Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 6

"You've forgotten what it was like when you couldn't?"

ajthefourth:  If this episode made anything clear, it’s that some of its characters are alive, and some of them are dead.  The question, of course, is which characters are in which state of being?

This has been brought up by others previously, but it’s hard to tell who is actually alive and who is dead in Mawaru Penguindrum.  The series supposedly tells us who is what; Ringo’s sister Momoka is dead, Ringo is alive, Himari is …?  However, it’s impossible to take the series’s opinion at face value with so many things up in the air.  The continued frame of reference of Night on the Galactic Railroad and train imagery certainly don’t help matters, and serve to further call into question our protagonists’ state of being.  In addition to this, it is shown in this episode that the anniversary of Momoka Oginome’s death, curry day, March 20th, is also the anniversary of the 1995 Sarin Gas Attacks in the Tokyo subway.

One of the ideas brought up in this episode that reflects this uncertainty is the idea of Schrodinger’s Cat, a paradox used to both explain and question the superposition of states of being.  When does one thing in one state (for example, a human who is alive) cross over into another state (and become dead)?  The cat itself, as Tabuki concisely says to Ringo, is both alive and dead to which Ringo’s response of, “Poor cat.” rings poignant.  Regardless of whether we’re sure if Ringo herself is alive, or if the Takakura brothers are alive (there was a hint at this when Ringo’s mother paused at Shouma mentioning his last name to her) the state in which Himari has been presented within the story is a bit similar to the cat’s; torn between being kept alive by the hat and being physically dead.  Her superposition is fed by the refusal of both Shouma and Kanba to acknowledge her death.  Like the person peering in the box to see whether the cat is dead or alive, they must externally observe and accept it for it to be true.

This also applies to Momoka.  Ringo has flat-out refused to accept her sister’s death.  Instead, she has chosen to become Momoka in order to keep her family together.  Unfortunately, as the series has shown, this hasn’t exactly worked out since her parents are still separated, which calls into question why she still follows and adheres to the diary so religiously.  The tie in with the 1995 gas attacks is also very intriguing and I’m curious to see exactly where Ikuhara is going with Momoka and that tidbit.

vucubcaquix: The need to observe the respective characters’ positions regarding their state of living or death, brings into mind several questions about Uncertainty in this show that were brought up by astute commenters before as a possible answer to the ideas of fate and Determinism mentioned in our first colloquium. Schroedinger’s Cat as a thought experiment about an item’s superposition (living? or dead?) tends to be conflated with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle which is more concerned with an object’s momentum and position  and the accuracy of measurement. The idea that the show broaches this subject at all shows that it seems as though it’s going to be adhering to this tack as a means to resolving the upcoming conflicts with Determinism and fate.

The Penguins resurrected Himari and hold her life hostage in a perpetual dual state of living and death in order to secure the Takakura brothers’ cooperation in searching for and obtaining the penguindrum. The original rage that Kanba Takakura felt against fate for taking his younger sister’s life is slowly going to be subsumed into a rage against the Penguin faction for holding his sister’s life hostage under the guise of fate. Tabuki, in his conversation with young Ringo, may have inadvertently described the flaw in the Penguins’ plan since he described the state of the poor aforementioned cat and the audience can draw the parallels with Himari’s condition, which will be forced into one state or the other perhaps through the observation of an outside third party.

Note the calendar in the background.

ajthefourth: Aside from her death day, and Ringo’s birthday, what I found interesting about Momoka was how infatuated Tabuki seemed with her.  Using the somewhat romantic imagery of being able to ride your bicycle, he spoke of her with a reverence that also seemed to be romanticized, almost to the point of being completely dependent.  When he describes her presence in his life, one wonders what their relationship actually was.  It would seem that she too was equally obsessed with him. Momoka has written out exactly what she wants to happen in the diary.  Ringo now possesses this diary in an attempt to assimilate herself into her sister.  Since the series (this episode especially) is so sexually charged and considering the fact that it’s Ikuhara, I’m wondering if the two didn’t have a sexually intimate relationship with each other as well as a close friendship.

Either way, it’s obvious that Momoka is very special, and her death is a key plot element.  If one looks further into the Sarin Gas Attacks, it’s interesting to note that only one person actually died in the attacks on the Maranouchi line, and it was on the train bound for Ogikubo, which coincidentally is the stop where Takakura family lives.

