Anime Review: Mawaru Penguindrum

Mawaru Penguindrum

So in response to that string of blog posts about the 10/10 system, I’m gonna try reviewing with a 100 point system for a change. So let’s talk about Mawaru Penguindrum, a recently finished series from Summer 2011. It follows the story of three siblings, the twins Kanba and Shoma Takakura, as well as their little sister Himari.

Although fairly energetic, Himari is in hospitals often due to a mysterious health condition. One day, Himari collapses. Even after being taken to the hospital, she dies. But then, she mysteriously awakens, but there’s a twist. Her life is linked to a penguin hat, which can take control of her body, ordering Kanba and Shoma to find the Penguindrum to save her life.

When the series starts, most of the episodes are fairly goofy as Shoma and Kanba try to find the mysterious Penguindrum with the penguins that they are given that no one else can see. It’s very light-hearted, but soon turns dark, with mysteries and secrets and the like. In fact, at the end, everything you’re told at the beginning of the show is basically a lie.

The further the series went, the more it messed with my mind. It was sometimes difficult to grasp what was happening. But it was a nice feeling while I was watching, since the show never let me just sit back. It kept throwing things at me left and right, keeping me interested until the end.

I also think the end was done very artfully. I’m not sure if it’s a problem or a boon, but the ending didn’t really leave me with that many questions. I mean, my brain hurt after I saw it, but when I really thought about it, everything really seemed to make sense.

Story: Score 94/100

For starters, we have the main characters: the energetic and diligent Himari, the spazzy brother Shoma, and the cool playboy Kanba. We’re also introduced to Ringo Oginome, who’s honestly my favorite character. She’s a crazy stalker that ends up having a huge role in the story. I loved how characters like Yuri and Tabuki, who seemed fairly clueless, actually had some big role in the main plot as well. And of course, we have the penguins, which aren’t that important in the plot, but provide such amazing comedic relief in every single episode.

Characters: 90/100

The art of this show was definitely unique, with very nice designs for main characters and simple silhouettes that just glided across the screen with no other movements for the random bystanders. It gives everything this surreal sort of atmosphere, which really goes well with how goofy the show itself is. As for the music, I was pretty impressed. A lot of the background is very dark, which fits well with the mysterious nature of the penguin hat. The first opening theme sounded amazing, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the full version. I much preferred the TV size. The second opening and the numerous ending themes were also fairly impressive, but didn’t stand out as much to me.

Animation: Score 92/100

Music: 98/100

Overall, I was impressed. This was one of those shows that was so goofy, it was interesting. I made so many speculations about what would happen, and most of them didn’t happen. I couldn’t follow the trajectory of the story at all. Honestly, I recommend this for anyone. Penguins are awesome! I think my only gripe with the series is that they use that same animation sequence every time the penguin hat calls out Survival Strategy. It gets old after the first few times >.>

Final Score: 92/100

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 16

This week’s episode starts off with Natsume finding out that Yuri tricked her with a fake diary half. This episode focuses on Natsume, as we see that she runs a company. She sends her maid to spy on Kanba, but she is noticed by the penguin hat.

We see a bit of Natsume’s past, as she constantly has dreams of killing her grandfather (with hilarious English lines in the background). She hopes that her father will be able to come back to their house if her grandfather dies, and she also wishes to save Mario from her grandfather’s overbearing attitude.

Her prayers are granted when her grandfather comes home one day, having caught a bunch of blowfish. He attempts to eat them all raw and subsequently dies due to the neurotoxin in them. Despite this, Natsume’s father doesn’t return.

Also, one day, Natsume finds Mario outside training, seemingly possessed by their grandfather. He forces her to eat blowfish similar to the type that killed him. She is given a call from who I assume to be Sanetoshi.

Natsume finds herself on a train. She sees her father being taken away by none other than Kanba. However, she wakes up, having survived the poison. Not sure what to say about this episode. Fate/Zero soon!

