Mawaru Penguindrum – 20 Review

Episode 20 – Thank You for Choosing Me

Continuing from last episode’s shocking revelation, this week’s episode constantly flashes between the past and present in an attempt to explain the backstory leading to the eventful date and the repercussions of it.

Although I am not sure if I am liking the revelations in this episode, the story is definitely working towards a resolution and I can’t wait to see how that turns out.

Review

The story about Shoma last week was pretty shocking to say the least. Although the surprises this week were not as “what the hell” as last week, it still manage to rattle me.

Black VS White – The Frozen World

The whole episode had focused on the theme of The Frozen World which seems to represent a world that is stagnant without progress due to the constant focus on Right vs Wrong without any real way of breaking out of that mold. Perhaps a world frozen in time unable to move away from the tracks that it has been set on.

If you remember, Episode 09 was actually named the Frozen World, and that episode had essentially taken place in Sanetoshi’s Santuary – The Hole in The Sky Library. How this relates to what was mentioned in this episode? I haven’t a clue. This episode does seem to make the words “Frozen World” seem more like a term to describe the state of things as oppose to it being an actual location or a direct relation to a specific item/person.

What the episode does show is that the terrorist organisation and the survival strategy of the Kiga Group was based upon the terrorist belief of wanting to change the world for the better. From the way I see it, the flaw of the world through the group’s eyes is that everything is too black and white and thus suffocating the progress of humanity. The group simply wishes to change that structure by introducing hope and change through terrorist means and chaos. How that is meant to work and how that turns into a terrorist attack on a train is still unknown to me.

Honestly, I may have interpreted the whole situation wrongly but there were just so many ‘Good VS Bad’ situations in this episode that I don’t see another real motivation for that group. For example, the start of the episode had created enough of a basis for the rest of the episode to progress down that line through this words:

“The world is corrupt.
It’s all about winning and losing. (Masako’s grandfather)
Who is ranked above and below you. (Tabuki)
The profitable and unprofitable.
The accepted and unaccepted. (Yuri, Takakura household)
The Chosen and Unchosen (Himari, Tabuki)
They never try to give, all they care about is taking!”

Then we have the whole thing about the ‘Chosen ones VS the Un-Chosen ones’ with Himari being forced into becoming invisible and sent to the child broiler despite the unfairness of the situation.
(This episode has definitely warmed me up to Himari’s character. However, I do still prefer Shouma to end up with Ringo as oppose to Himari.)

Another shocker was that we finally get an explanation of what the Kiga group is – it is actually a cover for the operations. The previous symbol of the group before the incident was that of a totally black penguin – Masako’s bullets. But after that eventful day, the symbol was changed to that of a black and white penguin and is the symbol of the Kiga Group. I am not sure how Momoka had changed the past and what the penguin symbol means but we are definitely starting to see some closure to those symbolic icons.

I was definitely shocked to see the young Masako together with the terrorist group alongside Shouma and Kanba. I hadn’t expect the Natsume Family to be part of that situation (even Mario was there). I wonder if their presence there was due to their father as I don’t see their grandfather as being a character that would be open to such an idea since he is the epitome of the phrase “the strong will survive and the weak will be crushed”. If it was Masako’s father who was part of the organisation, then why was Masako so shocked that her father would chosen to go with the black men in the train dream that Sanetoshi had shown her? After all, she must still believe in them if she is still using those ball-shaped bullets produced by that Group. Which beggars the question of how she is able to get her hand on those bullets? Also, what are they anyway?

Science Fiction

I had always wondered if the Child Broiler was a real location or a idea that had materialized in a surreal plane of existence. Apparently it is real, i think. The series really loves to distort reality with its partially supernatural situations yet at the same time, we can never be certain if things are real or simply an artistic impression of the situation.

