Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 10

"I've come to a good stopping point."

ajthefourth: Backtracking a bit, Mawaru Penguindrum‘s cold open this week is dedicated to reminding us that Shouma was hit by a car in episode eight.  Fortunately, Shouma appears to be physically unharmed; however, the consequences of his car accident, and the way that episode nine played with the audience’s perception of Himari’s character cast a very interesting shadow over this tenth episode of the series.

This episode sees the Takakura siblings reunited in Shouma’s hospital room.  It also shows them reunited in a bit of a different way, as well, with Shouma and Kanba returning to their “designated roles” that they’ve had since the beginning of the series.  Immediately upon waking, Shouma thinks of how he has to make breakfast, Kanba pushes him down on the bed forcefully and tells him to rest.  This goes back to their original established characterization: Shouma is the more feminine brother, the more feeling brother, he watches; Kanba is the more masculine brother, the more active brother, he acts.  Never mind the fact that Shouma saved Ringo’s life; once he is back with his family, he settles into being subservient to Kanba once more.

Kanba, who has been made to look foolish by Masako for several episodes now, returns to his brash self when Shouma wakes up.  His speech to Himari as the two sit in the coffee shop is especially damning where he goes through the things that he can’t stand receiving from girls: cute bentos, giant cakes, and handmade sweaters in that specific order.  In addition to hurting Himari’s feelings a bit, it also goes to show that these things, which Masako brings up later on when she sends him on a wild goose chase, have been buried in Kanba’s mind the entirety of the series.  Kanba is a less competent Touga Kiryuu.  He’s being manipulated by someone (The End of the World, the Kiga Group, Sanetoshi, whoever) however, he still seemingly knows far more about what is going on than the rest of the main cast does.  When Masako asks him over the loudspeaker repeatedly whether he remembers, Kanba’s face and attitude are not ones of shock or surprise, but resignation.  It’s as if he’s known for a long time that he would have to deal with this, and has resigned himself to finally deal with it now, within the plot of the series.

"Yeah...I remember..."

And what of Miss Himari?  Our perception of her character has been significantly and irrevocably altered thanks to the previous episode.  It casts a long shadow over her actions in this episode, because we, the audience, are still wondering exactly how much she knows.  Seemingly, Himari steps out a bit from being a bystander, especially in her conversation with Kanba at the coffee shop.  She asks what kind of presents a boy would like.  Following Kanba’s insertion of his own foot into his mouth, Himari tells him that she’s at a good stopping point and instructs him to keep Shouma company.  This could be referring simply to her knitting; however, with the specter of her supposed death, descent into the library, and return, everything she says is suddenly rife with meaning.  The way she treats Kanba is almost motherly, placing her hand and head on his forehead, as is her message: “I’m at a good stopping point, take care of Shouma.”  It’s a far cry from the romantic tension evident in later scenes involving Kanba, and one can’t help but to compare them side-by-side.

vucubcaquix: The next woman that Kanba interacts with leads him into a scene that has none of the warmness of the previous situation, as he finds himself in a room in the dark, being hunted and toyed with. This is a direct reference to 1991’s acclaimed thriller Silence of the Lambs, which has actress Jodie Foster frantically stumbling around in the dark as Buffalo Bill stays just outside or her perception, lusting and longing and desirous of her. Masako Natsume regarded her prey in the same violently carnal way as she toyed with him and taunted him in the dark, only to reveal that her intentions weren’t as murderous as I had thought.

“I am not a pathetic hunter who lets her prey escape.”

She has a physical attraction to him, and looses herself upon him for a moment in a frenzied embrace, locking lips with him, disappearing before he could see her. She is a hunter, but with the dispelling of the tension through some relatively lighthearted music, she resembles less the unhinged and psychotic Buffalo Bill in the clip above, and more the energetic and love-crazed Pepe le Pew. The revelations of this episode, while shocking and interesting to note as a plot point, make me feel as though Natsume Masako was de-clawed to a certain extent. She still retains an air of mystery, as we don’t know who she speaks to on the phone and we’re given only a tidbit of interaction between her and the newly introduced Natsume Mario (whom she strangely addresses as -sama if indeed they are siblings), and she still has the diary and is aware of a certain Project M. I’m not going so far as to say that her characterization has been damaged, since episodes two through eight were all about how obsessive “love” can lead to violent and dangerous behavior. I find it funny how appropriate the use of Dvorak’s 2nd Mvt. of his 9th symphony is during Kanba’s descent in this light.

Dvorak’s “Largo” is known by another name when played during military funerals: Going Home. As Kanba pressed forward after a vicious blow to the head (and several moments missing in an unconscious blackout), there was no fear in him as he experienced his own version of a descent into the underworld. His taunter displaying icons repressed in his memory as symbols of failed love, pressing and prodding him to “remember”. Eventually, he confesses that he does.

