Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 15

"Stop!!"

ajthefourth: In what appears to be a pivotal episode in the series, I’m going to start us off with something simple, but nuanced: characterization.  Once again, we’re presented with Shouma’s inability to do anything, even when he tries to act.  In a way, he’s reverted back to his self from the beginning of the series: an inept and fairly useless person.  We see his penguin spraying for bugs, this time around being beaten to the punch by a nearby frog.

In the scene above, as he bursts forward eager to save Ringo, he slips and falls on a bottle that his penguin has carelessly left on the floor.  The series is again implying that Shouma will never be able to move on, will never be able to truly act until he comes to terms with his “fate” and pushes past the guilt that has been passed down  onto him from his parents.  This is why, unlike Masako, he cannot act in tandem with his penguin.

In the end, Masako disrupts the scene, along with Esmerelda, but is still unable to be effective because she doesn’t actually gain the true diary.  This continues the series’s trend of leaving Masako’s character up in the air for the audience to interpret one way or another.  She has “paid her price” according to Sanetoshi and is one with her penguin, but on the other hand, she fails to obtain the object that she desires, rendering her actions useless.

Lastly, I’d like to have a word about Momoka.  Previously, we had speculated and drawn the conclusion that it was Momoka herself who was special, which remains true in this episode, in spite of the fact that Momoka uses a mystical object, the diary, in order to accomplish miracles.  It’s the intention and thoughts behind Momoka’s actions that make her special, and the fact that she gives of herself so easily even with a price to be paid for each and every change that she makes to fate.

Lest we forget what the entire first arc of this series portrayed, others have been striving, accompanied by the very same diary, to change or act out fate as it was written.  However, Ringo, and now presumably Yuri, have hardly had the same drastic and immediate results that Momoka was able to accomplish.  Is it because they are not paying the price, or because their intentions behind their actions are not weighted with the same convictions as hers?  To begin the conversation that David is about to continue, how does one go about translating and interpreting the words of someone who was so very important or above them, in terms that they themselves can understand?

vucubcaquix: This show is nothing if not bold. In our previous post, the title card hinted at the Luciferian nature of Yuri being the “Princess of Lies” and the underlying tragedy of her character. We also made a subtle statement about what the show was implying about Momoka, but the title card of this episode once again laid it plain for us.

“The Savior of the World.”

Momoka is an allusion to Jesus Christ.

Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, let me explain why I believe this. Momoka believes that there is nothing ugly in this world because God himself made it. There is beauty in everything because it was designed and created, and thus everything is something to be loved and cherished. She loved Yuri with no reservations, despite Yuri’s insistence that she was without beauty, thus outside of Creation and unable to be loved. Momoka refutes this, and explains that she is able to change fates with her diary and a small bodily sacrifice. She senses Yuri’s impending death at the hands of her father (a “Father of Lies” if ever I saw one) and takes it upon herself to alter Yuri’s fate. The cost is great, but Momoka doesn’t mind since she does it out of love.

This is a parallel to the Christ story. The son of God was sent to Earth to alter the fate of humanity, which was originally condemned to death as the price of its ugliness and sin. The price? His death by crucifixion. The only means to alter the fate of humanity which he loved, was through a bodily sacrifice that ended in his ultimate demise. That is the story that has been passed down, and that is the story that is celebrated across all of the denominations and sects. There may or may not have been a fetish present per se in the original narrative, but the record of this story is presented as gospel to those who suffer and wish to escape from their fates. Yuri herself claims in her final flashback in this episode that she was “forgiven for her sins” as we see Momoka sacrificing herself through self-immolation without hesitation.

That language is not accidental.

"I was forgiven for my sins."

So what does this mean for the series as a whole? Momoka uses her diary as a means to alter or defy fate. I think our interpretation of Shouma’s allegory wasn’t completely off. We wrote about how it was the ashes of the torch that is the equivalent of the Penguindrum, which is what is used to alter fate. From what we’ve learned in this episode, the diary alone can do nothing, but a bodily offering in tandem with the desire of the reader is everything. The reader literally has to become ash for their wish to come true.