Before I talk more about it, did anyone find it funny how Shouma entered the place through the same hole that Momoka had made when she had rescued Tabuki from that place? Why didn’t they bother to patch that up? It would have been years or a decade even since that incident. Is that meant to mean something? Perhaps Shouma is Momoka reborn? After all, his statement of being a magical being (with the echo behind him), in the last episode, might make that a possibility. Also, for some one who didn’t know anything about the child broiler Shouma sure knew where to run to. =P

Anyway, back to the Broiler. I know that the show has it’s fair share of Sci-Fi themes with the whole Penguin Queen and Momoka Diary. However, the existence of a place as far-fetched as the child broiler (which essentially chops orphaned kids up and turn them into invisible dust) seems a tad ridiculous. I am still questioning if it is meant to be a real location or just an idealization of the actual place. After all, the whole apple scene hadn’t happened the exact same way Himari had remembered it to be and her mind had made it more magical than what had really happened.

I was really quite annoyed that Himari had said her soulmate was Shouma. I really pitied Ringo when Sho was telling Ringo about his past, I bet Ringo’s heart was breaking. Even if Shouma doesn’t realise that he might have accidentally declared that he loved his “sister”, I am sure Ringo would have noticed it. Then we have poor Kanba. Is this going to be the start of a battle between the brothers? I mean, Kanba made a declaration that he was the one to save Himari and Shouma’s actions seem to say that he would like to sacrifice himself to save them all (which I hope doesn’t turn out to be the case). T^T

The fact that Masako had called Kanba “brother” was probably a good enough sign to tell us that none of the kids are related by blood and were merely playing family. Which makes you wonder what had caused Masako to tear herself away from the organisation and why Kanba hates the Natsume Family.

Everything Else

I am still unable to guess how things will turn out but I am hoping that it is not going to be too upsetting. This episode had held a pretty heavy and sentimental atmosphere. After watching this episode, I suddenly feel like the whole series is a big epic twisted story about love. I am sure it is about that and more, but this episode had really played up the sentimental loving mood through the acoustic-guitar backing track. Although I had liked the guitar rifts (am referring to the BGM for the scene between Himari and Sanetoshi), it had felt a little too generic for the show and not quirky enough.

As I had said above, I did warm up to Himari in this episode. Her declaration of not chasing after love if it was running away from her was pretty bittersweet to hear. Her acceptance of her illness really feels like she has given up all hope and is simply at a loss of what to do. Sanetoshi on the other hand is becoming an instigator and is trying to stir things up by trying to use psychology to get Himari to go after what she wants. Is this meant to be him trying to derail things and to observe how things will turn out?

Then we have the two rabbits and the two human rabbits. This is the first time we actually see some focus placed on them in an active sense. I wonder if all there is to the rabbits is them representing a pair of lovers. =/ They really are similar to the penguins, in the sense that they simply act out the current state of things. It would be nice to see what will happen to those rabbits since rabbits are meant to be a representation of Family, Community, Awareness, Caution and Curiosity.

As for Kanba, well, I felt like he had a two-faced moment when he had agreed alongside Shouma about the three siblings being the only members of the Takakura Household and that their parents are no longer part of their lives. I really do wonder what Kanba’s whole deal is about and to what extent is he willing to go to to ensure Himari remains alive.

This is the first time we get to see an unbranded apple of fate. Perhaps the Fate of the characters are still undecided?

Overall

The episode is working its way to the eventful day with back stories and more character development taking place in the present day. I am still holding out hope that all the hints on “twins” in this series will amount to something but I doubt that they will mean anything judging from how things are playing out. I can’t wait to see more revelations but I also dread the day when the show ends. My question is, would the series be as good as it has been in our minds once we finally know the outcome of things?

The great thing about this series is in the execution of each episode. Every episode feels so well-rounded simply due to the selected theme that runs throughout the multiple scenarios in the episode, which means that no matter how much the show may jump between the different pairings or times, things never become too messy to understand.

Episode Rating: 8/10

-ra

P.S: Cats are actually lactose intolerant so they can’t actually drink milk, contrary to what shows seem to say. =P Feed the cat regular milk and you get a big headache on your hands. =D

Ra’s Mawaru Penguindrum Question of the Week:

What is your favourite thing about this series?

Personally, the thing I love the most about this show is the branding. The use of the symbols, the use of the colours, the use of the circles and the colour red. =) Of course the story, visuals and everything else is awesome, but I think for me a proper branding is something many shows lack and having a brand means that the show can be symbolic, thus memorable.

