Mawaru Penguindrum – 24 (Final) Review

Episode 24 (Final) – I Love You

The series finally comes to an end on a nice sentimental note.

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this ending lets the show down, this last episode wasn’t as satisfying to watch as I thought it’d be.

Perhaps it was the way the episode had unfolded on a different plane of existence with it’s cryptic messages, or perhaps it is the fact that the progress of the show had felt like it had amounted to nothing with everything turning out to be somewhat forgotten. Or maybe it was the way the show had left all the thinking up to us to connect the dots instead of making what they were trying to say come across in a clearer manner. Whatever it was, it had left me feeling like I hadn’t gotten the “epic” ending that I was hoping to see.

I had only realised how compact the episode was when I was making the screen captures for this episode. If we were to blink for too long, we would miss out on some form of information.

Review

I guess one could say that the show had a “happy ending” where none of the characters are truly “dead”. The way things had unfolded wasn’t the real issue for me, I think the bigger problem for me was the decision to have everyone live on happily whilst they are conveniently allowed to forget the sacrifice that was made in order to help them achieve that happiness.

The episode had started off diving straight into the scene on the train with Shouma confronting Kanba about Himari whilst Sanetoshi silently observes. For the most part of the show, none of the scenes had taken place in “reality” but rather on an alternate plane of existence. Filled with an extravagant amount of unrealistic occurences, the series had tried to tie up as many loose ends as they could. Since I am not a cold blooded person, I have to said that the ending did leave me moved. The theme of fate, love and sacrifice being the ultimate bottom line to the story was nothing shocking since that was essentially what the show was building up towards. In that aspect, the show had done well in integrating all it’s key themes through the resolution created in this episode.

But what as the end result of such a solution?

I couldn’t keep the idea that “nothing actually happened” out of my head towards the end of the series. Through the sacrifice of their lives, the Takakura brothers had managed to wipe their existence off everyone’s minds (but for some reason Tabuki and Yuri still seem to have remembered what had happened whilst everyone else had forgotten). As I had mentioned above, I don’t really like how characters like Masako had written everything off as being a dream, whilst Himari and Ringo have it suppressed within them in some manner.

I have to be blatantly honest with you, I am rather confused over what had happened how everything had manage to connect with one another. I would have preferred for the episode to have taken on a more “straight forward” approach to things instead of being all cryptic and metaphorical through the use of apples and mirrors and what not, but since it is Mawaru, it is no surprise that the show had decided to revisit it’s roots of explaining things in the most indirect manner possible in this very last dash to the end.

One of the more cryptic situation in the episode was the existence of Shouma and Kanba. This is what I had understood from what was shown:

Kanba and Shouma were stuck in a box (am still wondering what the box is really meant to be), and the both of them were suffering under the sins of their parents. Somewhere along the way, one of them was meant to die whilst the other was meant to live. Due to the appearance of the magical fruit of life (the apple), Kanba had shared his fate with Shouma thus allowing Shouma to live (or you can see it as Kanba having shared his curse, the curse called life, with Shouma). Since all transference of fate would result in some sort of sacrifice, I am going to assume that the exchange of fate had caused Kanba the life of Mario (his sibling) and Himari (his soul mate). Thus in order to put things back to the way they were, they had decided to sacrifice their lives to save the ones that they love the most. As for Ringo, she had managed to grasp a hold of what the magical phrase was through hearing the stories that Shouma had shared with her.

Now, I could be totally wrong in my understanding of the episode, but that is what happens when things become too deep for their own good. It turns into a mass of questionable situations that may lead people down the wrong path. Although I love the multiple layers in the plot of this series, it does get a big tiring when things are explained simply by dropping clues and leaving us to connect the dots. I don’t want the show to spell everything out in a blatant manner, but it would be nice if things were not so metaphorical and had connected with reality a big more instead of being so surreal.

