After two entire episodes dedicated to Ringo’s misguided attempts at proving her love to the man of her dreams (Stalking is love!) through the magic of curry, shown through the avenue of delusions, we finally bring focus away from Ringo and back to Himari. This means, you guessed it, the return of Survival Strategy. But more importantly, what little bit directly involved Ringo in this episode showed that her idea of love is about as far removed from that of a normal person as it gets, as shown during her get together with her father.
Now, this is somewhat justified. Her father, despite taking his visitation time with her, doesn’t seem very interested in interacting with her at all. He seems to be content to attempt placating her with desserts while halfheartedly listening to her ramble about their past aquarium trip. When she sees that he replaced the cell phone strap that he got the day with her, her love for him is shown to completely wither from the stunted husk that it had degenerated into over the years. Her fascination with Tabuki, seemingly the only guy in her life who thinks that she’s worth the time to talk to, is also vindicated by her father’s callous apathy toward her.
After this, Ringo is definitely seen as somebody spurned by those who are (or were) close to her. She doesn’t view her father as somebody worth loving anymore, which makes her wistful memories of him make more sense, even if he’s still in her life. Her single-minded devotion to Tabuki also gets in the way of her realizing that there’s love closer than she thinks: The simple acceptance by Himari, who views her as family and repeats her oft said curry quote back at her to make that point. Ringo ignores this, and is only called out on it when Himari is once again possessed by the Penguin Hat.
In general, the Penguin Hat just doesn’t seem too keen on Ringo. From the get go, it decides to sic Shouma and Kanba on her because of a connection to the Penguindrum that’s been proven tenuous at best so far. To be fair, maybe it’s symbolic for something in connection with Ringo and her Fate Diary that even the Penguin Hat isn’t aware of. That would sure make sense with prior events, and with what little progress the series has made so far in discerning exactly what it is. And its verbal attack against Ringo only solidifies the fact that it views her as nothing but an opposition to it obtaining the Penguindrum. Though to be fair, when she runs up and swipes it from Himari’s head, those fears might be for a reason.
On the opposite end of the cast spectrum, it was nice to see Kanba get some character development. While he’s always been shown to be viciously protective of Himari, most likely in more than a brotherly fashion, the ordeals that he would go through for his sister, the storms that he has to weather both figuratively and physically, really show his devotion to her and the further divide in personality between him and the meek Shouma.
By the end, this demonstrated a nice contrast between somebody seeking love and somebody already having it, yet also did well in showing that the ends desired in both cases were equal, despite the different means. It’s an emotionally charged episode that painted Ringo as more pitiful than scary, even more because she can’t stand hearing so from the one who she’s unknowingly grown closest to so quickly. While Kanba was fully aware of the love that he had from his sister and those around her, Ringo has deluded herself into single-mindedness unintentionally, blinding herself to the love that those around her are willing to give. Kanba was given a larger role, but this was still Ringo’s episode, and one that better explored her problems and just how deranged she truly is. She hasn’t an idea in the slightest what constitutes true love, and she’ll either realize or pay for it in the end.
Also, yay for more penguin misdeeds.