Mawaru Penguindrum – 09 Review

Episode 9 – Frozen World

I really loved this episode. In contrast to the previous arc of Ringo, this episode has a more mellow and serious mood to it.

The episode is a flashback episode revolving around Himari and what happened on the day that she died. We are also given snippets of Himari’s past as well as her parents and more questions are created.

Summary

The episode immediately starts off filling in the missing time in episode one from when Himari was at the aquarium souvenir shop to the time she woke up in the hospital bed screaming as the Penguin Queen.

So Himari essentially goes wandering off following her female penguin and ends up in a lift that brings her 61 levels underground to a library that she used to visit in the past. She wanders through the library looking for a book called ‘Super Frog Saves Tokyo’

After having trouble finding the book she stumbles upon a weird door with reshuffling numbers and enters it after feeling a connection to the door.

Through the door she arrives at the Central Library’s Hole in the Sky Annex. There she meets Sanetoshi who is the head librarian at the place.

Sanetoshi then asks her for the name of the book that she is searching for and he helps her to look for the book.

He picks a book out of the shelf saying that “here is the Story of You that you have been searching for.” He then goes on to read the book which depicts Hamiri’s past of when she was in primary school.The story revolves around Himari and her 3 good friends who are aiming to be idols and have settled upon the name which Himari had suggested – Triple H, representing their 3 names – Hibari, Hikari and Himari.

However as that was not the book she was searching for, they move onto the next book which talks about Himari arguing with her mother about the ribbons that she had promised to provide for their (Triple H’s) video that they were filming. A mirror smashes and Himari’s mother gets injured whilst trying to protect her.

That once again is not the correct story so they move onto the next one. Himari goes to school the next day and tells her friends about the situation with her mother. Instead of getting angry, they try to find a solution to help Himari’s mother and they settled upon an old belief that drinking a Koi’s blood would be able to bring health benefits.

They group gets caught by a teacher and each one of them fight to defend the other. (This scene essentially shows the bond between the group and the contrast of how Himari never really trusted her friends nor had faith in them. It really made obvious her lack of trust in the strength of their friendship)

It is the last day of Elementary School and the last time Himari sees the other Triple H friends. It is also the end of the Triple H friendship with Himari leaving and the group now turning into Double H. We then see the relation of Double H to the images of the characters on the advertisements in the train throughout the show. (I really liked this part)

Although they never read the book that Himari is searching for, the book does exist there. Sanetoshi then presents the penguin hat to Himari calling it “the wedding veil bestowed upon the bride of fate.” Himari questions whose bride she is meant to be and Sanetoshi says that it is probably at the destination of fate.

Everything falls away and the book that Himari is searching for is shown to be tossed into the same box that the penguins arrived at the Takakura Household in. Sanetoshi tosses Himari an apple saying not to forget about it.

We then see a snippet of Himari’s past with a boy sharing an apple with her and him being her soul mate.

The episode ends with Himari waking up and forgetting about the dream. She then receives a call from Ringo regarding Shouma’s accident.

Review

I really liked this break from the over-the-top intense story-telling style of the Ringo arc as I felt that it was getting too overwhelming for me. The way in which this episode tears itself away from the linear storytelling pattern by telling a story using flashbacks within a flashback is really refreshing. Although it might not be anything unique or superb, everything about this show has an out-of-the-box style of execution that I really appreciate. Be it the animation or the script or the creative art direction, every detail presented is well thought through.

It is nice to be able to learn more about the main lead Himari and her past. My favourite part of this episode is seeing how certain elements (like the Double-H characters) that we are constantly shown are actually related to the plot and not just there for artistic purpose.

I always enjoy a nice cryptic episode so long as it does not require an exceeding amount of thought. I personally feel like there is an invisible line where anything beyond that line goes into the territory of things getting cryptic to the point where you end up over thinking everything that happens. This episode has it’s fair share of metaphors and mysteries but the script writers made sure that whatever message they would like to push across comes across loud and clear without confusion whilst whatever information that they do not wish to divulge will be left to your imagination until a later time.

I love this screenshot. The angle and framing is so pretty.

So what have we learned from this episode?

  • The existence of Sanetoshi
  • Himari used to be a bratty-ish kid with a past
  • Triple H and existence of a mysterious thread of fate that ties them together
  • Their (Takakura kids) mother’s character/personality (we have seen their father’s personality and character previously)
  • Himari is in search of something from her past
  • She was not chosen randomly and there is an actual reason behind it. (Which relates to the fact that perhaps there is nothing in this show that is random but is rather like “fate” – written and inevitable)
  • She has a mystery person her past that plays an important role in the whole fate theme.
  • Introduction of a romantic interest for Himari – soul mate
  • There is an important person related to the apple Sanetoshi tossed her. (Apple is Ringo in Jap, is this a hint that is related to Ringo?)

