Desert Punk (manga)

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Desert Punk is a post-apocalyptic Seinen manga series written and illustrated by Usune Masatoshi, serialized in Enterbrain's Comic Beam since 1997. The published chapters have been collected in 13 volumes as of late.

The story takes place after a nuclear holocaust. Japan, like many other countries, has been reduced to a desert, and the surviving humans seek out a meager living in the hot sands. Seventeen-year-old Kanta Mizuno, nicknamed Desert Punk (Sunabōzu) due to his seemingly incredible feats of skill and daring while on the job, scratches out his own living in the desert as a mercenary for the Handyman Guild between his occasional obsession with big boobs and sex, and, later, his training of an apprentice named Kosuna. Despite his flaws, he is highly professional, accomplishing his task no matter the cost.

Desert Punk was adapted into a 24-episode anime television series produced by GONZO and directed by Takayuki Inagaki with character designs by Takahiro Yoshimatsu and music by Kohei Tanaka. FUNimation has licensed the series for distribution in the United States. It differs from the manga in that the first half focuses on Kanta's life in the desert as a series of humorous adventures, while the second half turns more serious as he becomes embroiled in political turmoil that erupts over the Great Kanto Desert.

The manga used a more realistic approach than its anime adaptation, using black comedy as opposed to quirky and sexual humor.


Tropes used in Desert Punk (manga) include:
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Due to the dry and somewhat realistic artstyle of the manga some characters tend to look rather plain, scary or downright Gonk looking. Because of the different artstyle in the anime, characters like Kosuna and Junko fall into this trope largely as a result of Generic Cuteness. For Kanta, however, it happened the opposite: even for the manga's artstyle Kanta looks like a fine young man in it, while the anime upscaled his perverted lust in his facial expressions to the point of looking downright freakish sometimes.
  • Anime Theme Song: It's used for the ED rather than the OP, but it's still there.
  • Anti-Hero: Kanta, Junko and Rainspider are Type V
  • After the End
  • Artistic Age: In the anime Kosuna looks about 8-10, but is actually 14 (she looks closer to her age in the manga).
  • Berserk Button: ... wait. His mother has a... fat... bellybutton...?
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: A lot of characters have fairly pronounced eyebrows.
  • Black Comedy Rape: The whole of episode 11 while chapter 81 pushes the possibility of a more exact adaptions of the manga quite far out the window.
  • Blatant Lies: The way Taiko (Kosuna) manages to trick Kanta into thinking she will grow up into a nice big breasted woman from his dreams, she says the woman in the picture is her mother, so by proxy she will eventually grow the exact same bust line as her "mother's", aside from genetics not working this way and Kanta falling easily for it, Kosuna is always erratic about her promise, forgetting to pretend the woman in the picture is her mother. In the anime it's even worse, the woman pictured doesn't even resemble Kosuna that much, while in the manga the woman in the picture does look like a grown up Kosuna with long hair and big breasts.
    • As if the pictured woman not being Kosuna's mother wasn't obvious enough, she also lied about growing a voluptuous bust size, adult Kosuna post Time Skip has one of the smallest busts in the whole series.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Entire cast at least once or twice in the English dub every couple of episodes "Remember Kids, A smart man knows when it's time to run like a little Bitch!"
  • Breakout Character: Now as an adult from the manga's 13th Volume and on, Kosuna became the protagonist of the series.
  • Building Swing: Frequently done by Punk and other mercenaries/anyone that has a similar suit, using those special backpacks they all have.
  • Buxom Is Better Pretty much every male character is enamored with Junko's breasts
  • Casanova Wannabe: Guess who?
  • Cerebus Syndrome
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: After he joins La Résistance, Rainspider has a habit of consistently abandoning them when things get tough, shouting "So long suckers!" or the like before high-tailing it out of there. However, he invariably returns and saves them from an otherwise insurmountable danger.
  • Character Exaggeration: Kanta's status as a Casanova Wannabe is considerably more pronounced in that anime.
  • Combat Breakdown: Kanta vs. Amagumo. It lasts so long that the watching townsfolk get bored and go home.
  • Crapsack World: The Great Kanto Desert.
  • Cruel Mercy: The reason that Punk and Rainspider don't kill their opponents is mostly because they'd rather humiliate them and leave them for dead.
  • Curse Cut Short:

Kanta: Akio, you dumb f-” (gets hit over the head by Fuyuo)

    • Also, an instance where Kosuna describes what Kanta is doing while she's busy working

Kosuna: ...and Master's busy masturba- (cut short because the Machine Gun Brothers show up and start a conversation)