The Oginome Home.

vucubcaquix: There’s been a lot of visual references to peaches when the show focused on Ringo which had confused me up until this episode. With the reveal of Ringo’s older sister Momoka, and the conversation between Tabuki and young Ringo about the older Oginome sister, all of these visual cues have become unlocked. For those who don’t know, “momo” is the Japanese word for peach. When Ringo was young, she had that conversation with Tabuki about how he felt that Momoka was something eternal to him and that her death was perhaps fated, thus giving it meaning. Peaches in Asian tradition and folklore are associated with immortality, so with this and her conversation with Tabuki as a young girl, Ringo has conflated the idea of her sister with that of eternity, and is hellbent on using her sister’s diary as a roadmap for enacting that which she feels would give her life and those around some semblance of meaning after a senseless death.

Momoka's Diary, complete with handwritten name and peach drawing.

vucubcaquix: Thus ends another week of Penguindrum, and another week of feverish discussion and speculation. Like I say every time, there’s just SO MUCH MORE we could say but don’t have the time for. For instance, the final shot of the show reveals Natsume Masako as having a penguin of her own, whether or not she’s an official part of the Penguin faction is up in the air. However, I did notice that her signature attack has a very apparent stylistic resemblance the Penguinhat’s assault on Kanba Takakura from the first episode, so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in future weeks.

ajthefourth: In addition to this, she also mentions “Project M,” which could stand for any number of things although, in my opinion none of these options are marriage, which was the conclusion that Shouma jumped to.  There’s always so much to say about this series and so little time.  We’re both definitely looking forward to where the revelations of this week take the series in future episodes, so we’ll be back next week, right David?

vucubcaquix: We will indeed be back, Emily. Have a good night.

Recommended Reading

  • E-Minor over at Moe Sucks has a fascinating post that looks at themes in Penguindrum and the story of Hansel and Gretel.  Check it out!

37 Comments

Filed under Colloquia, Episodics, Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum

37 responses to “Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 6

  1. Well, the thing I found interesting here is how the penguins are even more useless than usual. They are indulging themselves as if to represent the id of their masters that is being repressed by responsibility, obligation, and compromise.

    The trick shortcuts to the characterization points of what they’d rather be indulging, at the times they’re put under what seems now to be a lot of stress.

    Ringo getting a fever then forcing herself on Shouma is problematic for me in that her fever was completely gone moments later. I mean, what the fuck was that all about?

    • Was Ringo’s fever really gone? I was under the impression that she escaped from her house in some kind of sickness-fueled delirium that amplified whatever mental problems she had previously. I mean, her actions under Tabuki’s house were pretty obviously not those of a sane person–think her sickness might have brought her to her lowest point.

      I do agree that her coming down with the fever was pretty sudden, though.

      • hikoboshiandorihime

        to wendeego
        ajthefourth: I was also under the impression that her fever did not go away, and that she snuck out regardless of her health. I’m wondering how much of this was psychosomatic and how much was an actual sickness.

        I honestly don’t think that this is Ringo’s lowest point, although the entire scene at the end took a bit of edge off of her character. Yes, she’s still dangerous because she’s emotionally unstable, and fervently driven to complete each and every task in her sister’s diary. However, I feel that the series is pushing her towards a breaking point, and she’ll either make it through and become her own person, “Ringo” again, or she’ll break down completely. We shall see… Thanks for the comment.

        vucubcaquix: I’m going to have to disagree with Emily about Ringo a bit. I also believe that this is not Ringo’s lowest point, but instead of the edge taken off of her, this has given her more of an edge for me. She resembled a wounded animal when she was delirious with fever, and her worldview is coming under increasing strain. If there’s one thing to know about wounded or cornered animals, is that they tend to be more vicious and desperate than healthy ones.

        Violence has already been established as an aspect of her character, what with how she treated Shouma and defied the Penguinhat in the previous episode during the Survival Strategy. She is a woman of action, and she may not take to her worldview being challenged so thoroughly.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      to ghost
      ajthefourth: Hnnn…the id of their masters, that’s a really interesting notion. For example, all Kanba really wants to do is be frivolous (see: read porn) but instead he’s caught up in trying to figure out what has been happening to all of his ex-girlfriends. In fact, this is the first time that we’ve seen Kanba be effectively useless, despite the fact that he’s still being technically active.