Now moving onto some of my other issues with the episode:

  • I had really found Mario’s character to be pointless. The only use behind his character was to create a motivational force behind Masako’s actions. (What was with Mario and the grandfather possession during the Masako flashback episode?)
  • I understand that since they had sacrificed their lives, Shouma and Kanba’s existence had to be removed from the earth. But honestly, why did the letter the brothers had written to Himari survive this huge memory/existence wipe? Is it because that doll is special like the penguins are? =/ (What are the penguins anyway?)
  • Then we have the fact that Kan and Sho are roaming the earth like ghosts in their child form carrying a soccer ball whilst singing to a different tune saying that death is when everything begins instead of ends. I have no clue why they are still alive and aren’t totally gone. It would have been better and more emotional if the show hadn’t tried to end things on a “happier” note just to lift the atmosphere of the series.
    (Am I the only one who thinks that this sound like a promotion for teenage suicide pacts? As if we don’t have enough stressed out people in the world trying to kill themselves, this show is telling them that being alive is a curse whilst death is essentially the beginning of life. =P)
  • I am still wondering who killed the Takakura parents?
  • Since it was revealed that the Penguindrum was Shouma and Kanba the whole entire time, why couldn’t Momoka just come out and say it instead of sending them on those crazy adventures. Was Momoka unable to say it outright and need the characters to realise it for themselves the same way Sanetoshi is unable to lay a hand on the diary?
  • From what I had gathered, Shouma had basically transferred fate when he had saved Himari as a little kid. This is sweet and all but I was wondering what the cost of doing so was on Shouma’s part? What did he have to sacrifice when he had done that transfer?

Some random thoughts on what had occurred:

  • I love the translation that was done for when Sanetoshi had cursed the fact that Ringo said that she knew the phrase.
    Sanetoshi: “you gotta be shittin’ me.”
    LOL! That was probably not what he had said, but I definitely laughed at that translation of the phrase.
  • Although I don’t quite understand what the whole idea behind the exploding Kanba was, nor the fact as to why everyone bleeds penguin faces nor how the two brothers had either disintegrated into mirrors or burst into flames… The look was visually engaging and I am sure if someone would like to hypothesise the meaning behind each visual element, there would be some explanation to it.
  • I did like the way the concept of twins was tied into the story in this episode. From the way I see it, the use of the twin rabbits was an association to the sharing/splitting of fate between Kanba and Shouma.
    One question though, why rabbits out of everything? =P
  • Shouma loves Ringo. =D
    I would love to jump for joy but it was sad that the moment Ringo finally attains love, he gets ripped away from her and wiped from her memory.
    Tsk tsk, evil evil writers.
  • Kanba is the real person Himari is meant to end up with.
    It is nice that the only two people who had me disliking them through the span of the series ended up being fated to be together.=P
  • I am going to assume that the person Sanetoshi had referred to many episodes ago was in fact Momoka.
    It is nice to see that the theme of fate doesn’t simply stop at the people who are alive but is also related to the characters that no longer hold a proper existence.

I feel the same way about this show. It was such a fun journey.

Overall/Final Thoughts

Despite the ambiguous nature in the way the connections between the characters are explained, the show had managed to answer most of the questions without letting the rest of the series down. I would have much rather for everything to have played out in reality instead of a surrealistic plane of existence, but I shall be thankful that the episode was still nonetheless a solid one. Overall, the series had started out on a rather lighthearted and insane note and had slowly transitioned into taking on a darker and more emotional state.

Personally, I felt that the show had started to lose some steam as we got down to the stage of the series where questions needed to be answered.

The great thing about this series are the amount of things that are left up to the viewer to mull over even after the series has ended. To add to that, the re-watch value for the show is really high as I believe that if one were to re-watch the series, we would be able to discover many connections that we would have missed the first time around. The art and creative direction in this series had never really faltered too much from it’s high standard, and this makes for a visually stimulating show to watch. As for the downside, well, the show tends to lean onto the darker side of ambiguity at times and one can interpret this as being a good thing or bad thing. It can be good as it stimulates your mind, but it can be bad since it can leave people confused at times.

Episode Rating: 7.5/10

Series Rating: 8.5/10 – Definitely the best series of the season

Now that this series is over I am feeling nostalgic and might re-watch this series over this new year holidays.

