Mawaru Penguindrum – 09

The Story of Himari’s Life

Listen you low lifes who won’t amount to anything! I mentioned in my episode 3 post that I started Utena. Just a week ago, I finally got the series done. While the series is quite formulaic (I particularly don’t mind cutting out the Black Rose Saga), it is a enjoyable show that is definitely worth the watch.  Now, speaking of people with pink hair…

Anxious to know what happens with Shouma and Ringo? Well, you’re just gonna have to wait. I know, I know. It’s tough, but trust me here. This episode is a doozy.

We’re taken back to the aquarium scene in episode 1 with Himari noticing Three Tie amongst the normal penguins. When Shouma goes to buy her the penguin hat at the gift shop, she notices Three Tie again and chases her into an elevator. The penguin uses a secret elevator panel to take Himari down to the 61st floor. When the door opens, Himari sees the old library she used to go to. She goes into the library and asks for the book Super Frog Saves Tokyo, to which the librarian tells her it doesn’t exist in the database. Himari figures if she retraces her memory, she’ll be able to find it.

Looking for the book, Himari eventually starts following Three Tie again to a hidden, mosaic-puzzle door that opens up once all the numbers are in order. Inside is a massive wall of books and Himari starts to look around until she comes across Sanetoshi, who welcomes her to the Central Library’s Hole in the Sky Annex. He helps Himari look for the frog book, but in reality he knows she is looking for a book about her past. He finds a book called Super Frog Saves H-Trio and starts to read from it.

Super Frog Saves H-Trio

A flashback reveals the identities of the two girls in the ending theme, Hikari and Hibari, friends of Himari from younger days. The three young ladies are filling out an application to compete in an idol competition. Having trouble thinking of a name, Himari suggests Triple-H since all 3 of them share the letter H at the beginning of their name. The flashback ends, and Sanetoshi looks for another book that continues the story.

Super Frog Saves Takakura Himari

In this story, Himari’s mother (Chiemi) has boughten her ribbons for her hair to wear to the girls’ audition. The color doesn’t match what the other girls are going to wear, which makes Himari upset enough to take it off her hair and throw it down. Begging her mother to hurry up and buy the right colored ribbon right this instant, Himari falls back and kicks the mirror which begins to fall in her direction. Chiemi protects her daughter as the sound of the mirror breaking is heard and the kids rush to call the ambulance. The Doctor reports to Himari’s father (Kenzan) that the cuts are deeper than initially thought and that the scar on her face won’t fully heal. The loving mother Chiemi is, she’s just glad Himari didn’t get hurt.

Sanetoshi walks to look for a different book to continue the story, which is titled…

Super Frog Saves TVideo

Going back to flashbacks, Himari tells her friends what happened with her mother. Instead of going to the audition without her, the girls want to help her mother. Having read something in the book Barefoot Gon, the girls think that getting fresh Koi blood will help heal Chiemi’s wounds. Having a Koi available in the school courtyard, the girls grab it and hold it down for Himari to hit with a baseball bat. A teacher catches them and stops before the poor fish gets beaten. (No fish were harmed during this episode of Penguindrum) The girls stand up for Himari so she won’t get in trouble.

Forwarding to another flashback scene, Himari is walking away from school for what would be her last day when an eraser hits her bookbag. She can’t tell who threw it, but notices Hibari and Hikari on the top floor looking down at her. As we see Himari later sitting on the couch at home, watching what is now Double-H on TV, Sanetoshi ponders why Himari wanted to hear the story and if she despised the girls after what happened.

As the story concludes, Sanetoshi seems to know what story Himari really wants to hear. As the lights dim, Sanetoshi presents her with the penguin hat, which is called a wedding veil bestowed upon the bride of fate. As Sanetoshi talks about the destination of fate and goes in for a kiss, Himari rejects him. Sanetoshi says farewell to Himari, and as she’s seen falling, the 3 penguins are being packaged and ready to be shipped to the Takakuras. As the apple that he dropped falls toward a room that has a “Child Broiler” sign, we see silhouettes of Himari and her soulmate talking to each other as Himari is given the apple by the boy.

For the sake of comparison, this shot is the opening scene to a number of Utena episodes

Himari wakes up, thinking she was dreaming all of that and does not remember anything. The phone rings, and it’s Ringo calling Himari to tell her about Sho being hit by the car.

The Work of Nobuyuki Takeuchi:

Today’s Slogan: Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams

The design, the lighting, the effects. It all is just sensational.

What Himari sees in Episode 9.                                    What we saw in Episode 1.