  • Desert Punk (trope)
  • Destructive Savior: Averted, due to the abovementioned Combat Breakdown.
  • Disaster Scavengers
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Kanta and Kawaguchi siblings (the Machine Guns Brothers + Natsuko) were little, Natsuko let Kanta touch her breasts in exchange for not getting her brothers in trouble anymore. When they found out, they beat Kanta up. Kanta responded by planting an IED in their outhouse.
  • Earth That Used to Be Better- the "Great Kanto Desert" would seem to be the future of the Kanto region in Japan, which is currently not only fertile, but heavily industrialized. It's also not clear what if anything of the rest of the world is left.
  • Eat the Dog: Kosuna cooks and eats a dog she was walking in revenge for Kanta giving her crappy jobs. In the anime the dog is replaced by a rare giant bug.
  • Face Heel Turn: Kanta and Junko both end up joining the Oasis Army
  • Gag Boobs: Junko Asagiri.
  • Gainax Ending/Gecko Ending/No Ending: The anime ends with the whole cast apparently being obliterated by a reactive WMD, then cut to the credits featuring them all just continuing with what they were doing shortly before the ending.
  • Gainaxing: Junko Asagiri
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Played straight and averted. Everyone wears gas masks in the deserts - besides working as actual gas masks against frequent poison attacks they have built in binoculars and personal air-conditioning units.
  • Genki Girl and Plucky Girl: Kosuna fits these, but is kind of a darker take on the idea since her goal is to be a badass bounty hunter, not a "hero of justice".
  • Girl Friday: Kosuna, to Kanta.
  • Gonk: Quite a few. If a character is unnamed or over 40, chances are that they are a gonk.
  • Grappling Hook Backpack
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Damn near everyone in this series, considering most of them are Jerkasses.
  • Hot Mom: Kosuna convinces Kanta that she'll look good when she's older by showing her a picture of an attractive woman she (falsely) claims is her mother.
  • Hulking Out: Hulk syndrome
  • I Call It "Vera": "Alice", the M48-1 sniper rifle, complete with a gushing description at the beginning of episode 4.
  • Jerkass: Almost everybody
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Ties into the nature of the protagonists and is particularly true of Kanta and Junko. One good illustration is that episodes 15 and 16 open with a flashback that at first seems like Kanta was a childhood friend of the Machine Gun Brothers and Natsuko, but the end of episode 16 shows the reality- young punk bullying the brothers into stealing for him and sexually harassing Natsuko.
  • La Résistance: The Underground Mercenaries
  • Lighter and Softer: The manga regularly contains violent deaths that are reduced to Amusing Injuries in the anime. Consequently, there's a lot less Black Comedy and a lot ore sex comedy. Some arcs from the manga were also skipped which dealt with rape, slavery, and political warfare.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: A pair of orphans encountered by Punk, Kosuna, and Stryker turn out to be this, and their being this as well as Punk and Kosuna's apathy toward their poverty is emblematic of the Crapsack World setting. at the end of the show, Stryker is shown taking care of them anyway.
  • Lemony Narrator: Usually in response to the underwhelming behavior of the protagonists.
  • Lost Technology: Ranging from guns to killer robots to Neutron beams. Oddly, the most valuable thing anyone excavated was apparently a board game (LIFE by Parker Brothers).
  • Lovable Coward: Rainspider's habit of running away in the middle of battle. Besides it being presented humorously, he tends to just as unexpectedly come back as The Cavalry and save the day.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Kanta, though he frequently goes far beyond the point of being considered "lovable".
    • Particularly the time he imprisoned Junko and tried to force her to have sex with him. By the standards of the desert society he was actually technically being "lenient" (as a traitor, Desert Punk claims he has the right to kill her on the spot), but still...
  • Magical Girl: Some of the episodes parody the idea by showing Kosuna as one of these.
  • Medium Blending: Cosplay opening FTW.
  • Meaningful Name: Stryker strikes down entire crowds of enemies using a knowledge of Kenpo and sheer badassitude.
  • Me's a Crowd: Punk's balloon doubles are a technology version of this
  • No Mouth: Everyone wears gas masks that hide their mouths.
  • Norio Wakamoto: At his weirdest as Amagumo.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Due to how dangerous his career path is, Kanta Mizuno doesn't give his name away to outsiders looking for his services, Kanta presents himself as the Desert Punk, and that's how he famed himself with the title; Taiko Koizumi also follows suit when she becomes Kanta's aprentice, only going by Kosuna.
  • Passing the Torch: The 13th manga volume marks Kosuna, now as a grown up woman, debut as the new Desert Punk. Arguably it even happened earlier when Kanta Face Heel Turn and left Kosuna on her own.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Kanta, though he is later outclassed by Mitsuru.
  • "Previously On...": Kosuna delivers one for episode 18, addressed directly to "you on the couch".
  • Punny Name: Balls-A-Hurtin, the weapons manufacturer that created the prototype battlesuits in episodes 17-18.
