Everyone seems to be grabbed by desperation this week, don’t they? Ringo’s trying desperately to bring Project M to fruition, and Shouma’s about ready to go through any means to obtain her diary.
You know that a show does something right when it not only makes a total psychopath sympathetic, but makes rooting for her seem completely viable. Throughout this episode, I was cheering for Ringo to bed Tabuki, feeling legitimately invested in her futile quest to regain her sense of “family” not had since those Curry Days all those years ago. Ringo’s a perfect example of somebody who’s broken themselves through isolation from those around her, making desperate attempts to mend her situation. All the while, caught in the maelstrom of self doubt and desperation, a typhoon expresses through the power of an external metaphor how she feels, that unfortunately catches those around her as well.
If the other episodes made aware Ringo’s particular brand of madness, this one laid bare her insecurities, her emotions, her fears and desires, out for the audience to see. Caught in her own world, she refuses to believe that the destiny inscribed in her sister’s diary won’t come to pass. Having seen the possible end of her struggle, she sprints with unrestrained zeal toward the finish line, not caring if she knocks aside those who wish to help her, or if it’s even the end that she’s seeking.
In this episode, we’re plunged back into her delusions, where she sees the two most important men of her life taken captive by new loved ones. However, while she sees her father being dragged into the shadowy abyss by his new family, permanently irretrievable, she sees Tabuki as able to be saved. The contrast between these two fantasies also has to do with her involvement in both affairs; she’s only a bystander with her father, and can do nothing but watch him drift further away from her. With Tabuki, she sees herself as his savior, the only person capable of setting right the wrongs that Yuri has wrought… through transporting his Rose of Versailles incarnation to the Wild West.
The diary is also playing a smaller, but no less important role as time goes on. Ringo only consults it a scant few times, and Shouma doesn’t make off with it when he has the chance to peruse the entries. It’s obviously still important to her, but Project M is so close to fruition that its role is relegated to that of a reference that is no longer highly sought.
Toward the end, when tossed out of Tabuki’s new apartment, it lands in the middle of an empty street with Ringo hot in pursuit. Before picking it up, she recalls something that Shouma told her earlier, that she’s totally lost it, and hesitates for a second before grabbing it off the wet pavement. I doubt this signifies anything significant as far as a change in thought processes goes, but it’s hardly dismissible, as it shows that she at least somewhat values Shouma and his input.
While Ringo is the main focus of this episode, Project M is playing an increasingly larger part in the complicated web of deceit that comprises Mawaru Penguindrum. While it’s been mentioned before and elaborated on, it’s only this episode where a link is established between the diary and the other mentions of Project M. When the diary lands in the empty street, not a vehicle in sight, a lone motorcyclist zooms by and rips half of it out of a dazed Ringo’s hand. For her, that’s her future being ripped away, slipping into the horizon at 30 mph. For the cyclist, who passed by at a rather opportune time that couldn’t have just been coincidence, that’s destiny being fulfilled.
To top things off, when Ringo wanders into the empty street in a daze, a car finds her in its headlights. Before it can make contact though, Shouma intervenes and takes the brunt of the car, flying and twisting majestically in the air before falling to the street with a sick thud. Everything in Penguindrum’s already reaching a fever pitch, all the subplots melding together into a cohesive, surprisingly easy to follow blend. I know I haven’t covered everything in this post, since there’s still Ringo’s drugging of Tabuki and his assuming the guise of Yuri in order to seduce him, but I’m going to cut things off here and leave it to the comment section to fill in what I couldn’t.