Looks like she found the Super Frog Saves Tokyo book

End Thoughts:

I was getting a lot of SHAFT vibes during the episode, which was proven by the fact that Nobuyuki Takeuchi (Bakemonogatari) was not just the sole key animator for episode 9, but the guy was basically the judge, jury and executioner as he also did the storyboard and directing of this episode. Just looking at all the above images and the execution of the episode, you have to be really impressed that one guy put this level of effort into it. Also of note when it comes to the staff, Sanetoshi. Looks feminine, right? Pink hair like the gorgeous Utena Tenjou, but no! Sanetoshi is a male character that surely fangirls will latch onto, and he was voiced by Koizumi Yutaka. This guy played Tatsuhirou Satou from the excellent Welcome to the NHK series, and this guy is already proving to be quite a presence in the series after his debut here in episode 9.

Onto the content of the episode. Boy oh frickin boy! Every single scene seems as if it has some deeper meaning to it. Three Tie using two magnifying glasses to read the book is kind of how I feel trying to make sense of every piece of symbolism here. I’ll list as many points as I can in the next paragraph to ponder over.

61st floor. The 7 Social Sins. The statues with the man holding the apple, as if keeping it away from the woman. Sputnik Weirdo, Learn to Earn Ten Times More and the Christine books. The return date of March 20 and current date of October 15. Super Frog. The mosaic door and the handle on the number 28. The birds flying and the weird tuning of the music as Three Tie opened the door. The map of the library etched on the ground. The changing colors of the books (yellow, green, purple, red). Hole in the Sky. The instruments that Triple-H had on the desks. Why they named their band after the WWE wrestler. Why the falling mirror looked like separate pieces of glass stuck together. Barefoot Gon (a parody of Barefoot Gen) and its episode titles. The eraser thrown at Himari. Bride of Fate. The apple. The child broiler. Himari’s soulmate.

I don’t feel like you need to dig incredibly deep into any of those pieces to find fascination in the story being told here, though certainly it can provide a greater sense of understanding of what perhaps Ikuhara is truly trying to convey in this anime.

We’re given much desired clarity on Himari’s life while at the same time left with questions on certain segments of it, like her soulmate and what exactly to make of Sanetoshi basically crowning her as the Bride of Fate (very much akin to Utena’s Himemiya being called the Rose Bride). We got our questions answered about the ED theme/slogan girls. We know how Himari got away from Shouma at the gift shop. We now have met Sanetoshi, which completes each character from the OP theme. But, Penguindrum isn’t gonna serve us everything on a silver platter! It’s going to be incredibly challenging and pose even more questions, like several of my points listed above, and how deep Sanetoshi is entrenched in everything that’s happened to this point. I’m set right now to place doubt that this is who Masako has been talking to on the phone because this guy seems to know exactly what to do. I could be wrong. I’ve been a thousand times already, so this leaves me to be the most curious I’ve ever been about what it is Masako is doing.

I’ve mentioned in past weeks about certain shots that I loved in Penguindrum, such as Ringo feeling like she’s falling away from Tabuki or the silhouette of Ringo putting on the blonde wig. The show has the uncanny ability of showing you everything you need to see while being incredibly clever about how it is presented. The show’s sort of mysterious ways may make you think there are things being hidden, but there’s nothing cheap at all about the tricks being put into play.

Episode 10 Preview:

Judging from Kanba’s tone, it sounds like he and Masako might have a confrontation soon. This could mean yet another delay in waiting to see what happened to Shouma.

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Produces the MetaVerse podcast. Also plays games and watches sports of all sorts. Is an actual Pirate King.
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23 Responses to “Mawaru Penguindrum – 09”

  1. Junko says:

    If anyone’s been following my comments around Meta this week, you’ll probs know everything I’ve watched this week has flipped on its goddamn head, Peguindrum heavily included.

    Himari’s back story was kinda amazing. I had never called the ED to be such a big spoiler, nor did I think the train chara duo would have deeper meaning. All the train references in fact. I was stunned.

    Many people are aware I’m not a big SHAFT fan, nor a Bakemono fan. But Peguindrum is easily the Bakemono made for me, I get the same feel that I can see they were going for in Bakemono, but it changes everything I didn’t like about the show. Eagerly awaiting the conclusion of Shouma and Ringos DESTINYYYYYY!

    (There are so many goddamn catch phrases from this I use know. FABULOUS MAX! IMAGIIIINE! to name a few XD)

    • Snowley says:

      Exactly. What the hell is wrong with this week? Some “everything goes wrong” party?

