Breaking Free From Fate
|We’re here! Episode 24 of Mawaru Penguindrum. Thursday was not only a great day for me with office holiday stuff, but also the latest music from Penguindrum. The Triple-H songs are really great (I’m a fan of the more upbeat tunes), and the 3rd OST has some more good tracks (I still want “Paris~”). So yeah, what happens? Do people die when they are killed?|
Instead of summarizing events you’ve already seen played out, I’ll play my approach to blogging this a bit differently. I kindly ask that you read my thoughts inside the episode summary rather than flipping thru images and fast-forwarding to my end thoughts. Thanks!
I’ll start with covering the flashback sequences in one go. When we last were talking about the Child Broiler, many wondered if they were supposed to be sold on the anime’s sell point that the CB was an actual, physical location or if it was metaphorical, which I had sold myself on after episode 18. I’ll just have to stick with the anime that it was real, and it was very close to the Takakura house. But with these box analogies Sanetoshi tossed around, I came away thinking that it was related to the Child Broiler in some sense, but it felt so separate. It provided the full depth of Kanba and Shouma’s stories, but I do wish/hope there was something in past episodes that hinted at this idealism because, the way it comes off to me right now, is a little thing that was meant to be tacked on at the end so as to provide depth to the actions of Kan and Sho this episode.
I was joshing last week about Kanba and Shoma finally confronting, but if anything episode 24 went a long ways to actually strengthen the bond between those two. I still am a bit concerned about what Kanba meant when he said to Sho about “always wanting to do this”. I know the two were on bad terms after Sho found out about Kanba’s work with the Kiga Group, but it’s interesting how they never really spoke a word to each other but by the end came together and freed Himari and also Ringo. Little sis knew best after all!
It doesn’t come as much surprise to us that Ringo memorized the diary, it’s just that she didn’t know what to do with it other than follow the diary word for word. She probably could’ve continued following it even after Yuri had stolen half of it from her, but there was also that thing about Sho being hit by a car that changed her world. Ringo was a fascinating character to watch in episodes 2-8… I was thinking, “what the hell is wrong with this girl!” while being surprised and pleased at her character, especially for Marie Miyake who did Ringo’s voice as her first real role. Had she stayed that way, I would’ve surely grown tired of her, but Ringo underwent in my opinion the biggest character transformation from beginning to finish, and I think she’s one of anime’s best female characters in 2011. She could be my #1.
lol, u mad Sanetoshi?
One more trip to Seizon Senryaku, and it was a glorious one. The shards of glass cutting into Himari and Shouma, the blood coming out of Kan’s back as Himari was holding him trying to stop the blood from flowing out and Sho ripping the fruit of fate from his chest was some seriously impressive stuff. The way Ringo shouted the phrase was similar to Masako’s moment, but at least she didn’t die and then come back to life 5 times. Exaggerating, but yeah, you know what I mean.
IMO, the art this episode was Penguindrum at its finest.
Apples and Blood and nekkid imoutou
What was most unusual about Seizon Senryaku this time was Kanba was inside the bear, but that Himari was herself and the penguin hat only provided fuel for her life when she had died for the umpteenth time. Many wondered why the hat turned Himari into such a foul-mouthed little bitch. Kinda seems like the anime wanted to do that for kicks, but there really isn’t much to address about it. It’s a flaw, but not a glaring, show-breaking one. But I mean cmon, had she not been a meanie, we wouldn’t have seen Himari yell, “Cry, Monkey Bitch!” It’s a great line, at least we have that and also the weird photography scene a few episodes back.
“Let’s Share the Fruit of Fate!”
The scenes between Kanba/Himari and Ringo/Shouma were very touching. Seeing the circle of fate around Kanba break was pretty rewarding to see. Instead of being stuck inside a loop and forever living the sins of the Takakura parents, they were able to break free from the curse and do what was right. And for so long, the OTP of Shouma/Ringo had been hyped up, and even though Sho goes away and takes the flames from Ringo, him saying, “I love you” is one of those satisfying moments where I was glad everything came to fruition, even if it meant Sho was going away forever.
The Momoka vs. Sanetoshi confrontation reached it’s conclusion, and I really love seeing Momoka holding her hats as a sign of victory. Sanetoshi thinks the train will come back, but I like Momoka’s, “who cares I’m out, bye bye!” response. Sanetoshi was always an intriguing character voiced very well by Yutaka Koizumi, and I liked the turn in his voice to anger as Kanba was walking away from him. I already talked about Ringo’s brand new seiyuu doing great, but everybody did a rock solid job in their roles.
