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