Well, what is there to really say about this week’s episode of Mawaru Penguindrum? A whole lot, as it turns out, considering that plot twist after plot twist has been devised for one crucial moment. Everything that’s come before is a simple prelude to the insane number of convergences that occur here, kind of like the film Crash, except without all the preaching about tolerance and tearing down socially imposed racial boundaries. In other words, it’s a million times better despite how tangled and difficult to ascertain the direction of each of this plot threads is.
Since the amount of symbolism that I can write about has dwindled in recent episodes, pretty much the only way to continue a post is to review each of the plot points and postulate where they might go. As such, if you haven’t seen this episode yet, avoid this post like the plague because this is a doozy. And you will hate me for spoiling it for you.
I don’t think there’s really any context that I can go into, no similarity to another series or a single point that it’s trying to get across, though the concepts of inevitability and family are trawled for spare life lessons, leaning heavily toward the cynical side of things despite the series’ previous dalliances with whimsy. This comes on the heels of the revelation that the only real Takakura is Shouma, with Kanba and Himari being adopted by his cultist parents.
Even Tabuki and Yuri get in on the bonding, though seemingly as an afterthought, right before one of them gets stabbed in an abandoned-looking restaurant. I think I mentioned that there’s plot twist after plot twist, and this proves that Penguindrum really isn’t holding back on its resolution. Characters will die, or at least get stabbed, and it will further the plot or die trying.
Yet, I don’t think it was handled with as much grace as it could’ve been. Or at least it wasn’t all that believable with how the characters had acted in the past. Kanba officially cutting ties with Shouma to strike out on his own and continue helping Himari felt a little out of character, especially with how close he was to Shouma and Himari in the past, how hell bent he was on keeping them housed together. Shouma’s been a milquetoast prick throughout the entire show, so I wasn’t very surprised by him shooing Himari out of the house to live elsewhere, declaring that “we’re done playing house.” And Himari quietly going along with everything in an effort to keep herself from bothering her brothers was pretty powerful on its own.
The actions themselves actually aren’t all that out of character, even Kanba’s abandonment, it’s just how quickly they were taken. It seems that it took all of one episode for the foundation of the Takakura family to be shattered beyond repair, even with Kanba and Shouma’s different opinions regarding their parents. It’s just not believable, is what I’m saying. It was too abrupt, even with the realization that Himari can’t be saved by the medicine crashing down on them all.
Then you have the Takakura parents, the catalysts for the entire plot and the death of Momoka. Despite abandoning their family to likely head off on the lam and restart their group, they seem to be acting almost exactly the same to their kids, or rather Kanba, as if nothing ever happened. There’s something very disconcerting about this, but I can’t quite place my finger on it. It’s like they’ve lost touch with reality, deciding to reenact their terrorist attacks for the purpose of bringing the corrupt world to its knees. Or they’re ghosts, in which case things are getting even better.
Sanetoshi makes a not-so-surprising turn as the villain, fooling the Takakuras into thinking that Himari can be permanently saved with his medicine while having some kind of bond with their parents. He’s definitely a sort of entity that’s not quite human anymore, and it’s pretty eerie when taken with his wry grin. Finally, it’s stated outright that yes, Masako is Kanba’s sister and she wants him back in her life regardless of how unhealthy it is for her to do so.
Once again, this episode’s a doozy. It’s light on the comedy and surprisingly heavy on the drama, shown beautifully by the vibrant Takakura house cloaked in a shroud of darkness after Kanba and Himari’s departure. I can say with 100% certainty that I have absolutely no idea where the series is going from here, and I’m fine with that. With only three episodes left, it almost feels like this episode was a rush job, though a spectacularly satisfying one. Alas, this didn’t leave much room for creativity with posting.
Some people are saying that Penguindrum has lost its charm and comprehensibility… but it never had much of the latter, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve said many times that I can see Penguindrum being my number one anime of the year, and I’m only surer of that as it continues. As long as there will be penguin hijinks, I’ll be there, enjoying every minute of it.