      I always get the feeling that you know more than you let on, or that you have a better idea of what’s going on than we do, and therefore are constantly trying to push us to think. If this is true, please don’t stop, and thank you. ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: You know, the onset of the fever was a bit sudden and I see your point regarding that, but I actually didn’t get the impression that the fever subsided immediately after that. We saw her sleep to try to fight off the fever while Shouma and Mrs. Oginome spoke, but when she woke up to spend her first night with Tabuki, I definitely got the sense that she was still in a feverish delirium and not quite grasping at the full notion of what she was doing. All this served to increase how pathetic she looked in our eyes.

      The penguins representing the id of their masters is an interesting line of thought. I’ve heard musings on imageboards and forums that the penguins (along with being shortcuts to characterizations as you say) are representations of the deadly sins. Kanba’s represents lust, Shouma’s represents gluttony, Himari’s represents vanity/vainglory or pride perhaps. As for Masako’s? We’ll see…

      • No one with a fever so intense so as to mistake SHOUMA of all people looking like the love of your life and your dead sister’s life should be able to walk so many blocks to set up an elaborate camp, cook food, clean up at a 400% synchro ratio with the stalked one of your life etc etc etc

        Hey AJ, I actually am playing this show off the cuff. These things come to me as fridge logic a lot, but that’s Ikuhara for you — I’d be remiss to say that the blog posts I made about Utena were fully formed insights while I was watching the show.

        • I dunno, I ran a very large floor move at my job with a 102 degree fever and don’t remember any of it to this day. According to those in attendance, it went very well, haha.

          Ah, I see, I see. Well thanks for keeping us on our toes, regardless! ^ ^

  2. animekritik

    I didn’t get the Ringo fever scene either, it was very odd…

    I sure hope this anime doesn’t try to go the route of using theoretical physics to somehow save “free will” and defeat “fate”. It’s pretty tough to argue that probability clouds for electrons somehow allow us to step outside the chain of causality and decide to do something out of the blue :)

    The “ka” in “Momoka” means “fragrance”, and indeed the fragrance of peaches permeates the whole show. She has some kind of power.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: I agree. The thing that should be remembered is that Schrodinger’s Cat is not only a way of describing theories of quantum mechanics, but also calling into question the absurdity of them as well. I have hope that this will be remembered, and we won’t get an ending like the one you describe. ^ ^

      I can’t help but wonder though…if this is all just one big experiment, then who will be the observer to look inside the box? Perhaps, pink-hair in the OP?

      vucubcaquix: I still feel the pull between Determinism and Existentialism is going to be the central conflict of this show, as for how Uncertainty plays into it, I honestly don’t know. It’s been introduced with this episode, so there will be further commentary regarding it and upcoming analysis and speculation will have to take this into account, but as for the nitty-gritty of how specifically it affects fate is totally up in the air at the moment.

      Peaches smell amazing.

  3. Ringo’s mother pausing at the mention of “Takakura” as indication of their death is an interesting speculation, but I think it conflicts with their uncle talking to Kanba in an earlier epiosde since he would definitely find it strange they’re alive if they really were dead (and if that became big enough news in the town that Ringo’s mother had heard about it).

    I interpreted that pause as recognition of Shouma’s last name. I think Ringo’s mother knew his parents.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: I still think that the series hasn’t been entirely forthcoming about who is actually alive and who is dead; however, I’ll agree that my earlier statement about the pause could be wrong.

      That pause was definitely significant, and stands out to me in that scene. Someone else (see comment below) had mentioned that it more than likely was due to his missing parents, and perhaps she recognized “Takakura” and associated it with them. This is along the same lines as your thoughts, although in this example she doesn’t know his parents personally, and only knows of them. Her exact words (or your words actually ^ ^) are “No…I thought just maybe…”

      It’s definitely piqued my interest. I can’t wait to be proven wrong/right! Thanks for the comment as always, and thanks especially for all of your hard work! We couldn’t do this without you.

      vucubcaquix: I don’t have much to add, honestly. Though the series being careful about revealing who is alive and who is dead also works to the ambiguity of the parents’ state when you remember that their name’s weren’t painted over on the door in a previous episode, but rather seemed to be taped over or ripped off.

      Pretty insensitive attitude to a couple who may be potentially dead, don’t you think?

      • As you probably know already, Japanese is a very high-context language with a lot of meanings communicated through very little said.