-ra

Merry Christmas Everyone!
(and if you don’t celebrate Christmas… Happy Holidays to you!)

\(^-^)/

About Saranaufogus

An Anime fan who can't seem to keep her thoughts to herself. Find me on: Instagram | Twitter

Posted on December 23, 2011, in Anime, Mawaru Penguindrum, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I lay on my bed and pretend I am a banana

    This episodes was too confusing and it left a lot of questions unanswered and I don’t like anime series that happen to end like that… but I actually liked it 😀 but I think Un-GO did a better job of rapping up the series… at least I understood what was going on (and EVERYTHING I suspected to happen eventually happened :D) kind of took the fun out of it…. I suppose while in penguindrum, nothing I wanted to happen… happened

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  2. Actually my friend assumed that the main characters would die. So she was partially right except for himari. I just wished she could of died though. But I’m still very confused on something’s. It left a lot of things unanswered. But overall this was the best show of 2011 for me. I enjoyed the penguin queen and her dress was gorgeous.

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    • I lay on my bed and pretend I am a banana

      When I checked a lot of reviews, I noticed that almost 90% of the reviewers and people writing in the comments all wants Himari to die… It’s kind of sad how a lot of people wanted her to die..

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  3. “I guess one could say that the show had a “happy ending” where none of the characters are truly “dead””

    Shouma and Kanba are not alive. I suppose it’s a little hard to get the reference that gives it away if you’ve never read Miyazawa Kenji’s novel, Night on the Galactic Railroad, which is the novel shota!Kanba and shota!Shouma are talking about.

    In that novel, Campanella travels along the Milky Way, in order to get to the after-life. Now, go look at the screenshot you posted showing shota!Shouma and shota!Kanba followed by the penguins. See the stars in the background? Yeah, that’s the Milky Way. And now you know what it means!!

    Anyways, Miyazawa’s novel is really well known in Japan, so the Japanese audince would get the reference easily, and instantly know that this is Ikuhara’s way to reunite Giovanni with Campanella, which means Shouma and Kanba are not alive anymore.

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  4. How should I put this, I want to say something satisfying and fulling.
    Like saying,”Fightttt.” (-.-“)
    I’ve been planing to watch this episode right when it came out. This anime has became my favorite on my list. I don’t understand why myself. But it drew me in, you could say. I love the creative spell it has, because like this anime I believe in the word called ‘fate’.
    In the same sense I think, no! I’m postive things happen for a reason.
    When I watched this episode I wanted a happy ending, that Shoma, Ringo ,Kanba,and Himari could all live together.
    Maybe It would of been better that Himari would save Kanba and die, that fate was her death.
    I’m saying like other’s that Himari should die.
    If I should really say that I wanna blame Momaka, she did have a gentle touch, but she cause hardship too.
    Himari, Shoma shouldn’t have saved her, I think turning to invisible glass isn’t that bad.
    A lot of the non reality things they do are kinda metaphors for other things. [Don’t make me explain, its too hard ( – 3 – ) ].
    Though this ending had made me cry, and now I wanna burst out crying. (T -T)
    I did though, right when Ringo goes in flame, I couldn’t stop. Ths tears strolled down, and I always love an anime that can bring me to tears.
    I was rejoiced when Shoma grabbed her, I never imagined he transfer the pain over to himself. And he said,”I love you.” To Ringo made me even more happy, since I was rooting for that couple since they met.
    I had a feeling, [ I’m such a kid ]. That Ringo would fall in love with Shoma, and Shoma would love her, but again still crying. Seeing how Shoma was my favorite character. [ Ringo is too ].
    His death periced me like a thousand needles. Till the ended I was praying for Shoma and Kanba to come up to the too of them, and still be alive, [ Not as kids ].
    The tears had stopped, but right when I saw that the house wasn’t painted, I had a feeling that, that they wouldn’t remember them.
    I didn’t have any queston’s, beside’s one. “Will they ever cross paths again, because what will happen from now on?”
    The ending did have a strong pull on me, like the note that read, ‘We love you, from your brothers!”
    I ‘m not completely sure how it got there, but it was fated too.
    I don’t think the penguindrum was kanba and Shoma, rather the apple of fate was. The apple that Kanba gave to Shoma [ Only half ].
    On that note I think the boxes that Shoma and Kanba, they where from there parents, to show how they where trapped. Fate picked Kanba, but he changed that fate by giving half to Shoma. Making them both having to deal with this.
    But this series still left me happy, Shoma at least confessed to Ringo, and even if Ringo nor Himari remember, it’s a true saying – “I will never forget.” Won’t fate bring you back together.
    I do believe fate was the key in the entire series.
    I don’t think they would make a second season, and I’m sasified. I don’t need another story. I never watch something quite like this. So I’m happy. ( ^ . ^)/