Blog Note: M0rg0th has been missing because he had maxed out his internet really early in the month. =P So he should be back to posting on Thursday. He says to expect some reviews to appear then. =)

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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 November 26, 2011, in Anime, Mawaru Penguindrum, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. You guys suck -.- If it weren’t for u my anime site wouldn’t have stopped! I HATE U!

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    • dude.. chill 😦 I am sure it wasn’t their fault and you misunderstood or something :/ This site is really great.. give it a chance..

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      • TO FIRST GUY: I feel ya… I stopped writing reviews because this site stole my audience but don’t let that stop you 😀 If you love anime and want to review it you should just write and not worry about who is reading where and stuff like that!

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  2. Mmmh, I´m feeling quite counfused. Somehow I though we where talking about Anime and not having a group therapy… But maybe I´m in the wrong place. O_o”

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  3. hmm, may be time to block completely anonymous posts

    anyway, I think my favorite thing about this series is how stylistic it is, it goes through such a range of techniques, from the cardboard cutout marionette thing that Ringo used to do in the early episodes to the child broiler and everything in between. I’ll admit I actually didn’t like some of Ringo’s stylistic renditions, but at least the show took chances and made it work as a whole for the series. You also mentioned the color red showing up, for whatever reason, within the culture there is a high use of red vs blue for contrast, at least according to a Japanese Cinema class I took sophomore year, I’d even go so far as to say Shouma’s blue hair vs Kanba’s reddish hair is an example of this.

    I think I need clarification though, in that scene where they’re all in the meeting as kids, was it meant to imply that Kanba is actually related to Masako by blood? I picked up on Shouma being the only actual Takakura but the subs I saw may not have been clear enough on that issue.

    Take it as a compliment that your site is popular enough to have trolls lol, having haters means your doing something right =)

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  4. @viishous

    ARGH!!! I had typed out of a reply but had pressed the back button and it deleted it.. T^T and it was a long reply.

    I just wanted to say… LOL @the twice thing. =P Ironic it is. Heh, I have to figure out how to make it such that nicknames are the minimum requirements for commenting, but I don’t think it would really stop anything anyway. =/ It’s alright, like you had said, it should be taken as a good thing. Glass half full right? XD

    As for the Cardboard cutout, well, they were never really my favourite style of the show as I felt that it was way too stylistic without much justifiable reason. I could be wrong though.

    As for the blue and red, well, =D Never noticed, but I shall try and see if I can pick out those stuff in the other series as well. =/ Fate/Zero definitely has a blue hue going for it to give off a calm and cooler atmosphere.

    “I think I need clarification though, in that scene where they’re all in the meeting as kids, was it meant to imply that Kanba is actually related to Masako by blood? ”

    I don’t think they are related by blood. I actually thought that perhaps they were all unrelated since it had reminded me of a cult scenario of brothers and sisters. =/ If Kanba and Masako were really related, then why would Kanba be with the Takakura family instead of the Natsume family? But then again, that might justify his hate for the Natsume household… anyway, for now, it is way too confusing and it would be better to wait for a proper clarification. =D
    However, it is highly possible that Shouma was the only one related to the Takakura parents since he has taken the blame upon his shoulders. Well, either the real kid of the Takakura household had died or it is one of the “twins”.
    Whatever the case it, we all know that this show definitely loves to throw curveballs. =P

    Okay, here is my second attempt at the comment. I have no clue if I had missed mentioning anything. =P

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  5. this anime sucks. takakura family is shit. kanba is a liar, he live off money from terrorist, f*ck himari in that altternate world, he know that his parent kill many people, and still smile and smile. i would be very happy if kanba die giving his life to himari. he deserve the death that bastard kanba. shitty show is shitty.

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  6. Am I the only one wanting Shouma and Himari to end up together? I am disappoint.

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  7. Hmm. I took Masako’s comments to mean that Kanba was her real blood related brother. I know that it’s common to call non-related people “brother” or “sister” but she also said something about “our Father,” not “my” father, but the plural use of the term, like he was Father to both of them, unless the translation was off. This show has me so turned around it’s ridiculous. Does anyone else think that Kanba looks exactly like the Takagura’s father though? I initially thought HE was the only actual Takagura child because of that. Their eyes especially are eerily similar.

