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.
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?
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.
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?
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
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. =)