        Direct translations of her original Japanese phrase are “It can’t be”, “Could it be” (this is the one she meant), and “don’t tell me you’re”. In Japanese, any of those would imply she made a wrong assumption.

        I originally wanted to go with “Nothing, never mind…” for that line, but changed to “No…I thought just maybe… (+ you were)” with the intention of the cutoff part being “the son of the Takakuras”.

        This was done to emphasize her recognition of Shouma’s last name, and I see it worked with adverse effects ^^;

        “I thought just maybe, you were the son of the missing couple” would definitely work here too, so I think it still depends on interpretation.

        • Thanks for the clarification! I read your TL notes on this as well (and hadn’t yet at the time of the first comment). Again, thanks for all of your hard work. As this is the ONLY connection between the Takakuras and the Oginomes (other than the hat’s request for the penguindrum) I’ll surely be paying attention to it.

  4. Son Gohan

    I think that Ringo’s mother recognized Takakura as the name of the couple who went missing.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Hnnn…this definitely is possible, although we still don’t know if the Takakura’s went missing, left, or are simply removed from the story because it is entirely allegorical, and we’re watching a large group of people trying to come to terms with either their own deaths, or deaths of loved ones.

      That pause piques one’s interest, and reminds the viewer that they still don’t exactly know what happened to the Takakuras. It’s very clever. We’ll just have to wait and see what develops. Thanks for the comment!

      vucubcaquix: I’m leaning toward her recognizing the name through the parents as well. But yes, like Emily, the pause is what fascinates. There’s a power in the split second stillness where there’s so much being said with nothing being said at all. It alters the dynamics between all of the established characters, affects your perception of what means what, and all this while only a few syllables were uttered.

      Great stuff.

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  7. scineram

    “Momoka has written out exactly what she wants to happen in the diary. Ringo now possesses this diary in an attempt to assimilate herself into her sister. Since the series (this episode especially) is so sexually charged and considering the fact that it’s Ikuhara, I’m wondering if the two didn’t have a sexually intimate relationship with each other as well as a close friendship.”

    But wasn’t Momoka and Keiju at most 6 years old when she died? Could she really have written that diary as it is?

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: No, you’re right. They more than likely didn’t have a sexual relationship (unless their relationship was REALLY messed up to begin with) since they would have only been about six at the time of Momoka’s death (this is assuming that Ringo’s birthday is March 20th 1995, the same day as Momoka’s death day and sarin attacks).

      Although Momoka may not have intended for the the diary to be “her fate,” I believe that what Ringo quotes at the end of the flashback scene is from the diary. To paraphrase, that if the events in the diary are followed, the things precious to her (Momoka) will become eternal which, we assume from what she has written in her diary, means Tabuki. For Ringo this means her parents won’t split up.

      Momoka’s attention to detail regarding her own future reminds me a bit of Wakaba Tsukishima in Cross Game (if you haven’t seen it she, at age 11, writes down a list of birthday presents for the guy she likes to buy for her in the future, all the way up to an engagement ring). I suppose the moral of this little tidbit is to never underestimate the power of romantic dreams in a young girl! Thanks for the comment!

      vucubcaquix: Hmm, actually I don’t have an issue with the diary being written by a young girl at all. The interpretation of it by Ringo is where most of the issues that people have lie. She’s the one that attaches the apparent sexuality on it, whereas from the viewpoint of a young girl, a “first night” can just as easily connote a sleepover. Or sharing a bed can be interpreted as something that grown-ups that love each other just happen to do, like with her own parents sharing a bed because they love each other.

      Also, all of the other lines in the diary do have a pretty simplistic sounding language associated with it. A cat with a mean face, a girl wearing red heels, a prince giving her a kiss. These are simple sentences that communicate simple ideas, that can be understood simply by children.

  8. Miyako

    It blows my mind that everything may really have something to do with the sarin attacks. At first I thought it an interesting observation, but now all the details are tied in too closely to be mere coincidences.

    I also thought it strange that Shouma was called into “Rock’n Roll Night” universe while he was NOT at home / next to Himari. Has that location disparity happened before? I’m trying hard to recall…

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: I know right? My thoughts were that Ikuhara wouldn’t actually go there and that it was more of a reference to the 95% confidence interval as it relates to the implausibility of something being “fated” to happen. However, I have been (happily) proven wrong, and can’t wait to see where he decides to go with this angle. In the OP, the 95 is the center of the benign-looking blue penguin icons turning into more furious looking black penguin icons that resemble Himari’s penguinhat, which is an interesting connection for me.