    Let’s meet again; Fate shall guide us : Love Kansani ( ❤ )

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  5. I must agree with you, this episode wasn’t as “fabulous” as i expected.
    I’ll try to answer your questions with my own theories:

    Ringo and Himari had a stronger bond with Kamba & Sho, so a dream may not be enough to erase all the time they spend together, their emotions, how did they change through the story.

    The doll isn’t special itself, it was Himari’s wish to save it (Since it was her penguin the one who saved the doll)

    Kamba & Sho are dead. Wandering around just like Momoka or going to the after life like Lin said.

    I think is like that old anime, Angel the flower girl or something like that. She went on a trip to find a flower and after 8475934859358 episodes you found out that the stupid flower was in her backyard. It’s the journey what makes the difference, maybe the penguindrum wasn’t “ready” or it was made just for that moment.

    Anyways, an awesome anime. I would prefer that Himari died since we were repared to see her die from the beginning. But “It’s destiny”! hehe.

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  6. This helps a lot : http://i.imgur.com/bYTw1.jpg

    Sums up the “fate” shared between the children

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    • That’s just one of many speculations, and not even the one that fits the best (the drawing is cute though lol).

      Best thing you can to do is to come up with your own take on the series. That’s probably what Ikuhara wants you to do after all anyways.

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  7. I think this analysis:
    http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?p=3916874#post3916874

    Sums up my opinion. The forgetting of Shouma by Ringo was particularly vexing to me.

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  8. I’m super late on this episode, just watched and I’m a little disappointed. I have a lot of the same issues with the fact that it was completely done in that unexplained surreal fashion instead of the real world. There are way too many gaps between what happened on the train, and then how the series ended in the real world, I almost want to call it lazy writing to have to end up calling it all magic. I was prepared to be confused with this series, but I also expected some more concrete resolutions here and there. We never did really get an explanation as to why Himari getting naked and “hugging” Kanba did anything to save her life. I got that the both Sho and Kan were the two halves of the Penguindrum, but would that then have meant that Himari would have had to have sex with both of them to stay alive? From that, among other things it does really seem like the show built up tension within itself to ultimately say “it was a dream” which you mentioned was one of your fears for this show.

    As far as the ending goes, I like the fact that it wasn’t super depressing, and even almost upbeat, but it was still lacking something. Everyone sacrificing themselves for each other and bleeding penguins was interesting and engaging to watch, but it was way too surreal, most of the episode was either surreal or a flashback to the box, which was just as surreal in a muted way. The definitive parings at the end, right before they disappear were nice, for closure in that respect, but I was hoping to see one couple stay alive to balance out the romance aspect. I’m not going to count the teacher and the actress, they were important, but in the end I didn’t care how they ended up.

    The episode was good, but the ending was unsatisfying, although I will admit that it’s made me think about the series as a whole, so mission accomplished for good storytelling. I’m gonna rate this probably at number 3 for 2011, 1 being Ano Hana, 2 being Steins Gate. Its hard to compare them to each other, but as a whole based off of the plot, genre, and number of episodes, I think the others had stronger endings, more satisfying, less open ended conclusions at that. Art wise, this series wins, everything was creative and colorful, but when half the series is surreal, I guess it opens doors on what the animators can do. I did notice eye-lashes on the characters more in this series than in any other, so I have to acknowledge that. Eyes are always important to anime characters and this series actually distinguished its eyes from other series for me.