The name of the musical piece that accompanies Kanba’s descent is indicative of Natume Masako’s perspective if she is indeed sincere in her feelings for Kanba. By teasing him, taunting him, goading him into moving forward and to “remember”, from her perspective, he is coming home.

"Masako Natsume, the archer, Sagittarius"

ajthefourth: We also must consider the use of the New World Symphony as a reference point.  If the majority of the people present in this series are already dead, or straddling what the opening calls, “the binary world line,” the line between life and death, then the railroad takes on a similar significance as an effective shuttle to the afterlife.  In Night on the Galactic Railroad, Dvorak’s composition is played at a key point in the journey, immediately after two children, presumably from the sinking Titanic, have boarded the train. Giovanni (the only character on the railroad who could be considered as alive) immediately becomes jealous of his friend Campanella’s attentions to the two, especially the girl, Kaoru, since Giovanni had had no one he could consider a friend until Campanella came along.  The New World Symphony plays as the train barrels through imagery of the Great Plains of the United States where the train’s passengers happen upon an American Indian, an archer (who has also been described as an allusion to the constellation Sagittarius), who’s pursuit of its prey has been stripped of all of its bloody violence.  Instead, the hunt is described as a dance; he fires an arrow into the sky, the crane he is hunting falls.  Interestingly enough, these are described as two independent events, without the harder edge that comes with killing something through a hunt.  As the train pulls away, the American Indian holds the crane in his arms.  It’s a bit more romantic of a description than one would expect, and ties in beautifully with what David mentioned about Masako’s harshness having been removed through her actions towards Kanba in this episode.  What does Masako do upon capturing Kanba? She embraces him.

Now, let’s apply a few themes of Night on the Galactic Railroad to the odd one out: Ringo Oginome.  This poor girl has dedicated the near entirety of her life up until this point, into turning herself into her sister Momoka so that her parents will not split up permanently.  In a(n admittedly oblique) way, Ringo has dedicated all of her time to her family, much like Giovanni has to his own family in the book.  Neither of them have had the time to develop much of a friendship with anyone.  Ringo isn’t exactly teased at school; however, if one remembers episodes two and three she certainly doesn’t seem particularly close to anyone.  That is, until Shouma comes along and forcibly breaks down her barriers in an attempt to understand her (and steal her diary).  These themes will become especially interesting as the friendship continues to develop between Ringo and Shouma.  Shouma already has a few of Campanella’s “nice guy” qualities.  Not so oddly enough, there is already a drowning connection between these two (with Shouma saving Ringo from drowning in episode four).

If Mawaru Penguindrum is paralleling Night on the Galactic Railroad to this extent, the “Hole in the Sky” (Sanetoshi’s library) could refer to the Coal Sack, a black nebula in the Milky Way located near the Southern Cross that is only visible to those who live in the Southern Hemisphere.  It is here where Campanella disembarks, still unable to tell Giovanni that he is already dead.  It will be interesting to see if Penguindrum uses the same reference point.  In addition to this, episode 10 marks the a turning point in that all three siblings now have gone through circumstances that they could have died from, calling into question their individual statuses of being “alive.”

vucubcaquix: Himari collapsed in the aquarium and is revived after a visit to the Hole in the Sky. Shouma dives into a pond to save a drowning girl, paralleling certain events in Night on the Galactic Railroad, and is also hit by a car. Kanba passes out for a moment and is dragged along the street for several blocks face first, and also suffers a wicked blow to the head during this episode that causes him to black out and lose several moments. There is a horrific violence that is inflicted upon the main characters that seems to be casually brushed off. There are no consequences for the events that transpired. While this happens all the time in various animation that we consume, it doesn’t fit the internal logic that the show is presenting to us. Consider how violent these events have been to the characters, only for them to come out relatively unscathed. Now compare it to what happened to Kuho Asami of the red heels after she was pushed down the escalator. While she lay in her hospital bed, we gleaned that her injuries were serious enough to warrant concern over her memories which indicates a possible concussion. In that same episode, Kenzan shields Kanba from an errant pane of glass, with a cut up right arm in a sling as a result. In episode 9, Chiemi prevents a mirror from falling on Himari when she was younger, resulting in permanent scarring.

The Takakura siblings seem to be exempt from physical consequence, in a way that no other character in this series is. We understand why Himari would be so, since it’s been known since the first episode that she is dead, however the state of the older siblings thus far has been more ambiguous. There is an ambivalence that the show has towards divulging the state of the siblings that resembles a certain famous paradox.

Who is alive? Who is dead? Why does it matter? How can we find out? We are nearing the halfway mark of the series, and I can’t help but feel that the unboxing is coming soon.

