Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 24 END

“As it turns out, living was a punishment.
I’ve been punished in small doses living as a Takakura.
…But, still, we were together.
We took all the punishments, no matter how small and trivial.
They’re all precious memories.
Because the only reason I felt alive was because you two were there.”

-Himari Takakura, Mawaru Penguindrum, Episode 24

What is true happiness?

"Shouma. I have obtained true light!"

ajthefourth: Supposedly, this is the question that Kenji Miyazawa set out to answer when he wrote Night on the Galactic Railroad, after a long train ride he took following his beloved sister’s death. For as much as Night on the Galactic Railroad is a story about getting over someone’s death, and living on without wallowing in sorrow, it is also a story that celebrates life and people. As Giovanni journeys on the mysterious Milky Way Train with his deceased only friend, Campanella, he learns not only to live on following Campanella’s death but possibly a way to live as well: by getting to know other people.

Himari Takakura said as a child that living was the punishment. She repeats it here while being torn to pieces by glass shards, which we had previously seen as a representation of the remains of abandoned and isolated children who were crushed in the Child Broiler. There are things that cut into people every day as they live because, yes, sometimes living is hard. However, something that makes it less hard and far more bearable is the love of other people. In a way, the line, “I’ll share all of your punishment with you.” really meant, “I’ll share my life with you.” The latter has a far more positive connotation than the former, but essentially they mean the same thing. Sharing the punishment of living means easing that person’s pain in order to make living bearable again. People may not realize this, perhaps because there is extra weight attached to the idea of “sharing someone’s burden” or “easing their pain” to the point where one might think that they would have to perform some grand gesture, but they do this every day by the simple act of getting to know other people.

If I’m repeating myself a bit, it’s only because this is where Mawaru Penguindrum shone brilliantly for me personally. It’s a very simple concept, getting to know others, with far reaching implications. All of the other things in the series: the lofty philosophical concepts that my blogging partner so adores, allusions to religion (Christianity and Buddhism for the most part), use of literature, use of fairy tales, and the bold decision to set the stage against a specter like the 1995 Tokyo Sarin Gas Attacks were pointing to this one overarching simple message. How do you prevent invisible children? Get to know them and tell them that they are loved. How can you prevent a tragedy like the gas attacks from happening again? Learn about what makes people feel as isolated as they do. As Haruki Murakami says near the end of Underground, most of the people who join cults are not disadvantaged or crazy, and actually quite intelligent people who raise the same philosophical, religious, and existential questions that each and every one of us do. Murakami even laments the fact that it’s precisely the people who are introspective and have the potential to be the most critical of a stagnant society that end up resorting to such violent methods.

“But at the same time, who would ever think, ‘I’m an unimportant little person and if I end up a cog in society’s system, gradually worn down until I die, hey- that’s okay.’? More or less, all of us want the answers to the reasons why we’re living on this earth, and why we die and disappear. We shouldn’t criticize a sincere attempt to find answers. Still, this is precisely the point where a kind of fatal mistake can be made. The layers of reality begin to be distorted. The place that was promised, you realize, has changed into something different from what you’re looking for.”

Haruki Murakami, Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche

"Even if fate steals everything from them, the loved children will definitely find happiness."

To put it in a different perspective, let’s say this: Kanba was chosen. He shared the fruit of fate with Shouma, who it turn shared it with Himari. They became a family, until their fate and love were torn apart by Sanetoshi’s attacks. Momoka was chosen. She shared the fruit of fate with Tabuki and Yuri. Tabuki and Yuri were emotionally torn apart when Momoka sacrificed herself to stop Sanetoshi’s attacks. Emotionally stunted, they shared the fruit of fate with no one, until discovering love with each other after everything was revealed. Sanetoshi was chosen. He shared the fruit of fate with no one. Faced with the same questions of why, but isolated and sharing with no one, he instead fostered anger and hatred along with a desire to destroy the world. His half-successful attempt at destruction just so happened to be what ripped and separated our other parties who shared the fruit of fate (Yuri<Momoka>Tabuki, Kanba>Himari>Shouma).

If one listens to Mawaru Penguindrum, or to Night on the Galactic Railroad, true happiness is found in loving other people. Cliché, simple, but no less powerful or meaningful for being so.

"Let's share the fruit of fate!"

vucubcaquix: It’s here. It’s done. Effusive praise aside, I honestly haven’t been this swept up in an anime in many years. Penguindrum relies on certain narrative techniques to such a degree and frequency and to varying degrees of success that the final product appears to be a bewildering incoherent mess to anyone who hasn’t paid an encyclopedic (read: obsessive) amount of attention to the smallest details of plot and characterization. But, despite my attention span’s notorious absence in most everything I apply myself to, Penguindrum was something that had me rapt.

In our first colloquium, I had made the bold proclamation that the narrative thrust of the story was going to be centered on the conflict between existentialism vs. determinism, or fate vs. free will. I will admit that I was a bit off the mark. However, the musings on existentialism were not in vain. These past two episodes had Sanetoshi revealing the impetus to his actions.

Alienation describes how a person can feel disconnected and dissatisfied with society, and informs a lot of the angst that one feels between the responsibility to themselves and their principles, and to others. Sanetoshi is an embodiment of this angst, or more aptly, an embodiment of the anger that one feels if the dissonance between the self and the other is too high.

Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a famous play in which he examined the nature of human interactions. The Existentialists have all thought and written about the fundamental isolation that indivudual people feel from both each other and the world at large, and Sartre posited that the individual person has an innate desire to reach out to each other to bridge this isolation. But in getting to know the “Other”, our self-consciousness has a “masochistic desire” to be limited. After all, hell is other people.

Sanetoshi’s reaction to this walling off of the self to others was one of frustration and anger. His solution to it is the metaphorical and literal destruction of the self which entails the destruction of the world as well. There is no greater unifier in the grand human scope of all things than death, and Sanetoshi believes that fully.

"As I could not, residents of the boxes like you could never gain anything. You will all simply disappear without leaving anything behind in this world."

But what else can possibly bridge this divide and pierce the isolation that one feels from the other? Greater minds than I have tackled this question using the brunt of their time alive as collateral, though I humbly suggest Søren Kierkegaard’s approach. To achieve what he calls “selfhood”, one must have a purpose that defines for us the meaning of our lives. A type of objectivity is necessary for this, but neither is one motivated enough to find meaning in life through pure objectivity. No, Kierkegaard believes that what one needs in addition to that sense of objectivity is a sense of passion, desire, and commitment.

What can be more passionate than reaching out to express the love you feel for an “Other”? This is strong enough to imbue a person’s life with meaning, to inform the direction of the arc of their life, to pierce through the box that is the self. This is integral to an existential tenet that one must supply their own meaning to life, since there is none inherently provided.

To love one another is a way to traverse the chasm that is the isolation we feel from others. Penguindrum through its sometimes convoluted storytelling and use of symbolism and metaphor is a story of a few lonely individuals seeking each other out in an uncaring universe. Their reach for each other staves off the hunger and thirst we all feel when we’re isolated from each other when we are in the boxes known as the self. And the connections they make are enough to ease the burden that is living, as my partner eloquently states, and strong enough to alter fate. Each and every little connection we make alters the fates of those around us, and they in turn alter ours.

vucubcaquix: If I can be a touch sentimental here, I just want to quickly thank the readers and commenters who came to us every week and indulged in our ridiculous ramblings and pushed back on us to make sure that we clarified how we felt. I don’t consider myself a disciplined writer, but through the little connections that I’ve made in the digital ether I’ve found the motivation to press forward every week. I’m a person who is rather keen on the idea of people coming together, even if only to exchange thoughts and ideas on trivial matters like anime, but the small connections that I feel from each and every one of you is no less important than any other. How fortunate it is that Penguindrum, the first show I was able to write about from beginning to end, has at its core the very themes within it that I am very invested in in my life.

Thanks.

68 Comments

Filed under Colloquia, Episodics, Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum

68 responses to “Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 24 END

  1. Blackholeheart

    In the end I return to form and I don’t want to approach this final episode analytically but as a amorphous feeling, the beauty of love, loss, triumph, sacrifice, unlooked for gain and longing for what might have been. Instead of staying with Sanetoshi with his endless shelf’s of codified knowledge for now I’m walking away with Momoka and her soft, brightly colored hats. As usual, I think Ikuhara is speaking to us here. “I don’t know about that, but I’m leaving.” Thank you Penguindrum, thank you Emily and David!

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Thank you, Shane, for sticking with us week after week and reading our (oft-insane) ramblings about this series. Not only did you comment, but you also engaged us in conversation on Twitter as well with your thoughts so thank you. We loved discussing this series and certainly appreciate what it did.

      Catch you later. ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: It coincides with the fact that there are multiple ways to enjoy Penguindrum: take it at face value, let the feelings wash over you, and be swept along the torrents of emotions that well up with the passing of the plot and what occurs to the characters you come to love; or as I did it dive into it headfirst, search for meaning and patterns, fight against the lull of security that the narrative will coax you into. Neither way is “right”, neither way is “wrong”, but is just another inherent duality in the series that lay nascent in the story.

      Week in, week out, we walked a tight balance between trying to pore over the most minute of details and reacting to the proceedings with the sincerest of emotions, sometimes veering heavily in one direction or the other. In all of the mire that was my analytical and intellectual deconstruction that was this show, I never want to give off the impression that I was never emotionally affected by what happened.