We don’t know if the power of the diary is tied to Momoka directly, though the OP alludes to something sinister. And we do know that Momoka was on the train that was attacked on March 20th, 1995. We speculated before that Momoka may have lived since no body was found on the train, but we can gather now that her price for altering fate on that day was so great that her body could not sustain it. What did she prevent? What did she alter? How is the world different through Momoka’s actions? And what is it that the characters who seek the diary wish to accomplish?

"You shall become my greatest masterpiece."

ajthefourth: Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t address the numerous representations of both modern and Renaissance art.  The most prominent piece to be featured is a replica of Michelangelo’s David, which is taking the place of Tokyo Tower, looming over the city ominously. The interesting thing of note here is the background of Michelangelo himself who probably, as one of my art teachers so succinctly put it, “Would have loved to do nothing all day but carve sculptures of beautiful men.”  I cannot help but think that it is no coincidence that Michelangelo’s David, one of his most renowned masterpieces, not-so-coincidentally of a beautiful, idealized man, was used as Yuri’s father’s masterpiece which loomed over the city.  As Yuri says herself, she will never be free as long as her father’s tower stands.  Her father’s tower, the David, a beautiful man.

For Michelangelo, David possibly represented an idealized beauty.  Seemingly, for Yuri’s father as well, this could be his ideal.  This would go a long way towards explaining why her father claimed that her mother could never understand his artistic vision, her mother was ugly, and Yuri was ugly.  This could also point to a reason for his probable sexual abuse and any implied physical alterations to her body.  He tells her that she will be, “His greatest masterpiece.”

It’s also worth mentioning that Penguindrum‘s version of the statue is apparently without genitalia, in spite of the original’s being fairly pronounced; the implication being that Yuri’s father, although he may be sexually abusing her, is possibly afraid of sex himself, or sees it as something dirty and ugly.

There are other idealized representations of beauty present in his studio, and interestingly enough, most of them are female; the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace (Nike, the goddess of victory), along with the male Borghese Gladiator.  However, they are not treated with the same reverence and weight as the statue of David.

"If it were a pipe, they should try to fill it with tobacco." -Rene Magritte

Lastly, let’s return to Yuri’s father.  Our first representation of him is an upside-down chisel framed by a window, which calls to mind some of the surrealist works of Belgian painter, René Magritte, referencing works like The Human Condition or The Empty Picture Frame.  Both are notable paintings in and of themselves; however, this opening shot only serves to get us in the mindset for the screenshot shown above: a pipe in Yuri’s father’s hand, which calls to mind Magritte’s arguably most famous painting: The Treachery of Images, a painting of a pipe with the statement below, “This is not a pipe.”

Much has been said about Magritte and his pipe, or “not-pipe” as it were, so I’ll try to sum it up as best as I can.  The painting itself is fairly ordinary, mimicking a trompe l’oeil style, but not with the mastery that Magritte sometimes showed in his other works, since the pipe itself doesn’t jump off of the canvas at you, but remains a bit flat.  It’s the quote below that causes introspection and controversy: “This is not a pipe.”  It is both true and untrue.  The painting is of a pipe; however, the painting is also an image of a pipe, and not a pipe itself that one could smoke following their dinner while waiting for dessert.  Magritte is challenging us to reassess what we immediately perceive and have a tendency to instantly categorize.  It would be easy to walk up to the painting, see the pipe, say, “Okay, that’s a pipe.” and walk away.  However, what Magritte may want is for us to analyze not the painting itself, but the way that we see the painting.  To use a worn-out cliché, he wants us to “go deeper.”

Oddly enough, it also calls to mind an interesting scene from Murakami’s Super Frog Saves Tokyo:

“I am indeed pure Frog, but at the same time I am a thing that stands for a world of un-Frog.”

“Hmmm…I don’t get it at all.”

“Neither do I,” Frog said, his eyes still closed.  “It’s just a feeling I have.  What you see with your eyes is not necessarily real.  My enemy is, among other things, the me inside me.”

-an exchange between Katagiri and Frog from Super Frog Saves Tokyo.

