Mawaru Penguindrum (輪るピングドラム) / Revolving Penguin Drum
Three siblings, twins Kanba and Shouma, and the in-and-out-of-the-hospital Himari who’s in poor health, live together at the Takakura home. One day, when the siblings are out on a trip to the aquarium, Himari collapses. The doctors state that nothing can be done for her anymore, but then, a miracle occurs…
Genre: Slice of life, Comedy, Fantasy
Status: Currently airing, planned for 24 episodes
Directed by Ikuhara Kuniko (Sailormoon and Revolutionary Girl Utena), who also did the script, screenplay and series composition. Produced by Brain’s Base and Mainichi Broadcasting.
It’s official. This is my favourite for the season. This summer where there’s a significant cesspool of not-so-great anime, this is like the Madonna among the Jenna Roses. I really, really liked the way the narration started and ended that first episode about fate – yes, there have been stories that went all ‘UP YOURS, FATE AND DESTINY!’, but this monologue went into a whole cycle and chain of why fate is Hitler. It’s probably what ensnared me from the beginning.
The fact that the OP (Nornir by Ruetsuko Yakushima Metropolitan Orchestra) that followed just next to tugged my heartstrings and pulled out my heart probably has a lot to do with how I’m obsessing over this after the first friggin episode.
It starts with the very angsty rant about hating fate, but after the OP it goes ahead and starts with a very light-hearted breakfast situation. Very casually, it states how the three of them are orphans – almost as if it wasn’t something that mattered that much to them. It didn’t even seem like it was a permanent loss with the way they just covered up their parents’ name using tape. By the way, I absolutely adore their home – it may look all ghetto and crappy, but it’s so vibrantly coloured. In a way it’s as if they haven’t grown up at all in that house of theirs that seems frozen in their childhood, but it also seems to just reflect that childhood bliss where all the petty adult worries are outside the space of their home.
At first it all seems normal with two big bros doting on their doll-like little sis, and then it snaps back to the scene in the medical room where apparently little sis has a life expectancy from the present time to a coupla months. I like the way they flashback, and the way they travel on the train and show those little train station signs. They must be hiring all these geniuses at Brain’s Base or something coz all these small things are just blowing my mind 😄
What I think is the greatest success for Mawaru Penguindrum isn’t just the storyline or characters or anything. It’s the transition of emotions in between scenes. Most of it is really sudden – the contented siblings, to the actual doomed fate of the sister. The happy outing, to her sudden collapse and snappish death. Her death to the sudden Survival Strategy. To what I thought was an ED but was really just a very lengthy transport to some other world with song (ROCK OVER JAPAN by Triple H). It’s all snap snap snap contentment, depression, happiness, angst, funny, wtf dude, somber – yet all the new events doesn’t spoil, corrupt or corrode into the previous atmospheres.
And there was that really surprising end that I didn’t really not see not coming but kind of but didn’t actually think it would happen sort of okay I’ll shut up now.
Then of course, there’s those little cute, fat penguins that had this really Penguins of Madagascar gig going on when they first appeared. The way they got transported to their house was really amusing, and when Shou first encountered his penguin it was just hilarious lol.
The animation is just top notch – it’s stupid but I can’t get over the whole train station thing. It’s ridiculous how I find those floating signs so cool. Then there’s that whole transport to random penguin kingdom with all those flashy flashy animation, that mahou shoujo transformation and everything… okay I’m not that great at talking about animation but IT ROCKED. Kinda like Oz in Summer Wars (by the way Summer Wars was such a rip-off of the Digimon movie).
As with the OP, I absolutely loved the ED (DEAR FUTURE by coaltar of the deepers). It gave a really nice closure to the episode, and sort of pulled the emotion from the ending a little so after all the snap snap snap emotion changes, it sort of gradually drifted away. Man I love this show.
The episode actually has a lot of cliff hangers and explaining to do. There’s
– How the little kids were talking about them apples and the other side of the world (children sure are deep these days)
– How they all suddenly ended up sitting at the table when Shou came back home, then got randomly transported to Penguin land. I’m guessing they all went back the same way Shou did. But anyway, what were they talking about before that?
– What da heck is a Penguin drum?! What da heck did Nadine do to Kan?! Is she even a penguin??
– “I come from the destination of your fate”… Maybe I’m watching to much Steins; Gate, but is Nadine a time-travelling… penguin?
– And of coz… Kan-chan, don’t attack your sister in her sleep…
There’s a lot more that I’m getting really curious about, but that’s mostly from the OP more than anything. Initially I started writing this as another one of those mini-rants for my collection of Summer Anime, but I realised I just had too much good to say about it to keep it all in. I’m not going to be making episodic reports since I’m going to be pretty busy from now on (HAHAHAHA INTERNSHIP SCORE!!!) but hopefully I’ve converted you enough for now for you to start watching.
I think I might be obsessed enough to re-watch the previous episode before watching the current episode in future. I’ve only done that with Durarara!! before and… gasp! What do they have in common? Brain’s Base!
Okay it’s official. They’re hiring geniuses.
See ya! =D