"Survival Strategy!"

ajthefourth:  Well, we’ve certainly managed to cover a lot more than we had expected with this particular episode.  As always, however, there are still a few small things that we could have touched upon.  For example, I’m still concerned with the role of the diary within the series.  What if placing the diary on top of the Death Note in the sixth episode wasn’t a mere shout-out?  I can’t help but be taken with the idea that there is more of a similarity between the two than we had previously thought.  Masako’s actions in this episode slightly stray away from her being a reincarnation of Momoka.  If this is the case, then why would anyone want the diary unless it too possessed some sort of power outside of the scope of Momoka and Ringo?  Write a name in the Death Note and that person dies, write something in the fate diary and it becomes your destiny.

vucubcaquix: I certainly had more thoughts on this episode than I anticipated as well, given that I had a hard time being as immersed in the story immediately due to some issues with the visuals and animation. From what I know, Keiji Gotoh was responsible for all of the animation of this episode and appears to have done everything nearly single-handedly. It’s impressive when viewed in that respect, but I’ve come to expect a certain standard of quality from this show that I suppose can only really come from the quality assurance of a staff of assistants backing you up. I’m glad that I didn’t let this deter me from seeing the continually interesting story underneath, since we wouldn’t have been able to write the more than 2300 words that we did on what we’ve learned thus far.

ajthefourth: Oh my gosh.  Well, I’m sure we’ll have even more to say in the comments section, so let’s turn it over to the readers, shall we?  Have an excellent night.  Here’s to hoping that next week’s Penguindrum will bring back the lush, vibrant, and lively visuals that we’ve so come to adore from this series.

vucucbaquix: Have a good night Emily. We’ll no doubt be laboring over the symbolism and meaning behind a show about three teenagers and their penguins yet again.

33 Comments

Filed under Colloquia, Episodics, Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum

33 responses to “Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 10

  1. Blackholeheart

    I’ve nothing in particular to say about this episode but I find it interesting that of the siblings Sho-chan is the only one that hasn’t had a decent into the underworld sequence and I can’t help but feel that’s connected to why he is always given the chute treatment during the survival strategy bits and his odd bursts of passion, re. during Himari’s death.

    As always thanks for writing and I look forward to mining even more wisdom & insight from this comment section over the next few days.

    • Cadentia

      Mind you, Shoma may have had more screentime that all the other four mains (well, except for Ringo), yet he’s the one we know less of. We’ve seen glimpses of Ringo’s, Himari’s and Kanba’s pasts; what motivates them, what shaped them to be who they are now; their dreams, aspirations and failures. But Shoma? Nothing. So far, only a reference to some ‘punishment’ shared by the twins, and, if you have read bits of the novels, some clues of self-hating.

      I think he’ must be hiding something. Shoma can’t be free of issues, not to mention at times I think his strict moral codes may emerge from an attempt to atone for something he did in the past.

      • hikoboshiandorihime

        to cadentia
        vucubcaquix:

        …some clues of self-hating.

        That is fascinating. And you’re absolutely right that Shouma is the sibling with the least amount of information divulged about him. His motivations are the murkiest despite being the most expressive and emotionally visible of the trio.

        I feel that that is a defense mechanism employed by people who do have a lot to hide about themselves. If you’re outgoing and emotionally expressive, it can serve as a very effective distraction for those who’ll try to pry a little deeper…

        ajthefourth: I assume that you’re speaking of the teaser trailers. More specifically, of the fourth one where Ringo says to Shouma: “Don’t force your concept of happiness on me, I have a score to settle with my life.” to which Shouma’s response is as follows: “The surveillance on us will continue until we’re completely ruined. That is our punishment.”

        I haven’t read the novels; however, this trailer addresses something that is considered to be the core theme of Night on the Galactic Railroad; what is true happiness?

        I’m still of the mindset that this idea of “punishment” is somehow something that was given to the twins from their parents. Either their parents did something, and that sin, so to speak, has been passed on to the Takakura siblings or that the parents did something to effectively try to help their offspring only to somehow be ostracized for it. Even with happy shots of their childhood, the Takakura family does seem rather cursed in a way, and I believe that whatever the siblings are trying to atone for may not be an action that they themselves actually did. Instead I see it as a more indirect association, where they are sharing a burden of guilt from something that may or may not be their fault.

        Ringo offers an interesting comparison here. Her issues more than likely stem from direct conflict or misconstruing what her parents said when she was younger (and possibly how they’ve treated her since, it’s hard to say since we still know very little about what actually happened). Her actions are a direct response to her parents’ assumed divorce/separation. We know even less about the Takakura parents, only that they have somehow been removed from their children’s lives. Very suspect, if you ask me.

        Thanks for the comment and sorry for the wall of text! ^ ^

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      to blackholeheart
      ajthefourth: His odd burst of passion re: Himari’s death I attribute to two things:

      The first, Shouma has been established as the more feminine character. Upon Himari’s death, he is the one who is emotional and cries because it’s in line with his characterization later on in the series. It also makes a nice contrast to Kanba in that situation, who remains stoic and calculating.

