Mawaru Penguindrum – 08 Review
Just one of the many weird things that happens to Ringo
Reviews by M0rg0th and Saranaufogus
I want the next episode! I can’t believe that they ended the episode with such a cliffhanger. Talk about torture. *Pulls hair out*
Saranaufogus:Whilst last week’s episode was more lighthearted and comedic, this episode really tested my patience for disturbing/twisted/creepiness behavior. There were so many moments (mostly due to Ringo) where I wanted to just turn away and pretend nothing was happening. Some of the scenes really got my skin crawling but thankfully, the writers knew where the limit was and never crossed the line despite pushing past the limits of what people would accept.
Summary + Comments (Saranaufogus)
So the episode starts off with Ringo crawling onto Tabuki’s futon and she reveals that he was not in his bed but in his place was a chicken instead. (Damn, a chicken. Well, we knew that was coming, stalkers never seem to be able catch the break that they desperately need.)
The next day at school Kanba and Shouma find out from Tabuki that he and Yuri have bought a new apartment and are moving into it.
After Ringo learns of this secret, she starts to lose her motivation for everything…not. She picks herself up and is already plotting away in her mind. When Shouma tells her to give up and picks up her diary and bag, Ringo snatches it away saying she did not want Shouma touching that diary.
Back at the Takakura household, the boys are discussing ways to get the diary and Kanba suggests that Shouma should just grab the diary and stop worrying about Ringo. In the background, the penguins are cooking their own meal, which happens to look like chicken or bird. (I thought penguins ate fish? =P )
Ringo visits the aquarium, where her parents used to bring her when she was young, to gather her thoughts. There, she meets her father who is with a child and a female lady. Ringo hides herself and does the stalker thing and eavesdrops on their conversation. Ringo overhears her father proposing and sees how happy their family is. She then gets all confused and goes into denial and as usual thinks that the way to bring her family back together again would be to complete Mission M. (I do not really like the whole dramatic family plot when it comes to Ringo because it just makes how childish she is even more obvious. I really do like the way the animators used the toys to show how Ringo distances herself from situations and how she is really like a kid.)
Ringo roams the streets and her imagination runs wild. This time the short story is a old-west one where Tabuki is held captive and Ringo comes to the rescue.
At the evil end of the series, the evil chick is plotting about Mission M and how it must not fail.
That night, Ringo decides to visit Tabuki at his new home (knowing that Yuri is out of the country) and bakes a housewarming gift. Shouma starts to think that Mission M could be Mission Murder and decides to tag along to make sure Ringo does not do anything drastic. (Lol, all that girl knows to do are drastic things =P)
Apparently Ringo had spiked the cake to knock Tabuki out so she could rape him. (Yes, you heard me right boys and girls, this time Tabuki is not a chicken and is actually going to get raped by an all-time-high-on-the-creepiness-scale Ringo)
Ringo brings along a wig and makeup (including nail polish) to dress herself up as Yuri to seduce a drugged Tabuki so that she would be able to get pregnant.
Shouma wakes up from the drug and stops Ringo.
Shouma finally gets frustrated and tells Ringo off saying, “Your heart is pitch black. darker than any girl I’ve ever known!” (I was so glad that someone actually scolded Ringo rather than just telling her that she was creepy, she really needed discipline. She is like a small immature kid without supervision)
Whilst arguing the diary falls to the ground and just as Ringo picks it up, a biker snatches the diary from her hands and the diary gets torn into two. (How convenient that someone was waiting for Ringo to appear so they can snatch the diary. =P)
Ringo walks on the street dazed and a worried Shouma pushes her out of the way of an in-coming truck. Shouma gets hit and the episode ends. (T^T Shouma! Don’t die! Well, he should be fine, he is a main character afterall. Maybe he will come back as Penguin King.)
[I have highlighted key topics to make it easier to read]
Key point of the episode in my opinion: Ringo’s denial.
Like I had said above (before the summary), this episode felt like a test to me, especially with Ringo’s character. I can’t count the amount of times where I wanted to slap Ringo and tell her to grow up. Which really is turning into an issue for me.
I really enjoy the comedic and creative aspects of this show, especially all the quirky behaviors that the characters have. But the whole melodramatic mood that Ringo went through this episode had me put off. Despite how disturb I was by her over-the-top stalking behavior, it was usually mostly innocent and all imaginary. Ringo also never really whined about the situations she ends up in but just goes nuts instead and would find a way to tackle the problem. I really liked that about her character. However, Ringo spent a great deal of time playing the sad pitiable character towards the end of this episode. Sure, her character did not really want the pity but the animators made it in such a way that we would start to pity Ringo or at least understand why she is so twisted.