    • Jrow says:

      Seeing those girls and also there tie to why the band was called Triple-H for the inset song during Seizon Senryaku was a nice little tidbit to put to bed finally.

      The Shaft style was just right for this episode. If Penguindrum was more like this, I think people would start to say that it’s trying to hard to be artsy or anything like that.

      DESTINY, IMAGINE, FABULOUS MAX… surely there’s another phrase or two to come!

  2. lacusness says:

    Did you notice Himari’s legs was see-through at the beginning of the episode?

  3. Kitty says:

    Can all librarians look like him please? Can he stay around please?

    Although I liked the background of this episode. I really wanted to know what @%$%^ happened to Shouma!!!

    Thou I am very impressed with all the little things that are coming together. Like the girls on the subway are really part of the plot.

    • Jrow says:

      haha, surely he’ll be back later on for your viewing pleasure. 😉

      Penguindrum’s being a tease and making us wait, and I’m not so sure we’ll see him in Episode 10.

  4. Joojoobees says:

    Three trying to use two magnifying glasses to read the book is kind of how I feel trying to make sense of every piece of symbolism here.

    Excellent comment! This episode invited that kind of scrutiny, and yet looking at everything through a magnifying glass like that makes everything seem more deranged — nothing seems clearer. Still, “Child Broiler”? What the heck are we supposed to make of that?

    • Jrow says:

      Thanks. :)

      Child Broiler is undoubtedly the weirdest one for me. Usually digging a little deep will net something on most of the symbolism, but that one… just a big WTF.

  5. Foshizzel says:

    Amazing animation for this entire episode! I liked that massive Libaray! And Yeah I was like man this feels like a shaft anime all of a sudden, guess that explains the artwork and the fabulous hair! That pink hair was great xD

    I was happy we got to find out more about Himari’s past and the ending video finally makes everything clear, I was just happy to see them getting her past finished early.

    Well I can’t wait to see what happens next! Always surprises at every turn with this series, I did enjoy watching those penguins reading all of those books ahaha always the highlight for me 😛

    • Jrow says:

      Apparently, that library isn’t just a Penguindrum thing. CGSociety made some CG art of what a Stockholm library would look like. It looks really weird with a dash of scary. xD

      I like the pic in the main image with 3 flipping thru books really quick, as if Himari was desperate to find something.

  6. Snowley says:

    ..so The Pinkhead is a dude. OK. That was an amazing mindblowing episode. Even more for me, as I’m reading Utena right now. Librarian guy is like taken from this manga and thrown into TV PenguinDrum world.

    • Jrow says:

      Have you watched Utena? I’ve read that the anime at some point went on its own path and was different from the manga.

  7. Yuki says:

    YES. Finally. The ping-haired person has appeared! And he is definitely gorgeous. *w*

    But aww, I really want to know what happened to Sho. Damn the pain!

    • Jrow says:

      Yeah, he’s a good looking guy, I suppose.

      I was anxious to see what happened to, but like any other good anime, the director leaves us hanging, but in this case doing something really intriguing and interesting to follow.

  8. Overcooled says:

    I KNEW I felt SHAFT vibes while watching this. They even had the SHAFT head tilt thrown in there. I love the librarian guy (he’s pretty fabulous) but I feel like he’s up to no good. Was he trying to make Himari his bride? o.o I also have the feeling the little boy who gave Himari the apple is Kanba…

    San-chan so cute~ I honestly feel like her trying to figure out all the symbolism too. Especially “child broiler” (wtf man). It’s nice to see Himari in the spotlight for a change. This may be one of my favourite penguindrum episodes yet.

    • Jrow says:

      Given the incest tones from the end of episode 1, Kanba is a likely candidate.

      I’m with ya on this being a fave. The Shaft visual style definitely fit the vibe of the episode, but Child Broiler leaves me so confused, and also why all the cutout people are sitting there.
      Like… what if Himari isn’t the only one to take on the Penguin Hat? What if Sanetoshi is looking for a specific person like Himari? These are just thoughts.

      • Joojoobees says:

        I also think Kanba is tied up in it, but perhaps, like Himari, he is just a vessel. That’s assuming that Himari is really possessed, which this episode made me question.

  9. […] Metanorn: Mawaru Penguindrum–09 […]

  10. I realized that the reason for her wearing that outfit as the “empress penguin” is because it’s a subconscious manifestation of her dreams to complete Triple-H. :(( fvhduivhdui this episode really stroked my heart.

  11. […] happening. A key hint to this was that Chiemi didn’t have the scars she had gotten from episode 9 which I believe the doctor said was not fully curable. And to that, I say good on ya Penguindrum! […]

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