Mawaru Penguindrum – 13 Review
Don’t we all want to know the answer to that.
Episode 13 – Crime and Punishment for You and Me
Its time for a walk down memory lane and reflect on the past.
The whole episode is one big giant revisit for me. We get to see many familiar places, hear familiar songs as well as see familiar scenes played out in a different manner thus showing us how far the show has come since the beginning.
One-line Episode Summary
This episode continues from the last episode with Sanetoshi entering the room as a “savior” to Himari and the rest of the episode covers the moment in their past where the Takakura siblings find out that their parents were at fault as well as showing us how Ringo is dealing with this new knowledge about the siblings.
I really liked the pacing and the style of this episode. Where last episode had blown our minds with an overload of information stylized animation, this episode adopts a slower and more emotional approach to things. The animation gets dialed back to something that matches the bleak atmosphere and there is a crazy amount of objects with silent (but visual) implied-meanings in the background.
I really liked how some of the information is put across without words having been said yet at the same time this episode is also one of the most dialogue heavy episode thus far. At one end, we have the characters constantly talking about the repercussions of the incident and on the other hand we have this absolute silent treatment of symbolic objects that are given only a visual focus. This episode also utilises almost all the important locations from previous episodes.
Revisiting The Locations
Most of the locations used for this episode were familiar and it felt like a general mid-season recap with characters going back to the place that represents them the most to think about everything they have learned over the last 13 weeks. We have Himari back at square 1 in the hospital having been given an extended lease on life by Sanetoshi, then we have the Takakura twins thinking back to the day where they had learned everything whilst in the hospital. Following that, we have the library that Sanetoshi resides in and he gives us a nice little monologue about his isolation and his eventual meeting with the love of his life who ended up choosing a path different from his own.
We have the sculpture, of the two people forming a full circle, that we have seen multiple times (usual in relation to Ringo going nuts). Naturally, what sort of episode would this be if we don’t even get a glimpse of the main component – the train. Finally we have the frog park, that was where we first saw as serious discussion between Ringo and Tabuki.
The Opening Scene
Now, the opening scene was the first thing that eluded to the whole idea of revisiting the past. The stars in this scene couple with the dialogue is what we had seen in the very first episode of this series and I thought that this was a very smart way of executing things.
We all know that this show revolves around fate and what fate is meant to be but I am getting a bit tired of the whole talk about fate being so blatant at times, I much preferred it when the whole idea of fate was implied. Then again, one thing that I appreciate about this show is that it has style. The production team really know how to do things tastefully and that is why I find this series to be the most interesting one to watch out of last season’s and this season’s anime lineup.
As I had said before, this episode had plenty of silently implied symbolic material and here are some of them:
The biggest one is the apple.
The apples in the Takakura household seem to play an important part in relation to the siblings due to the amount of attention the apples got in the scene with the police. The fact that there were 3 apples seem to relate back to the 3 siblings, but then again, I might merely be reading too much into it. However, when you take that fact and couple it with the fact that Sanetoshi had 1 apple in his hand during his whole monologue about his dearest love and that that scene takes place in the library where Himari met Sanetoshi, it is probably safe to assume that each apple represents the each sibling.
As to what the apple actually means? Perhaps it is meant to represent life? After all, the 3 apples above are with the Pingroup logo which is like a representation of good might be a way of hinting that the Takakura children are innocent. Then we also have the apple with the bullet shaped capsule sticker on it that contained a medicine that brought Himari back to life (refer to a few images below to see the apple by Himari’s legs). But all of this is just me merely speculating and we probably won’t be given a definite answer anytime soon. Like Sanetoshi had said, “its a secret”.
We have already established that the books is a section of Himari’s memory/past and I really liked the symbolism of Himari’s existence amounting to her past (above left image). Perhaps the point that they are trying to make is that without a past, we are unable to have a future? Then again, I am once again probably just rambling on.
What I liked was the fact that we got see a relation, between Natsume, Mario and, who I assume the voice to be – The Doctor, in the telephone scene about the other half of the diary.