Once again, the animation of this episode was simply stunning. The vibrant colors and quirky shots really kept things interesting, especially when there is never a quiet moment and more than one thing is happening in each scene. It really increases the re-watch value for this show. The atmosphere for the different scenes came across really nicely with the different lighting used in each scene to bring across the mood of that scene. I especially love the darker atmosphere towards the end of the episode where things got serious and Shouma gave Ringo a good wake-up call.
The animal representation of Ringo’s dad (was in episode 6) comes back into play this episode. The proposal scene just did not feel as impactful as I would have liked it to be. It was a tad bit over-the-top (but everything is when it comes to this show) but my biggest issue was that it lacked in impact – it just did not have the same serious and dramatic mood as the conversation between Ringo’s parents in Episode 6, I really liked the art direction in that. I felt that whatever effect that we were meant to feel from that scene got lost in translation, but I guess at the end of the day, it is just another way to show us Ringo’s twisted view on life and her denial when it comes to accepting reality. Ringo instead choose to distance herself with the ideas of fate and cuddly soft toys. (Which is something people see as being friendly and approachable and not harmful)
Ringo’s overactive imagination did come into play this episode with an old western portrayal of her evil thoughts this time ’round. I like these “short stories” that have no real purpose other than to show us what goes through Ringo’s head. It is nice to take a break from the heavy and dramatic atmosphere of the episode.
What was shocking was that althought Himari was present in this episode, the Penguin Queen did not appear! No tacky song that makes you wanna put your palm to your face! *rejoice* (I actually like how that retro song fits so nicely into the whole style of this series, but you can’t blame me for not actually liking the song. Feels like a bad variety show.)
Now onto the actual progress of the show…
- Ringo’s diary gets stolen and ripped into two and I guess this would mean that we have another problem added into the mix of things. As if this shows don’t have enough out-of-hand trouble already. Ringo’s love life has enough trouble to last a lifetime.
- We keep hearing about Project M and whilst we know what Project M is from Ringo’s aspect, we still do not know what it is from the antagonist’s view. She keeps mentioning Project M but I would seriously doubt if it is the same thing that Ringo is talking about.
- We are still unsure what that diary is meant to be and why it is so important. One could speculate but, =/ this show does not need anymore crazy ideas. Whatever it turns out to be, I am sure that it would be a good watch.
I have to applaud Shouma for being so patient and caring when it comes to Ringo because I know I would have hit that girl on the head by now if I were him.
Despite how much I am loving the sight of Ringo and Shouma in the recent episodes, I would really want to see more of the other cast. Himari seem to have been partially forgotten and left in the background. She is the main catalyst for having start the trouble but it is starting to feel like her character is no longer is needed unless it is to spark more trouble. Kanba has not had a major part since episode 6 with the shooting balls. Seeing as to how Ringo is not even in the promotional poster for this show, I would really like to see less of her in the coming episodes and see more of the Takakura family as I am starting to feel the effects of a Ringo overdose.
Overall, this episode was a lot darker and more disturbing than any other episodes thus far. Ringo brings creepiness to a whole new level and I honestly feel that she needs to be locked up or counseled. I like the fact that Ringo mentioned the dynamics of the Takarura household and how they are similar to her and only wanted to keep up the facade of a happy family and would do anything to make themselves believe things are fine. It is nice to see a refreshing/b*tchy approach to the whole family theme without making it sound sentimental, and we know nothing is sentimental when it comes out of Ringo’s mouth.
Episode Rating: 8/10
I had to minus points because I was creeped out by Ringo. If you were having trouble enjoying the smaller disturbing things in the previous episode, this episode may get a bit hard to handle. Especially when Ringo decides to dress up as Yuri.
There’s just a thing like too-much that hovers like an ominous cloud over this series. While the atmosphere and the wacky humour may have an impact the plot doesn’t go anywhere and it doesn’t stand still either with any purpose. Self-indulgence comes to mind when one thinks about what Ringo has done up to this point because there’s just this sense of knowing that nothing can come out of it but being powerless to do anything about it as viewer and so one has to see as Ringo kept being in denial about that obvious fact of her never being able to succeed.
Mawaru really did drag in the last episodes as Ringo’s antics became more and more a rather uneventful task of seeing her getting creepier but not progressing the plot with it. This week is a little bit of a two-edged sword, I think, but change always is, right? The first two-thirds of this series show us the normal creepy adventures of Ringo but this episode really tried to see Ringo fail as she not only missed her opportunity to rape Tabuki in his sleep but he also starts to live together with Yuri. And then just to show us how cruel Ringo’s fate can get she sees her father starting a new happy family in front of her which was also kinda creepy, I think.
