him growing increasingly bitter, cynical, and obsessed with reuniting with Aiko. So when they finally get together years down the line, all the unhealthy aspects of both Aiko and Punpun's personalities rear up, culminating in them both becoming extremely toxically devoted to each other, and ending with Aiko inevitably being Driven to Suicide.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Aiko ends up hanging herself, and after the timeskip the state of his relationship with Sachi is ambiguous.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Zig-zagged. Midori herself doesn't face any repercussions for raping Punpun in a moment of weakness, but it has major effects on Punpun's mental and emotional development—after this point, he notably becomes even more reclusive, more empty, and more prone to using people as tools for immediate comfort.
- 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, but stops before doing serious damage. Later on, Punpun stabs himself in the same eye with a knife in an attempt to kill himself.
- Freudian Excuse: The Puppy Love he experienced with Aiko came crashing down terribly, and his inability to forget his failure as well as Aiko herself caused Punpun to become reclusive as the years went on. Even worse, Midori rapes Punpun while they're both suffering in their emotional weakness, causing Punpun to become even more withdrawn, unhealthily falling back on his affections for Aiko and becoming more dependent on temporary pleasures like sex to distract himself from how hollow he's become. By the time he and Aiko get together as young adults, his obsessions with her reach their peak and Punpun turns into the only person he could possibly become after everything he's faced: an emotionally and physically abusive, toxically dependent, hollow slave to his emotions, clinging on to an ideal that even he is fully aware he can't reach thanks to his own emotional and mental instabilities.
- 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.
- Loving a Shadow: Aiko doesn't so much love Punpun as much as she loves the idea of who Punpun is: an escape from her horrible home life. Likewise, Punpun sees her largely as a representation of happier and more innocent times, and wants to reconnect with her out of a combination of genuine love for her as well as guilt for having "betrayed" her in their youth. The result is that when they reunite as young adults, their mutual desire for the other culminates in a Destructive Romance.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Invoked by Punpun, when it comes to his first love Aiko. Is horribly, horribly deconstructed in later chapters, in that Punpun was this to her as well, and later on Aiko and Punpun's toxic overdependence on each other causes them both to regress in her Character Development, to the point where Aiko herself eventually is Driven to Suicide in her degraded mental state.
- The Mentally Ill: Punpun very clearly falls into a deep state of depression over the course of the story, and one of the most tragic and terrifying parts of the series comes in how utterly realistically it's all handled.
- Nominal Hero: Punpun is the protagonist of the story, but he's hardly what one would call heroic. Even before he experiences Character Development that gradually undoes the more positive aspects of his personality, he's more or less just an ordinary person, acting and reacting to events taking place in the world around him.
- 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.
- Parental Substitute: To Sachi's daughter towards the end.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: The depressing circumstances surrounding Punpun wear and tear upon his personality, undoing his more positive traits and replacing them with bitter, selfish cynicism.
- The Quiet One: At the beginning he wasn't much of a talker. When he does talk, his speech isn't seen in speech bubbles but narrative boxes.
- Really Gets Around: As Punpun grows older and older, he engages in sexual relationships with multiple women. This is deconstructed, however, in that Punpun grows more and more dependent on sex as a means of experiencing immediate joys and running away from his problems. As such, he begins viewing women in general as a means of finding satisfaction, rather than being living and breathing people.
- 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.
Punpun'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 Abuse: 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.
Punpun's conflicted, abrasive mother.
- Abusive Parents: She isn't actively abusive, but is a selfish, self-absorbed brat and 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.
- Broken Bird: As we find out in Volume 6
- Gag Boobs: She has a set of very noticeable, large and goofy breasts.
- Ill Girl: She comes down with cancer and eventually dies.
- A Day in the Limelight: She has a more significant role in Volume 6
- Jerkass Realization: In chapter 60 and, in chapter 61, after her surgery, she resolves to be a better mother
- Morton's Fork: Chapter 60 boil her situation down to, "Without a place to call home, she's spent her entire life running from herself and her loneliness. What a sad life it will have been if she dies in surgery tomorrow. And what a sad life it will be if she lives."
- My God, What Have I Done?:She has this and apologizes to Punpun for how she's treated him while she's on her deathbed.
- Parents as People: Played for tragedy, as, in Chapter 67, we see that she's had high aspirations for herself and didn't really want to have a child, along with how luckless in love she was. Her circumstances leading to her the life we see her have turned her into the woman we see her as.
- Stepford Smiler: Downplayed, in that she pretends to be happy
- 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. He does marry her after they have a daughter
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. The mutual Puppy Love she and Punpun shared in their youth was such a massive Hope Spot for her that didn't go anywhere, thanks to Punpun's insecurities coupled with circumstances just plain out of their control. As such, when Aiko grows older she remains largely stuck in the past, desperately clinging to her memories of Punpun well into her adult years as a means of escape.
- 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.
- Destructive Romance: She and Punpun develop one upon reuniting as young adults. It ends terribly for everyone involved.
- 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. Really not helped is when one of the colour spreads◊ in volume 11 gives her black-green hair, or at least black hair with green highlighting.
- Inconsistent Coloring: Her hair is brown but is depicted as teal, red, and a few other colors in colored art.
- Loving a Shadow: She doesn't so much love Punpun as much as she loves the idea of who Punpun is: an escape from her horrible home life. Likewise, Punpun sees her largely as a representation of happier and more innocent times, and wants to reconnect with her out of a combination of genuine love for her as well as guilt for having "betrayed" her in their youth. The result is that when they reunite as young adults, their mutual desire for the other culminates in a Destructive Romance.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Invoked by Punpun. Is horribly, horribly deconstructed in later chapters, in that Punpun was this to her as well, and later on her and Punpun's toxic overdependence on each other causes her to regress in her Character Development, to the point where she eventually is Driven to Suicide in her degraded mental state.
- 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.
- Troubled Child: Like Punpun, however, her being this really doesn't end well.
- Womanchild: Her horrible home life, when contrasted with how happy being with Punpun had made her feel, caused her to remain stuck in the past in a desperate attempt to reclaim the one bright spot of her youth. When she and Punpun reunite as young adults, their mutual desperation to return to happier times causes them to regress as characters; while Punpun becomes emotionally and physically abusive, Aiko's sanity degrades to the point where she begins acting childlike.
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.
- But Not Too Foreign: Her mother is a foreigner, apparently.
- 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 (going on to have a daughter).
- 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.