      My theory is that the disappearance of the Takakura’s had something to do with the gas attacks as well.

      vucubcaquix: Part of me wants to believe that this week’s Survival Strategy session occurred to allow Himari’s penguinhatter a venue to blow off some steam for what happened last time when Ringo assaulted her. What else would explain her ridiculously harsh language when describing her? Nothing else of major significance happened other than to let Shouma know that he has “permission” to have sex with Ringo if it means being able to acquire the penguindrum.

  9. Glad to see Penguin returning! This was a great episode we finally get the big reveal of Ringo’s sister Momoka and learning the truth behind the true diary owner. Guess you can really see why Ringo is extremely interested in the teacher thanks to her sister getting so close to him.

    I did enjoy seeing that mystery sniper girl! Guess she has the power to alter your memories or so it seems that way and her penguin at the end on her lap really interesting.

    @Vuc yeah! that was really cool the attacks Himari does is exactly like Natsume’s sniper attack.

    Project M! I thought it was like memories or something like that lol but I was thinking it was Momoka after they revealed her name.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Yeah, it was certainly worth the wait for such a fantastic episode!

      Masako certainly caught my attention as well. She seems to have it in for Kanba specifically, or perhaps she just sees him as her easy “in” into finding the Penguindrum herself. Her black penguin is present in the OP all the way to the right of the other three penguins. Initially I had thought that this black penguin also represented Himari’s penguinhat, but they seem to be two different types of penguin. Although Masako may think she’s in charge, she’s probably not, and has been given a penguin for another purpose (and that purpose is seemingly at odds with the Takakuras).

      Thanks for the comment! ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: Yeah the similarities in the attacks were the first thing I noticed when I watched the episode at first. Made me wonder if there’s some sort of similar “penguin magic” that the two are using… We shall see.

      The thing about Project M is that it’s so vague! What does the M mean? I was like Shouma where I guessed marriage at first, but it could also be Masako, Marunouchi (which is the name of the train line they live on), or who knows what else…

  10. Blackholeheart

    It may be a coincidence(though with Ikuhara I doubt coincidence is in his vocabulary), but another conceptual link between the sarin gas attack and Schroedinger’s Cat is that in the standard description of the experiment it is poison gas that is used to kill the cat if the superposition state is collapsed and you find a dead cat. This suggests interesting things about a lot of events in the show like how we did not see how the window was deflected from Kanba as a child and the true fate of Momoka. Observation is a key theme in Ringo’s relationship with Tabuki as well and I suspect observation as a concept is at play on many levels of the show.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Wow, you bring up a lot of great examples here of where us, the audience, is actually unable to look inside the box, so to speak because the series doesn’t let us. Not much more to say on my end, as this is a well-thought out and concise comment! Thanks for giving us some more food for thought!

      vucubcaquix: Jeezus man, your comment ties together everything we mentioned into such a neat package that I don’t even know how to respond. Like, seriously, this is incidentally incredibly fantastic.

      You just pulled a Shance.

  11. Another great post. I especially liked how you connected the themes with your first post and the bit about the “outside” observer popping in. I really do wonder where Ikuhara is going to go with all this stuff.

    Besides my dreads as to the path that the show is going to take (animekritik nailed it up there), I think the foremost thing that I’d like to mention is the unique visual symbolism behind the scene where Tabuki is talking about Momoka. Tabuki sure got pretty meta at the end, there. What I’m talking about is when Tabuki mentions that Momoka “changed his perception of the world”, and then we have the images of several signs being repeated as Tabuki and Momoka presumably ride past them. While I appreciate delicious irony and metaphor, with that contrast between repetition and change, I’m left wondering if there’s a deeper meaning to that? As observation is a key aspect of the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment, I think it’s interesting to ask to whom the perspective of the repeating signs belongs to. Assuming it’s Tabuki’s, does it perhaps suggest mental repetition; the want to repeat that time? Or maybe, it’s just a visual cue for the audience to recognize that Tabuki’s state of mind is fixated on that moment with the bike? I don’t want to go as far as to suggest time travel, as it still seems rather arbitrary with the total evidence suggested so far, but I think it’s something to consider at this point.

