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This was finished over a year ago and has probably been discussed to death, but as I am slow to pick up series, I find the need to vent my feelings somewhat.
All I wanted was for Punpun and Aiko to have a happy ending together. No matter how many hardships and agonies they went through, as long as they finished hand in hand, no matter how bittersweet, I thought it'd be okay. If Inio had gone with the original ending he described of Punpun sacrificing himself to save Satchi's bastard child and then maybe shown some vague walking off with Aiko into the light when he died, even as fucking corny as such a conclusion would've been, I'd have been satisfied. But no. The full closure will never come. Chapter 145 is great for what it is, but it's not the catharsis I'd wanted. The two things that ease my soul the most are ironically rather fucked up: that those few days Punpun and Aiko spent together trying to get as far as they could were the happiest days in their entire lives, even though their conditions were miserable, and that Asano has said in interviews he intentionally left off at the most cruel place possible to maximize Punpun's misery, for that is relieving in a sense, allowing me to care less when the author is blatantly trying to bring about emotional pain in the audience.