ajthefourth: In what appears to be a pivotal episode in the series, I’m going to start us off with something simple, but nuanced: characterization. Once again, we’re presented with Shouma’s inability to do anything, even when he tries to act. In a way, he’s reverted back to his self from the beginning of the series: an inept and fairly useless person. We see his penguin spraying for bugs, this time around being beaten to the punch by a nearby frog.
"I wonder, I wonder, do you know what I wonder? Multiple choice. Which of the following three things is eternal? 1. A diary. 2. Momoka Oginome. 3. Canned peaches."
“The next day, she’d come out of the coffin, and there was something about the look in her eyes…however, I thought for sure that he must have shown her something eternal.”
-Kyouichi Saionji, Revolutionary Girl Utena
ajthefourth: What exactly in our lives is eternal? With such a fleeting, time-bound existence, it’s no wonder that humanity constantly seeks for eternity. The concept itself is a bit daunting to wrap one’s head around, since all one has to go on are their own limited experiences. If something eternal does exist, then surely it would be outside of the worldly parameters of time and space as we know them. In other words, surely, it would be God-like.
“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.”
Occasionally, it’s not just the song that calls to our attentions, it’s the visuals in the sequence itself. That’s not to say that the song itself is an afterthought, but I theorize that once an episode of anime is over, we have a tendency to already be on our way out so to speak. It may explain why a lot of times the visuals of an ending sequence seem very haphazard and half-baked in comparison to the comparably more upbeat opening pieces of many shows which are priming you through both songs and visuals to internalize the mood and tone of what it is you’re about to watch. I will be the first to admit, that if the ending song doesn’t immediately grab my attention as an episode is finished, I’ll be less likely to pay attention to the visuals themselves.
But hey, sometimes the strength of the visuals themselves are enough to cause them to linger.
"Because punishment has to be the most unjust."
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.
Rather early on in my fandom, I came across a pair of posts that discussed what the role of the opening and ending to an episode of anime is. It’s rather easy to define what an opening’s purpose is. That role is one that is meant to prepare and set the audience’s expectations through animation and music, and which sets the tone for the story at the beginning. Ballads, j-rock, j-pop, high energy, low energy, the mood that the creators mean to set is limited only to the vision and talent of the composers involved in the project.
What seemed to elude clearer definition however, was the role of the ending. When I posed this question, the answers that came back were clearly a lot more personal, abstract. My favorite endings leave a sort of mental residue that stays with you as the episode closes out, lingering like a strong memory of an important event that happened to you sometime in the past. Mawaru Penguindrum’s Dear Future achieves something to this effect.
"Who would've thought the curse from 16 years ago would take this form? What drama, what a fate!" -Masako Natsume
ajthefourth: Okay, now we’re going to need everyone to take a deep breath, scream, do whatever you need to in order to get over that “HOLY SHIT IKUHARA ACTUALLY WENT THERE ASDGHJKL#*#$^@!!” feeling. We’ll wait, we had to get over it ourselves after all.