Review: Mawaru Penguindrum

Mawaru Penguindrum

Alex: Well…this has certainly been one hell of a show. We’ve been through sad times, mad times, crazy times, hair-pulling-out-rage-inducing times, and some moments where you just think “what the hell is going on”. And then…we’ve been through some of the most epic, creative moments and plot twists to grace anime for a very long time. But much like it’s story, Mawaru Penguindrum is very much a show of two halves.

But, I think that’s all up to how you decide to view the story. The story could be split into seven parts, it could be split into two parts, or it could not be split at all. But what is it about? Well…it’s a tragic story of people fighting fate. It may not look like that from the screenshots, but that’s because some amazing artistic direction and creativity have been used to make this story come alive. A seemingly sad drama of a girl who was mocked by fate itself turns into an epic of people fighting for life after death, people coming back from the dead and fate transfers. Does that make any sense?

Well, let me ask this question. Did Penguindrum ever say that it would make sense? I think it’s like all true pieces of art, you can’t actually tell what the artist wanted to convey to you unless you ask them directly…you can only take your own views on it. Granted, it may be horribly confusing, it may be full of twists and turns and upside-down plot twists and episodes which don’t make any sense and things which are beyond your understanding. But we’re just a bunch of lowlifes who will never amount to anything if we don’t try to make sense of the ridiculous.

Don’t ignore the heart. Penguindrum’s heart is pure and made of diamonds, even though it may be covered by veils and whatever you can call some of the episodes. In terms of pure creativity, Penguindrum surpasses almost everything. Nothing can come close to the creative vibes that ooze from this show, and even the art and sound are one of a kind. The story is jaw-droppingly amazing if you can make sense of it, but your view of it will probably differ from mine. And because of that, Penguindrum jumps to around the top of a list of shows that i’d strongly suggest people watch.

Now, to close this in proper Penguindrum style…

Seizon Senryaku. Watch this show or you’ll get stuck in a dead end fate. 

Alex’s Score: 9.5 Meeps out of 10 (Great)

Dusk’s Score: 10 Meeps out of 10 (Masterpiece)

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Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 24

I love you.

Alex: It…is over. And if you’re here to ask me what happened, what the episode was about or anything, don’t. I didn’t understand very much of this. Just that it was a very bittersweet ending. So, let’s start from the top.

Shouma and Kanba were in cages at some time when they were children. They shared an apple to keep both of them alive instead of just keeping one of them alive. So, one of them cheated death, and they were being punished by fate for doing so. I think. Maybe. I don’t know if this made Shouma the Penguindrum or just Shouma’s heart, however. One of them.

Then Ringo arrives to transfer fate, because Double H told her the phrase to do this. So she came to share the fruit of fate with everyone, and sacrifice herself to put the world back on track. However, Shouma replaced her as the sacrifice. Why? Maybe he tired of living. Or maybe he thought that Himari would never be happy in a world with him in it. And in doing so, Kanba also disappeared after finding his own true light.

Okay, I give up. Maybe this episode just wasn’t meant to be understand. It was marvellous and epic, but maybe understanding it is beyond what we’re capable of doing. Seizon Senryaku. I don’t get it at all. 

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 23

The Destination of Fate

Alex: I may not understand all of the symbolization, but I think that the whole series is coming together. Momoka tried to stop Sanetoshi from doing that explosion, and in doing so, Sanetoshi managed to bounce the spell back, splitting both of them. Sanetoshi became a ghost…and Momoka became the hat? I think.

Him being a ghost does explain how he can bring people back to life, though. And the fact that he seems to be some sort of magician-esque guy…yeah. Momoka used the survival strategy to talk to Shoma and Kanba and make them find the Penguindrum…but they failed, and now they’ve got to chase it down on the destiny express. The bombs seem to have been set everywhere, and with the diary lost, it’s now impossible to transfer fates. The final looks to be a showdown between Shoma and the Hat and Kanba and Sanetoshi. Truly electrifying…

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 22

The Beautiful Casket

Alex: It’s a sign of a brilliant director when they can create TWO amazing death scenes in a single episode without batting an eyelid, and not letting up on the quality 0f the rest of the episode. The first half of the episode was mostly minor stuff which will probably end up being something major, such as Double H turning up with a present for Himari, and Yuri handing Ringo the second half of the diary after that stabbing last episode.

The second half…was where Himari tried to stop Kanba. It’s not clear just what he’s planning to do at this point, but you get the impression that it’s not going to be anything good, and something that has to be stopped. However, i’m not really sure if that was just symbolization of Himari dying, or if that really was Himari returning the life she borrowed from Kan, but she collapsed in the zoo with the penguins. And you know she’s really finished when her little penguin turns transparent. Amazing death scene, but the better one was later in the episode.

So, if removing Yuri, Tabuki and Himari from the playing field wasn’t enough, it’s time for Natsume to step up to try to stop Kanba. That scene was both shocking and touching, and managed to give Natsume a fitting end, with some famous last words. “Goodness, I must crush them soon.”

And destiny continues to turn for two more weeks~

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 21

The Door To The Fate We Choose

In other words, it’s time for the answer session. With a rather electrifying result, we find out just who Doctor Sanetoshi is…and that he’s the big mastermind in the shadows. Quite how he managed to frame Kanba and Shouma’s parents for it is beyond me, but he seems like a very smart person capable of doing it.

At the best of times, a journalist turned up to try to get information out of Himari. This makes her undergo her own investigation, going from stalking Kanba on his night walks and even asking Natsume for help, even though she must crush her soon.

And when Shouma goes too far…Kanba finally crosses the line and leaves to walk his own path.We’re slowly seeing just what he’s done when he’s already started walking this path, but just what is the true extent of his madness? As the trio of siblings split up, Penguindrum starts walking it’s own path…to a truly spectacular finale.

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 20

So…Thank You For Choosing Me

Alex: I’ll be honest, actually. Even though everything here is something I expected “Sho found Himari, Sho got entranced by Himari, Sho saved Himari”, the fact that the episode was executed so well is what made the episode worth watching. I got a very “children caught up in wartime” vibe from the episode, and if that was what it wanted to convey, then mission complete! It was a beautiful episode, only adding onto the vast list of things Penguindrum does well.

Now, the big problem is going to be wrapping everything together in the 4 episodes left. Who is that Penguin-Girl? Why did Natsume call Child-Kanba her brother? Just what are Kanba and his parents going to do? What’s Sanetoshi’s role in everything? Who is Mario? What’s going to happen regarding Momoka?

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 19

My Soulmate

Alex: Bah, sorry about the lack of posts this week…Mimi’s busy hunting down a job and Liam’s busy with schoolwork. They’ll all hurry up and post quickly for you to feel better if you send them words of motivation~:33

But yeah. Two huge plot twists.One was the obvious about Kanba and his parents still being in contact, and getting money off them. The other…was slightly baffling. We’ve been wrong about the characters all this time, huh. It was pretty surprising that Shouma’s the playboy with dark secrets instead of Kanba, and that Natsume’s just trying to take Kanba back from the imposter. Interesting, interesting…