      Indeed if I wasn’t, this wouldn’t have been my favorite show this year by a mile, nor would I have had the motivation to write as much as I did for this show. Penguindrum has spoken to me more than any other show in ages, and I’m eternally grateful to it.

  2. Hell is other people. I’m reminded (…again! I love this show for making bridges; love it for how meta-textural it feels) of the end of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

    Santetoshi acknowledges Momoka’s victory, but reminds her that another train will be coming. I cannot help but feel and think that in another reality, within the show itself, that Sanetoshi won, and Momoka reminded him that another train will be coming. If so, how many trains did she wait for and catch up with? Was what we just watched the latest in a line of attempts at changing fate? The Dark Tower. Hell is repetition. But for Momoka’s demure departure. Yes, another train will be coming. Will Sanetoshi take that train?

    I’m overwhelmed here. I simply cannot say much more than this. I feel satisfied with the ending. Its not the reluctant satisfaction of dealing with what I got, but the deep and abiding satisfaction of knowing that my trust was rewarded. That I was privileged to be in this time and place to watch Penguindrum. I’m sad to see it end. I’m happy that the journey was the most important part.

    Thanks to everyone.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: You know what? I think that’s okay as well because, really, there’s always another train coming.

      Sorry to be repeating myself so much, I’ve never read The Dark Tower, but I am going to reference Super Frog Saves Tokyo for a moment. In that story, if you recall my ramblings about it, Frog and the protagonist Katagiri save Tokyo from Worm, a faceless “evil” entity with massive potential to destroy entire cities.

      If Momoka is to be compared with Frog, I’d say that they have several similarities, the first being that Momoka doesn’t hate Sanetoshi, much as Frog doesn’t hate Worm. To the two of them, Sanetoshi and Worm respectively are destructive forces that when they reach a critical mass must be stopped at all costs. They also need a partner in crime, someone that they can either give tools and knowledge to (in the case of Momoka) or someone to fight side-by-side with for emotional support (in the case of Frog).

      While I believe (and this is completely opinion) that Penguindrum is telling us to look deeper at what exactly what causes intelligent and well-reasoned but isolated individuals to seek out such destructive methods of “changing the world” I also am aware that these things will still unfortunately happen. Anger will build and build inwardly until it finally pushes its way out, much like how Sanetoshi kept his playful mask on for the majority of the series until that one moment in Episode 23 when he becomes very angry, “…the boxes, the people, THE WORLD!” This is when, as the series says, “The black bunnies are trying to destroy the world.” Or, in the case of Super Frog Saves Tokyo, Worm builds up enough bile and malice that he is on the verge of exploding. This is when people like Momoka and Frog step forward to defeat these “evil” entities. Of course, they can only be beaten back into submission and are never defeated.

      We see this in another series this past year: Puella Magi Madoka Magica. When Madoka makes her wish, she rewrites the rules of the world, effectively diffusing the concentrated nature of evil that manifested itself in witches, that other side of the magical girl coin. We also see this (sorry if you haven’t seen it) in Sailor Moon: Sailorstars of all things when the root of all evil, Chaos, is released from Galaxia, who had tried to take on all of it on her own. When she frets that Chaos will need to be fought again, Usagi tells her not to worry, because Chaos went back to where it always belonged, in the hearts of everyone.

      It’s cyclical, like most things. Chaos and good both lie in the hearts of everyone. The trick is to make sure that the good parts are the ones that end up shining through, because when they don’t, well, bad things happen. You know what really helps those parts shine through if you’re willing to open up just a bit? Other people. ^ ^

      Thank you so much.

      vucubcaquix: The ending is something that I’m very satisfied with as well. I’ve written about how there’s something about bittersweetness as a taste that tends to linger longer on the palate for far longer than one of straight happiness. Because with happiness, while wonderful, doesn’t lend itself well to the reflection that a bittersweet ending does. And Penguindrum, as enamored as I am with it, deserves to linger and leave a part of itself within me for as long as possible.

      I will not forget it anytime soon, I should not, I can not.

  3. starblacks

    To me, this series’ epicness, beauty and grace not only comes from Penguindrum itself, but from the hours an hours I read, pondered and speculated. It is this amazing fandom, and you guys that made penguindrum so much more meaningful, spectacular and deep. It was a mental exercise every week, comparable to advanced calculus, and this show and the experience of watching and pondering all your words is something I’ll remember for a long time =)

    So thank you for sharing your thoughts with me, the serial lurker, and keep on writing!

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: You know, this has to be the first time I’ve ever heard a favorable or positive comparison that involved advanced calculus. ^ ^

      I’ll fully agree that Mawaru Penguindrum produced an amazing and fun fandom to be a part of. I regret not getting to know the people in the Livejournal community better, since I avoided the episode threads until I had written these posts, and by then it was usually a bit late in the discussion.

      I’m glad that you enjoyed reading us. If you ever read anything we write about again, I’d encourage you to comment as well. We honestly love the discussion since we want our blog to be all about discourse. ^ ^

      Thank you.

      vucubcaquix: It warms my heart to see that the efforts we put into deciphering and interpreting what this show was saying resulted in greater enjoyment for not only you, but all of the others that came forward to comment today.

      It’s hard for me to focus on any one thing for an extended period of time, and that includes projects like this blog, but I meant it when I said that seeing the hit counter start to rise in anticipation for our posts was a real boon to my focus, confidence, and self-esteem. I was nothing in the blogosphere before the advent of this show, and while I wasn’t exactly toiling away in obscurity either, the fact that someone out there had even the slightest regard for what I thought or had to say meant the world to me.

      Thank you for lurking and coming back every week, We’ll be here, writing out our thoughts on what we see for the foreseeable future, and I hope to soon see your name in the comments section after our posts.

  4. -redux

    The only deep regret I have is not having stumbled upon this site sooner. It’s been the greatest- and I stress, greatest- pleasure, reading your thoughts and ideas behind this wonderful, wonderful show- and if anything, I’m glad to have stopped at the last station with you guys. Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts, and keep on sharing them, if you can- I’ve made it that I’ve bookmarked this place to share my ridiculous thoughts and rambles with you guys in the future (hope you don’t mind :D)! This is definitely a show I plan to look back and watch again, and study with new angles, just as I did with Utena so long ago.

    But it’s been a great train ride and really- thank you.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: One thing that will be fun to do is watch Penguindrum a year or two from now with a fresh and more whole perspective. I’m certain that I’ll appreciate it even more as a series without having to dissect it specifically week after week.

      You joined us about…midway, two-thirds of the way through(?) and I absolutely loved your comments, rambling as you said, but also insightful and sometimes as long as our blog posts themselves. ^ ^ It’s because of people like you that we want to continue writing because we are both verbose and talkative people who just want to keep reaching out and discussing the things that we love with others. If we ever write about something that strikes you again, please don’t hesitate to comment!

      No, thank you. ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: Part of that is my fault. If I’m not mistaken, you first came to our blog after I had posted a link to it on my tumblr page with all of the Penguindrum tags on it. Somewhere around episode 18… Had I made the connection sooner than we would have had more time to bounce ideas off of each other and our writings could have been influenced in fundamental ways.

      But in the end, maybe that was fortuitous as well. Recognizing the limited time we had with each other to discuss Penguindrum at its zeitgeist could have unintentionally made it all the sweeter, since there was almost an air of desperation to get across what it is we thought and felt to each other before the train left the station.

      Huh, reminds of those scenes in old romance movies set in a train station. He’s running to keep up with the train as she looks longingly out the window. Desperate, heartfelt words, being shouted at each other before the platform suddenly runs out…

  5. We must thank you for your devotion and for ‘sharing the apple’ of anime with us. I think I’m left hollow since last night I viewed the last episode. I lament the things MPD could have been and it wasn’t. There’s no question now for me that Utena is way better – more clear structure-wise, less talkative, with less confusing ending and less magic. Utena saved Anthy with her own kindness and her own hands. No tricks involved. MPD may have been a wonderful ride, with awesome visuals and music, BUT failed to talk to my heart without melodrama and cheesy symbols (cough*apples*cough*heart*cough), failed to teach me something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. A way lot of holes didn’t help either.

    Still I’d like to see the rest of the WH placats being explained. You did an awesome job there.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Certainly Penguindrum was not without it’s many flaws. However, unlike the probing week-by-week we did in these episodic, I’d like to save my more specific thoughts on the series’s successes and misses for a full review of the series as a whole.

      I will add that I don’t think that Penguindrum came close to the emotional impact that Utena had on me. That series resonated with me personally like few ever will.

      Thank you! I’ll probably do one last post of placards soon. Thanks for your comments and insight!

      vucubcaquix: I had a theory, that symbolism and metaphoric language as the premiere means for storytelling in anime is not employed often because not only does it require a higher suspension of disbelief (or else it comes off as cheesy), but that creators are often not talented enough to be able to present themes and a story without testing that suspension of disbelief on the part of an audience. There was an episode of a current show that has undertones of yuri relationships, and in this episode alone, there were lilies everywhere. A lily in japanese, is known as a yuri, which is the slang for lesbian relationships. Seeing these flowers slathered everywhere when there was no presence of them anywhere at the beginning was jarring me from the storytelling by glaringly shouting out at me THIS IS SYMBOLIC, DO YOU SEE WHAT THIS MEANS?