Murakami, Magritte, and Ikuhara are all asking us to stretch beyond what we see and can immediately process.  Either that or they’re mocking us.  Regardless, I’m going to stick around to see what unfolds.

vucubcaquix: Our friend Shane, also known as @blackholeheart on Twitter, commented on the duality inherent in the series. I finally began to pay attention using that filter and I saw it played out in the narrative of this episode as well.

There are competing ideas regarding the relationship between love and beauty that the audience takes away from this episode. In a very tense and unsettling scene, we see Yuri’s father tell her that she is an ugly child, similar to her mother. He says that ugly things are unworthy of being loved, that ugly children don’t have the right to be loved. This establishes his arrogance as an artist, a creator, and a preference for things that he himself had created. It carries an interesting implication in that there’s an off-chance that the reason why Yuri was considered so ugly by her father was that he did not feel as though he created her, which may further strengthen the allusions and comparisons between her father and Michelangelo and his implied homosexuality. I don’t think that the status of Yuri’s father’s paternity will have any real bearing on the plot, since whatever psychological damage to wreak has already been wrought as he was her guardian during these formative times.

This is contrasted by Momoka’s assertion that everything is beautiful, because everything was created by God. That allows her to love everything, since everything has beauty inherent. It’s an interesting clash that seems like a microcosm of the conflict between theism and atheism and is also reminiscent of existentialism versus determinism & teleology.

I bring up atheism because I thought that Yuri’s father, as a representation of humanity as creator, views beauty in that which is created but does not see or does not believe that the world was created because he perceives no beauty inherent in it. It parallels an existentialist worldview in that there’s no meaning inherent to the world except that which we assign ourselves. Contrast this with Momoka the theist. She once again ascribes a Teleological Argument to prove the existence of God, since she sees beauty inherent in everything around since it was all expressly designed and created.

It was the duality of the contrast of the nature of the relationship between love and beauty in this episode that allowed me to see once again the underlying theme of the series as a whole. That is, this show at it’s heart, is a still a story about the conflict between existentialism and determinism, fate and free will.

ajthefourth: In addition to these potential themes, the series has also been a character study among “those who are left” as survivors or those who have been touched by a significant and tragic event.  A tragic event that was possibly affected by Momoka Oginome and her miraculous power to transfer between the trains of fate.  Momoka disappeared during that incident, and in light of this episode, it would seemingly be because she once again “transferred trains” readily willing to sacrifice her own life for someone elses.  I can’t help but think, when piecing together Momoka’s insistence that people don’t notice that the world changes, and the fact that Tabuki chose the day of the attacks to be late to the train station, that Momoka’s life was taken as a price for saving Tabuki’s life.

Interestingly enough, Tabuki still has those scars on his hand that the series has yet to address.  He also mentions to Ringo that Momoka changed his world in an instant.  This could support the idea that Tabuki is aware of the power of Momoka and her diary, and taking it one step further, is aware of what the diary can do and has paid a price himself (judging by the scars).

vucubcaquix: I found something kind of interesting in my readings for this post today. Turns out that certain sects of Orthodox Hinduism practice a kind of fire sacrifice known as Agnihotra for the purpose of cleansing  and healing or as a form of protest and defiance. I had wondered if there was any connection to the show and then I remembered Wabisabi’s breakdown of Gandhi’s seven social sins. Gandhi was an avid reader and researcher of Hindu scripts and teachings since he was a teen. It’s a tenuous connection really, but I thought it was interesting enough to include as an afterthought here.

21 Comments

Filed under Colloquia, Episodics, Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum

21 responses to “Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 15

  1. Cadentia

    What a wonderful episode, again. Yuri’s father was creepy, so creepy that every time I watch the episode I feel physical discomfort. Poor Yuri, she is really a tragic character. Now I understand why she’s so in love with Momoka, or why Momoka was so special. Like you said, she’s almost an allegory to Jesus Christ, willing to sacrifice her life for anything out of love, Agape.

    Which brings me to another theme in the series that has been discussed before: characters sacrificing their lives for other characters. Kanba is doing this for Himari; Shouma did it for Ringo; Kenzan for child Kanba and Chiemi for little Himari; Masako may probably have done it for Mario (whatever the price was, I think it’ll be an important detail), etc.