  • Ragnarok Proofing: The Great Kanto Desert is littered with the ruins of an ancient civilization's giant, worn-down, mostly collapsed skyscrapers.
  • Razor Floss: One of Amagumo's many, many weapons. He even compares it to a spider's web
  • Refuge in Audacity: Almost anything related to children or Kanta's attempts to get woman to have sex with him.
  • Really Dead Montage: Subverted In episode 20, it looks like Kanta is killed and the credits of that episode show a montage of Kosuna/Kanta moments, but Kanta comes back later
  • Red Headed Antihero: Kosuna
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: It's indicated that the robot guards have an ability to learn, and it's quite visible in the series, as within a couple of episodes, they go from merely loyal soldiers/killers to loyal soldiers/killers that complement Stryker as being a Worthy Opponent and start to engage in banter. If history repeats, they'll shed the loyal part at some point and bad things will happen.
  • The Rival: Rain Spider/Amagumo, and to a lesser extent the Machine Guns Brothers.
  • Robot War: It's implied that along with the use of nuclear and biological weapons, humanity was nearly destroyed due to something roughly equivalent to what happened in the Terminator films (minus the time travel part).
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The final episode of the anime RESOLVES NOTHING OF THE ARC.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Kanta's Weapon of Choice. One gunsmith even lampshades it.
  • Shout-Out: Hulkosis/Hulk Syndrome, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. May or not be caused by radiation poisoning.
    • In one episode, Punk gets shot, and shouts "OW! Something bit me!"
    • The cause of the formation of the Kanto Desert is basically the war against the machines, with the guardians being the actual terminators.
    • In one episode, Kosuna is shown burrowing a path through the sand and makes a comment about taking a wrong turn at Albuquerque (a line said by Bugs Bunny when doing similar behavior)
    • After taking out a government tank, the Machine Gun Brothers triumphantly shout out Wolverines!
    • In the english dub, a shout out to the Kool-Aid Man is given byy Kenta shouting "Oh no!" followed by the current antagonist bursting through the rock wall behind him, shouting "OH YEAH!"
  • Sibling Team: The Machine Gun Brothers
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Most characters are veeeeery far to the cynical side, particularly Kanta (and by extension Kosuna) but Stryker is almost ridiculously idealistic...which got him and Kanta and Kosuna in a whole heap of trouble.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Lengthily subverted when Kosuna tries to convince Kanta to buy her a bigger gun.
  • Smoke Out: Parodied with Rainspider. He often does a "we will meet again" and throws down a smoke bomb, but then when the smoke clears, you see him running away quickly laughing maniacally.
  • The Song Remains the Same: Averted in the FUNimation dub by using the same song but translating the lyrics into English.
  • Squee: Kosuna acts like she has a crush on Natsuko who is her idea Action Girl role model; Mitz behaves similarly toward Stryker.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: As noted above, parodied with Rainspider's Smoke Outs, although Punk plays it straight (aided by his balloon doubles)
  • Technical Pacifist: Kanta and Rain Spider both seem to prefer taking everything their defeated opponents have on them (clothing included) to killing them. Still, Rain Spider's reasons for keeping some of them alive could be that he considers it a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: While Stryker and Natsuo are the nicest, most idealistic people in the series, they definitely fall into this trope.
  • Time Skip: The manga 13th Volume features in 3 years later after Kanta's betrayal.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Kosuna.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Mintz in his debut episode suffers from Hulk Syndrome and goes all Yoda on the series's first Hulk Syndrome sufferer.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Kanta and Kosuna are hired to help clear the way of a cursed rock where a supposed vengeful dog deity resided. The rock was literally invulnerable to anything used on it. Hammers, guns, explosives... everything. When Kanta tries to remove the rock, he's visited by the dog deity herself. She just happens to be so damn sexy that all of her attempts to stick a knife in his back and kill him are thwarted by his sheer sexual lust. Eventually, she finds herself trying to run away from him just to survive. He goes to such great lengths to have sex with her that his own orgasm ends up destroying the rock. Kosuna was mortified when she saw this.
  • Uncanceled: After a four year indefinite hiatus, the manga returned to publication September 2009.
  • Unholy Matrimony: possibly between Kanta and Junko, although it's not clear that they became a couple post-Face Heel Turn, although they definitely have a closer relationship
  • Unstoppable Rage: Anyone who suffers from "Hulkosis/Hulk Syndrome" will turn you into a super-strong giant.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Stryker
  • Villain Protagonist: Kanta in the end of anime.
  • Wife Husbandry: Notable in that it was Kosuna's idea for Kanta to take her on as an apprentice.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: both Punk and Rain Spider have this as rumours about them.