      When it comes to Penguindrum, this may sound a little strange, but the reason why the symbolism worked so well for me is probably precisely because of how esoteric it was. This wasn’t surface level symbolism like relying on common floriography, but neither was it so dense as to be rendered unreadable to me. Ikuhara seemed to have a solid handle on just how much information to dole out on a weekly basis in order to keep the attentions of the fanbase that was cultivated as each episode aired. Also, I’m naturally drawn to rather abstract and distant philosophical thoughts and ideas, and it impacts me pretty hard when I can see it affect characters that I care about. It reminds me that no, philosophy doesn’t exist in a vacuum and no, it is not worthless or a waste of time to think about some of the more fundamental natures of the world.

      I love Utena fiercely, but I place Penguindrum above it because it mused and ruminated on thoughts and ideas that I have a natural affinity towards, and was insane enough to set them against the backdrop of a tragedy that occurred in our lifetimes. That is bold, that is ambitious, that is outspoken.

      I’ve never seen any anime attempt that with any sense of sobriety before, and I hope that because of Penguindrum we will begin to see that more often.

      • @ajthefourth: Glad we share passion for Utena. Indeed, this series is unsurpassed. It’s classic for a reason. I’m looking forward to the whole review

        @vucubcaquix : I understand your desperation at symbols like lilies and sakura petals appearing from nowhere. But penguindrum did something very strange for me with the symbols. In the process of the series it planted a few here and there and in the ending episode Ikuhara ‘detoned them like bombs one after another’ -like a lj user said- while still leaving them in obsurity. In my opinion Utena had used her symbols better, but ofc that doesn’t mean we have to agree. I like though your enthusiasm, hihi :D

        I really like how you both answer each comment and how you complement each other many times! I wish you Merry Christmas and all the best!

  6. Lagi

    An amazing ending for an amazing series ! And he pondering and sharing of interpretations added a lot to the experience. Thanks to everyone who participated, here or elsewhere.

    ajthefourth: Yeah, in the end it was all about love. Some people seem to be disappointed by that reveal for being too cliché. But when you get right down to it, there’s nothing cliché about the idea that love can conquer all, it’s only a fundamental truth about human life. What’s cliché is the all too often trite way it’s portrayed in media and stories and that was definitely not the case here. In fact, the sharing of the apple and the scorpion fire were probably the most powerful representations of unconditional love and self-sacrifice I’ve seen in years. Enough to remind you what’s so important about it.

    vucubcaquix: I wonder if the matter of fate vs. free will isn’t in fact an intentional misdirection. It seems at first to be the implied theme of the show but the true duality at the heart of the story is only revealed in the penultimate episode and the ending seems to make the point that opposing predetermination and free will is meaningless : it can be said that the twins managed to change destiny at a terrible price but the various foreshadowings throughout the show (such as the discussion about the apple in ep.1) would suggest that this is exactly what was meant to happen.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: I personally love the idea myself, but I am a romantic. ^ ^

      The two most powerful moments for me personally in this last episode were when Ringo screamed, “Let us share the fruit of fate!” on the train, and when Shouma hugged her and told her that he loved her. Both were beautiful representations of love/self-sacrifice (but of course, my opinion is biased since those moments not-so-coincidentally involved my two favorite characters.

      Thank you for commenting through this series!

      vucubcaquix: You’re right, it WAS an an intentional misdirection. However, the true duality of the show wasn’t revealed in the penultimate episode, but was rather in the first episode all along. Take a moment and listen to Kanba’s speech on fate after the first Survival Strategy. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

      Here:

      If there really is an existence worthy of being called a God, I want to ask him just one thing: Is there really fate in the universe?

      If a man ignored fate, and ignored his instincts and DNA to love someone else… Dear God, is he really human?

      Just wondering.

      What amazes me really, is that Ikuhara knew exactly what he wanted to say from the very beginning, but was able to say it in a way that fooled us all at the very beginning. Admit it, how many of us thought that Kanba’s reference to DNA and loving another was a nod to incestuous feelings? While it can easily be interpreted that way, in retrospect it’s a nod to the idea that people have a tendency to shut themselves off from one another, to compartmentalize ourselves into little boxes, protected from the potential pain and suffering that comes with stepping out and getting to know one another.

      And to think, I was focused like a laser on the first part of the speech where the brothers expressed their dissatisfaction with God and fate, but the answer was right there all along.

      Kudos, Ikuhara.

  7. katarius

    Thank YOU for inspiring my brain work and imagination with all your brilliant posts! I have not much to say, but for me the ending was as it should be: without shipwars, double agents, full of colour, tears, joy, symbols and LOVE.
    Thanks a lot once again to all of you, guys, and I hope to take another train with you next time!

    P.S. Now I’m obliged to continue watching Utena and reading Bertrand Russell’s history of western philosophy at last. :)

    • …or read/watch Night of the Galactic Railroad. Or read Murukami’s Super-Frog saves Tokyo.

      • katarius

        Oh, I’m done with it (I’ve watched Night of the Galactic Railroad a year ago, so it’s time to read it) during anticipating every post in this blog, but nothing gonna stop me now. :) Thanks for reminding!

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      at katarius’s first comment
      ajthefourth: Of those two things, I’d say finish watching Utena first. As for the philosophy, of all things we’ve mentioned, I’d personally recommend reading the play, “No Exit” by Sartre over anything else, but of course, I couldn’t be biased because it’s my favorite play of all time now could I? ^ ^

      Please do, we’d love to have you aboard! Thanks for the comments!

      vucubcaquix: Oh boy, I haven’t gotten to Bertrand Russell so I’m not too familiar with his beliefs.

      But yeah, while I was still able to read a lot of philosophy into the finale, it really was a case of just wrapping things more emotionally than anything else. The show has done a really good job of riling up a large part of the fandom, taking them along on emotional peaks and through devastating valleys, that the only thing left was to leave everyone in a collective state of bittersweet satisfaction.

      It’s what all the best journeys evoke at the end. Sadness that it’s over, but gladness that you had an opportunity to be a part of it. That’s Penguindrum to me.

      • katarius

        to ajthefourth: Oh, I’ll try to do my best with Utena, but it’ll be serious challenge since now I’ve got 3d and 5th seasons of Sailor Moon. :) As for Sartre, I have some prejudice about him mainly “thanks to” French author Boris Vian and his novel “Froth on the Daydream” (“L’Écume des jours” in French), where he satirized Sartre a lot (one of this novel’s characters – Jean-Sol Partre – a philosopher whom protagonist’s best friend idolised). Nevertheless, as I don’t want to be narrow-minded and moreover because you recommend it, I added “No exit” to my reading list!

        Thank you!

        to vucubcaquix: I’m not familiar with Bertrand Russell views as well. I only know that he was one of the founders of so-called analitic philosophy. His work “The history of western philosophy” attracts me by its systemic view. It’s nice to have systemic knowledge of philosophy since The Pre-Socratics up to philosophy of Logical Analysis, if it’s in one’s abilities. But I adored Hegel back in my university days, so it explains a lot. :)

        Yeah, philosophy and emotions are highly explosive cocktail and it feets Penguindrum perfectly. Even now when I remember some episodes, I feel same emotions (maybe a bit less rich) like it was for the first time. It’s one of the few anime shows that inspires me to re-watch it. I wonder how MP was receive in Japan though..

        Thank you!

        P.S. It’s never too late to say Merry little Christmas and Happy aproaching Year to you and all your reasers!

  8. japhers

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and speculations on the show- had i never stumbled onto this site, penguindrum would just have been an incomprehensible mess for me, and i would never have truly appreciated the show. I’m proud to admit that i looked forward to this blog’s entries as much as i looked forward to a new episode of penguindrum.

    I’m glad that fate decided to route my train to this destination, my journey with you guys was fun! ^u^

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Awww…thanks! I don’t really know what to say to that other than, hopefully, even if you had never stumbled upon our posts, you would have enjoyed Penguindrum all the same. I do believe that the majority of the symbolism/references have meaning; however, as much as I enjoy picking apart this series, I would hope that one who was versed in none of the art history, philosophy, etc. that we referenced would still be able to enjoy the series and have fun with it.

      Please take another train with us sometime soon. ^ ^

      As an aside, I am loving the train puns guys, keep ’em coming.

      vucubcaquix: I remember when our first posts only had a fraction of the traffic that our latest ones got. Even if we had never really broken out in the larger anime fandom, it wouldn’t have impacted my appreciation of the show nor the enthusiasm of the discussion that I’d approach it with, but knowing that there were others who appreciated our thoughts even in the slightest really did wonders for my motivations surrounding this blog. It’s a difficult line to toe, since if I’m not careful it could easily be misconstrued as gloating, but I am sincerely grateful that I’ve had even a small impact in someone’s appreciation for the show.

      I loved Penguindrum dearly, and it’d mean the world to me if I was able to communicate that clearly enough to others so that my enthusiasm would affect them as well.

  9. .

    I’m just dropping in to give a huge THANK YOU for keeping this blog going! I loved this show so much, and it was partly because I had never thought so deeply or paid so much attention to an anime before. Your blog really encouraged me to open my eyes and to really observe! I don’t think I had ever appreciated anime as an art form before Penguindrum. Anyway, it’s been a lot of fun, and you guys have helped me to look at stories in a more educated way. Thank you!

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Thank you! (Although it sounds like the people you really should be thanking are the producers/directors/animators/etc. that worked on this lovely series. ^ ^)

      Now the next step, the next time you have a series that strikes you like Penguindrum did, would be to comment. We would have loved to hear your insight. Thanks so much for reading! ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: Thank YOU for coming by to read us on a weekly basis! I’ve said it in the post above, but it meant a lot to me to see that people enjoyed what we had to say. Penguindrum scratched a particular itch of ours and we were compelled to write about it week after week, but seeing others enjoy what we had to say was a real shot in the arm. We hope you’ll stick with us and read what we have to say and comment in any way.