    Another interesting detail:

    The series is again implying that Shouma will never be able to move on, will never be able to truly act until he comes to terms with his “fate” and pushes past the guilt that has been passed down onto him from his parents. This is why, unlike Masako, he cannot act in tandem with his penguin.

    Doesn’t Shouma’s guilt and inability to do anything imply this?

    “Neither do I,” Frog said, his eyes still closed. “It’s just a feeling I have. What you see with your eyes is not necessarily real. My enemy is, among other things, the me inside me.”

    Shouma’s enemy is himself, and that’s why his penguin, an extension of himself, becomes more of an obstacle from time to time instead of helping him. Very much unlike Masako and Esmeralda, always working as a team, or #1 helping Kanba when he most needs it, or #3 and Himari being so synchronized with each other.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Interesting that you bring up the idea of self-sacrifice as it relates to Kanba and Shouma in different ways. I’m reminded of this wonderful comment from last week that, among other things, compared Kanba’s and Shouma’s different precipices respectively, the conclusion being that Kanba is far more likely to follow in the footsteps of his parents due to his unwavering and singular devotion to Himari.

      You bring up Shouma and the fact that his enemy is himself. Shouma’s way of dealing with things (even his sacrificing himself to save Ringo) is awash in guilt and the absence of a sense of self. He doesn’t seem to care if he himself lives or dies and is only spurred into action by others (mainly Ringo). His enemy is himself because he sees himself as immoral, in spite of having, quite possibly, the purest sense of morality out of any other character in the series.

      In Super Frog Saves Tokyo, Katagiri and Frog are unable to truly defeat Frog’s archenemy, the would-be cause of the earthquake, Worm. The earthquake is stopped; however, Worm is not defeated. In my mind, Worm can never be defeated because he is representative of the darkness that lives in the hearts of all of us. As alluded to by Masako when she calls into the Tokyo Sky Metro anniversary television program, you cannot have light without darkness. “My enemy is, among other things, the me inside me.” In Super Frog, the darkness had become so bad, and so concentrated, that it had no other outlet but a gigantic earthquake that Frog predicted and prevented, along with Katagiri.

      Seemingly, in the world of Penguindrum, and perhaps as a larger commentary, the state of Japanese society in 1995 (as well as Japan, and the world’s current social and economic state today) reached a boiling point and created the event that the Takakura parents had a hand in executing. Perhaps Momoka was a Frog-like character, attempting to dispel the darkness back where it belongs, disappearing in the process.

      vucubcaquix: Oh man, I didn’t stop to think about the implications this has on agape in the series. Good catch. Seems as though bringing up those themes in a previous post reinforces the allusions to Christ in this episode. I didn’t even think about that.

      The idea of sacrifice is indeed an incredibly important one in this show. I think I first mentioned it along with agape in episode 11 with the imagery of the elephant parent being shot while protecting its child. After the examples you list, I’m starting to suspect that nothing at all actually happens in this show without some kind of sacrifice being made, and it could be the key to seeing Shouma getting both out of his funk, and being affective again.

  2. Great reads on all your posts so far. I’m late to the party, but I think it’s time to join in on the fun.

    I actually have a raging hunch (can I even describe hunches that way?) that this show is meant to be viewed from a highly theoretical and systematic philosophical viewfinder which will eventually help piece together the show’s plentiful but consistent use of symbolism. One strong reason I have is because of the clear allusions to other famous works of literature and art throughout the show; I don’t think they’re chosen merely to reflect the particular scenes that they’re placed in, but to give hints to the viewer how to piece together an overall message. At the same time, the varying levels of analysis that one can take when examining this show is unbelievable– everything about the show is extremely thorough and I highly doubt that it will be contradictory to itself.

    I am curious how the play between circle and line will play out in terms of how often the two are used in the composition and cinematography. Each respectively represents two ways of looking at fate (one notably Western, the other more Eastern) as well as visually reinforcing the multitude of ways events can be interpreted. A line represents a train, the idea of fate as destination, or even duality and binary in that it divides. On the other hand, a circle represents the various train stations and stops, as well as the idea of a wheel of fate (referenced to partially by the word “Mawaru” in the title of the series).