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 15

New opening is…new. I’m sure it will grow on me as we go along, but so far no strong impressions. The animation looks fairly similar…even some things seem recycled, like Himari’s spin drop. Anyways, Shoma is still pretty depressed about Ringo. After receiving a weird voicemail from Ringo, Shoma calls her. When she answers, she’s still drugged, and he is able figure out that she’s about to do something…explicit. However, Shoma soon realizes that he is right next door to her, having stayed at the same inn. He rushes over to stop them, but slips and is knocked out. We finally get some character background on Yuri. Her father was a famous artist, who only loved beautiful things. However, he thought of Yuri as ugly, telling that she would not be loved. At school, Yuri meets Momoka, who reassures her that she is beautiful. They start to become friends, but Yuri’s father tells her that Momoka cannot be trusted, and that only family can be trusted. However, Momoka becomes determined to gain Yuri’s trust nonetheless. Momoka explains that she is able to transfer the fate of someone using her diary. She claims that she can free Yuri and avert her death. Yuri doesn’t believe her, rushing home to her father. Back in the present, Himari finds out that Sanetoshi sent the two scarves she made last episode to her friends, Double-H. Sanetoshi starts to ask Kanba about his relationship with his family, but Kanba is unable to understand. Meanwhile, Yuri is interrupted by the entrance of a housekeeper, who turns out to be Natsume. The two start to fight over the diary halves. They seem fairly even for a while, but Natsume ends up grabbing the diary half with the help of Esmerelda. Yuri reveals to Shoma, however, that the half was just a fake and that she still has the real half. Back in the memory, Yuri is saved from death at the hands of her father by Momoka, who is severely burned as a price. The episode ends as Yuri reveals that she intends to use the diary to bring Momoka back. Things are starting to get interesting again. Now we see the true purpose of the Fate Diary, and it’s actually quite cool. I understand now why it’s so important. I wonder if the show will continue so that Ringo is the only one who can transfer the fate or something…Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 14

So, by the looks of it, this episode starts off with Yuri sleeping with the person she is on stage with in her plays (ehh?). Ringo meets with Shoma on the street, but he brushes her off, still blaming himself for his parents’ involvement in her sister’s death. Ringo tries to convince him otherwise, but Shoma refuses to hear it, leaving her in tears. Meanwhile, Kanba pays Sanetoshi the amount he agreed for Himari’s life, but Sanetoshi demands more. Ringo, still reeling from Shoma’s rejection, runs into Yuri and the two talk. Kanba meets with dark clothed men to get the money for Himari, but Natsume appears to interrupt the meeting. Natsume offers her own money to save Kanba from the repercussions of his exchange with the men, but he refuses. Yuri takes Ringo to a hot spring inn to stay for the night. Ringo asks how Yuri met Tabuki and Yuri reveals that she was a childhood friend of his, and that she knew Momoka. Yuri tells Ringo all about Momoka, who knows nothing about her because her parents are uncomfortable speaking of her. However, Yuri drugs Ringo and forces her into the bed (apparently she had feelings for Momoka). Yuri reveals that she was the one that stole the second half of the diary. Whaaa? This show O.o

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 13

With all of the fall excitement, you may have forgotten what happened last week. Just a reminder, Himari died and Kanba was unable to save her. At that moment, a man walks in with two briefcases of weird apples, then pulling out a vial that he says is able to save Himari. Meanwhile, Shoma remembers back to three years ago, when the police come to the door asking about their parents. Their uncle asks them to leave the house, but they are reluctant, finally relenting to stay at a hotel. Sanetoshi tells Kanba that the medicine to save Himari comes at a price, and Kanba tells him that he will pay for it. Back in Shoma’s flashback, Kanba receives a call from their uncle, and they find out that their parents are suspected of causing the explosions and their house is being searched by the police. At that point, Himari wakes up. Afterwards, Sanetoshi thinks back to 16 years before, when he met a girl that was like him. However, she ended up rejecting him despite their similarities. Meanwhile, Natsume gets a call from (I’m assuming) Sanetoshi, who tells her that he knows who has the other half of the diary. Ringo talks with Tabuki and seems to be over her thing with Momoka. So…this series still confuses me…Waiting for the explanation.

