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