    Series ending rant over

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  9. Juwei Nam (@MengChiao)

    I think you guys would get it more if you were Japanese and knew the culture like the back of your hand. Like the “you gotta be shittin me” translation. If you literally translate what Sanetoshi said “maji de.”
    It basically means, “Really?” “Youre shittin me” or “seriously”… the way he implies is as close to “you gotta be shittin me” as the japanese will get.
    Also the phrase is not “Share the fruit of fate” but rather “Share the APPLE of fate.”
    I think they translated it that way for English audiences but in East asian cultures they typically represent the heart with an apple. Look at G-dragon and other music artists. They use the reference of apples as the heart a lot. And Lin from above is right.
    Japanese media, folklore, pop trends and general knowledge are easier to get when you are immersed in Japan-live there.
    Besides this isn’t nearly as confusing as Utena. The show the director created ummm…ten years ago? or more…whatever. Utena’s symbolism is all over the place from cars to dead people to the rose bride…. everywhere.
    Also Mario was not only there as a driving force. Momoka’s soul was split in two (the two hats so Mario held one).
    Utena trumped this series in bizarre and crazy, but I think Mawaru is far more straightforward.
    Also Himari always wanted Shoma’s heart (the apple), but sort of resigns that she can’t get all of his love/his heart, but is willing to share the love they found with each other together. Ultimately Shoma gives up the rest of his fate to Ringo whereas Kanba who has been chasing after her since Shoma brought her in gives up his fate for Himari.
    Just so you know Ringo is apple in Japanese.
    Also the director loves pink hair….I swear. Utena was the main heroine of his other show and she was pink haired with another pink haired character being her foil and a purple haired character being her ultimate enemy and another purple haired character being her ambiguous lesbian lover/friend.
    Masako totally looks like a character from Utena and so does Shouma. It made me laugh so much.
    Although Himari loved Shoma as her ‘soulmate’, Shoma chose to save Ringo or in other words he chose the heart.
    Colors are key to Utena as much as they are key to Mawaru. Every color matters even their hair and eye color. Clothing…everything for every scene. So if you really want to understand it…start watching it again with the colors and moods in mind.

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  10. I dont really see how Shoma had to be punished because didn’t he transfer his fate to Himari?
    Overall i was disappointed with the ending, and even a little annoyed. It felt as if everything Kanba and Shoma had done resulted in absolutely nothing. Everyone forgot their existence so what was the point of everything??
    They didn’t even explain how their parents died :\
    It would of been better and made more sense if Himari had saved Kanba and died, that fate was her death.
    Because everyone has to die sooner or later, I dont understand why Kanba was so obsessed in having Himari live. Sure she was a great person and all but there are millions of people out there who don’t deserve to die young..

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  11. I believe the blood bearing penguin faces were the symbols for cherry blossoms. They symbolize death and rebirth and since the penguin was such a staple, I saw it as something the creators could label as fate that is being reborn as Shouma had returned the fate to Kanba. Although they ended up sacrificing themselves.

    And the part with Ringo and Shouma……the first time I actually cried watching anime. It still moves me and I was gripping the keyboard saying “Follow him! Grab him! Kiss him! SOMETHING!!!!!!”

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  12. I think about the boxes, Sanetoshi himself explain it, those are were the forgotten souls will disappear, so the apple was the chance to get out of there, now there is were I get back were Sho asked Himari if she knew ’bout Adan and Eve; the apple was the symbol of punishment, mortal lives. Kan gives the half of his punishment to Sho, so thats why bouth of them were the Penguidrum… they give the whole apple to Himari, so she can liive on, like they wanted, so thats why, they get back to the boxes. Oh. and the mirrors, I think that are the other live that Himari and Ringo took, the reflect of the lives without Kan and Sho…
    Thats how I found the end of Mawaru Penguidrum… maybe I’m wrong xD but thats my explanation.

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  13. I feel that Ringo’s name really does have a meaning; I think it served a purpose of being Shoma’s “apple”. I think. |D

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