  10. Luni

    I’m incredibly glad that Shouma told Ringo that he loved her, I can now sleep at night. Too bad he burns up on her, and they don’t remember each other anymore.What I really loved about this show is that the love it referred to wasn’t limited to romantic love, but also the love between two “brothers” as well. The part where Kanba shared his apple just spoke so much regardless of him never telling Shoma straight that he cared. Actions speak louder than words?
    Thank you for this blog, I probably would have had trouble enjoying this show if it weren’t for the explanations and interpretation in this blog. Now, this anime is one of my most favourites that I’ve watched. I didn’t really share a lot, but I enjoyed reading.
    Thanks for it!

    • Have you seen Hanasaku Iroha? The boy x girl reletionship in that was perfunctory. The real story was the developing love between granddaughter and grandmother. And Sui was there for Ohana to rely up; actions speaking louder than words.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      to Luni
      ajthefourth: Ah…your thoughts are similar to mine as well in regards to Shouma and Ringo. I was so ecstatic when he told her that he loved her (in fact, I think I may have squealed a bit ^ ^) and although I am sad that they don’t end up together, I loved their relationship and appreciated the fact that Ringo’s feelings, which had grown to be so strong, were finally reciprocated admittedly by Shouma. That whole scene (as I mention in a fingerling moment above) was fantastic.

      Kanba was chosen, and from the beginning dared to reach out and share himself with others. Unfortunately, he got lost along the way, although whether he knew exactly what he was doing is still a bit up in the air. I tend to say that he was not a “double agent” as my blog partner suggested, but instead had simply lost his original path. I’m sure that my partner will add to this in his response.

      Thank you for sharing what you did and commenting. As I’ve said in numerous comment responses we absolutely love feedback and comments. If we ever write about anything again that you’re interested in, don’t hesitate to come back and offer up your two cents! Thanks!

      vucubcaquix: Regardless of double agency, there was going to be a turn in Kanba’s actions that would prove to be either deleterious to Sanetoshi’s designs, or just frustrating to him in general. You can argue that that point was never in contention, but if this were a lesser show, than Kanba would never have returned, the show would have descended into an action set-piece, and the themes regarding the Scorpion’s Soul would have been thrown to the wayside and forgotten.

      As it is, the particular love that was displayed between Kanba and Shouma proved to be both very heartfelt and necessary to the themes of the story. I believe it was in episode 11 where I went on about the different conceptions of love according to the Greeks, and in the end the notion of the self sacrificial kind of love wound up being one of the most important forces in this universe and the clearest type to make the overall points that Ikuhara wanted to make about what means to know one another and to connect to them, and how something like that can avert tragedy on a grand scale.

      Thank you for the kind words, and as presumptuous as it may be for me to say this, I love that I was able to impact your opinion of the anime in a positive way even if only a little bit. It started as a vanity project between a student of art and a pretend philosopher, but that others were interested in our musings really warms my heart.

      Thank you.

  11. D’awwww the ending! Lots of praise can be said about this final one, I was expecting something to eventually happen to Kanba and Shouma! But this episode finally explains how they shared fate and gave their lives so Himari and Ringo so they can continue to live. That was amazing! Even thou I felt really bad for Himari who ends up forgetting her brothers, but she did have some feelings left after reading the note.

    Ringo and Shouma forever! <3 I will miss seeing those two

    @AJ and Vuc- Thank you for following and reviewing this! You took a really interesting take on Mawaru Penguindrum! Giving us all something great to read. While I might have some trouble following the deeper themes I always enjoy seeing the stuff you two picked up on, and of course the links always helped :D

    I am really looking forward to seeing what you two decide to take on next for blogging, hopefully you can find a fun series with the winter season.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Awww…Fosh…you were our most loyal commenter so thanks for sticking with our oft-pretentiousness for 24 episodes straight. I also hope we can find some good ones for the Winter season; however, I’m actually not a huge fan of trailers (and haven’t had the time to look at much of anything) so I have no idea if/what we’ll be covering.

      I do doubt that we’ll be covering whatever we decided to blog with as much depth as Penguindrum. These past 24 weeks have basically turned this place into a side-blog for that series and with good reason. Penguindrum was a perfect storm for us and I have no doubt that I’m going to have an empty feeling when this Thursday/Friday rolls around with no episode to watch and no post to write. For all the complaining about being episodic bloggers, perhaps we’ll blog something episodically next season as well, if the mood strikes us. I highly doubt that it will be this in-depth though, because so few series are each and every week.

      Thank you so much!

      vucubcaquix: Thanks pal, I’m really glad you could put up with us every week without fail!

      I hope I have something to say about the shows coming up in the winter season, because like Emily says, Penguindrum was just kind of a real lucky break for us, since there was so much there for the both of us. As for winter, who knows? I know I’m pretty excited for Space Pirates for some reason even though it probably won’t be as “deep”, but maybe it’ll be fun enough for me to want to say a few things about the main characters in it.

      And I’m glad you liked the links we put up! I’m the one that did that mostly, since Emily would rather I didn’t go crazy with the links in my section, but I always found things that were really interesting that I thought other people would like as well (remember that abandoned island?). So I’m glad you found them interesting too! Plus, I gotta say that your comments really kept getting better and more insightful each week, we were always excited to see what you thought.

  12. krizzlybear

    Maji de?

    By virtue of saving watching the latter part of this show until after it was all over, I had to skip out on reading your stuff as of late vuc and aj, but I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there who really appreciate what you did with this series. I commend the two of you with a job well done.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Haha, I don’t know if that “Seriously?” is a good or bad comment, so I’ll look on the bright side and take it as a good thing. ^ ^

      We have had so much fun blogging this series, I am really going to miss it. Hopefully others liked it as well. Look forward to whatever we’ll cover in the Winter, and I’ll look forward to the light novels on your blog! ^ ^

      Thank you.

      vucubcaquix: “You gotta be shittin’ me.”

      Man, this show was a trip, and blogging it just as much if not more so. And don’t worry about not reading all of the posts, because it’d be just as bad as me pestering you to read an encyclopedia at this point. It’s enough to know that we’re both bloggers-in-arms, ready to take on whatever Japan throws at us at this point.

  13. I’ve been lurking around these posts for quite a while, and I’m just as sad that these are over as I am that Mawaru Penguindrum is as well. D: This is one of those shows where you simply cannot analyze every moment just by yourself, you have to discuss it with others to get a richer understanding of it. Or at least, that’s how I feel. There’s just so much to uncover and talk about! Thanks for all the hard work you put into really breaking down the series and going beyond what was just on the surface. You guys are Fabulous Max~

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: I too am sad that the series is over. Ignoring my feelings about its execution as a whole (there are good things and bad things to say), I am incredibly grateful to this series for simply existing in all its glory. There are very few series that come along that have as much to say in such an interesting way as Penguindrum did. So thanks to Ikuni! ^ ^

      “You simply cannot analyze every moment just by yourself, you have to discuss it with others to get a richer understanding of it.”

      This is what I’m going to miss about Penguindrum most of all. There are very few series that inspire such discussion and I doubt that there will be another one like this for a long while.

      Thank you for lurking. Next time, leave a comment or two! ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: I’m going to miss this show a lot too. I asked on twitter earlier whether or not they remember a show cracking their all-time top 5 as it aired, and while I got a few responses, I have to say that Penguindrum is pretty darn close. Besides the themes and symbolism and characters and plot of the show, it’s everyone gathering together to share what they thought that also added to my enjoyment of this unforgettable show.

      I’m rewatching Eureka Seven in anticipation of the sequel this Spring (and if you haven’t seen it yet DO IT NOW), and there’s a character in the first episode who says something important. This guy, Stoner, says that in the long run the content of music and movies isn’t what is important, but rather the memories we associate with them and the relationships we make with others at the time that will stay with us. I found that little bit of wisdom to be rather profound, and incredibly apt to describe how we feel about Penguindrum.

      Memory does not exist by itself, therefore it’s controlled by the environment in which it exists.

      We created a pretty wonderful environment to appreciate and discuss Penguindrum, and that is what is going to stay with me in the future.

      • katarius

        The sequel of Eureka 7 this Spring?! Holy crap, the news is soooo groovy! I only hope that the show won’t be like Last Exile sequel (I know, I’m prejudice, it’s only half of the series, but all those lollies just freake me out).
        P.S. Sorry for offtop!

  14. So….I can’t leave things well enough alone. Like all of you, I have unanswered questions (sometimes those things are a joy, kinda like I said above….love the journey). So, if you will allow me the indulgence, I’ll go over some of my possible answers. But first, I want to share some things about the series that I found so very enjoyable.

    The music. The soundtrack did a great job, and I don’t think any of us are going to forget some of the more poignant or triumphant movements in those tracks. But for me, the greatest pleasure was the OPs and multiple EDs.

    Nornir. Besides my first viewing of Rock Over Japan, this is the thing, the Big Thing that got hold of me. The voice was so unearthly, the music itself so very engaging. It sold me on the series. Visuals aside, it pinned me into place in front of my laptop. I missed it, like I miss all original OPs, when…
    Boys, Come Back made it’s debut. Second Cour, and a change in attitude. It did take me a few episodes for me to warm to it. But once I did, I loved it in equal measure.