There are some other questions that I am curious about after watching this episode. The first thing would be the Apple/Ringo significance. Next would be the image of a ‘Child Broiler’ towards the end of the episode and the significance of that. Third would be the “sharing” of the fruit of fate. (I think I am entering the forbidden field of over thinking everything.)

Naturally, an episode would not be considered a proper Mawaru Penguindrum episode without something to leave you disturbed. So as to ensure their viewers leave at least one disturbing notion, they had Himari and the kids close to brutally smashing a Koi up to drink its blood. =_=” (The smashing part I can deal with, the blood part is making my stomach churn.)

Episode Rating: 8.5/10

Although I would have like to see the result of Shouma getting hit by the car, this episode did a really good job taking my mind off the matter and onto a new subplot. I really loved the style in this episode as well as the library concept and the fact that there is never a dull moment with this series. The last scene before Himari woke up was especially sweet, the song was really lovely. (Anyone know what the name of the song is?)

-ra out!

Edit: I really like this post. I found it quite insightful to read. I thought I would share it with you guys.

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About Saranaufogus

An Anime fan who can't seem to keep her thoughts to herself. Find me on: Instagram | Twitter

Posted on September 10, 2011, in Anime, Mawaru Penguindrum, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. “Anyone know what the name of the song is?”

    Yep, it’s a cover of an ABR song called “Hai-iro no Suiyoubi” (“Gray Wednesday”)

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  2. Thanks for letting me know!

    I have that song on replay now… (the laughing girls in the background in the youtube vid is odd and creepy…lol)

    I do think that I prefer the Penguindrum version, I wonder who did the cover in the episode and if it was done specifically for that episode (specifically or picked) so that it would blend in with the whole mood of the show.

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  3. An awesome (or should I say fabulous xD) episode, my personal favourite so far. And it came at the right moment as I was getting slightly fed up with Ringo and her antics (though they were very amusing to watch).
    It nicely progressed the plot, and yeah, while some questions were answered even more of them arose.
    An episode very heavy on symbolism and metaphors which leaves us to ponder until the next episode. And so many references, be it various books like Super-Frog saves Tokyo, Sputnik Sweetheart, Stephen King’s Christine, or Ghandi’s Seven Social Sins or Utena-ish bride thing.

    Totally agree with the remark concerning the flashbacks within flashbacks, like a dream within a dream (yeah, it all reminds me of Inception).

    Anyway, nice review, especially the list of the things we learnt in the episode.

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  4. “I have that song on replay now… (the laughing girls in the background in the youtube vid is odd and creepy…lol)”

    Tell me about it. But the most disturbing thing is that it kinda fits with the overall feel of the song lol

    “I do think that I prefer the Penguindrum version,”

    Yeah, I think so too. Too bad there’s still no release date for the OST.

    “I wonder who did the cover in the episode and if it was done specifically for that episode (specifically or picked) so that it would blend in with the whole mood of the show.”

    It seems it was Ikuhara himself. ARB seems to have been very influential during his youth or somthing. The insert song during Kanba’s flashback (when he goes with his father to take Himari to the hospital) is an ARB cover too. And there are ARB covers in Utena too IIRC.

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  5. What I meant when I said it was Ikuhara is that he most likely picked the song, not that he made the cover himself lol

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  6. @nico:

    “What I meant when I said it was Ikuhara is that he most likely picked the song, not that he made the cover himself lol”

    LOL! Well… it would have been a bit disturbing if he sounded like a girl. =_=; I think I have nightmares for nights to come now. As if the show was not terrorizing enough as it is. =P j/k

    “no release date for the OST.”

    I am waiting for the OST to come out. Love the soundtrack of the song.

    “And there are ARB covers in Utena too IIRC.”

    Utena was such an odd show. It is good but definitely not for the mainstream audience. I Mawaru is also not a show everyone would accept (I know a few who are too disturb by some aspects of the show to watch it), good thing is that I feel that it is definitely easier to get into than Utena.

    @metamorphius

    “And it came at the right moment as I was getting slightly fed up with Ringo and her antics”

    I agree. Glad that the director knew when it was time to change. Some shows just never understand when enough is enough.

    “And so many references, be it various books like Super-Frog saves Tokyo, Sputnik Sweetheart, Stephen King’s Christine, or Ghandi’s Seven Social Sins or Utena-ish bride thing.”

    While I really love all these references, it would require some homework for a normal person to fully understand the meaning and connection between what happened and the
    “underlying meaning” statement. But I love a show that allows room for more than the obvious.

    “Totally agree with the remark concerning the flashbacks within flashbacks, like a dream within a dream (yeah, it all reminds me of Inception).”

    The worse thing that could happen is that this series turns into a giant flashback. =P

    “Anyway, nice review, especially the list of the things we learnt in the episode.”

    Thanks, I figured that a list was needed because there were too many revelations in this episode and it was a good way for me to look at the episode as a whole.

