“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
Tag Archives: 1995 tokyo sarin attacks
ajthefourth: Towards the end of Revolutionary Girl Utena, director Kunihiko Ikuhara and his writer Yoji Enokido decide to re-introduce the audience to its Greek chorus element, The Shadow Girls, by showing them briefly out from behind their customary screens and shadow puppetry, talking to the main character, Utena Tenjou, in class. The Shadow Girls then proceed to put on a play for Utena and the two other main characters. In doing so, they present what has come before and recontextualize it a bit; setting the stage for the series’ final arc, The End of the World.
This next series of episodes, specifically Episode Nine, mark a tonal shift in Mawaru Penguindrum‘s presentation. Much of this is owed to the closing of Ringo’s story arc. As we discover just exactly what Ringo’s been up to, it leads us into a whole other universe of speculation and conflict involving the Takakura and Oginome family pasts, and a certain horrific event in Japanese history.
“What’re you gonna do when you graduate?
I’m going to high school, of course.
No, I mean in your future.
Haven’t decided yet.
I wanna be an actress.
Do you really believe you can pull that off?”
-“The Shadow Girls,” Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 39
One of the signature elements of Kunihiko Ikuhara’s direction is the borrowing or adopting of classic stage elements and putting them to work within his series, giving the audience a grander presentation of the story. One of these key elements is the idea of a Greek chorus: an informed perspective on the story being told that often hints to overall thematic elements presented in the performed piece.
ajthefourth: Please disregard a few of the speculations I made on Tabuki’s character last week. Although I still see him as partially representing that equalizing sort of attitude that I described from a few interviews in Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, it goes a bit deeper for Tabuki personally. I was wrong in saying that he has completely shut down emotionally, for there was still one thing that could stir Tabuki’s heart: Momoka.
vucubcaquix: I was honestly a bit at a loss for words for last week’s post. I didn’t dislike it and found it quite funny, but the animation was a bit weak in places and there wasn’t much to visually parse amidst the gags and slapstick. That’s not so for this week. In fact, halfway through I had to remark to my partner how absolutely beautiful some of the compositions for the scenes were. It’s not just the beauty that struck me, but also what’s being communicated through the imagery.
“It really was a day like any other
We had breakfast together in the morning.
The three of us went to school.
Our parents went to work.
We smiled by the door and waved.
But they never came back.
That was the last time we were together as a family.”
ajthefourth: In all honesty, in spite of the fact that I mulled over the idea last week, I did not expect for this series to make the Takakura parents higher-ups responsible for the subway attacks in the Mawaru Penguindrum universe. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I convinced myself that it had to be something else a bit more minor, that would make us sympathize even more with the protagonists. I was wrong, and after having watched the series directly confront and portray the execution of the attacks through Kenzan Takakura, it’s becoming apparent (if it wasn’t already) that this series is afraid of nothing.