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 12

Woot, penguins! First off, the doctor references a strange expedition to the South Pole, depicted by a picture that includes Kanba and Shoma’s father. Shoma then continues from last episode, where he is telling Ringo about an incident 16 years prior where many people died, caused by none other than his own parents. We flash back 16 years, where Shoma’s father is initiating a “Survival Strategy” in order to bring peace to the world. Tabuki, who is late for a meetup with Momoka, arrives at the subway station to find a crowd of people talking about an explosion that occurred in that subway. He turns to find that there have been multiple explosions. Flash forward a bit to Momoka’s funeral, where Tabuki refuses to acknowledge Momoka’s death. Flash forward again to the present, where the penguin hat is telling Shoma and Ringo that they have lost the Penguin Drum and apparently some dark bunnies are coming (ehh…????). Himari then collapses, and is rushed to the hospital, where she dies once again. Shoma starts to tell the story of Mary, which eventually leads to a part with two dark bunnies and an apple tree (yeah…it’s weird). Kanba desperately tries to revive Himari, revealing that he transferred part of his life earlier to Himari. However, the penguin hat reveals that it has run out, so Kanba tries to do it again. The hat tells him that it’s impossible, but he tries nonetheless. Shoma continues the story, where Mary is punished by the Goddess for following the advice of the dark bunnies by the loss of her youngest lamb (symbolically Himari). Kanba is unable to revive Himari, and she dies. At that moment, a man (who I’m assuming is Sanetoshi) walks in accompanied by two others as the episode ends. So much confusion…I don’t want Himari to die 😦

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 11

Finally got a working copy of this episode…that’s actually HD. Anyways, we start this week’s episode off with Kanba showing up at Natsume’s house. Natsume starts going about love, but Kanba cuts her off and tries to make her return Ringo’s diary. However, Natsume refuses, revealing to him that she needs it for Mario, a boy with a penguin hat like Himari’s. After Kanba leaves, Natsume reveals on the phone to her mystery contact that she only has half of the diary. Meanwhile, Shoma scolds Ringo for giving up the diary so easily, which prompts Ringo to start attacking him for his insensitivity. However, Ringo tells Shoma that she still intends to continue with Project M using the memories she has of what was written in the diary. She tries using another frog, creating a drink that will supposedly cause Tabuki to fall in love with her. The next day, Tabuki drinks it and it seems to work. However, as the two are lying together in bed, Ringo starts to cry and finds herself unable to sleep with Tabuki, but Tabuki starts go crazy. At that moment, Yuri returns and hears Tabuki’s crazed proclamations of love for Ringo. Ringo asks her to break up with Tabuki, and she agrees, but asks if it will truly make Ringo happy. She asks Ringo if she actually wants to be with Tabuki, or if she loves Shoma instead. With that, Ringo returns home, but finds Shoma and Himari there waiting for her. Shoma gives her some food he cooked for her as an apology for his behavior earlier, but Ringo hits him again. At that moment, the penguin hat appears on Himari, and she tells Ringo to let out what’s bother her. So, she starts to tell the story of Momoka, who died when she was born. For this reason, she believed she was the reincarnation of Momoka. She then blames Shoma for ruining her fate, but he strangely agrees. He reveals that he and Kanba were also born on the day that Momoka died, and the episode ends with him saying that it was because of them that Momoka died. Well…my mind was just blown…I may need like a week to recover from that. Why is this show so awesome??

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 10

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Sorry for the tardiness, but I think it’s finally time to find out what happened to Shoma (after our short interlude last week). Anticlimactically, Shoma wakes up in a hospital bed (sigh…no fun) with Himari and Kanba there to greet him as he awakens. Turns out his injuries are very minor, just some bruises and bumps (very suspicious). When Kanba asks about what happened, Shoma takes the blame for the accident (even though it was really Ringo’s fault…yeesh), and Ringo overhears this. Later, Ringo apologizes to Shoma for what happened and Shoma notices the ripped diary. At that moment, Natsume walks in disguised as a nurse, drugging Shoma’s food and sending Ringo away. Shoma passes out, and Ringo returns to find that he is missing. Kanba receives a ransom text, Shoma for the other half of the diary. Ringo hands him the diary half, also telling him the truth of what happened the night before (while #1 fishes for panties…lol). However, Kanba hands the diary back to Ringo, using the GPS on Shoma’s phone to find him. Kanba acts as a decoy, going to the requested extraction point, but Natsume sees through it and fires at him. Kanba finds a music box, which he seems to recognize, but it is destroyed by Natsume. Kanba is knocked out momentarily and wakes up in a strange setting (penguin pictures everywhere!). As he walks through, he is berated by a voice that asks him to remember something, and he also sees the items that he was earlier telling Himari were bad gifts from a girl (lunchboxes, cake, sweater). Meanwhile, Ringo is called by Natsume and ordered to bring the diary now that Kanba has fallen into her trap. Ringo ends up making the drop. Back to Kanba, Kanba wanders into the room with the captured Shoma, but Natsume turns out the lights. Out of nowhere, Natsume grabs Kanba and kisses him, but disappears before the lights turn back on. The episode ends with Natsume on a train with a boy with a penguin hat, who she calls Mario. I’m assuming that he’s in a similar situation as Himari. So…anyone else completely confused? And any opinions on the slightly remixed version of the ending theme this week?