    The EDs. Like the Original Op, it held me in place. Dear Future. It made me feel OK that I had to wait a week for the next installment. It’s so driving.

    Ash Wednesday. Or Grey. My personal favorite. The vocals were so very graceful and pushed me into such a deep zone. Tender, sad, yet with a hint of beauty in. I listen to music when I take my daily bus trips, and I have to listen to this track at least once per day. It always make me feel like the Sun will come out, you just have to be patient.

    Bad News. OK, all of us were in shock at the end of Princess of Lies (episode 14). Then this track. This….damn….track. I was staring at my screen in utter disbelief. “I’m going to mess you up.”…then the whistling. Then the words about more grief coming up. But damn, if this song doesn’t rise up in triumph. The vocals were just tipping themselves over the edge. Yes, the revolt is coming. Right? OMG, you never say “Right?” unless you want to tempt fate…..

    Private Girl. This actually shares my number one spot. Why? “You have to love me. You have to let me into your private place” Please choose me. Thank you for choosing me. I swear. I’m 40 years of age. I got maybe 30 more left in me. That scene. Little Himari on that conveyor. It will never leave my imagination. I was so choked up by then. Then Private Girl. By the episodes end, I regained my composure. Then Private Girl. I was choked up again. No single song outside of Dear Future described the intent of a theme than this. Well, the second ED for Hanasaku Iroha comes close. I love them both for different yet equal reasons.

    OK. This bottle of Chardonnay went down really well. I promise to share some more thoughts with you. But now, it’s late, and we all have Christmas to look forward to.

    Dave and Emily. Thank you again for providing such a sweet place for discussion. I hope you both, and everyone here, has a wonder Merry Christmas.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Unanswered questions, man do we both have a ton of those. ^ ^ Perhaps those will come out later in a full review. Feel free to post your questions here though!

      You know, “Boys Come Back to Me.” was actually my preferred OP. From the moment I heard it (before it was even used as an opening song) I absolutely loved it. The horns and strings in the background along with the jazzy upbeat arrangement are fantastic, especially when the chorus kicks in! I just listened to the off-vocal now while responding to you, as a matter of fact. Ah…

      As for the Triple H CD, reviewing that could be an entire post by itself. I’ll just add to what you said and say that last track, HEROS, is my absolute favorite. The moment it is used in the series is perfect, as Shouma is running with the hat to catch The Destiny Express, the sun is setting over Tokyo and this song begins to play. The way it picks up after Sanetoshi shows that first glimpse of raw anger and the bunnies jump into his shadow is just amazingly well-timed. It’s a tribute to ARB’s songwriting that their songs have such staying power and their melodies stand up to being slowed down or sped up.

      One thing you did not mention that I also loved about the series’s music were the background tracks. Two releases have been made of the background music (one on the first blu-ray and one on the second) and both are great. I’ve played them at work before and my co-workers love them too! ^ ^

      Thank you for your comments! I can tell you loved this series as much as we did.

      vucubcaquix: I fell in love with the first OP immediately. I didn’t know the singer’s name until this year, but it turns out that she was a sing for several of my favorite anime songs:

      (this is where I try to find an example Arakawa 2’s OP, but they’ve all been copyrighted)

      I don’t know if you know her name, but she’s Etsuko Yakushimaru, and she’s credited with the singing, lyrics, and the composition of the OP music as well. She’s a very talented girl. She has a band that I’m really fond of too known as Soutaiseiriron (相対性理論 | Theory of Relativity). The songs from that band are in HEAVY rotation in my ipod:

      As for the Triple H character image album, I’m definitely incredibly fond of Grey (Ash) Wednesday and HEROS as well, but the song that really began to climb in my esteem was 朝のかげりの中で (Ashita no Kageri no Naka de | Overshadowed in the Morning).

      It’s in this song where you can distinctly hear that the seiyuu for the Triple H characters aren’t all that strong, but that weakness isn’t a fault but rather becomes a strength for the song as a whole. There’s a certain vulnerability that their cracking voices elicits as they sing that perfectly complements the sadness and desperation of the situation in the show as the song aired. It really gets to me every time I listen to it, and it’s become my favorite after repeated playthroughs.

      • Ah, man….so spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting favorites for me. What I said above, in all likelihoods, is only representative of the mood I was in then. Today, it’s probably quite different. Thou not that different.

        Private Girl is probably my favorite. Like Bad News it followed a very tense series of emotional scenes and tied in beautifully and underscored the feelings of the entire episode with perfection.

        The first track of the first OST. I put that one on my Father’s iPod (along with Sagita Luminis and Credens Justicam from Madoka and the piano versions of Sweet Drops and High High High from Usagi Drop). He instilled a love of classical and neo-classical music in me from an early age. So I returned the favour. He has no real clue what they are from (he’s 74 this year and was never much a man for fantasy type entertainment….so the less he knows the more he can appreciate) but he enjoyed the tracks all the same.

        Thank you so much for sharing those links. I had forgotten that I search for more of her music months ago and didn’t find anything in the short time I had. OoOoO. New stuff to listen too! It looks like these will be a nice contrast to the Hanasaku music I currently got going. nano.RIPE is such indulgent pop.

        I promised a write up of the unanswered questions. I am zeroing in on them at present….

  15. .ink

    Thank you! If not for you, I would have missed several crucial details!

    This was the most epic ending to an anime that I’ve seen in a while. The anime itself is probably the most complex and symbolic animation that I have ever had the pleasure of watching. I would say that I’m sad that it’s over but I believe that it ended perfectly. Everything was built up so wonderfully that if there were 10 more episodes, it might take away from the construction. Once again, thank you for taking out the time to share your views and enlightening those who have missed certain elements!

    Happy Holidays!!

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Happy holidays to you too! ^ ^

      In regards to the pacing, I definitely agree that the episode count was spot-on. Ikuhara knew what he wanted to fill from the beginning and purposefully filled those 24 episodes very carefully.

      And it was no problem at all! We loved blogging this series. Stop by again please!

      vucubcaquix: Happy Holidays there, I hope they were restful and full of presents.

      I’m torn over feeling sad about the end of the show. Since it’s been my favorite show to air in years, I’ve looked forward to Thursdays with such feverish anticipation that it become a focal point for my entire week. Now that there’s nothing coming up this particular Thursday, it feels particularly empty… It’s that bittersweetness that creeps in quietly.

      But on the other hand, I would never want for this show to be extended at the expense of the story. It’s length and the amount of information it doled out in measured amounts contributed to how strongly I felt about it to begin with.

      Now, I’ll just have to settle for appreciating that lingering feeling it’ll leave with me for a while yet longer.

  16. I am practically thankful that I watched this series and thankful that you guys blogged about it. Thanks Vuc and Ajthefourth,

    While I’m pretty satisfied with the ending of Penguindrum overall, my only peeve is that at the end of it all, Only Himari was able to remember the boys. I am so in love with the pairing of Shoma and Ringo and I was hoping that Ringo would remember Shoma at the end Just like Himari does to Kanba though otherwise, I’m pretty much okay with how the anime resolves the Shoma/Ringo pairing.

    Again, thanks guys for a job well done.

    • Lin

      Well, Himari didn’t really remember. She cried, but she didn’t know why.

      As for Ringo…. if you pay attention to the last scene when Himari and Ringo are eating curry, you’ll see there’s a burn on Ringo’s wrist. That’s the “mark” that Shouma left in this world for Ringo, and mirrors the scar on Himari’s forehead, which is the mark that Kanba left.

      So yeah, Ringo/Shouma all the way.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      to Kuro
      ajthefourth: No problem! We absolutely loved blogging this series.

      Honestly, with as many series that leave their love polygons up in the air, I was simply glad for the fact that Shouma finally gathered enough courage to tell Ringo how he felt. For me, that was enough of a catharsis that I didn’t mind so much that they were inevitably torn apart. Surely, Ringo will find her own true happiness in this new world (if you put on your yuri goggles it could even be Himari, haha).

      Thank you for commenting! ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: Pairings, pairings, pairings. I too, was swept up in the madness of pairing off characters in this show. After all, don’t Shouma and Ringo deserve a life of happiness together?

      But it wasn’t meant to be, unfortunately. The show saw fit to stomp on my shipper’s desires, by having the pairing I pushed so hard LITERALLY go up in flames.

      But to be serious for a moment, I don’t know if Himari even remembers the boys specifically, but rather the feelings of the intentions that they imparted with their actions. That strikes me as even more bittersweet, since she’s vaguely aware that someone somewhere did something incredible for her and she may not be properly able to reciprocate them. The best (and really, only) thing she can do is live her live both happily and to its fullest, doling out love wherever and whenever she can just so that her brothers’ sacrifice won’t be in vain.

      Heavy stuff…

  17. Don’t have much to say about the finale, much less Penguindrum as a whole, that other people haven’t said before. But it was an amazing ride, and this series of posts on the show might have been one of the most impressive episodic blog series I’ve seen. Penguindrum’s proved to be a polarizing show over the past few days, but both the quantity and quality of critical analysis it’s provoked across the internet since summer has been amazing to read and speculate over. Looking forwards to what Altair and Vega will cover next, and trying to figure out the right time to watch that copy of Adolescence of Utena I received for Christmas. Hmm.

