As Mawaru Penguindrum continues its path of symbol-laden destruction through the once verdant fields of reason like a penguin-themed General Sherman, one can’t help but muse on the fact that this is essentially a soap opera plot infused with enough supernatural elements to drive even the most hardened ghostbuster bonkers. It’s difficult to pinpoint just where Penguindrum went off the rails, but here we are now, with a girl willingly killing herself in a self-imposed flashback and her unwitting adoptive brother involved in a crime syndicate for her welfare. The irony is as darkly humorous as it is palpable.
As Kanba begins his descent to his dark, grisly fate set forth by his apparently formerly corporeal parents, the world around him begins to crumble in kind… or explode, in a more literal sense. So yeah, just to sum up the events of the episode in no particular order: Double H gives Himari a gift intercepted by Ringo, Himari offs herself knowing that she’s pretty much doomed, and Kanba embarks on a path of carnage worthy of a Grand Theft Auto game. Also, Masako makes what may very well be her final appearance, offering to take the bullets aimed for Kanba while he’s carried away by shady men in suits. Unsurprisingly, she looks pretty badass doing this.
So uh… crap, this is where I usually find some kind of context to expand on. I was going to do a rant on elements taken from Shakespeare, but noticing any of those in any kind of media is akin to noticing that the sky has clouds. So let’s talk about the irony, that’s easy enough without making me sound incredibly pretentious. Though incidentally, I could probably make a few neat character analyses as the series comes to its conclusion.
Yes, this episode was ironic to the max. You have Himari contemplating suicide, knowing that her existence defies all preconceived notions of life and is nothing but an anomaly to be used against her brothers; in a broader sense, she feels she’s nothing but a burden. Threesie disappearing yet again as a result of Himari entering a noticeably non-living state is surprisingly heartfelt, and only feels sadder when we realize that Kanba continues to fight to keep Himari alive, regardless of how rational such an action is when even she doesn’t wish to live any longer.
Possibly most tragic of all, Masako seemed to have born some kind of unrequited (platonic) love for Kanba from their previous lives as siblings, even offering up her own life to keep him from dying, despite the fact that he’s given up on his own. It’s a tragic cycle, one that’s like a dog chasing its own tail around and around until it falls down and coughs up its lunch on the new rug.
That analogy aside, there’s more than a fair share of clumsiness in this episode. The bit at the beginning with Double H felt shoehorned in, serving at most as a way to show that Himari does have some positive impact on those around her, despite what she thinks. Their reintroduction, along with Ringo, appeared to be nothing but a way to say “Oh yeah, we forgot these characters existed. Here, take this token appearance as a sign of our apology.” Yes, I did miss having Ringo around, but you could have at least shoehorned her in somewhere a bit more important.
It could have been entirely avoided to give more time to the mastermind of the operation, Sanetoshi, whose undoubtedly evil goals could use a little more elaboration. Speaking of which, the only thing that continues to nag on me is the purpose of his black rabbits. They’re obviously nothing good, and represent evil or something of the sort, but what purpose do they have here that isn’t just an existence as Sanetoshi’s servants? They seem to do very little aside from cuddle up with him, and while this would appease the rare shotacon bestiality lover in the audience (You know who you are), it doesn’t really make one think that they have any importance.
However, it’s easy to see where the animation budget was the whole time. It was all saved for the excellent, utterly bizarre sequences here. It isn’t breathtaking, but I saw almost no flaw that wasn’t just a distance thing. Overall, as is the case with every other episode, I found myself enjoying Penguindrum way too much. It has its faults without a doubt, but I can hardly pick it apart when it’s been pretty much the highlight of each week anime-wise. And for that, I’m probably not the best person to blog or review it. But who cares, let’s see where the last two episodes take us!