This episode was really far too forced on seeing Ringo suffer with this new-family-thing. But it’s also interesting how in her warped vision it was the little girl who had ensnared her dad. One has to admit that her characterization is consistent the way she blames always someone else but the person she cares for. She really has a way to avoid facing reality but this denial really has gone on too long and by now it doesn’t really matter how much more Ringo has to suffer or how much creepier she can get. The essential story was already told a few episodes ago; this series has seemed to enjoy itself far too much with continuing Ringo’s adventures up to this point. But at the same time it’s more of the same since we already know how crappy Ringo’s family life is and how fixated she is on her image of the future.
And it does seem like this episode tried to bring closure to the whole Ringo-thing. First off, Shoma gets a lecture by Kanba who points out many of Shoma’s flaws in his way of handling Ringo. The way Shoma tried to reason with Ringo was actually more like him putting himself at her mercy. And like that he was just a sort of servant for her. The next thing was also how Ringo got very drastic this episode with her ways of reaching the goal of Project M, it just seemed desperate at this point and Yuri suddenly appearing when Ringo was about to rape Tabuki was a bit too much of a convenient “coincidence” for the story but it did lead to Shoma finally telling her bluntly that she’s just a goddamn basket case.
Only anime-characters who get hit by a car can experience this one little moment of gracefully soaring through the sky, rebelling against their fate by rebelling against gravity…
Project M has failed, one can say and it’s actually a conclusion that should’ve been reached a few episodes ago but this episode uses a plottwist at the end that’s not only sudden but unexpected. First of all, was it Villain Girl (I will try to remember her name when her arc comes up) who ripped Ringo’s diary apart? That really put a definite end to the Project M thing of Ringo. But not only that, Ringo then gets saved by Shoma who gets hit by a car instead – that was certainly a surprise.
I certainly hadn’t expected to see Ringo’s arc being closed like that. The plottwist is dynamic in its unexpectedness and the way it changes the focus from Ringo’s adventures to Shoma (at least I hope so). But as dynamic and sudden as the plottwist seems it begs the question what for did we sit through these entire episodes of Ringo trying to have sex with Tabuki when it’s ultimately all for nothing?
And that’s where Mawaru Penguindrum has its biggest flaw right now: It’s just too self-indulgent where it should move on. The tropes of Ringo’s jokes are known and still they were repeated a dozen times by now. The scene with her father and her western-fantasy are types of jokes we’ve already seen enough of by now. It’s certainly unbalanced how Kanba and Himari get reduced to side-characters practically while Ringo who should be a side-character gets far more screentime and then this episode comes along and tells the audience that her long arc was for nothing. I certainly don’t hope that we get to see Ringo suffering an emotional crisis next episode only to get her motivation back at the end of it due to some other character’s intervention which then makes Shoma’s accident only a short break and probably a change of approach for Ringo’s Project M (unlikely but I think it’s an option that Ringo’s arc isn’t over).
Himari: “Until a woman is twenty-five, she still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances she could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got my fatal disease back, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.”
Not only did this series seem to get stuck with Ringo instead of progressing the story with her, the story itself seems still far too mysterious right now. There’s not only the stuff which Kanba’s doing and what Villain Girl is up to but just the general idea of obtaining the Penguindrum hasn’t got any progression at all. It was assumed that the diary may be the Penguindrum but the way it’s described lets it seem rather mundane and gives it a more allegoric value than real supernatural power. So there’s still the question what the Penguindrum is. One of the theories I currently have is that the Penguindrum like Ringo’s diary isn’t something supernatural per se but something that becomes supernatural because a person believes it to be that and ultimately a moral message (that’s why I call it allegoric).
One thing that Mawaru Penguindrum has lost, I think, is its weirdness. The fantasy in this series in the beginning wasn’t something normal like magic spells, dragons or unicorns; the weird fantasy of this series was the unexpected supernatural aspect of reality. Things beyond comprehension just happen and the protagonists get pulled into a world they don’t understand but this isn’t another fantasy-realm different from reality, it’s the world everyone knows but somehow made absurd. While it makes sense for the series to explain Ringo’s diary in a way that diminishes its magical vibe, the way this series turned into a wacky sitcom isn’t really what it seemed to be in the first few episodes. While Kanba still had contact with a rather supernatural aspect as a rather unimportant side-chara, Ringo’s adventures were totally normal and her Diary has lost its purpose by showing that in the end Ringo was just a loony with a warped perception of why her vision of the future has to come true. I think, the whole wacky humour would’ve found a better place within this series if its wackiness would’ve been supported by an absurd over-the-top accuracy of Ringo’s diary.
But as it is this series seems to wander around without tackling its real topics. Instead of being weird it tries to be funny and forgets what this series was to be about at its beginning.
The new episode tries seemingly to wrap up the Ringo-Arc with an interesting twist but no matter how surprising the developments at the end are, they can’t hide how this series has basically wasted far too much time on showing how crazy Ringo is and why everyone should think it funny.
Episode Rating: 7/10