With the other characters getting closure, I was only able to feel happy for Mario being cured through Masako and all she’d gone through. It’s also very interesting to see how much the Takakura house changed, as though Kanba and Shouma (almost) were never there. Loads of decorations all gone, a very subdued look in comparison to what Kan and Sho did for their “imouto”. The letter was a nice touch, and though I wondered if this would be a tearjerker at the end, it didn’t really hit me that way. Maybe it did for others, but I most appreciate that sense of like, oh, her brothers at least have this one memento of their life with Himari.
Remember the scene in episode 1 of the boys talking about the apple? This time, Kanba and Shouma (younger kids, now) are the ones walking past talking about how the apple is a reward for those chosen to die for love. Himari loves the word “fate” and the boys wonder where to go next.
Last Marching of the Penguins:
Pr0n on DVD be damned, for all of mine is in the cloud!
Hey guys, heard you like Utena
Through Karate, #1 was able to cure himself of his pr0n addiction
I have a sudden urge to go grocery shopping now.
Did the episode answer any questions? It did about boxes, but other than that, anything that you might have wanted to be covered from past episodes didn’t really get addressed. It was very much a straightforward finale that for 85-90% of the time focused on what was happening now rather than dwelling in past events and answering every question people had about the series, and I like the series for doing that. Each scene had importance to the final moments, even the moment with Double-H had relevance to the ending. I wrote last week about the feeling that some stuff could be left open and not wanting to feel bombarded by an info dump of an ending, so episode 24 did neither of those things for me.
The main lesson of this episode: Don’t share.
Do I think it was a good episode? Absolutely! Penguidrum’s animation and artistic directions were the biggest objects of my fascination with the series, and it went out with a bang. Do I think it was a good finale episode? Sure. I find that, with the box flashback scenes in effect the past few episodes that it’s very fitting how Kanba and Shouma accepted their punishment. It wasn’t anything about accepting the sins of the parents, it was simply sharing the object we’d been seeing this whole time in Penguindrum, the Fruit of Fate. The actual Penguin Drum itself is in that middle ground between being a tangible/intangible object, which I myself can subscribe to. Had it been strictly just love or magic or some mess like that, I might’ve rolled my eyes. While people didn’t die when they were killed, I also can accept how the fate transferring caused Kan and Sho to be forgotten; people didn’t remember that stupid tower Yuri’s dad made. The anime putting the note in the bear is kinda fanservice-y, though, as was Kanba and Shouma’s sort of rebirth walking past the house having a very similar conversation to the soccer kids from episode 1 about the apple.
I’ve adored Penguindrum very much since I started blogging this series back in July. At some point, I felt Penguindrum was going to be my favorite anime of this year. The anime really didn’t do much for me to waver away from that feeling. If anything, favoritism mostly leads to disappointment (looks at Guilty Crown with pissed-off look), so I was regularly pleased with how the anime tackled a lot of the subjects it did and it kept me on my toes thinking rather than feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. I know not everybody shares that feeling, but that’s just my particular feeling toward the show. A lot of messages could be taken away from this Ikuhara series (love, fate, parenting, etc.) and though for some people it might not provide enough closure or enough answers to the subjects that they valued most in the anime, for me the train ride kept me intrigued the whole way thru with its core cast of characters. What wowed me the most during my watching of this series was Penguindrum’s artistic direction and design. There are so many shots in this anime I put in all these episodic blogs that were very impressive in the angles they were shot at, the vibrancy/saturation/de-saturation of colors. In an upcoming OVA review, I touch on Sakuga fans a small bit, but when solid animation helps tell a story, animation can do stories a few good favors here and there. It kind of reminds me (and forgive me if you’ve either read or heard me say this before) of Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the Wii. Visual-fidelity wise, it’s not a powerhouse the way a Fate/Zero is, but the art of Penguindrum and the character designs by Lily Hoshino were so splendid. I have yet to watch all of Madoka Magica this year, and maybe that was really great work by Shaft, but Penguindrum is one of 2011’s best looking anime.
So yeah, if you’ve enjoyed Penguindrum, now’s the time to go check out Utena. The remastered sets are looking nice, it’s a fantastic anime and you’ll see some things that Ikuhara took during his time directing that show and put into Penguindrum. A MetaCast review will be done sometime next month, I’m looking to get a couple guests to join me, so the Penguindrum train has one more stop to take here at Metanorn before shutting down for good. Thanks for reading!
Oh, and thanks to my fellow Meta-Pals for joining me on tag posts: Foshizzel (4 & 20), Overcooled (1, 5 & 22), Kyokai (7), Zabobinator (1 & 8), Hoshi (11), Karakuri (17) and Ness (1).