    There’s a lot more to say, but I’ll need some more time to gather my thoughts and perhaps rewatch a few episodes. I do want to leave a closing remark that your identification of Magritte’s work and its significance speaks to more than just this episode: it’s alluding to something about the series as a whole. By this, I mean that the confusion over how to interpret concepts of fate are ultimately grounded in how the characters view and represent things. Like the painting, events in the show could be thought of as the actual moment of fate by the characters, or the events could also be viewed as fate only within the context of them falling into a bigger scheme of things (i.e. the meaning in the painting only arises when you have the representation of a pipe juxtaposed to the words themselves).

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      vucubcaquix: No problem Kylaran, we’re glad to have you aboard.

      I’m with you on the multitude of ways to interpret this show. One of the things that has really impressed me was seeing how the caliber of the bloggers I follow seemed to increase when writing about this show. Everyone has been given an opportunity to look into this work using their specific filters and come out of it incredibly insightful. E Minor at Moe Sucks compares the themes to various fairy tales and supports his assertions with evidence in the narrative. Wabisabi brings her knowledge of kanji and Japanese culture to bear very well. Draggle has really good posts that compare the symbolism in Penguindrum to Gnostic mythology. Catchercatch has studied some filmmaking and other aspects of the creative process for film and animation and brings his insights to the conversation as well. Then of course, 8thsin and Good Haro who are translating the anime and novel respectively and adding their own analysis as well. Can’t get anywhere without them. It’s become a bit of a community effort really.

      The line and the circle, yes. Can I hazard a guess that by Western and Eastern you mean the line to be Western and the circle to be Eastern? I imagine what differentiates the two perspectives is heavily influenced by the dominant religions in their respective regions. Buddhism has the concept of reincarnation and rebirth as a result of karma until you can break away from that karma and achieve Nirvana (I am hardcore simplifying here), but the Greek philosophers also believed in a manner of reincarnation and Socrates states as much in Phaedo saying that the living spring forth from the underworld. (Though there’s controversy on how much of that is Socrates’ sentiment and how much is Plato’s creative license). I’m sure that reincarnation never took hold in the West however because of the prominence of the Judeo-Christian religion. Outside of a few key figures in scripture (Lazarus, Christ, resurrection miracles by old testament prophets) there isn’t a general sense that the dead will return to earth before the appointed End of Times. When you’re dead, that’s it. Game over. No second chances.

      I uh, I’m not sure where I’m going with this so I think I’ll just duck out now. thanks for reading!

      ajthefourth: Hnn…I meant for The Treachery of Images (as well as it’s comparison with that Super Frog Saves Tokyo quote) to represent the series as a whole, rather than this one episode, so I’m sorry if it didn’t come across as such. You put it far more succinctly than I could, so thank you. I agree with the entirety of your comment here, and I would look above at my response to Cadentia, for a few of my thoughts on the overall direction/message of the series.

      Every time I watch another episode of this series, there is seemingly more and more to process, and I can’t wait for the future episodes to possibly address certain symbols that were brought up throughout the series that we may have forgotten about or not touched since the episodes where they first appeared aired. It’s all too much for me to keep track of; however I agree that all of it is pointing to a more singular point that the series is trying to make. It’s a rare series that not only inspires this much discussion, but also shows this amount of confidence in direction that points towards an overall message.

      I like your comparison between the idea of a wheel, or a revolving object, with that of a line as representations of Eastern and Western ideas of fate respectively.

      Thank you very much for your insightful comments. Please continue them in the future!

  3. kimalysong

    Yuri herself claims in her final flashback in this episode that she was “forgiven for her sins”

    But what sins? Yuri did nothing wrong, it was her father who sinned not her.

    Actually it makes me think of Shouma & Kanba who seem to think they are responsible for their parents crimes (the original sin?) but in the end I highly expect that the story will say the opposite of that and that a child is not responsible for the sins of their parents,

    Anyways excellent blog I am sorry I did not find it early. I’m sorry I don’t have anything deeper to add.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: What matters to the narrative here is not what we think (I also think that Yuri did nothing to deserve this negative attention from her father, and further, did nothing *wrong* to be considered a “sinner.”) but what Yuri herself thinks. Due to her father’s actions and continued physical and emotional abuse, Yuri believes herself to be guilty of the sin of ugliness, or perhaps believes herself to be ugly because she carries sinfulness within her person somehow. In spite of the fact that it isn’t true, since Yuri herself believes it, this is why she says that Momoka forgave her for her sins.