I also liked the constant reappearance of the concept of the twins. We have the twins that accompanied Sanetoshi into the hospital, the twins in the “last scene” of the Mary and the Three Lambs story, the twin apple rabbits at Mario’s bedside table and the twin rabbits in the basket in the doctor’s office. Once again, this has yet to be explained.
As for the final image of the frog. Well, I merely assume it is related to the book that Himari was searching for back in episode 9 – Super Frog Saves Tokyo. (Then again, that frog looks somewhat retarded)
The last thing that I wanted to point out with the implied symbolism are the 3 cats that are sitting by the roadside as Tabuki and Ringo are talking. The way the scene was framed made it hard not to notice the 3 cats in a group walking away as the conversation between Tabuki and Ringo ended. The whole idea of “3” always brings me back to the 3 Takakura siblings.
Remember how I had talked about the production team doing things tastefully? Another positive point for the team is the fact that they are able to lighten the mood with tiny comical elements without making it obvious. If the gave the show their full attention while watching it, they would enjoy what they had seen even if they are unable to pinpoint reason behind their enjoyment. There are so many moments when watching shows where I can’t pin point exactly what it is I like about the show and I write it off as charm, but there is always some reason behind it and it is simply hidden at the back of my mind. Despite this episode having been so heavy on the dialogue and partially dry at times, the episode is still enjoyable due to the small comedy or the small dramatic scenes with the characters. One part that I found to be a nice comical touch was the scene where one of the bunny twins pinned Sanetoshi’s name tag on his coat. I thought that that was pretty funny. As for the drama, well, Kanba pretty much created all of it in this episode with his reaction to things.
There were also many things that I would like to know the answers to in this episode that I am unsure about…
Like how Sanetoshi was hinting that Kanba was using his body/soul/heart/whatever as collateral for the cash that he had been getting from the mysterious man in a black trenchcoat on the train. Who are they and what deal did Kanba make with them?
Then there is that sentence that Sanetoshi had asked Kanba of what will be left after having traded it a 100 times – “The hideous charred heart of a Scorpion? Or stark white ash?” I would like to know why a Scorpion was their choice of animal and I am assuming that the black and white notions are simply going to translate into the usual good vs bad.
Also, there is this cryptic lover of Sanetoshi’s that he had met 16 years ago. Since Himari did not exist at that point in time, it would be impossible for the lover to be her, yet we see that Himari has indeed been in the library to “share the scenery” with him.
Of course we mustn’t forget Ringo. She has taken the side of loving fate instead of fighting against it and this begs a question of where this puts her now that she has a different take on things. The Takakura family is still fighting against fate and so is everyone else with her being the exception of having accepted things as being. It is nice to see this mature side of Ringo and it was expected since the writers have been showing how quickly she has matured since Shouma’s accident.
This (above image) was my favourite scene of the episode. The symbolism of the two train tracks with Sanetoshi and his love running on different paths in life was a nice touch. That, followed by the fact that Sanetoshi wanted to see if the concept of fate really exist and is followed through by his actions of walking across both tracks was a smart way of executing things.
This was another good episode and solid episode despite the fact that it is definitely not as great as the last one. The pacing was a tad on the slow side with the constant talking, but I appreciate that the show actually bothered to add in background music instead of leaving everything in silence. I really liked the theme of revisiting the past as a way to show the progress of the characters since the first episode with the changes in their behaviours and it sort of seems like a reflection episode of sorts.
Episode Rating; 8/10
The ED Song – Cover of an ABR song called “Hai-iro no Suiyoubi” (“Gray Wednesday”)
I am sooooo glad that this is the new ED song. This was the song that we had heard back in episode 9 during the scene with Himari leaving the library to head back to the real world and it is by far my favourite music for this series.
Even in the ED song, the series tries to tell a story and hints about the future. My only problem is…. What is with that freaky purple hand?!
P.S: (I wanted to attached a youtube vid of the ED song to this post but it seems like the ED song is not up there yet. =( )