      However; Point two: Shouma’s response is a mirror image of Kanba’s response during a flashback in episode one, when the two learn of Himari’s impending death due to her illness. If you remember, Kanba was the one who freaked out, leaving Shouma to fret at his side. This scene still stands out to me a great deal, since it’s the earliest characterization (chronologically) that we receive of the brothers until episode five, where we see them as children. It establishes Kanba as the more upset, desperate, and emotional one. Suddenly, when Himari actually dies, he’s cool, calm, and collected. What would cause this sudden change of character? Perhaps the fact that Kanba knows something about Himari’s death that Shouma doesn’t? This would also explain why Shouma gets cast down the garbage chute during their survival strategy sessions. He is the pawn, Kanba the knight, and Himari the Queen (or Princess, if you’d rather).

      To sum it up: I really like what you’ve pointed out; however, I’ve been seeing it as more of a characterization of Kanba, through the contrast and development. Of course, next week, Shouma is sure to have his own mind-trip, near-death experience that proves me completely wrong, haha. Thanks for the comment! ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: We haven’t finished this cour yet, so there’s still a chance that he may have one, but as of now this could indicate that he’s the most “ambiguously alive” of all the characters. Similar to a certain character from Night on the Galactic Railroad

  2. Really? That’s a direct reference to Silence of the Lambs? I’ve seen that film probably at least 4 times (LOL I saw it in the theater back in high school… fucked me up), and the scene here didn’t remind me of that at all, hmmm…

    But the use of the night vision goggles is the key though, so the reference makes sense.

    But as you said, the intentions aren’t murderous and here’s what I think: this bitch better really want to get back with Kanba in some way, because she should’ve dealt with him in a decisive manner. This toying crap has overplayed itself.

    I’m not saying she should kill Kanba, but rather really remove him as a possible threat to project M. Otherwise I recommend that she should read the evil overlord manual and the appropriate section regarding leaving main characters alive/with their limbs intact. These never end well for the bad guys.

    Even better, she should just fuck him, srsly would be far more entertaining.Why waste all that hotness? She’s no Juri, but still.

    • Knee House

      Just a thought: Kanba is to Masako’s project M what Tabuki was to Ringo’s project M, in which case toying with Kanba would be a more effective means of achieving her goal. She’s already worked on eliminating the competition, she’s begun reminding him of his failures & callousness, all that’s left after showing him how awful he is is pretending to have an interest in him and voila!

      As far as I know, we have no idea what Masako’s motivations are nor their reflection on her “project M,” except that it relates to Mario Natsume. Kanba may be a goal in and of himself, but I think there’s also the possibility that he is merely a means to an end, and toying with him helps achieve that.

      And if anybody deserves to be toyed with, it is Kanba.

      • hikoboshiandorihime

        to Knee House
        ajthefourth: I have the feeling that Kanba’s actions all stem from the fact that he’s in love with Himari, and the guilt that would be associated with such socially/morally unacceptable actions. This certainly doesn’t excuse his playing with his previous girlfriends’ feelings (as this episode and Shouma would have us believe is par for the course for his character) but the fact would remain that these awful actions would be stemming from a rather dark and pathetic place.

        As for being another means to an end, I’m leaning a bit more towards that theory after thinking back on this episode for a few days. If this is true, then it would mean that Masako would be equally, if not more, emotionally manipulative than Kanba is. The only thing holding me back from fully supporting this theory is Kanba’s response of “I remember.” It implies that he knows Masako from something, unless the memories are ones of his exes only.

        Thanks for the comment!

        vucubcaquix: Project Maternity, Project Momoka, Project Mario, a little bit of engrish goes a long way. Besides an almost seemingly throwaway revelation to what Project M stands for in comparison to the events that have occurred since, the more we learn about it the less I feel we can trust what everyone says it is. There’s an surplus of information, but a poverty of knowledge. Ringo claims that it’s a means to motherhood, but this was originally written by her sister at an age where these ideas are mere abstractions (we believe she was very young when it was written, single digits perhaps). That makes Masako’s intentions and perception of what Project M is even murkier still. She’s what? Twice, or thrice removed from the original meaning of Project M?

        There’s something about Masako that makes me feel as though she could be related to a degradation of knowledge after what we learn about her intentions in this episode. She seems to wish to be with Kanba and explicitly references Project M, but doesn’t mention maternity at all.