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    • i dont think kanba is related to masako, even if he is, it would be half, as probably related by marriage or step sibling. it would be strange because masako love kanba in a weird way. incest? i dont think this show has the guts,. Kanba does look like takakura bastard, but that doesnt mean he is related. it might be just the way the anime is drawn. shouma should be with himari, just so that kanba cant get her, kanba should just die for her, maybe giving his life essence or something. Shouma and Himari fits together, they both seems innocent. Kanba in other hand is a liar, living off money from terrorist and F&ck alternate himari in alternate world. hes so disgusting, i would throw a party if he died, i know this sound terrible but he is just so disgusting.

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    • Well, I think that Mankopachinko has a point, Kanba might be half related to Masako. Perhaps they share the same father but Kanba got abandoned or wasn’t recognised by the family?

      Well, who really knows whats the truth with this show. =P

      As for Kanba, well, I don’t really hate him but I don’t like him either. I think the best solution for me would be for Himari to live her life out with her illness and for Kanba to realise how weak he really is. As for Shouma, I think he should move on from the past. All of them are too caught up with the past.

      Do you guys think that Shouma might have nothing more than brotherly feelings for Himari?
      I just couldn’t see what had happened in this episode as Shouma liking Himari more than family.

      Also, I wonder what made Himari forget about the past in the first place. =/

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  8. Hmm, I pacticularly though this episode was amazing. I’m a sucker for surreal and metaphorical “shenanigans”

    >Her acceptance of her illness really feels like she has given up all hope and is simply at a loss of what to do.
    I think this also ties in to the “fake family” theme going on with the Takakuras at this point and that Himari and Shoma both know that they were never actually meant to be family.
    (Parallel between Tabuki’s line at the end of episode 18 and “truth born from lies”)
    And from Himari and Sanetoshi’s conversation) Kisses would only lead to the upheaval of their so-called happy family.(Am the only one who got a survival strategy feel from that conversation as in

    Who cares about living on the edge because we’ll all die anyways and might have fun while we can?

    This sorta correlates with one of the three monologues that the show has placed, perhaps, quite a bit of prevalence, though this one is the only one that hasn’t been repeated unlike Ringo’s and Shoma/Kanba’s.

    “Why are people born? If people are born only to suffer the hard life, is it meant as some kind of punishment? Or a cynical joke? If that’s the case, animals that adhere to the survival strategies programmed in their DNA are far more elegant and simple. If there really is an existence worthy of being called a God, I want to ask him just one thing. Is there really fate in the universe? If a man ignored fate, and ignored his instincts and DNA to love someone else… Dear God, is he really human?”

    They have a feeling of deserving to be punished and because after all “Living is punishment in itself” Which is a theme of quite a few of the characters in the show.

    I’m quite interested in the way this show will go and I’m not unsure if it can all be wrapped up in this few episodes. Especially with the seemingly superfluous use of flashbacks in the show.

    >I really do wonder what Kanba’s whole deal is about and to what extent is he willing to go to to ensure Himari remains alive.
    I guess episode 18 will never amount to anything.

    >I really pitied Ringo when Sho was telling Ringo about his past, I bet Ringo’s heart was breaking. Even if Shouma doesn’t realise that he might have accidentally declared that he loved his “sister”
    I don’t think that’s it at all. Thinking about it , it’s been noted that Shoma was taking on an obsesrver-esque role in the first half of the series and that was really emphasized in episode 18. THINKING ABOUT IT AGAIN, he has so much guilt about it but he does honestly care about Ringo but that’s not entirely the source of all of his conflictions.

    Dang, these characters are so conflicted.

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  9. Oh and that music during the Child Broiler scene.
    Broke my heart and I wasn’t sure how to feel or what to think and oh my god fuck you Ikuhara. Your pretentious anime with penguins can only you get you so far!(It’s not like you have critically acclaimed anime I haven’t watched yet, AS IF)

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  1. Pingback: Notes of Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 20 « Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

  2. Pingback: Notes of Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 20 | Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

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