In the past, I’ve said that Ringo’s gotten nuttier and nuttier by the episode. However, after this episode, I’ve learned that’s quite the inaccuracy. She hasn’t lost more and more of her sanity by the episode, the veneer covering her madness has just cracked more and more as her plans have gotten more necessarily convoluted. And just as that was explained, the strange thought assassin wiping peoples’ memories with well shot Penguin Pellets was given her full reign of the first half, as she harasses the girls who ambushed Kanba two episodes prior. It’s a strange, fascinating series of events, but I would expect nothing else from Penguindrum.
While Ringo’s obsessions are truly brought to light this episode, I’ll refuse to take the low hanging fruit of explaining the delusions of her guilt complex. I won’t explain why she’s proven herself unable to have proper human interaction on a deep level, without it factoring into becoming somebody perceived to be better than herself: Her deceased sister, also conveniently named after a fruit. While I think this would make for a good post, and would be fun to write, it wouldn’t show how the duality of the two brothers has proven to be a neat framing device for the unfolding events.
For the past few episodes, Shouma and Kanba have grown further apart as each goes after the Penguindrum in their own, inadvertent way. Kanba, being his brash and straightforward self, is out meeting up with old flames, some of which are assaulted by Masako during their meeting. While I doubt Kanba knows that she’s involved, he knows that somebody is after his exes for some strange reason most likely involved with the Penguindrum. Presumably this is given away by the formerly red penguin pellets that he finds fragmented and detached from their victims’ skulls.
At the same time, Shouma is sticking with Ringo in an attempt to pry into her fortunetelling diary. Matching with his passive, compliant nature, he agrees to help her in an endeavor to move her stuff to Tabuki’s apartment for the next step listed in the diary. While some explanation is given for what the diary is, lending credence to my red herring theory, it’s still proven somewhat important to the plot. After his help, Ringo sexually assaults him. I don’t know exactly what this was supposed to prove aside from Ringo’s instability, but it did show that Shouma was about as accepting of her advances as he would those of a ravenous bear.
I don’t know about my readers, but the way the brothers acted in this episode perfectly mirrored my own feelings toward each segment. When Kanba was out meeting with exes and seeing them get mind wiped one by one by Masako and her Amnesia-shot, his befuddlement perfectly matched my own response at the girls having their memories sapped by the red penguin-printed balls. When Shouma was dealing with Ringo, he knew he was dealing with somebody who wasn’t quite right. He’s a little wary, but curious as to what relevance she holds to the overarching plot, much like I am. This is why I think it’s a pretty nifty framing device, for at least mirroring my feelings pretty well. Maybe not quite as meta as I phrased it, but the emotions are the same.
And, much like the brothers, we were also seeing less and less of Himari. With the sense of exploration and bravery gone (Kanba), all we were left with was Shouma by his lonesome, taking the necessary part in Penguinhatter’s Survival Strategy. He’s playing it safe, adding nothing, just sitting there and looking pretty until whisked away. I doubt this was intentional, but that Survival Strategy seemed very token this episode, and I think even Shouma thought so.
While I’m still on the subject of duality, I guess I will have to go into Ringo’s guilt complex a bit more. After realizing that her parents had split up as a result of her sister’s untimely death, and her mother’s refusal to move on because of it, she took it on herself to live out the rest of her sister’s life in a vain attempt to get them back together and return her life to a superficial sense of normalcy. The diary originally belonged to her sister, a proponent of the power of fate, who wrote out each event that she wanted to do with Tabuki.
While this doesn’t completely dispel the fortunetelling aspect due to a few rather specific incidents, it does make the diary seem a little less important to have it written by a deceased sibling of Ringo. Her mission seem less like one of certainty, and more like one of remembrance and a means to make amends.
So what does this have to do with the duality I mentioned earlier before delving into that long winded explanation? Well, in an effort to wring as much out of this post as possible, I looked up the symbolic meaning of both the peach and the apple and compared them both. While there wasn’t much to delve into, their meanings did fit with each character’s place in the show, as already demonstrated with Ringo.
As opposed to Ringo, whose fruit represents knowledge, temptation, and all that jazz with the Garden of Eden, Momoka’s fruit represents the simple aspect of longevity. About the only thing remaining of Momoka is her long lasting influence over her family’s affairs, especially her mother and Ringo. It isn’t much, it very likely wasn’t intentional, but I thought it was pretty cool how it still fit even when stretching it for all its worth.
So with a few questions related to the diary and Ringo’s motivation answered, what lies in store for the future of Penguindrum? I’m not sure in the slightest, but with the continued involvement of Masako, the detachment of the brothers from each other and Himari as they search desperately for the Penguindrum, and a mysterious evil looking fourth penguin, there is still a lot of ground to be covered.