149th G-View: Mawaru Penguindrum

“Yaaaaaaaaawwwwwwnnnnn” Oh, that 12 hour Strike thing over? Must have dozed off for a while. Well that was boring but I hope it got the message across. I’m not American and I don’t know whether this strike will accomplish anything but if it gave people a wake-up call, mission accomplished.

So then, back to jollies, onward and upward. This is my long overdue Mawaru Penguindrum G-View.

Warning, there’s a major spoiler in here.

Genres: comedy, drama, mystery, psychological

Themes: Fate, penguins
Number of episodes: 24
G-Rating: N/A
Temporary summary: Two brothers, Kanba the “Sith wannabe” player and Shoma the “fangirlgasm” sissy boy, along with their sister, Himari “cute big forehead” are orphans living in a rundown shack. Himari possesses a fatal disease that took its toll on the exact day this show aired. As the brothers weep for their loss, the emperor penguin hat they so conveniently purchased at an aquarium, revived Himari but apparently the “Penguin Hatter” has a mind of its own and instructs the brothers to find a mysterious item known as the penguindrum.
This is the 2nd show of 2011 I can’t give a numeric review of because how can you rate something like this? Like AnoHana it’s ENTIRELY up to the viewers to decide how they felt about this one. I mentioned a while back that watching this anime felt like watching GOSICK. The flow felt incredibly similar. Despite the dark beginning, for a while the show had a really comedic feel and I loved it. I could give the 1st half a 9/10 right there. However, once the 2nd half starts to kick in and the main plot gets back in motion…it’s a whole new ballgame doods. GOSICK had exactly the same flow. While GOSICK is a much easier show to discuss (because I already did), this one is…on a whole different level. Believe me when I say you’ll be scratching your head for a while before finally figuring out what’s going on or even what the Penguindrum. By the time it’s finally revealed I still don’t get what it is. I have an idea but not sure if it’s the answer. I’m guessing it’s either a heart or a promise. I dunno.
The important thing is this show got people talking, debating, doing their research like crazy. Pay a visit to Snippettee’s site and check out all her Penguindrum research. That babe did her homework let me tell you. Then again, she’s one of those people who seek so much more from their shows than someone like myself would in order to obtain total satisfaction but that’s irrelevant to this review. Point is this anime, like Madoka, got people’s attention. Whether it had the same impact and lasting impression is a different subject altogether.
It’s half romantic comedy and half drama. That’s 1 way of summing up this show’s content. The comedy half revolves around one Ringo “best stalker ever” Oginome and her ludicrously epic attempts at getting the guy she likes to become hers, all while competing against YURI Tokikage, the show’s resident Miss Perfect. Minor plot spoiler, “Penguin Hatter” believes Ringo is in possession of the penguindrum and she orders the bothers to get it from her. “Fangirlgasm” is sent to unwillingly become Ringo’s “accomplice”.
The animation is all over the place. Seriously there’s so much going on in the screen that rarely will you get a chance to breathe…ESPECIALLY due to the fact almost EVERY image on screen has a symbolic significance and that’s something I really need to address. The director of this anime. Kunihiko Ikakura, better known for the Yuri Nation classic, Revolutionary Girl Utena, is known for his massive use of symbolic imagery. Just watch the Utena movie and see for yourself. the reason I haven’t been able to review it after watching it 7 months ago is because it’s hard to find an exact way to review it properly. I can’t find the exact words to justify how epic that movie is. At first I was going to call it an anime version of Inception, but I already reviewed the anime that inspired the creation of Inception, Paprika.
I’m getting off track here. My point is, Penguindrum utilizes massive amounts of symbolic images, references, items, distortion between reality and mental illusions, contact with astral beings, the list goes on and on.
This picture sums up Shoma (Left Penguin), Kanba (Right Penguin) and Himari (Center Penguin)’s basic personality traits in one go.
There are easy ones to figure out such as the 3 Penguins who besides being comedy relief and the show’s mascots, represent the main characters’ consciences and personalities.They don’t cover the messed up side of their heads though.
There’s also the subway train (Journey and Destination I guess) and its digital signs with Double H (A pop singing duo) summing up the theme of each episode. There’s the red thread of fate. And then there are others that require the viewer to really start hitting the books on mythology and even the bible.
I can say this much. Despite all the imagery, laughs, dark moments and tears, the plot ultimately centers around, love, family, life, death, resurrection and especially FATE!
The music: The 1st OP/ED are excellent. The 2nd set is alright. The show’s soundtrack however…is hit and miss for me. Some tunes work, the Insert songs (Especially YURI’s) are pretty good while the drama portion is somewhat of a mess.
Normally this is the part where I do my character analysis but I need a psychologist’s he;p to figure out what’s going on in the head of these people…and AXYPB’s field is St Mary’s School for Girls so I can’t ask him for help on this one. For now, I’ll just mention my 3 favorite characters.
Ringo Oginome: The “best stalker ever” as I described her and imo, she is. My 3rd fav character. This girl never ceased to entertain me since her debut and even when the comedy died down, I still enjoyed her presence.
Masako Natsume: “Gosh, I must destroy it quickly”…or something like that. A person who also started off as a stalker became my 2nd fav character on the show over time. Maybe because she’s a badass ojou-sama with a big forehead or her character development later on. I can’t say for sure but like Ringo, seeing her brings a smile to my face.
And my all time fav character on the show iiiiiissss:
Esmeralda. Why? Because she’s a diva penguin and she has the ojou-sama laugh. Truly glorious for I haven’t heard the ojou-sama laugh all year if I’m not mistaken. Maybe I have but I certainly didn’t notice until I heard this penguin laugh.
Oops, I almost forgot one very important person for…obvious reasons:
Yuri Tokikago. Let’s just say you should pay VERY close attention to this woman and leave it at that. Believe me.
Oh screw it, most of you have seen the award ceremony.
Oh, I noticed I used a lot of funny pics but trust me, should you choose to pick this show up, you’ll thank me for it.
In conclusion: Like I said earlier, this one’s a really tough call and I don’t know whether my review was good enough to entice people into checking it out but like AnoHana, this show MUST BE SEEN AT LEAST ONCE!
P.S.: the Survival Strategy transformation sequence will both consume your soul and delight you at the same time.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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5 Responses to 149th G-View: Mawaru Penguindrum

  1. Persocom says:

    Penguindrum was enjoyable and mind numbing. I found the symbolism a bit overwhelming, but the comedy, drama, twists and turns made it very worth the time watching. I’m not sure how I feel overall about the anime now upon looking back at it, but it was definitely one that stood out and sucked me in. The first episode itself was a masterpiece. I think the penguins were my favorite characters though. Ringo grew on me too. Also, best transformation scene of 2011, hands down.


  2. Isn’t the point of a review to let others now if something’s good or not without spoiling it in case they’re interested?


  3. Pingback: Yuri Talk: Kunihiko Ikuhara (By Rantasmo) | The Yuri Nation

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