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 9

I’ve been biting my nails wondering what happens this week (Shoma got hit by a car last week). The episode starts with some sort of weird flashback to the twins and Himari looking at penguins (I didn’t quite understand this). Himari notices #3 and follows her into an elevator, which takes her very far underground. There, Himari finds the library that she frequents. #3 leads her to a strange puzzle door, which leads into a giant area that has the book that Himari was searching for. She also meets the pink-haired man from the opening theme, who introduces himself as Sanetoshi. He opens a book that he calls the “Story of You” and talks about two friends Himari used to have. We then flashback to those friends, named Hibari and Hikari (uhh…k). The three of them are applying to be in some sort of audition to become an idol. Sanetoshi grabs another book and Himari flashes back to her mother buying her ribbons for the audition. However, she buys the wrong ones and Himari gets mad at her, knocking over a mirror. The mirror falls towards Himari, but her mother covers her and is covered in broken glass. Her mother survives, but is scarred for life. Sanetoshi continues reading, and we flashback to Himari telling her friends about the incident and they offer to help her mother at the hospital. One of them has read that Koi blood could help someone feel better, so they capture a Koi. They are stopped by a teacher before they can kill it and take its blood though. Hibari and Hikari try to take responsibility, refusing to allow Himari to do so. Finally, Himari flashes back to the day she left the school, leaving her two friends behind. They end up becoming idols together, choosing the name Double-H (based off of Himari’s name for them, Triple-H). It is revealed that they are the two girls that are on the subway’s monitor all the time. Sanetoshi hands Himari the penguin hat and tells her that it is a bridal hat, but doesn’t tell her the identity of the groom. Himari then wakes up, realizing it is all a dream, but has forgotten it all. The episode ends with the phone ringing and Himari finding out that Shoma was hit by the car. ARGH! I WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO SHOMA! Sigh…fine…another week.

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 8

Because of how late this episode is, I’ll remind you what happened at the end of the last episode. Ringo decided to make sure Project Maternity was successful by sneaking into Tabuki’s room at night. Now, at the beginning of this week’s episode, Ringo pulls back the covers to find that Tabuki is not there. The next day, Shoma finds out that Tabuki was out helping Yuri fix the plumbing at their new home. While Ringo is at the aquarium, she sees her father with another woman and more importantly, another kid. Ringo watches as her father proposes to the other woman (in hilarious Ringo-vision). She goes with Shoma to Tabuki’s place while Yuri is out on a tour, bringing along a cake that knocks Shoma and Tabuki out cold (which I totally predicted the minute she offered it to Shoma). However Shoma regains consciousness and stumbles into the bedroom to find Ringo, who has dressed herself as Yuri to rape Tabuki. Although groggy, Shoma is able to stop Ringo by ripping off her wig, and at that moment, Yuri comes back home, having been stopped by the typhoon. Shoma and Ringo escape outside, where Shoma calls Ringo selfish for not considering Tabuki’s feelings. Ringo then calls Shoma selfish for pretending to be in a happy family in front of Himari, which angers him. Ringo starts to talk about her sister, but then tries to run off. Shoma tries to stop her and the Fate Diary slips out of her bag and falls down to the street below. Ringo rushes to grab it, but a motorcyclist drives by and tears off half of it while driving onward. Ringo is distraught and meanders into the street in the path of a car, but Shoma pushes her out of the way and is hit instead as the episode ends. This show rocks…that is all…moving on.

This is why I watch gg subs