Mawaru Penguindrum – 24 [END]

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.

Penguindrum’s pairings

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).

Final Frame:

About

Produces the MetaVerse podcast. Also plays games and watches sports of all sorts. Is an actual Pirate King.
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27 Responses to “Mawaru Penguindrum – 24 [END]”

  1. Kyokai says:

    Congrats on finishing another series on Metanorn! This was definitely happening full of colour, vibrancy and brilliant storytelling. There were times that I went, mannn Ikuhara is trolling us so bad and Himari never dies. And look, she never did but overall, the concept of fate and simple human bonding is what really came to fore for me with this anime. Even with so many differences and actually not being real siblings, Kanba and Shouma sure had more than a bond. So powerful that they took it all in and changed fate, that my friend was epicness.

    I liked how the last episode got the figure it out yourself rather than explaining everything blow by blow. There are times that too much explanation turns me off and the reason I liked how some things got explained while others didn’t but still they weren’t too vague that we couldn’t figure it out. For me the best moment was Momoka saying GTFO to Sanetoshi because this pink fag sure has been up to a lot. Not that I don’t like him, deep voiced baddies are my favourite. xD

    • Jrow says:

      Thanks Kyo! Like, I guess I could see why people hate the whole death/rebirth thing going on plenty of times in the show, but I think Penguindrum (and also Steins;Gate) did it in a way that was clever toward the story.
      That ending with those two was pretty amazing. Kanba’s was kind of like “oh you saved Himari, good for you” with amazing visuals and angry Sanetoshi, but the Shouma one was terrific.

      As for the idea of full explanations, I remember the MGS4 game saying it would explain everything before it wrapped up. If a show as ambitious as Penguindrum tried to do that, it’d end up screwing up a lot of parts and likely create plot holes. You could say it’s a cop-out for Penguindrum, but sometimes I just like to leave things to my own interpretation, and that’s where I think the show was very smart and treated its viewer as such.
      (There’s also that thing where Kojima won’t let Metal Gear Solid ride off into the sunset…)

  2. Moni Chan says:

    The last episode. I love this anime imma miss it. (even though I’m 3 eps behind)
    kyu kyu kyu

    • Jrow says:

      Ah cmon, ya gotta finish it! And you can enjoy it without that frustrating 1-week wait for episodes. :)

  3. Hoshi says:

    ~To be honest, I haven’t seen Penguindrum since episode 14 (Shame on me, I know!) because of various reasons that all boil down to ‘I’m can’t handle all these intense events’. I just have a basic understanding of what has progressed from spoilers on tumblr, but I couldn’t resist finding out the ending.

    Seeing screencaps and now reading about it has made me cry twice, especially after seeing the note Sho and Kanba left for Himari. Everything is just so bittersweet, my heart aches. I truly do love the ending though and the animation does look superb. Now that I’ve spoiled it for myself, I’ll definitely go back and catch up on the little details. Maybe then I’ll have a more intellectual comment to give (or something…).

    P.S I miss Shouma –sob-

    • Jrow says:

      Well, hopefully spoiling yourself will lighten the blow when you do get to watching them. 15 in particular is quite dark when you take what the characters are involved with.

      If you’ve spoiled it for yourself, it might be a good idea to just start from ep. 1 again. You can catch things from those early episodes that surely applied to the ones you’ve already seen and the one’s you have yet to.

      *hugs Hoshi* It’ll be alright. Shouma’s just find, I’m sure of it. :)

  4. Gecko says:

    Great job on finishing the series with all the lovely posts! Yay!
    I agree with you on most things that you’ve said, but for me, the note from Shouma and Kanba was not at all fanservice-y. I think it was there to show that even though the two did not amount to anything (as we learned in practically the first episode), somehow they still were able to leave one little thing behind. (I will admit to almost crying.)
    I don’t think the lesson of this episode was “don’t share,” I figure it’s more of a “if someone’s helped you, make sure to help them.” Overall, Mawaru Penguindrum’s message is probably like “make sure you tell people that you love them so that they don’t feel alone.” Yuri and Tabuki really drove that point home.

