Mawaru Penguindrum has made destiny a recurring theme since the very beginning, among making Kanba a Faustian Pact-making machine and having penguins goof around in a vague metaphor for activity going on in the scene they’re in. With the addition of the black bunnies, each element seems to be coalescing into what we’ve all been waiting for with Penguindrum. However, there’s still too little known about the bunnies to make a post about them. They’re obviously evil, with the Penguin Hat keeping them imprisoned with its possession of Himari, but they’ve made too few appearances to justify writing 700+ words about them.
However, this episode spent an inordinate amount of time talking about destiny, and its many facets. And that made me realize that destiny in this position is like a living thing. Let’s take a look at the two different perspectives given regarding this fickle deity: The praise, but acknowledgement that not everything it does is good, and the outright scorn, with every intention of defying its machinations. So this won’t be the most in depth of posts, but I hope I do a good enough job at explaining each character’s stance on destiny.
In the former camp, we have Ringo and Kanba. Ringo obviously would have a lot of beef with destiny, should it be as big a player in the event of her sister’s death, but thinks nothing of it beyond acknowledging that her sister is dead. While this could be attributed to a change in her general demeanor since Shouma’s accident four episodes prior, she does admit that it has let her meet the Takakuras. What’s more, they inadvertently keep her from escalating things further with Tabuki, even eliciting some kind of change in her behavior around him.
What we see of Ringo isn’t much, but we can tell that she’s made peace with her family, mother aside. I doubt she’ll ever really resolve her feelings toward her neglectful mother, but she’s gotten over the feeling of being replaced with her father’s family, a development that’s heartwarming to bear. There are only two things left to puzzle out with Ringo: Deciding how much of her infatuation with Tabuki is because of what she feels she owes her sister and how much is because of actual feelings toward him.
Kanba, despite having his parents (and his sister for two brief times) taken away from him, tends to see fate and destiny in a surprisingly positive light. Being born on the same day as the Sarin Attacks, he seem surprisingly begrudged to accept that it’s destiny’s fault for his parents’ departure. At this point, we all know that the Takakura parents had been suspected of orchestrating or at least being a part of the attacks for awhile, so some awareness that their involuntary absence was largely of their own doing must have hit home for Kanba, at least. While he’s more aggrieved at Himari’s death both times than his significantly meeker brother, he doesn’t tend to pin the blame on anything but himself.
Shouma’s a bizarre case, in that he doesn’t tend to assign blame relating to his parents’ misdeeds and Himari’s deaths to an unseen, unknown force… it’s just borne the brunt of by his parents and himself. As such, he makes a nice transition into the second camp of people that seem to be present in Penguindrum: Those who feel aggrieved by destiny, and seek a way to change it.
Chief in this camp are Sanetoshi, with his entourage of twins with bunny ears, the doctor, and Masako. Sanetoshi seems to be committing his entire being to changing destiny, while still acknowledging it as a prime power in the universe. While his motivations aren’t made clear, to accomplish this, he is willing to collaborate with clearly evil bunnies. Maybe a Satan to destiny’s God, seeking to uproot what has been laid before him for his own selfish desires. He is shown to be supernatural, entering odd areas of his own free will, presiding over an unnaturally large library, and having access to an elixir of sorts that gives people life.
The doctor is the most defeatist of the group, seemingly making an attempt to change destiny more out of spite than out of any actual urge to do so. While we don’t see much of this, and he doesn’t do anything to keep Himari from dying, his monologues at certain points in the past few episodes have hinted at him knowing a bit more about Himari’s entire deal than he lets on. What’s more, his being a doctor backs up that point, as doctors can be seen as people who reroute peoples’ fates, like an electrician would particularly sketchy wiring.
Thus far, Masako’s an odd case to pin. While she hasn’t shown any strong feeling toward giving destiny its comeuppance, the fact that Mario is in a penguin hat like Himari and she wants the entirety of Ringo’s diary places her tentatively in this camp. She even has the penguin/apple related weaponry that Sanetoshi does, implying that she’s of a similar mindset.
The mystery that’s been keeping the plot so carefully hidden is starting to come off in larger and larger chunks. While it’s difficult to ascertain just what will happen in the grand scheme of things, characters are starting to be fleshed out more and more as the series progresses. Yet, even with this important element of character development dealt with, the plot is still as mysterious as ever. This is a good thing, seeing as there are only eleven episodes left, but a sizable portion is still in the dark. For a series like this that thrives on the element of surprise, that’s a very good thing, and I can see it keeping this level of quality for a good portion of the remainder of its runtime.