    One last thing, that I read in a stray comment on 8thSin’s blog. Not my idea, but in case you’ve missed it:

    Remember in the first episode, with the three penguins hiding in the trash bins? Kanba’s penguin hid in the recyclable bin, Shouma’s penguin hid in the flammable bin and Himari’s penguin hid in the inflammable bin. In the end, Kanba turned to glass (recyclable) and shattered, Shouma took Ringo’s cursed fire into himself (flammable) and Himari survived (inflammable.) I have no idea if this was planned from the very beginning but it’s still a pretty neat detail all the same!

    • I think it’s also worthy to note that Kanba’s penguin hid in Himari’s bin, Himari’s bin hid in Shouma’s bin, and Shouma’s penguin hid in Kanba’s, which again mirrors the cycle in which the ‘fruit of fate’ was shared.

      That said, congratulations on providing an on-going commentary to what’s been one of, if not the, best anime of the year. There’s certainly a a bit more to Penguindrum than what’s been touched upon in your blogs.

      One of the things that might have confused people is why Shouma and Kanba’s apples were the Penguindrum in the first place, what are your thoughts on that? I might cover some aspects of the series in my blog eventually too (shameless plug).

      Also, I think Sanetoshi is a pedophile. I mean really, with had child rapists, terrorists, lesbians, stalkers. The inclusion of the implications that Sanetoshi is a pedophile really doesn’t seem far fetched in contrast. Maybe this was his ‘box’? He seemed to show an interest in Momoka, as well as Kanba.

      Also, did you guys enjoy watching Bakemonogatari? Nisemonotagari is airing next season, and I’d enjoy reading what you have to say about it, since I know there’s usually a great deal of symbolical and depth in that franchise too.

      • Yeah, considering Ikuhara’s past history of villains (*cough*Akio*cough*) I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sanetoshi had those tendencies.

        Might be a little more complicated than that, though. If Momoka and Sanetoshi are opposing forces, than perhaps Sanetoshi was drawn to Momoka because opposites attract? Because he as the collective darkness of society was drawn to its light? That leaves the question of course why Sanetoshi was also drawn to Himari, but I’m guessing that being the host of the penguin hat meant that she was immediately marked as an object of interest.

        That of course leaves the question of Mario, but since Mario is the biggest question mark/missed opportunity in the entire story I’m not sure what to say there.

      • hikoboshiandorihime

        to moevertures
        ajthefourth: Since people are still writing about Revolutionary Girl Utena, I have no doubt that there’s a lot more in Penguindrum that we haven’t even scratched the surface of yet. That being said, I’ll look forward to what you have to say if you decide to write that post!

        As for why Shouma and Kanba’s apple was the Penguindrum, it’s my opinion that the apple was simply a symbol for Kanba reaching out and getting to know Shouma when they were both children. For why on earth it was represented as an apple, we’ve mentioned connections to Night on the Galactic Railroad and the bible, but Snippettee over at her blog had an excellent post on the use of apple imagery that provided much food (forgive the pun) for thought.

        I loved Bakemonogatari and am looking forward to Nisemonogatari. I am, however, one of those weird people who doesn’t like to project what I possibly might want to write about. I have the feeling that we’ll be writing about whatever series when the mood strikes us. ^ ^

        Thank you for the comment!

        vucubcaquix: Hahaha I’d be careful including lesbians in your list of examples there, since I don’t know if they’d take too kindly to the comparisons.

        Oh, here’s the post by SnippetTee that Emily mentioned.

        As for Sanetoshi, I’m honestly not too keen on viewing or perceiving him as an actual, finite person. He’s much more of an embodiment of the collective unease that people have in reaching out to each other. He is several negative emotions made manifest. It’s weird for us to wrap our heads around at first, but it’s pretty intrinsic to a lot of Japanese folk belief.

        For instance, the kotodama would be an interesting way of interpreting or viewing Sanetoshi. He is the resentment that builds up from the stress that wears away at us from being isolated from one another, and in my view a good way to explain why he’s attracted or attached to those who are younger is precisely because they’ve yet to be completely subsumed by the box known as the self.

        When Sanetoshi described himself as a “curse”, I think that was the closest we’d ever come to hearing him straight out admit what or who he is.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      to wendeego’s first comment
      ajthefourth: Wow, that’s a very nice thing to say and I certainly don’t take it lightly. Thank you very much.

      Good luck with the Adolescence of Utena, that movie is an experience. I’d say more but you and someone else around here both haven’t seen it yet. ^ ^

      That is a really good catch with the penguins. Great job to whoever remembered that (while I kick myself for not remembering it!)

      vucubcaquix: Polarizing is a good thing I feel, because even though opinion may be divided over what the ending meant to the series and what the series meant as a whole and whether or not the series was executed well even, the fact of the matter is, is that people have opinions. If conversation continues on for as long as it has with Utena, then Penguindrum has a solid shot of achieving the same cult status that Utena has. Penguins already has the advantage of being released in a time when conversation can be facilitated with the ease of a social network, so the insights and revelations that have been brought to bear upon Utena over a decade and a half will occur much more quickly for Penguindrum.

      Of course, that also means that there could also be a shorter half-life on the conversation if it proves that the fandom at large do not have the same fascination with Penguindrum in the long run, or there isn’t as much material to mine as there is for Utena. I’m hoping/leaning to there being much to talk about, as I’ve haplessly dedicated nearly 100,000 words to this show as it aired week-to-week.

  18. Geust

    Thank you very much.

  19. Pingback: Final Anime Images of the Year: December 26th (It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.) « the Check-in Station

  20. I don’t think enough is there to cast Sanetoshi as a pedophile. The implications may be there, true. But that falls short of the reality.
    Sanetoshi is a ghost/curse. He cannot touch anything, he has no physical substance. He also has no hormones, so he has no libido. Now, as a ghost/curse he could mentally have pedophilic tendencies, but I will barely acknowledge how that works with people (because….squick), so how that works with a ghost/curse I don’t know.
    Also, my view on Momoka is that she is alot of things, but a ten year old child is probably the last of those things. IOW, she is different kind of being than human. She is an ideal given a form. A good ideal, to contrast Sanetoshi’s terrifying ideal.

  21. Neriya

    Seemingly a very divergent opinion, but I’m honestly disappointed. I thought when Penguindrum was still climbing to new heights about halfway through the season that it would definitely be the best show of the year. However, for the last 4 episodes I’ve just felt completely disconnected from it. New elements just kept on being introduced long past the time when the director ought to have stopped and started preparing for the finale. Coherence, connectedness, and previously introduced elements were thrown out the window in favour of dramatic scenes which were only loosely stitched together, new twists and increasingly more nonsensical symbolism.

    I really dislike that so many parts of the narrative that had been built up of left dangling over the course of the series were ignored or left unexplained.

    A lot of this centres on the Natsume family. What was the point of the second hat, or devoting attention to Mario if they were never planning on taking it anywhere? Ditto for their family “curse”. Why was Kanba so hostile to that family initially (both personally to Masako, and in general, like refusing the family’s money to treat Himari) other than to fool the viewer?

    What was the deal with Momoka and Princess? If Momoka could have spoken through the hat all along, why on earth did she adopt a persona which is practically her polar opposite? What was her goal in blackmailing Kanba and Shouma into a task she gave them, but withheld important information about? Was the task even possible – if the Penguindrum was love or sharing life/experiences in the first place why on earth did she send them out to “obtain” it when by that point the 3 siblings should already have had it? Why did she say Ringo “probably” had it, when all Ringo possessed at that point was a selfish and delusional love? If Momoka/Princess had a grand plan, it fell flat on its face, since by extending the brothers’ time with Himari she gave Sanetoshi the chance to get a hold on Kanba.

    It was partially galling that after 3 quarters of the season spent disputing possession of the diary and working out what it really is, all that happened was that it was burned up in a ridiculous trap and turned out to be irrelevant anyway since Ringo guessed the spell/phrase when it mattered.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the speculation about the mysteries throughout most of the show, and that the next episode could (and frequently did) take off in a completely different direction from what I expected. But only up to a point, since I also like my stories neatly resolved. The ending they chose disappointed me too, since both Shouma’s relationship with Ringo (which was the best thing about the show), and Kanba’s sudden character derailment were completely retconned. If Kanba and Shouma had faded from existence like Momoka I’d call it a bittersweet ending, but to happily exist, just be completely separated from the ones they spent all the series trying to save just feels half-assed, and only adds to the overall feeling of pointlessness I’m left with.

    • Lin

      “but to happily exist, just be completely separated from the ones they spent all the series trying to save just feels half-assed”

      Kanba and Shouma are not alive at the end. What you see is a reference to Miyazawa Kenji’s novel, and Kanba and Shouma began their travel to the Milky Way (see the stars in the background in the last scene). In other words, they’re going to the after life. But as Kenji said, and Kanba repeats, death is the no end, it’s the beginning, the beginning of a new adventure. And adventure in the Milky Way, and adventure in death.

      It’s pretty much like what happened with Madoka. It’s just that Ikuhara is a troll and wanted to make the whole scene ambiguous by having Shouma and Kanba appear like regular kids at first. But that’s just troll imagery; they’re no really alive.

    • Lagi

      Well, I don’t share your disappointment but I think you’re raising some interesting questions so here’s my take on it.

      “Why was Kanba so hostile to that family initially (both personally to Masako, and in general, like refusing the family’s money to treat Himari) other than to fool the viewer? ”

      Clearly, Kanba has some unresolved issues with his biological father (remember the latter’s “I shouldn’t have chosen you”). But yeah, Kanba’s familial background is one of the things that could maybe have used a few more explanations.
      As it is, we get a broad picture of the siblings’ childhood but one that’s still fuzzy on the details. Perhaps it was intentional, to let the viewer fill in the blanks with his own family history.