    @nico and metamorphius

    What do you think about the signifance of Ringo/Apple of fate?
    I just hope it is not going to turn into an Utena with the shoujo-ai element. But with this show, one can never be certain. =_=”

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  7. Yeah, I’m also not into analyzing things too much, and usually like to watch anime without having to do, as you called it, additional homework in order to understand it completely. But some shows just make me want to do that, and Penguindrum is one of those.

    Hmmm, significance of the apple….Honestly, I don’t know. There are so many things it can symbolize, so I don’t feel like even trying to dig too deep into it. Plus, apple in general is so rich symbol. Still, from the things I’ve seen so far: in the first episode Night on the Galactic Railroad was mentioned, and IIRC, there apple symbolizes the universe. It may seem strange, but the author of the novel pictured the universe as an apple since he believed it was round just like an apple. So when one holds an apple in one’s hand it’s like holding the whole universe in the palm of one’s hand. Furthermore, a boy in The Night on the Galactic Railroad discussing this subject says ‘Like I said, the apple is the universe itself! A universe in the palm of your hand. It’s what connects this world and the other world.’ And the other world he’s referring to is the afterlife. So it’s like it’s representing the neverending cycle of life and death. Yeah, I’m spouting nonsense too much >.< But all of this, even if applicable, should probably be taken as a metaphor.
    Next, as we know, apple most commonly symbolizes the forbidden knowledge; here it's perhaps the power to change one's fate, but it may be too obvious. Nah, I shall stop here before I start speculating too much xD
    Anyway, there's only one thing I'm sure of, regardless of what the apple is supposed to represent, we'll see it again.
    And, yes, with a show like this, you can never be sure what to expect next.
    Fuu, too much thinking, I have to watch Natsume now to restore the balance 😀

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  8. Fuu, too much thinking, I have to watch Natsume now to restore the balance 😀

    Lol, I felt the same way but after watching ep 11 of Natsume, it made me want to go back to Mawaru instead. =P One thing good about this episode of Natsume was that I gave up on trying to fight my urge to find out who the singer of the ED song was. =p (yes, it took me 11 episodes to change my mind) but I am digressing..

    Hmmm, significance of the apple….Honestly, I don’t know. There are so many things it can symbolize, so I don’t feel like even trying to dig too deep into it.

    It sure one of the most common symbol. I always do not wish to dive to much into possibilities and end up being totally wrong. Some speculation is fine and all but look at how Blood-C turned out with that. =p I feel disappointed with it. As such, at the end of the day I am just hoping that the show will be able to deliver in whatever way they decide to play the symbol out. =D

    The child broiler was another disturbing thing that I can’t understand and I have not seen too many people being able to speculate about what it could mean. I just hope it does not take it literally and we end up seeing children being broiled alive. (I highly doubt that will happen but who really knows for sure…=P)

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  9. LOL I’m only at episode 9 of Natsume so I dunno what happens in ep 11, but I can understand what you mean – Penguindrum and Natsume are at the opposite ends of the spectrum – Natsume is an anime that aims more at one’s emotions and creates feel-good atmosphere, while Penguindrum is more cerebral, so to say.

    Btw, I don’t think you should worry that this anime could turn out a fail like Blood-C.

    Yeah, I think the child broiler was the most disturbing thing in the episode, and also the most difficult one to speculate about since it came so out of nowhere. Gah, yeah I also wouldn’t like for it to turn out to be a children broiler in the literal sense *shudders* Well, I’ll leave that possibility aside for the time being.
    My extremely improbable speculation (which I came up with just now since I haven’t thought about it before) is that it could be a place between life and death, some sort of an interim where souls reside, perhaps reminiscent in its concept to what Arabs call ‘barzakh’. And if we take that ‘Galactic railroad’s interpretation of the apple as a kind of gate that connects the two worlds it fits. Well, sort of…Or it could be purgatory. Actually, scratch all that, I’m tired of (over)thinking this anime. Atm, I’m more interested into learning more about the mysterious Pingroup and Penguin force, it’s about time we learnt more about them.
    Anyhow…the episode made me quite interested in Himari’s character, all this ‘Princess of the Crystal’ stuff could indicate that she may have some kind of personality disorder. That is to say: is Princess a separate entity/person from Himari or not? Oh, I’ starting again >.< I think I should give it a rest, at least until the next episode. /nomoremawaruspecuahforme xD

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  10. LOL I’m only at episode 9 of Natsume so I dunno what happens in ep 11″

    Shocked. Go catch up to ep 11! =P

    Natsume is an anime that aims more at one’s emotions and creates feel-good atmosphere, while Penguindrum is more cerebral, so to say

    So true. If i had to describe the shows… I would say that Natsume is probably like being in a coma whilst Penguindrum is like having a stroke.

    Oh, I’ starting again >.< I think I should give it a rest, at least until the next episode. /nomoremawaruspecuahforme xD

    Lol, oh the addiction of speculation. We are all victims to reading in-between the lines.

    As for the princess, I think that the princess situation is interesting. I am tempted to speculate and say that it is everything that Himari would have been if not for fate. Opps, just speculated. =P

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