    I’m beginning to think, more and more, that GGStego’s theory about everyone being dead is correct or at least somewhat accurate in meaning. I mentioned the foreshadowing from the picture last episode, and how the “three” at the top turned out not to be angels but rather grim reapers. With the introduction of Momoka, I think I’ve found someone that fits the “left behind” figure on the old cloud, which worries me: exactly how literal was the foreshadowing?

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: I believe it was Ghostlightning who made the connection between the repeating signs, the bike ride, and Akio’s car arc in Revolutionary Girl Utena, which I found interesting.

      Also interesting is the time at which this occurred. Momoka would have had to be around six years old when she passed away, which isn’t a lot of time to have a dramatic and lasting influence on someone’s life. The idea of Momoka intrigues me because she has had such a lasting and significant influence on both Tabuki and Ringo (the sister that she more than likely never knew).

      vucubcaquix: I’m interested in who you think that fourth character is on that cloud, what with you mentioning Momoka…

      Well, I think this is a good place to mention this theory. I know that you were there for this discussion, but there was speculation that Masako is actually perhaps Momoka reincarnated.

      We’ve speculated before that the diary may actually be more closely tied to someone else as opposed to Ringo, and with that in mind this episode reveals that the diary was originally written by her sister, Momoka.

      So… is Masako the reincarnation of Momoka? Is Momoka the figure that was “left behind” in the Kiss painting? I wonder…

  12. Late comment incoming… I’ve not much to add really. So much good perspective and commentary above, but there is one idea that somewhat trivializes the “dead-or-alive” status for every character; I’ll just speak about Himari.

    Himari appears to be alive in the timeframe of these episodes, though she did in fact die in episode one. That fate, I believe is unchangeable; Himari is dead, at least, at the end of the line. I don’t think the quantum mechanics of Schrodinger’s cat are necessary for Himari’s case, but if we’re using the framing, I believe the “unboxing” of the cat will occur at the line’s end. Who we find to be dead or alive will be interesting, but I think it will be more interesting in retrospect (rewatch!).

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Oh definitely, I can’t even imagine how many things I’ve missed in this first viewing of the series, and similarly can’t wait to go back and rewatch this series upon its ending.

      Out of all characters, I think the cat is most representative of Momoka. Is she still alive? Is she “alive” as a part of Ringo? Or is she firmly dead?

      Thanks for the comment!

      vucubcaquix: Your comment as I read just now, is actually the perfect companion to Day’s post about the implications of death on several of the characters. It seems as though that bringing up Schrodinger’s Cat can serve as a good way to prime people for expecting that several characters may in fact have been dead all along, and not necessarily the characters that the audience expects.

      The series says that Himari is alive. I don’t think so.

      The series says that Momoka is dead. I don’t think so.

      The “unboxing” is something that I’m VERY much interested in, and could serve as a really intense plot point. I’d bet that shit will be “getting real” if we get to that point in the narrative.

      • Schrodinger’s cat refers to a situation in which a cat is in a box, with a Geiger counter (to detect radiation), a vial of poison and a radioactive atom. If the atom decays, the Geiger counter detects the alpha article and causes the poison to be released, killing the cat. But the box is closed and the person “observing” cannot know until s/he opens it. Since in quantum, an atom both displays wave and particle properties, the wave aspect is itself in a superimposition of both decayed or undecayed states (or some explanations simplify it as there’s a 50/50 chance the atom will decay, causing the release of the poison).
        Therefore before opening the box, the cat itself is in a superimposition of both being alive and dead. When the box is opened, the cat is either alive OR dead but both as in before the box is opened.

        I definitely agree that certain characters aren’t necessarily dead or alive as they appear to be – so until circumstances are unboxed, are we to assume that they’re both dead and alive?

        • In a way, yes. Or (and hopefully you’re caught up to episode 13 because I’m not quite sure how to use spoiler tags) specifically Momoka is considered both dead and alive until someone opens the box and tells the audience definitively one or another. The fact that Momoka continues in a state of superimposition is due to the fact it’s still unclear as to how “special” she was/is. Sanetoshi hints at her being a bit otherworldly to begin with in episode 13, and the fact that her body wasn’t discovered in spite of being a casualty of the attacks, along with the presumed similarities between her eyes and that of the penguin hat’s, cast suspicion over her death. On the one hand, she is dead, and died 16 years ago, on the other hand she is still alive (more specifically if she is the penguin hat).

          Thank you for the further clarification and the comment!

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