        I’m not sure where I’m going with this at the moment, but we’ll see once the next episode airs.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      to ghost
      ajthefourth: I didn’t catch it either until someone yelled it out a second or two in, and then I couldn’t un-see the reference. I believe that this scene is used to contrast with Masako’s actual character, which as you mention, is hardly full of the murderous and unhinged vibe that accompanies the actual scene from Silence of the Lambs. In a way, it further de-claws Masako, to the point where she’s almost comical, or sad, completely flying in the fact of the mysterious aura that the series had been building up around her, trying to make her appear more vicious than she actually is. I’m intrigued by this characterization, mainly because of the thematic elements it brings up in common with Night on the Galactic Railroad. Thanks for the comment!

      vucubcaquix: It was the first thing that popped into my head, and I’m honestly kind of surprised that more people haven’t picked up on it. There’s even a moment in the movie where Buffalo Bill stretches his hand out to Clarice, desperately holding himself in check. Masako plays with that precisely, with her hand being animated in front of Kanba’s face, but without the same sort of desperation
      But yeah, there’s a lot of toying around. I’m not sure what she means to acheive by these roundabout methods, and another injection of hard sexuality in the story wouldn’t be unwelcome, since the show isn’t afraid of addressing that, I feel…

  3. I really need to read Night on the Galactic Railroad. Thanks for pointing out all this stuff which would have otherwise flown right past me.

    My first thought was that Masako’s line that she isn’t a “pathetic hunter” was referring to Ringo. They seem to have similar goals.

    And Himari’s actions do seem to take on a new light now. The “We’re at a good stopping point now” and the head pat felt almost ominous.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      vucubcaquix: No kidding. Everything about Himari is absolutely pregnant with meaning now, which constantly reminds me of how absolutely solid episode 9 was. So much information revealed in a span of about 20 minutes, and they even managed to make it “all just a dream” without the audience feeling as if they were cheated in some way.

      As for Masako and Ringo, the rivalry inherent over their possesion of the diary could be a good genesis for the feelings behind that line, since she obviously has been keeping tabs on both Ringo and Kanba despite those two not paying much to the other.

      ajthefourth: Well my friend, if you’d like a translated online version, which is what I’ve been reading, and re-reading, and re-reading, there’s one here. ^ ^ I’ll be following the story and the themes introduced by both the series and the book very closely. Enjoy.

      Masako’s line that she isn’t a “pathetic hunter” is a bit underwhelming when surrounded by the bits and pieces of her character that were given to us in this episode. She says she’s not a pathetic hunter; however, her actions would speak otherwise; if not pathetic, then at least toothless. Interestingly enough, the scene I spoke of in Night on the Galactic Railroad isn’t the only scene in the book where the grimness and specter of death are removed, leaving a slightly less harmless and more approachable result. I look forward to seeing if Penguindrum will continue this trend. Thanks, as always, for commenting!

  4. Molly K.

    And let us not forget that Masako brought up another reference that might have some bearing on her character/the plot: Ariadne and the red string. In the Greek myth, Theseus (an inhabitant of Athens) volunteered to slay the Minotaur that had befallen their town years before and Ariadne fell in love with him at first sight. She offered to help him by giving him a sword and a red string to find his way out of the labyrinth where the Minotaur slept. After he slew the Minotaur they eloped and ran away together… though some speculate that he wasn’t really as fond of her as most would believe. Dionysus was already married to her when they ran away together, so godly retribution was a given in that Theseus ‘left’ her and Dionysus ‘married’ her. What’s interesting to note, however, is when she died her wedding diadem was made into a constellation: Corona Borealis.

    There’s much more to Ariadne’s story than what I’ve listed so I’d recommend reading the mythology of it to get it all. However, Masako calling Kanba the ‘treacherous hero who followed Ariadne’s read thread’ is no accident, especially is Kanba is Theseus and her Ariadne. It seems to me that both sides are heavily influenced by marriage and the concept of a ‘bride’ as well as the concept of abandonment and forgetfulness. Seems like there are a lot of parallels between Himari and Masako in this respect at least. It’s also of note that Ariadne ‘died’ when she was slain by Perseus and was taken to Hades, only to be rescued by Dionysus and made into a god.

    Regardless, I’m curious on who else on Mario/Masako’s side has a penguin. The Takakura family have three with Himari being the one to initiate the survival strategy. Could there be one other on Mario/Masako’s side? And where’s Mario’s penguin? Am I the only one that noticed that Mario doesn’t have a penguin following him around like Himari does with Threetie? Perhaps the one shot of him doesn’t conclude anything but it seems curious the first shot we have of Mario in ‘survival strategy mode’ doesn’t include his penguin…

    • Very interesting is Kanba is Theseus and Masako is Ariadne, considering Theseus basically used Ariadne while it was convenient for him, promised her marriage, then ditched her. Kanba’s reputation as a but of a womanizer would fit here, making Masako a jilted lover!