      “What was the deal with Momoka and Princess?”

      Actually, that’s probably the point that bothered me the most about the series. I can’t say I completely understand it now but I can hazard a few guesses.
      First of all, what if the princess is actually just Himari ? What if she’s not actually taken over by another entity as we all assumed but just given access to certain powers that she doesn’t necessarily know how to harness ? What if her harsh persona is just a way to express her regrets and fear of death (notice that the princess seems to mellow somewhat as Himari comes to terms with her situation) ? What if she just “turned a blind eye” as she herself admits in ep 22 ? After all, she seems to enjoy roleplaying domineering characters with old fashioned speech patterns (remember that time in the kitchen with Kanba).
      Secondly, we just assumed that her glowing pink eyes were just part of the package when she was channelling the hat but as evidenced in the last ep, this is not the case. So what do the pink eyes mean ? That her vision’s clouded by Sanetoshi, maybe (hence her less than perfect guidance). And that she only truly sees in the last survival strategy, after having learned to “let go” in ep 22 (the same way that Shoma can finally hear Momoka after having undergone his own journey).
      You’re saying “Momoka could have spoken through the hat all along” but you’re taking the problem the wrong way. It’s not that Momoka couldn’t have spoken, it’s that the characters couldn’t hear her before.
      Sanetoshi and Momoka are just the two faces of a duality inside one’s heart, after all. So in Himari’s case, I guess Sanetoshi would be the ego, the part that won’t let go, binding her to this life (quite literally since he provides her with medicine). Just a thought.

      “If Momoka/Princess had a grand plan, it fell flat on its face, since by extending the brothers’ time with Himari she gave Sanetoshi the chance to get a hold on Kanba.”

      I think that’s exactly what Sanetoshi was counting on (don’t forget he’s the one handing Himari the hat). Not only that but by entrusting the two hats to different families with competing objectives, he ensures that Momoka’s halves can’t be reunited.

      “after 3 quarters of the season spent disputing possession of the diary and working out what it really is, all that happened was that it was burned up in a ridiculous trap and turned out to be irrelevant anyway since Ringo guessed the spell/phrase when it mattered.”

      Well, that’s just a classic “Bluebird of Happiness” situation where the protagonists search for a Macguffin throughout the story only to realize that “it was in their hearts all along”. What makes it worthwhile is that Ringo didn’t just guess the spell. It’s only because she’s been through all that she’s been through that she could get the words from Double H, understand their meaning, figure out what she had to do and have the courage to do it.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      to neriya
      ajthefourth: Hnnn…I think the major difference between the reasons why you disliked the last four episodes and I enjoyed them comes from approaching the series differently while viewing. I didn’t find the symbolism at all non-sensical and I thought that the symbols tied in well to what I thought the series was trying to say.

      The keywords are “what I thought” because I don’t think Penguindrum necessarily has a “correct” interpretation. The viewer brings whatever knowledge, bias, prejudice, wonder, that they have and it all feeds into your interpretation of the series and what it has to say to you. It also depends on how each of us is watching the series. I’m looking at it for overarching thematic elements, whereas your interpretation is a lot more plot-driven. From that viewing criteria I can certainly understand your complaints (especially if you like neatly-resolved stories) even if I disagree with most of them.

      That being said, there is one thing you touched upon that did bother me, (and I won’t go into it in too much detail here, since this post is hardly a Mawaru Penguindrum review) the characterization of Kanba and Masako towards the end. Right now there is something about the development of both of these characters that rubs me the wrong way; however, I think a rewatch will be needed in order to pinpoint exactly why I don’t find pieces of their characters believable (therefore disrupting the thematic elements).

      The diary didn’t bother me considering the fact that it was Momoka’s penguindrum; the way that she communicated and came to know and love the ones that she did, namely Yuri and Tabuki, was all presumably in that diary. The reason why it didn’t work for Ringo was that it wasn’t about the people that she truly loved. So was the diary the penguindrum? Kind of. ^ ^

      Thank you so much for your comments week to week, we loved reading and responding to them.

      vucubcaquix: There’s not much I can add to the conversation as I basically agree with what Emily has said here about how we’ve approached Penguindrum similarly. But I do disagree with her on Kanba.

      I’ve had issues with the direction of Masako’s character since at least episode 10, and while I feel that it was somewhat rectified with her character-centric episode in 16, she was never quite the same dangerous girl we were introduced to way back when. I don’t know if I can differentiate this being between an unintentional character derailment, or if it’s just a result of her being intentionally developed along a set of characteristics that aren’t to my particular tastes, but I’ve had a hard time really latching on and connecting to Masako and her issues as a result.

      Kanba however, has fascinated me more than I really realized at first. The show began its examination of love in earnest around episode 11, when I detailed what my interpretations of what the different kinds of love present according to the Greek traditions of it. I think it was in episode 17 where Kanba was having a crisis of confidence, and I began to subconsciously recognize that the onus of the show has basically been put on his shoulders. He was the one that made a fateful decision one day, and he was the one who was going to either have to live up to it, own up to it, or run away from it. It was also around that time that I was entertaining ideas that the penguindrum would be something closely related to the idea of sacrifice, and Kanba was coming to the realization that he wasn’t able to do so with a sincere intention. Ah yes, here: https://altairandvega.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/colloquium-mawaru-penguindrum-episode-17/#comment-1062. The selfless desire to sacrifice of the self, coupled with Kanba’s underlying desire to be useful to the ones he loves, are the driving forces in his characterization and informed almost all of his actions, including the ones that meant forcibly disavowing himself of the Natsume clan.

      I think what I ultimately mean is, the narrative of the show seemed to slowly align itself around Kanba’s actions and their consequences. Once he was able to really come to grips with the implications of what it truly meant to save Himari, he fulfilled that which had been foreshadowed since at least that episode-his eventual demise.

      Kanba has been the most fascinating to me in retrospect, and I think a lot of it has to do with the tension between his selfless desire to help and be of help, and the selfish desire to hold on to the temporary and physical. That tension built up into a fine tragedy that I saw unfold during the show’s coda and played nicely into the themes of isolation versus inclusion with regards to the ideas of the box known as the self. Since after all, reaching out to get to know another and exposing yourself to the hell known as other people is a sacrifice of sorts of your own autonomy, since you are now responsible not just for yourself, but to those you’ve come to know.

  22. jreding

    I spend a lot of time thinking about the ratings in my MAL account. Penguindrum for a long time switched between “8/ very good” and “9/ excellent”. In the end it received a 9.

    Why did I hesitate to rate this show “excellent” in my most subjective ranking? It simply did not move me like other shows I call my absolute favourites. One thing may be the lack of characters I could emphasize with. This show avoided many character stereotypes, which is generally a good thing, but I just couldn’t fully relate to the characters’ trials and tribulations. What’s more, while the artwork was innovative and at some points outright gorgeous it also was quite often rather abstract and made it difficult for me to immerse myself in Penguindrum’s world.

    However, I still rate it “excellent” to give credit to it’s unique richness in so many respects – the most exquisite soundtrack ranging from “Rock over Japan” to classic scores, the wide range of animation techniques, the inventiveness regarding characters and storyline and of course the depth of its possible interpretation. Even though this wasn’t a second Utena for me, such a masterpiece is sure to come one day as long as anime innovates like with this show.

    This richness I praised above has become clear to me not least by your most insightful colloquia, dear ajthefourth and vucubcaquix for which I can’t thank you enough! Sometimes, after I had spent two hours on putting together a humble comment, I thought this must have been almost a full-time job for you. The wide range of subjects your cover, from religion and philosophy to art and literature, has been a perfect match to the variety of this show. Your colloquia together with the discussions should be collected in a printed volume for the enjoyment of generations of Penguindrum aficionados to come!

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Numerical rankings are hard for me, simply because of the exact struggle that you described, trying to decided what the values of the number mean to me. Do they mean pure enjoyment, or execution? Is something I ranked an eight going to be compared to other things I ranked an eight? My perspective has changed, do I have to go over my rankings and adjust them because I’ve become jaded and mean? The list goes on and on. I hate numerical ratings and I feel your pain of indecision (this is probably why I haven’t updated my MAL in a while)

      The reasons behind your ranking all make sense and they are well thought out. I have hesitated on commenting on the series overall, but as I said above, Utena does rank higher than Penguindrum for me personally. Then again, it would be very difficult for Penguindrum to break into my top five with Honey and Clover, Touch, Cross Game, and Millennium Actress occupying those spots, which are all anime that have resonated with me personally. (Incidentally, something I watched this year did break into my top ten: Gunbuster/Diebuster)

      Thank you for sticking it out with our ramblings. I doubt anyone would want to buy that book, but it’s an incredibly sweet thought, so thank you. ^ ^

      The next series we do, feel free to comment more! ^ ^

      vucubcaquix: I’m with Emily on this a bit, in that it’s really hard for me to actively quantify my feelings for a particular show outside of some broad statements. My ranking system is also similarly pretty broad. I either “like it”, “love it”, or am indifferent or disliked it. I think it’s a pretty accurate assessment for how I’ve approached what I’ve consumed so far, and any attempt to get more specific than that will either be futile or come out in the amount of effort I put into writing about the show in general.

      As for Penguindrum compared to Utena, I do have to rank Penguindrum higher. But do not mistake that as a sort of slight against Utena at all. Like Emily, there are certain themes and ideas that Penguindrum discusses that are very near and dear to my heart, namely that of Existentialism, and whenever an anime takes on a philosophical tack I pay closer attention.

