After the controlled frenzy that was last week’s plot, Mawaru Penguindrum has finally settled on escalating Ringo’s obsession to an even greater degree so as to raise the stakes further. It’s a bold, mostly successful move that further paints Ringo as a demented child in need of stability and love. One element struck me as more overt than Ringo’s longshot plan to seduce Tabuki and the Penguin Hat’s approval of such a move… and that’s the insane extent that Yuri is going to let Ringo know that Tabuki will not be given up easily.
The entire episode seems to be tailor made to having her prove to Ringo that she’s the ideal partner for Tabuki, and will not be dethroned from her position as his girlfriend. Because of this, it can be argued that Yuri’s relationship with Tabuki is just as unhealthy, since she seems to hold him in regard as more of a prize than a lover; a prize to be strutted around those who would covet it, for the purpose of torturing and titillating them.
Yuri does this twice in the episode, in what couldn’t have been inadvertent, only to show Ringo that she doesn’t have much of a chance of obtaining Tabuki. I assume by giving Tabuki two tickets to her Rose of Versailles show, with her playing the part of Marie Antoinette refusing to give up her position as head of France because of the potential of lost faith in the people, she decided to make this point clear to Ringo in as indirect a manner so as not to raise Tabuki’s suspicion.
Upon their exit from the show, Yuri pays Ringo lip service while discussing the near future with Tabuki, inviting her to a post-performance party with Shouma. As a trap, it’s rather devious, considering she doesn’t want to spend any time away from Tabuki and doesn’t want to appear too spiteful of Yuri. Then, once the true motive for the event is laid out bare for all to see, Ringo knows that the time to make the events of the diary (Project M) pass is about to be cut short, and so rushes to do so through means of supposed witchcraft that backfires stupendously.
So with both of these events, it’s clear that both Ringo and Yuri are in an ever-escalating game of cat and mouse, with Tabuki being the prize that both seek fervently. Because of this, it’s debatable as to which one would truly be better for him.
On one hand, you have the clearly obsessed, yet devoted Ringo who would go through any means to be with the one that she loves… even if it’s something as underhanded as getting pregnant by him. She’s single-minded in her devotion, a trainwreck waiting to happen on any who oppose her or stand in her way. She’s undoubtedly sick in the head, and is in no shape to have a relationship with him, as her previously revealed motive indicates.
Yuri, meanwhile, knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s cold and calculating in her defense of Tabuki, deliberately going out of her way to provoke and taunt Ringo. While she’s better suited to his needs, she’s no better a person, her reason for getting and staying with Tabuki remaining a mystery. Ringo has the disadvantage in every regard except one: Devotion and love for Tabuki, and her family. Unlike Yuri’s ambiguous morality, Ringo’s mission is clear and would almost be admirable were it not so deranged.
Really, I feel for the two males involved in this the most. Shouma is being dragged around by Ringo’s every whim, the diary being his only lead in his goal to postpone Himari’s sudden death. And after this episode, he will have put up with a rare frog spawning on his back, something that I know I could never put up with. Tabuki, meanwhile, is utterly clueless. He’s being used by both Ringo and Yuri, and he seems to have no knowledge of it. It’d almost be tragic, were the comedy not so well implemented.
Despite her delusions, Ringo seems to have a very clear association between love and the one part of biology that it’s meant to spring into motion: Survival through means of reproduction. Both ways that Ringo sees as means to solidify her love with Tabuki, the frog laying eggs on Shouma’s back and getting knocked up, back up this theory enough to prove that Ringo isn’t quite gone yet. What’s more, it might have something to do directly with the Penguindrum that wouldn’t completely discredit the diary being a means to obtain it.
Judging by the Penguin Hat’s obsession with survival and its support of Ringo’s loony plan, I think that maybe one of the children conceived between Tabuki and Ringo would be the next piece in the puzzle to obtain the Penguindrum, or even the drum itself. However, this is just speculation on my part that has very little truth as of yet.
I have a few closing observations on the episode before I fully wrap things up, so please bear with me for a little longer. We were only given a glimpse into the goings on in Kanba’s life, a quick shot of him on a train discussing the greyed out Penguin Pellets with a stranger in a trench coat, the same person who’s supplying the money to keep the siblings in their house. Outside of the Ringo, Yuri, Shouma dynamic, there’s very little plot and very little involvement from outside characters, including a cameo by possessed Himari fully condoning Ringo’s seduction of Tabuki.
Also, why don’t all plays have obligatory disco lighting to accompany high pitched singing? It sure would’ve livened up A Midsummer Night’s Dream to no end. All in all, I felt it was a thoroughly enjoyable episode that never failed to entertain and raise questions throughout. Most notably, the Fabulous Max innuendos were as entertaining as they were confusing, and will naturally be implemented in my everyday life from this day onward. What’s sad is this episode ended so quickly; I really can’t wait to see what else pops up to keep this rather unpredictable speedy train rolling at breakneck speed.