Mawaru Penguindrum – 21 Review
Episode 21 – The Door of Fate we Chose
What an episode this was.
I wouldn’t expect anything less from a show by Ikuhara. With 3 episodes left in the series, it is finally time for the show to work towards it’s climax. Everyone is given screen time in this episode and revelations were a plenty. It was definitely a shocker to see how things had unfolded and I can’t wait to see how Momoka’s character plays into everything.
After this episode, I wouldn’t be surprise if Momoka were to reappear and roam the earth as a ghost. However, I doubt she would ever return to take on a physical presence in this series since her character’s importance/significance in the series was based on the idea of what she had represented whilst alive.
The Sixth Sense 2011
Had anyone expected the Takakura parents to be dead? I seriously hadn’t expected the show to pull a Sixth Sense on us and leave us with Kanba talking to the dead. As if it weren’t crazy enough to simply have Kanba be the only nutty one around, Sanetoshi is also thrown into the mix in this episode.
When we were first told that Kanba’s family was dead, I had honestly thought that that idea would have been limited to Kanba’s person. Instead, we are shown that Sanetoshi has taken on a physical presence despite being dead and is somewhat of an odd villainous character. I am unsure how the logic of Sanetoshi and the Penguindrum will come into play towards the end of the series, but I am definitely looking forward to the day when Himari is forced to sacrifice herself in order to save those that she cares about.
With the last scene in this episode, I can definitely see that the story has taken a monumental turn in the plot with the remnants of the shattered illusions surrounding the characters in this series.
Shattered – And It All Begins To Fall Apart
This episode had done well in it’s execution of its theme of shattered illusions. Be it the idea of the show that we had had in our minds, to the characters in the series, even down to the animation, this episode was probably a milestone for the series when it comes to changing the flow of the plot. Everything that each character had believed were true prior to this episode had finally fallen apart around them. Sure, it was a long time coming, but what’s not to love about how compact this episode was in encompassing every character’s downfall? The Takakura Household are no longer able to play “family”, Tabuki and Yuri have finally realised that their source of hatred is dead (thus making their revenge somewhat empty), and even Shouma’s idealistic hope of a family is destroyed with Kanba ordering the death of the penguin reporter.
To say the least, every character has finally showed their true nature.
What I had thought was really interesting in the animation of this episode was the change in the colour scheme as it had reflected the change in the dynamics of the characters. It had gone from being overly colorful with it’s vibrant color palette to taking on a more muted and desaturated colour palette when Shouma had broken up the Takakura “act/play” of “house”. In order to make this change obvious, the show had even touched on the reasons behind the colourful nature of the house and how the design of their home was done to mimick a Doll House. By the end of the episode, things were back to the way they were before the three had decided to secure their relationship as a family when their parents had vanished.
Through the process of the flashback, I couldn’t help but feel kinda touched by how determined these three kids were to turn their makeshift family into something real even if each of them had their own individual reasons. The flashback had also showed us the lengths to which Himari was treasured by her brothers and how she was the source of their bond… and reason for their fall out.
Another thing that this episode had proven to me was that nothing is left unforgotten in the hands of Ikuhara.
What I had thought to merely be a visually stunning backdrop for the series (I am referring to the colourful home) was actually not as random as I had thought it would be and even had a story behind it.
One of the biggest things that were hinted at prior to this episode was the photograph of the team and the significance of it. Although I liked the twist of this in the episode, the way in which Sanetoshi had mysteriously appeared in the photograph was a tad odd. I would have much prefered if we were never shown the full picture instead of having Sanetoshi photoshoped in. =P To think that that guy was the mastermind behind everything and the root of all evil in this series was also a slight shock. I had assumed that Sanetoshi was bad news ever since the show had started it’s run in hinting at Sanetoshi’s darker nature, but I had never expected it to be to this extent. The question that I have is that if Momoka had stopped everything at the cost of her life, then does that mean Momoka is the reason why Sanetoshi had taken on this supernatural state? Being unable to “move on” or do anything apart from being an observer? Is an extra cost needed to finish things off? =/
What the hospital scene had also showed us was also the fact that the doctor had not been forgotten and that there was a explanation behind his “disappearance” – being in Germany. I just wonder if we would be getting an explanation to the rabbits as well, and who are those twins that can’t help but follow Sanetoshi around? They almost come across as being guardians or sorts.