      This show was a perfect storm to test out the colloquium format that I came up with. I sincerely hope for another show that has as much meat to it for us to sink our teeth into, because it really was a stroke of luck that Penguindrum had so much to say with reagrds to philosophy, psychology, and art and art history. It had enough to say to play to each of our particular strengths, and we are eternally grateful for it to appear during our first season and allow us to really run wild with our particular interests.

      And yeah, that’s really sweet of you to say, but I don’t know if even I would read us along with the show, haha! I sincerely hope you’ll stick around for more of our ramblings.

  23. Awesome show, epic ending. I wish I knew of this blog from the get-go, from the start. I started watching MPD late. :(

    Its deep philosophical overtones and rich symbolic undertones will linger long after everything else is forgotten – after we forget the names of the characters or the plot or even Seizon Senryaku! Consistent brilliance by Ikuhara, and I hope it won’t take him another 10 years to do a new one.
    Probably one of the top 5 animes of 2011, if not necessarily the best (Madoka, Steins; Gate, etc.)

    A couple of words about Sartre, who I studied as an undergraduate.

    In Sartre’s In Camera (No Exit), three strangers with nothing in common are trapped in a room after death. No sleep or dreams or blinking or books or windows or distractions except cheap furniture. No mirrors for the characters to see themselves as others see them. No devils to cause mischief. Instead, the three strangers torture themselves with self-reproach and self-justification about the lives they led, and torture others with criticisms and knowledge of their faults.

    Each character suffers their being-for-others as they try in vain to control the opinions others make of them. That is why at the end, one character says, “There’s no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is other people.”

    Basically, for Sartre, the essence of all human relationships is conflict. Love is a hyphen between sadism and masochism, because the lover cannot be satisfied with mere physical possession of the beloved. The lover also wants to possess the consciousness of the beloved, but he/she does not want to enslave the beloved, a robot with mechanical passions in his/her favor, but a genuine Other who chooses at every moment to be with him/her. The lover wants to be loved because he or she wants to possess the freedom of the beloved. Since he/she wants to be loved by a freedom that is no longer free, love is a useless passion.

    Human existence and human concerns, under the light of eternity, are both absurd. So, annihilation is better than eternal life as being who you are.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: Thank you for reading us when you did, and commenting. I too hope that Ikuhara doesn’t leave us for another decade, but seemingly he’ll do what he wants when he wants, and that’s cool too. I remember when Penguindrum first started airing, someone said, “Is this where Ikuhara has been? Inside a zoo of his own mind?” ^ ^

      I have a love for No Exit as it is the third book I was able to read in French and the themes (what I understood of them at the time in high school) really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing all of this. It makes me want to go back and re-read it. Thank you again.

      vucubcaquix: Thank you for commenting, and it doesn’t matter that you were late, but that you made the time to give such a thoughtful response to our post.

      I’ll have to admit that a lot of my familiarity with the Existentialists comes from the Wikipedia School of Thought, though I’ve read quite a few of Camus’s novels and essays, so I’m more than passingly familiar with Existentialism and Absurdism as concepts. The majority of what I’m familiar with actually trends toward the ancient and Greek, but it was pretty hard to apply that to this show without totally forcing it.

      Your thoughts on love really fascinate me. When I was in high school, my closest friends and I were of the sort that were above average in both intelligence and ennui, so we would entertain conversations about philosophy in the limited grasp we had for all hours of the night, including the role of love in the arsenal that people have in the fight against isolation.

      But your thoughts and interpretations of what Sartre says about love are incredibly fascinating, if not a bit nihilistic. I need to believe that love is one of the few things that can transcend that which separates and isolates us. Because if not, then the implications otherwise are a bit too dark for me to fathom.

  24. macey

    This is dreadfully late, but thank you guys. I’ve started blogging myself recently, and you guys were the main inspiration. Without these posts and the other blogs they connected me to, my Penguindrum experience would’ve been a hell of a lot different- and a lot less interesting. I’ve never really watched a show like this before (I’m now finished with Utena’s first arc, despite being spoiled for the series’ ending ages ago), and I’m still kind of reeling from what a show can do. I’ve been aware of emotional and inspirational impact, but I’ve never seen something that was able to put so much on a metaphorical level before. Except maybe House of Leaves, but that’s a book, not a show, heh.

    If I was going to recommend any series to you guys for Winter 2011, Another looks like it’ll be dealing with the Seito Sakakibara/Boy A case on some level, and I know it’s been speculated one of his letters was part of the inspiration for the Child Broiler. While I’m personally just happy a series with an eyepatched female protagonist (I love eyepatches, alright) will be dealing with such an interesting topic, that seems to be something you guys could read into.

    Again, thank you both so much! I’ll still be stalking this blog, so hopefully I’ll end up following the same new series as you guys.

    • hikoboshiandorihime

      ajthefourth: No problem, we always appreciate comments, “late” or no.

      Awww…good luck in your blogging endeavors! It’s time-consuming and exhausting but also very fun. ^ ^

      As for what we’re blogging, I’ve actually seen no previews with the exception of Another, Nisemonogatari and Miniskirt Pirates, all of which were forced upon me. I’ve said this before, but I don’t want to speculate on what series will be interesting to me or not based on previews that are more like music videos the majority of the time and tiny blurbs on charts. After all, I thought I would hate Star Driver and I ended up absolutely loving that show to pieces.

      Feel free to stalk away! Thanks for commenting!

      vucubcaquix: I feel that one’s experience is heightened when you add a socializing element to it. You can discuss characters, themes, plot points, or just generally fangirl out with others. The insights that one can glean when talking and interacting with others always tend to be more robust than if going alone. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to understand HALF of what I saw if I didn’t watch these episodes with Emily.

      I was not aware of the Sakakibara connection to Another, so that sounds kind of interesting. I’m not sure about what I’m going to blog next season, but I do plan on watching a lot of shows. I like watching preview trailers a lot, and I was the one that forced my partner to watch those trailers because I had a few things to say about them. Honestly, I’m kind of excited for Miniskirt Space Pirates. I can’t quite explain my enthusiasm for it, nor do I think I’ll have a lot to say about it, but it looks to be something that I’ll have a lot of campy fun with.

      We’ll be glad to see you around in the future. Thanks for reading and dropping by!

  25. Pingback: Touching on Outcasts – aloe, dream

  26. So this is my second time commenting on this article, and it’s late besides. I’m not even sure if I’m looking for responses, but I just thought of something that I think helped me understand Penguindrum a little bit more.

    Say that Penguindrum is a story about love–about breaking out of the box that constrains you and choosing to love another person. Say also that Penguindrum is a story about families, both conventional and unconventional. So how do the two connect?

    Shouma didn’t choose to be a Takakura. Yuri didn’t choose to be a Tokikago. Both were burdened by their parents, Shouma with a legacy of terrorism and Yuri with her father’s abuse. But Shouma was chosen by Kanba, and chose Himari in return. Yuri was chosen by Momoka, and in the end (I think) chose Tabuki. I think it’s worth mentioning that the cast of Penguindrum (all abandoned children, in different ways) didn’t find happiness through being adopted, but instead through adopting others. None of the Takakura children were related, but that didn’t mean that they weren’t close. You could probably say that Ringo was a Takakura in the end, too. In this way, the family name “Takakura” came to mean “Shouma, Kanba, Himari and Ringo,” not “Terrorists and Son,” or even “Terrorists and Their Children.” Maybe the name “Takakura” even became irrelevant at the end. Do families even need names?

    Then again, from what we saw of the Takakura parents, it was pretty clear that both loved their kids enough to sacrifice themselves for the cause; the father taking the glass for Kanba, the mother taking the mirror for Himari. On the other hand, they were also terrorists who were manipulated into attempting to end the world/murder thousands of people/something. So is there worth to conventional families after all? Or did Shouma’s “family” atone for the sins of his parents? Or is the answer somewhere in between? What was real and what an illusion–blood or apple–and which runs deepest? (I am sure that Natsume Masako would love to hear the answer to this question)

    Dunno the answer to any of this but maybe there is one, somewhere. Also you could probably go a step further than saying that Penguindrum is a show about abandoned children, and say that the structure of the show itself is a children’s game, with penguin hats and teddy bears and magical diaries as the pieces. You know, “The boys and girls form a ring/extended hands cut through the air” and all that. Also, the spinning Penguindrum being a game of hot potato, or something like it. THIS SHOW.

  27. Can I just start with saying that I love your posts abou the series and I’ve only started reading if after finishing the series. My only regret is not looking at it analytical view and looking at the symbolic message of the overall anime. Thank you for that :)

    Now with the what the Penguindrum is: I’m going to go out on a limb and say I noticed that with Shouma giving Himari the fruit of fate which gives to Kanba the cycle comes full circle from the first time the fruit is shared. e.g (in the beginning it was shared Kanba>Shouma>Himari but in the end it was shared Shouma>Himari>Kanba) thus reflecting the shows title ‘Spinning Penguindrum’.

    I also noticed that when Princess Cystal always mentioned ‘That they would never amount to abything’ and in the end their mark on the world is gone completely as Ringo and Himari doesn’t remember them.

  28. Pingback: Endings Without Context 4: Mawaru Penguindrum | Lower Mid-Table

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  30. Lefthandedsnake

    Brilliant! Simply Brilliant!

    (Both the series and this blog)

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