      I certainly hope that Kanba and Shouma, through the narrative, will come to the conclusion that you mention: they themselves are their own persons, and shouldn’t carry with them the guilt of their parents’ mistakes.

      Thank you!

      vucubcaquix: It’s easy for us to see that Yuri is not at fault since we have the perspective of outsider and audience, but it’s much different from Yuri’s own perspective. She’s been treated like this for an undetermined amount of time, and she has a victim’s mentality.

      What happens with victimization is that the victim will feel that everything is their fault, and unjustly so. The victimized mindset can come out of a prolonged and systemic pattern of abuse that shapes a person’s view of themselves or through a few incidents during a sensitive period of development. Those who’ve been traumatized in childhood can have certain negative aspects and traits manifest themselves either soon or later in life, but it’s never insignificant.

      Yuri uses the term “forgiven for her sins” because she truly believes she is responsible for being ugly and of her mother. She can’t know anything else because she’s been victimized by her father for who knows how long at that point. That fact that Momoka was able to affirm her value explains why Yuri is so enamored/fascinated with her. She is her salvation, not just in the plot of the show, but psychologically as well.

      Too bad Yuri seems to have developed some severe codependency issues… but that’s neither here nor there.

  4. Very interesting review. This anime is becoming darker and more complex with every episode.

    The part with Yuri’s father kinda reminded me of the Utena movie. In the part where we see Touga’s adoptive father, he look a lot like Yuri’s father, even up to the smoking pipe: http://ohtori.nu/galerie/v/movie/screens/2/Movie_Screen_0388.jpg.html

    Ikuhara being as he is, I doubt that this is just a coincidence.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth:Oh I definitely think it was purposeful. If there’s anything to be drawn from it (in addition to the fathers both possibly sexually abusing their children) I think it may be a nod to the possibility of Yuri, in spite of sexual abuse, retaining a bit of her own nobility (much like movie Touga manages to retain his princely air and character well enough to continue to have a hold on Utena’s heart).

      Another possibility is that the Utena movie, as well as Penguindrum, is referencing the Treachery of Images, once again telling us to look beyond what we immediately process with our eyes.

      vucubcaquix: LA LA LA LA I’M NOT LISTENING!!! (haven’t finished utena/seen the movie)

  5. I’m not sure I follow the idea of beauty and love as duals, typically the two concepts have to be in eternal opposition, for example, good and evil, God and the devil (we could definitely see some of this in the episode) and matter versus spirit. Beauty and love don’t really seem to be contradictory to me.

    Also, I would disagree with the idea that Momoka loves everything because it is beautiful because it was created by God. Rather, everything is beautiful because Momoka loves it. And Momoka loves everything because she loves herself. Contrast this with Yuri, she hates herself, and hence thinks nothing is beautiful (except Momoka).

    This is the essence of the Christ story that you neglected to mention: that God died and became the Savior of the World because he loved it.

    Also, this could be seen as a piece of dualism in this episode: love and the lack thereof. If Momoka is actually the penguin hat (either way, it seems that she’s in the library now) she is a god of sorts, in opposition to Sanetoshi. It’s still unclear what his motivation is, but I would guess that it isn’t love.

    Also, what fetish are you referring to? ‘Cause Jesus was wrapped in bandages too. If it’s that she was a loli, well, Jesus loves the little children. I’m kidding, I’m kidding, don’t look at me like that!

    Thanks for a thought provoking post as always! Don’t have anything to say about the art stuff, unfortunately.

  6. “Murakami, Magritte, and Ikuhara are all asking us to stretch beyond what we see and can immediately process. Either that or they’re mocking us.”

    I have this question: There are those who don’t like Penguindrum because of the non-forward storytelling and instead it heavily relies on understanding of visual cues to get the gist of the story and possibly the allusions made by the visual cues. Certainly its not an anime for everyone.