    • Jrow says:

      Thanks Gecko! I put a lot of work into these. It’s a labor of love, though it wasn’t without its bumps. (having to combine 14 & 15 together was admittedly draining on me)

      I’ll admit that I might be stretching to call it fanservicey, but a reasonable middle ground between my view and yours is that we see something, but not Himari. Again, I’m stretching.

      I was teasing about the don’t share thing, but I didn’t put a wink by it. I was just joking about Kanba sharing his apple. Bro could’ve lived on. ;) But yeah, the Yuri/Tabuki thing was kind of nice, like they were the main ones that were going to get rid of the Child Broiler by caring for children. I didn’t really address it in the post, but that’s a happy ending for those two.

  5. Tofu says:

    LOLS I like what gg subs did with that scene of Sanetoshi and Ringo “…you gotta be shitting me…” XD

    Funniest scene ever in Mawaru!

    Oh yeah, I was actually watching this show too xD and that ending was definitely impacting as a last episode and befitting for such a series. Overall Mawaru didn’t really work for me. I dropped it after episode 2 the first try, came back to it and watched the whole thing (due to popularity) and felt the need to drop it at from ep 8 to ep 15. For me, it only started to get interesting after ep 16 and extremely interesting with the last 3 episodes.

    Something about it didn’t tick but by all means I don’t hate the show ;D Great job on the last episode review Jrow, loving those screen caps

    • Jrow says:

      8th Sin, the guy that did gg’s translation for the show, was pretty thorough in his explanations of why he subtitled things the way he did, but this time he didn’t. He talked about the “lol u mad Sanetoshi” line, but none of this. Pretty funny, but I’m sure sticklers wouldn’t care for subs like that.

      So you haven’t seen 9-15? Episode 9 is a fantastic look into Himari’s past with the Double-H girls, & 10 is an appetizer to the stuff between Kanba & Masako. I say go back to some of my bloggings here to see if it interests you. 9 was very well received.

      I can get why it wasn’t quite gelling with some people (though I put it on a pedestal as my fave of ’11). Thanks much for commenting, man! With screencaps as amazing as these, it’s a Sophie’s Choice sometimes on which ones to put in and which ones not to.

  6. Karakuri says:

    Agreed about the visuals being the best in this episode. They really went all out on this.

    ….As for the note, it did feel a bit out of place to me, but HOLY CRAP I think I cried for a solid 20 minutes because of it. It was just so bittersweet. …Though having the child versions of Kanba and Shoma walk by kind of ruined it for me. I don’t think anyone died in this and actually stayed dead.

    The one thing that I really question about this entire thing is the penguins. Sure, they’re part of the whole polar exploration team theme thing, but really it seems like the writers just threw in the penguins to have a mascot of sorts.

    • Jrow says:

      Yeah, seeing Kan and Sho walk it was like, “cmon!” Had they just brought in the same kids from episode 1, it’d a been fine, but they probably wanted to keep the penguins around for one last scene and it only made sense if they walked around. But maybe they are ghosts like Sanetoshi.

      Penguins are quite popular, you can spot them in a few animes. Even Highschool of the Dead had some Penguin store when Komuro and Rei were riding in town.

  7. skylion says:

    Why it had to be penguins? I think it has always been the ultimate troll. I mean, why not penguin?. Sure, it could have easily been Mawaru Turtledrum, or Pigeondrum, or Tanukidrum. Any of those and we would still be having the same conversations. It’s penguins. I mean, it just has to be penguins. Right?

    It was the symbol that had no real meaning other than what we gave it. Because Himari and Ringo love penguins. That’s a good enough reason for me.

    • Miyu says:

      Now I am totally imagining it being Mawaru Turtledrum and I just can’t- HAHAHA

    • Zabobinator says:

      Wow. Good point. Never thought of it. I can’t imagine it as anything OTHER than penguins though.

      • skylion says:

        I have a very vivid, strange imagination. I can easily imagine it as Turtledrum.

        Did you see the picture with little Himari and her new family at the end? Snow Monkeys. It’s not penguins anymore.

        Monekydrum.

        • Jrow says:

          Turtledrum is good. You could probably play on their shell like a drum.