      It’s also worth noting that the ending sequence, which I find has a lot of bride-like imagery, includes an image of Himari holding one end of a red thread…

      • hikoboshiandorihime

        to Curuniel
        ajthefourth: Hnnn…Masako does say Ariadne’s thread, which, if she’s painting herself as Ariadne and Kanba as Theseus, would possibly make her a jilted lover. I’m torn between this idea and the idea that Masako is simply using this imagery to get to Kanba, in which case Ariadne would refer to any and all of the three women whose memories were stolen (and whose gifts appeared in sequence). Both images paint him in a negative light, and I”m hoping that the series delves deeper into his feelings for Himari soon.

        The ED does have a lot of bridal imagery, specifically with Hibari and Hikari preparing her. They dress her, they chatter with her, and finally, they leave her to be on her own. This is all under the guise of a stage performance; however, this type of scene occurs countless times with the women in a bride’s life preparing her for the big day. Himari’s outfit also varies from the two in the ED, having a large, white bow in the back. Sanetoshi does say that Himari is the bride of fate, after all.

        vucubcaquix: I really like that interpretation, actually. We originally described Kanba as a man of action, but I think we stopped short of calling him ruthless. Though that isn’t impossible either, and would make for a very interesting dimension to his character.

        I didn’t notice the bridal imagery myself, though that’s a bit of a failing in my part since my attention tends to wander by the end of the ED. I’m usually focused on the icons at the very beginning, the badass post-rocky song, and uh… the costumes. Yeah, the costumes.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      to Molly K.
      vucubcaquix: I’ll admit to not giving much thought to the mythological angle this time around, since I was a little more preoccupied with more overt references to pop culture that were occurring at the same time. But after hearing your digest, I think it’s an interesting comparison. Makes for an intriguing insight into Kanba’s character should this prove to be true. Several versions of the myth have Ariadne dying after an indeterminate amount of time grieving, and while the idea of Masako being the reincarnation of Momoka has hit upon some rocky shores, I haven’t given up on the idea of Masako being a resurrection given that she has a penguin by her side.

      ajthefourth: The thing that interests me more about the Ariadne myth is the Cypriote version that states that Ariadne died in childbirth following Theseus being swept out to sea. It’s probably nothing; however this series does seem to focus a lot on maternity and a bit on parenting or varying relationships/communication issues between parents and children.

      As an aside, all versions of Ariadne’s death seem fairly painful: childbirth, hanging herself, and murdered. All gruesome ends.

      Mario is a bit hard to speculate on, although you bring up a most interesting point: we don’t see him with a penguin at all. Also, as I posted in the comments section over on Day’s blog, one has to wonder if Mario ever did this to Masako.

      Thanks for the comment.

  5. Stuff

    This is also something interesting. This is a snapshot I took from the fourth CM for this show.
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/856/tabuki.jpg/
    If you look at the guy in the snapshot, its clearly not Kanba. Possibly Tabuki?

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      You know, honestly, given the issues that this episode had with regards to animation, I’m a bit more inclined to believe that this was a production mistake. Maybe when the CM was produced the character designs for this particular episode weren’t finalized yet or the CM itself was animated very early in the production cycle. I only say this because if this were Tabuki, we’d have to rationalize why Masako would be after him when they haven’t had cause to interact with each other yet. Or if Yuri was the one toying with him there, we’d be making large leaps about about her motivations and possible alliance with Masako (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but still stretches credulity quite a bit).

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  7. Mad Chemist

    One thing that struck me about Himari this episode is that she was listening in on Kanba and Shouma’s conversation about how he got injured. This seems like a small thing, but she almost certainly knows more than her brothers think she does about what they’re doing or is at least starting to pick things up. This combined with how grave the head pat seemed makes me wonder if she isn’t starting to leave her brothers alone so they can think she knows less than she does. Why she would do this, though, is a bit of a mystery to me besides maybe not wanting them to worry about her getting involved in their search for the Penguin Drum.

    Love really doesn’t seem like it’s necessarily a positive force in the world of the show. The brothers and Ringo have already done some morally dubious things in the name of love, and as shady as Masako’s intentions are it looks like she’ll be joining them soon. There’s clearly an attraction towards Kanba on her end, and while we don’t know anything about her relation to Mario yet it’s not a stretch to think that she’s trying to help him for the same reason that the brothers are trying to help Himari. I’m still curious about her intentions for Kanba, though. Is she a vengeful ex trying to hurt him, one who is still in love with him or something else entirely? She’s playing a very calculated psychological game against him, and love aside I think that her intentions towards him are going to be fairly dark.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: I think she’s always known. After all, the series made it a point to show that shot of her chewing obliviously while Kanba argues with Ringo over her fate diary. Himari has been quietly watching and observing the entire time. In this case, she could have wanted to give them some apparent alone time so they could discuss their respective plans (and she could listen in on said plans). If Himari is the driving force behind their actions, wouldn’t she want to ensure that they were on the right track towards doing her bidding?