Did anyone else also notice the puffer fish that sat on the desk at the office in the hospital? What do you think the significance of it is meant to be?
Kanba’s actions was obviously the focus of the episode. With the introduction of a reporter to push things forward, we are shown what Kanba is doing behind the scenes and his relationship to the Men in Black. (Does anyone else think that Kanba had killed his own father?)
I have to say that I am unable to understand what he is trying to do. He says that he is trying to save Himari but I fail to see how what he is currently doing would help him accomplish that goal. Then we have his past, Masako had said that Kanba was her brother and that Kanba had left with their father. If you were to look at the scene at the end of the episode, you would know that Kanba’s blood-father is dead and that his father had regretted choosing to bring him along. The hold that the parents have of their kids in this series is oncee again reiterated through that scene. It is looking like Kanba is merely trying to prove himself to his dead surrogate father that he is worthy to be proud of and is thus carrying on the terrorist mission that both of his fathers had participated in, instead of his actions being for the good of Himari.
Kanba’s character has been losing it’s appeal with each passing week, and with the happenings in this week’s episode, I can say that I have developed a distaste for his actions. It would have been a lot better if he was honest with himself instead of deluding himself into believing his actions are purely for the sake of saving Himari from certain death.
Speaking of death, it is really interesting to see that it is the representation of the past that has affected all the characters and dictated their actions instead of what happens in the present. The only motivational factor for the characters in the series that is placed in the present is Himari’s illness, but even then I am unsure as to what her exact illness is meant to be. I would like to go crazy and say that perhaps Himari had died a long time ago and all the characters are merely seeing an impression of her existence. =P I wouldn’t be shocked if that were the case, hell, would it be surprising that Himari is Momoka? I mean, Momoka had stopped Sanetoshi previously, and now Himari is trying to do just that.
Then we have Shouma. I have given up hope on him and Ringo ever achieving any form of a romantic relationship in this series as there doesn’t seem to be enough time for that to happen.
What I would like to know is why he had chased Himari away?
It seems like he is about to do something drastic in order to stop what’s going on and thus wants to protect Himari by sending her to her uncle’s. However, if that were the case, wasn’t it too convenient for him to simply let Himari walk away instead of taking her to their uncle’s place and making sure she had arrived safely? What would he do if Himari were to drop dead on the road? She is going to die soon you know… and it wouldn’t be a shock if the trauma of a broken family were to make her fall apart on the road. =P
Tabuki and Yuri have finally made a reappearance in this episode, but it is looking like they might have gotten injured/killed. It is so sad that whenever any of the characters have manage to create some semblance of a family, the script writer ends up saying “no you ain’t” and tears it all to shreds. You have to feel sorry for them as their revenge was all based on a dead man that can never provide them with the closure that they require, and that when they were finally coming to understand the idea of family, a man in black decides to attack them.
On the note of the death of Takakura Kenzan, since we all know that the Kenzan wasn’t alone and was with his wife when they had ran away, where is the wife’s corpse? Due to my own blindness, I hadn’t realise that his wife’s corpse was beside him. =P (Thanks Son Gohan!)
With everything falling apart in this episode and each of the characters being given the final push to bring things to an end, I am hardly able to hold in my anticipation for the next episode. This show has shown us over and over again how much detail and thought goes into the execution, and this is something that I really appreciate when watching a series. The revelations in this episode had definitely delivered a punch and I am looking forward to seeing the show end with a bang and not fizzle out in steam.
Episode Rating: 8.5/10 – I was about to say 8, but I really liked how the opening scene had created a domino effect that had carried on through the rest of the episode. Also, I liked and how the talk between Ringo and Himari had essentially prepared us for what was to come.
Ra’s Mawaru Question of the Week
Which character rubs you the wrong way the most?
At this point in time, I am going to have to say Kanba. I just don’t like how he makes himself seem like he is making this big sacrifice. I understand why he is so obsessed over self-importance, but I just can’t stand his behaviour.