    Could it be that this episode is Ikuhara’s subtle way of mocking other audiences who dropped the anime or don’t like the anime because they can’t go further the visual cues?

  7. Lots of rambling here, but I’m just trying to piece together my thoughts on Momoka.

    I can believe that Momoka died to save Tabuki’s life but if that is the case I don’t think she saved him from dying in the attacks.

    The reason is that Yuri’s story made it clear to me that Momoka’s punishment is related to how much she altered fate. It is not an “eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” situation. Yuri was meant to die and Momoka saved her and was relatively unscathed. She would have healed from those injuries just fine. So why would saving Tabuki kill her?

    As I see it, Momoka is clever about how she saved Yuri. She didn’t do something like bring her back to life, or just kill off father. She took away the source of Yuri’s father’s power. That statue that brought him the fame and the time to abuse Yuri. She also didn’t just erase the statue, she replaced it with something else. So instead of changing the entire landscape, she just switched the building. This isn’t a large alteration of fate. Just by chance, instead of Yuri’s father someone else was chosen to design a building for Tokyo. The biggest alteration here would have been rewriting everyone’s memories.

    So for saving Tabuki she could have easily altered fate to have him not hear his alarm clock. That’s not a big change, especially since she isn’t going back and changing the past like she did with the statue.

    Also, another one of Momoka’s powers seems to be some ability to see into the future. So I’m thinking Momoka knew the attacks were going to happen and she used them as a cover. Not because she’s still alive or anything, but because her death was unnatural and her own doing. She just didn’t want anyone to know the true cause of her death.

    With all this in mind, whatever Momoka died for was some huge alteration of fate. She changed something big and I’m not ready to say it was Tabuki’s life. Not unless saving his life somehow causes some giant ripple effect. But as it stands, Penguindrum doesn’t seem to be butterfly effect universe. It didn’t matter if Yuri lived or died. And if Kenzan traded his wife’s life for Himari’s it seems to me that it didn’t matter which one of them died either.

    Lastly, if Sanetoshi is the goddess, isn’t it interesting that he inflicts punishment onto others while Momoka took the punishment onto herself?

  8. Great episode aside from Yuri’s creepy ass father! Damn well you are both right on the money about him being attracted to himself or other guys, and the fact his building is modeled that way. It was great to see Momo this time learning how she met Yuri the first time, and of course that dairy of hers it seems like whatever she writes down she had to pay the “Punishment” for. I wonder if it works that way or not? Like writing that someones house burned down resulting in Momo getting burned for changing fate?

    @Aj you are sooo right about Shouma and his penguin! They never ever work together and usually ends up with Shouma getting hurt or failing, like eating that cake and this episode slipping on those bottles poor guy! Maybe one day he will learn how to work with his penguin until then it still makes me laugh…

    @Vuc Wow! Yeah I never thought of Momo as the “jesus” character very interesting I guess that diary has some power to it after all, unless Momo is just special that way? I wonder if you have the full dairy can you alter fate? I still think Momo was the only one able to do so. Then again who knows! It might work for anyone willing to take a punishment for some one else.

    Thanks for the awesome read! Always fun <3

  9. Billinda

    The pipe allusion to Magritte reminded me of the episode in which Masako tells Kanba that for her, art is truer to her than reality. It seems to contrast that, in which art depicts the idea or aesthetic appearance of something but isn’t the actual object, meaning or idea. In a meta way, this anime itself explores a series of things: love, beauty, fate/free will and so on but in the end it’s still a shade of “reality.” What is the function of art and how does it fit into reality?

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  14. I’m coming in late on the comments for this ep, but I am currently addicted to re-re-re watching this show.

    Did anyone notice how Yuri’s eyes changed colour; blue when she was with her father, and violet when she was with Momoka. They changed the moment her father told her she was ugly…in one frame blue, then the drama bomb detonated, next frame her eyes turned violet. They go back and forth. Even in the previous episode, they are typically blue, but change to violet whenever she thinks about Momoka.

    I don’t know if this has anything at all to do with the plot, but it is a beautiful detail none the less.

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