      If not a vengeful ex, I do think that part of Masako’s interest in Kanba stems from the fact that she highly disapproves of his past actions towards the women in his life. We don’t know if the cake, sweater, and bento were actually Masako. These could just be three things, one for each of his exes that we’ve seen thus far in the series, that Kanba used as excuses for severing ties (possibly because his heart belongs to Himari). In spite of his debonair and careless front, there’s seemingly a lot going on in the depths of Kanba, and one can’t help but wonder, if the theme of punishment and sacrifice is going to take center stage, then perhaps some of Kanba’s actions stem from his own personal guilt resulting from his being in love with his own sister. As you say, the idea of love that is portrayed in this series is rather dark, especially if we’re taking into consideration that Kanba’s romantic feelings for Himari are true. Also, in spite of the fact that Ringo’s almost-rape scene was a bit more innocuous than one would expect, she did try to force him into not only having sex with her, but impregnating her against his will. If Masako is seemingly as desperate as Ringo, but more calculated…we’re going to be in for an interesting ride.

      Thanks for the comment!

      vucubcaquix: I love what you said about love (see what I did there?). The show so far has not shown us a single instance of a loving two-way relationship that isn’t fraught with issues of some kind (incest, rape, detachment) and so far the entirety of the show is just a gigantic love polygon. The closest thing we’ve seen to an actually healthy and loving relationship have been between those of parent and child. And even in that case, the Takakura’s are either missing or dead, and Ringo seems to have a bit of an unhealthy fixation on her father.

      As for Himari, as of last episode we feel that the events that have transpired make it definite that she knows more than she lets on. I still get the feeling that she loves her brothers, but if the reasoning behind getting them to search for the penguindrum is so that she can be reunited with her soul mate, then her love (or at least, longing) for her soul mate outweighs that which she has for her brothers, and will in the long run no doubt be harmful to them.

      • macey

        On the “we haven’t seen a relationship that isn’t full og issues” thing- you’re forgetting one: Yuri and Tabuki.

        But of course, considering how this show goes and the whole thing with Momoka, I’m pretty sure it isn’t how it seems. Maybe Yuri and Tabuki are happy together, but either something’s going to get in the way or it isn’t meant to be. Or Yuri’s a plant by her company. Or Tabuki is a crazy bastard, considering the OP. Or-

        …Yeah, it could go any way with this show. I’m curious about the two of them, at least.

        • hikoboshiandorihime

          to macey
          vucubcaquix: Yuri and Tabuki, that’s actually what I meant by “detachment”. There’s an air of sadness to Tabuki’s character in the OP, and I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that his character is juxtaposed with the imagery of a caged bird. That’s famous symbolism for captivity, and it colors my perception of everything he does. Yes, he birdwatches as a hobby, but as wabisabi pointed out here in number 6, the imagery of caged birds surrounding Tabuki is very telling of his current emotional state.

          He has a very cheerful facade, but there’s a detachment and sadness and forced happiness behind everything he does, and if one partner isn’t committed fully to the relationship (especially one that’s about to enter marriage) then the whole thing will stagnate and resentment will build up over time.

          ajthefourth: I agree with the air of sadness surrounding Tabuki’s character, not just in the OP, but at times during his conversations within the series as well. He doesn’t seem all there, as if Momoka’s death has somehow ruined his passion for anything and now he goes through life fairly emotionless. This is reflected in the caged bird imagery and contrasted with Yuri’s over-exuberance. I think Yuri’s over-the-top attitude ties in to the fact that she’s an actress, and also ties in to the fact that she’s a character who is mainly presented through Ringo’s eyes as a villainess; however, she seems a bit lost as to what to do with Tabuki. I don’t get the sense of genuine affection from either of them, and Yuri’s treatment of Ringo as well as her (sometimes patronizing) treatment of Tabuki speaks volumes about the fact that she’s at least subconsciously aware that all is not well with their relationship. After all, if one was comfortable in their relationship with someone, would they really see Ringo as a threat?

          Yuri’s entire apartment with Tabuki actually resembles a cage. The windows are wide and open to see out of, but there are vertical bars blocking the view. The lighting fixtures, furniture, even the egg-shaped pillow, all reflect the imagery of a caged bird. In some ways, this also reflects Yuri’s treatment of Tabuki that we see. He’s a pretty ornament, and a prize that she seemingly is determined to keep away from Ringo, but possibly nothing more.

          In fact, Ringo’s treatment of him is no different, albeit in an opposite way: she’s determined to love him in order to replace her dead sister. He is a pawn for her to fulfill her destiny, as Shouma realizes almost too late in episode eight. Throughout this series, we see Tabuki being used as more of a tool or plaything than anything else. Poor guy. Thanks for coming over here from livejournal and sharing your thoughts! ^ ^

  8. WG

    Is it possible that Masako is absorbing the memories of the people whose memories she erases? She presents three different bad gifts to Kanba, and three of his ex’s have had their memories erased. Perhaps she did have more devious intent for Kanba before taking on their memories and their love for him?