          An OVA featuring Himari and Ringo up against feces-throwing monkeys! Coming in February!

  8. TheVoid says:

    Even at the end I still think Kanba’s love was still onesided. But the fact that he’s willing to do so much for a unrequited love even to the end has won me over.

    • Jrow says:

      I agree. It worked out in his favor to go out as a hero instead of being a chump and betraying Shouma or doing Sanetoshi’s bidding to put the world back on track.

  9. Miyu says:

    Congrats on finishing another series gais! :D

    I loved this episode. The graphics were absolutely spectacular and I could really feel the emotions they were trying to convey. *touched*

    I also thought they wrapped it up wonderfully, actually. I’m completely fine with them not specifically stating what the Penguindrum was. The brothers were reborn, and although the paths between the boys and the girls never met again, they were alive, and that was enough. ;_;

    • Jrow says:

      Thanks Miyu! It’s nice to have some cool people like those that chipped in for episodes, too!

      Good animation goes a long way to telling a good story. I love how Penguindrum was animated. Just exquisite.

      It’s a pretty good wrap-up; as idea as maybe possible. The brothers sacrificing for their loved ones was terrific.

  10. Overcooled says:

    I’m glad you told us to read the summary because otherwise I’d have missed some important stuff. Excellent job covering all of the finer aspects of this series Jrow, you really have a keen eye! I like when you blog stuff like this rather than the boing-boing type anime (you know what I’m talking about). XDD

    The ending was pulled off a lot better than I thought it would be. I was expecting tons of loose ends, but it did the right mix of explaining and wrapping things up in my opinion. It wasn’t perfect or my favourite episode, but it was damn good. I’m glad I made it through the series without crying (although I came close with Himari, Shoma and that cat.)

    • Jrow says:

      I know people skip those because, well… I do. And the compliment is much appreciated! I’ll try and blog less boing-tastic shows in the future. :P

      When the show started, I had braced myself for some really bizarre ending that I just couldn’t make sense of, but I like how it was executed for the most part; it was a pretty effective closing of the series.

  11. Mina says:

    I was asked which anime is my favorite this year. And at first I didnt know any answer… I mean we had a lot of good anime this year, and I liked a quite lot. And then… a new episode of Penguindrum came out (I think it was episode 22) and then I knew my answer.
    I must really say Mawaru penguindrum is my favorite anime this year. It really is different. I was flashed at the beginning and flashed at the ending xD
    I remember not being able to decipher what this anime would be like, whether it will turn out good or not. Without me noticing I began singing that rock over japan (or how it was called, that song that always plays when the Seizon Senryaku appears) along. And I laughed so much. My eyes followed these penguins in the background and I always wondered why they didn’t realize anything (I remember there being a lot of serious conversations where the penguins were… well not that serious XP) All characters were interesting and they changed! There were a lot of WTF moments and I loved these seiyuu!
    This anime was bizarre… and weird, and.. well really something out of this world! *could go on, like forever* *fangirl*
    oh and lily hoshino *____* xDD *drool*

  12. Zabobinator says:

    WOOH! Congrats on finishing this up! :D

    This was definitely a doozy of a show to cover, what with it’s ridiculous symbolism. It was weird. You wouldn’t know what was going on…but you would. All at the same time. Weird.

    I agree that the whole note/rebirth of the brothers was a bit fanservicey. However, as a fan, I wanted it. I needed to know that they hadn’t completely ceased to exist. So it was a necessary fanservice, if you ask me. :D

    I’ll miss the penguins… *sniffles*

  13. Joojoobees says:

    What an experience. I’m glad things came full circle at the end. Now I feel like setting some time aside to do a rewatch of the whole series.

  14. Snowley says:

    I expected a troll ending. Two days before friday, I got myself mentally prepeared for the biggest RAGE in my life. But that all came up futile. What I got instead was one of the most beautiful, fullfiling endings I’ve ever seen. It was just astonishing. I love how things got solved, and that not all questions got answered (well, mostly none ;p). Overally, I consider Penguindrum more as piece of art than anything. Truly, truly amazing. Undoubtly the best series of the year and one of the best shows of decade.

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