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Ah! That’s an excellent tie-in that I didn’t even think about! Fantastic! As I mentioned above, the three gifts would fit in perfectly with the three exes, and Masako is using this information to get to Kanba. If so, why? What is Masako’s Project M? Thus far the two people with a Project M are Masako and Ringo. Ringo’s, we know, is a result of her relationship with her parents, and a misguided attempt to reunite her family. We know very little about Masako, only that she is under the influence of (presumably) her brother, Mario, who has initiated a survival strategy much like Himari. She also apparently likes Kanba, but why? Why is he her target? Is she simply another jilted ex, or someone else? Kanba seemed to recognize her, since he said “I remember.”

      Also, the idea of erasing one’s entire memory of a person is very scary. The three people who Kanba has dated recently cannot remember him anymore. The idea that Masako is toying with their memories and actually stealing them from them gives her a great deal of her edge back.

      Thanks for the comment.

      vucubcaquix: Mmm, I really like what you have to say here. One of the reasons why Masako’s recent characterization has me a touch wary is precisely that, you reminded me of just how violent her assault on his exes were. She was dangerous, she was mysterious, she was sexy. This episode is almost a step back in my opinion with regards to Masako, but this interpretation puts a lot of the bite back. I approve.

      The only issue would be Kanba uttering “yes, I remember.” But does he specifically say what it is he remembers? Was it just the gifts themselves? Or the person or persons who gave the gifts? He never addresses Masako by name, and is taken aback when she amorously assaults him, yet he still doesn’t mention her name or make any overt plays at knowing or recognizing her in hindsight.

      Curious…

  9. Whooaaaa that ending was amazing! Another magical penguin hat? That makes things more interesting and makes me think why are there two?! And are there possibly more hats like that out there…

    Another great visual episode with Kanba walking down those numbered hallways and seeing the things he hates. So what will Ringo do now?! I assume she probably will help Himari and the brothers out but we shall see what she decides soon! Guess we could say her “arc” is finished.

    Now to sit back and watch more of this! I am happy to see this series continue through the fall anime season.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      vucubcaquix: No doubt, the new magical penguinhat is going to make things really interesting. I don’t know if you remember, but last week’s episode when Himari got her hat, there was a boy in a room with a bunch of little kids and Himari was there. He shared an apple with her, and that boy is Mario. He’s the same boy with the penguinhat we think. What we don’t know, is if he remembers Himari or not, so we don’t know if he’s looking for her or even still wants to be with her. The show is gonna get crazier now.

      As for Ringo? I wonder…

      ajthefourth: I would hope that it’s just the two. ^ ^ Also, Mario’s penguinhat was foreshadowed in episode 5 when Ringo’s ice cream had a little penguin with a small crown on it, so I suppose we should look for other small penguinhats to appear randomly.

      What is Ringo to do now? My other question is: what is her connection to the Takakuras other than the diary? It’s still a mystery to me as to why Himari/Princess of the Crystal decided to single Ringo out as her target (unless the diary simply is just another “magical” object).

      Me too, blogging it is going to probably kill me, but it will be a fantastic death. ^ ^

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  11. wingblossom

    Good episode, though not quite as outstanding as the last one. I really liked the creepy facility’s design and the depiction of Kanba’s entrance into it — your comments are spot-on, and really interesting to read, as always. I don’t see Kanba as much of a Kiryuu Touga figure, though. If anything, he seems more like Kozue: fiercely protective of family, distinctly with promiscuous qualities to mask incestuous feelings, and a general “my way or the highway” outlook. Then again, if Kanba ends up boxing a kangaroo in an upcoming episode, I might have to change my tune.

  12. hikoboshiandorihime

    ajthefourth: Yes, episode nine was fantastic. It was drenched in It was the series’ turning point as it makes its way towards the end of the first cour. You can see above my comment to Blackholeheart where I address the similarities to Touga (mainly that I believe he knows a lot more than he lets on). Kozue is an interesting and possibly more apt comparison; however, with the exception that she wasn’t looking out for her family in the way that Kanba seems to be (by attaining money from Kiga in order to stay at their parents’ house).

    If Kanba ends up boxing a kangaroo I will laugh. Also, will we see a Tsuwabuki? He was always adorable. Thanks for the comment! ^ ^

    vucubcaquix: I always feel a touch out of my element when making direct comparisons to Utena, since I’m not finished with the Black Rose Arc just yet. Not finishing Utena has kind of allowed me to regard Penguindrum on it’s own without the filter of the previous work informing all of my opinions on this show.

    Though I’d argue that the penguins served a Tsuwabuki type role for the majority of the series.

    I appreciate your sentiments, since we’re absolutely loving the series so far.

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