Mawaru Penguindrum Episode Ten


Various items before I go any further, many of them related to last week’s episode:

  • Ringo’s mother is voiced by Rica Fukami, whose previous work includes that of Minako Aino/Sailor Venus; I had a nagging feeling I recognized her voice
  • Himari’s friend Hikari’s full name is Hikari Utada, a fairly clear reference to J-pop megastar Hikaru Utada
  • one of the books Himari returns is ‘Suputoniku no weirdo’, a reference to Haruki Murakami’s ‘Suputoniku no koibito’ (released in English as ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’); one of the themes of this book is an inability to know or be true to oneself, which Sanetoshi seems to imply is the case with Himari
  • two of the books are by a Stephen Queen, and are both entitled ‘Christine’ – Stephen King’s Carrie?
  • going back further, Yuri’s co-star Yuuki Tsubasa is fairly obviously inspired by Oscar Jarjeyes, unsurprisingly so (she’s voiced by Romi Park, so HNNNNGH moment for me there)
  • the root of Ringo’s sister’s name may mean peach (‘momo’); haven’t seen the kanji for it, so can’t say for sure, but given that their second daughter’s named Ringo, seems easy to assume the first one got her name from the fruit, too

I also don’t think I really conveyed how much I enjoyed episode nine and how good I thought it was, so let me just say that it was the best episode of any anime I’ve seen this year (to include shows that didn’t/aren’t airing this year, but which I’ve watched/am watching) by a long shot. It was also the most Utena-ish episode of the show so far, and reminded me in particular of the Utena movie, Adolescence Apocalypse, with its architectural shots as well as its almost near-total departure from reality.

Anyway, episode ten.

Project M. M for maternity? But is it any coincidence that both Momoka and Mario, whose siblings now both seem to be engaged in resurrection/reanimation attempts, have names which begin with ‘M’?

Lets spin some theories.

Masako has a sibling who is possessed by the Princess of the Crystal (presumably; its entirely possible that there’s more than one of these maybe-otherworldly beings running around), and so who is himself presumably deceased. Ringo has a dead older sister. Both are pursuing men, and have no regard for the consensuality of their efforts. Both speak of a ‘Project M’, although we admittedly don’t know if Masako’s talking about the same one.

I suggested in my last post that the penguin drum could be Ringo herself as opposed to an object such as the diary. Getting more specific, it could be simply her womb… which would certainly allow that Masako is in possession of her own penguin drum, i.e. her womb. So the entire scheme for penguin drums? Some strange system wherein human souls from dead people are shuffled into willing women’s fetuses. And, as the brothers themselves obviously do not have wombs, then they would have to go find a penguin drum elsewhere.

But, yeah, it isn’t airtight, and it is a bit farfetched. Ringo isn’t contracting with any penguins, nor can she see them, instead lead by the diary she claims was penned by her sister prior to her death. I’m tempted to open that can of worms, but leery of it because no matter how much I puzzle over it, I can’t really get anywhere with it. Hell, maybe Momoka is the Princess of the Crystal! Geez, anything is possible at this point, surely.

Speaking of the Princess of the Crystal, I’d like to see some more of Mario… of course, the truly intriguing bit regarding him is what exactly his outfit is like when possessed. Do they put a shouta in thigh-high boots and a leotard, too?

And, speaking of Mario, if you’ll permit my repetitive use of the phrase, I know in the last post I stated that he was the boy from Himari’s memory. I think I was mistaken in that; Mario looks a bit younger than Himari. I also, in re-watching the episode more recently, think that the silhouettes we saw of Himari and the boy may not have actually been Himari and that boy, but instead representative of – the outlines are the same as the statues in front of the library. Alternately, Himari’s mind modeled the statues in front of the library in that episode after a previous life and that boy she knew, but I’m more inclined toward the former theory. Although then there is still that whole matter of the maybe reference to the Holocaust stuff (apples, child broilers, people in a corrugated metal building), and I’ll confess an unwillingness to give up on that potentiality quite yet.

An apple is the reward for those willing to give up everything for love.

Moving back into this episode’s material, the exchange between Himari and Kanba regarding presents was mildly amusing. While I can see Kanba’s side of things, with the efforts of girls being creepy, I think its clear that we’re supposed to see his insensitivity about the efforts these girls put in as cruel. Otherwise, why have Himari there with her brows all furrowed and looking less and less sure as Kanba talks so openly about hating so many of the presents he receives? (Although, if you’ll excuse me, the wedding cake does rather take the cake.) Of course, the question is whether the exchange has any effect on Kanba ultimately – does his realization about how his words are hurting Himari mean he further realizes that he is himself being mean to his fans and various girlfriends? Or does the cheat apply that, well, Himari is Himari, so she’s different (and, implicitly, better) than all those other girls?

I think Himari is making the scarf for Kanba, actually. And, no, not in an incestuous way.

And where has the incest thread gone? Are we to take Kanba’s willingness to engage in morally questionable actions for Himari’s sake as just further evidence of the fact that he has the hots for his younger sister? After all, Ringo is attempting crazy ends for her own sister, and she’s not in love with her, and Masako appears to be doing the same for Mario. I’m sure Kanba’s speech at the end of episode one and his kissing of his sleeping sister (we sure have a lack of consensuality farting around this damn show, don’t we?) wasn’t throwaway. I’d like to get a little more into his head, beyond what we know now (which is that a. his father unwittingly gave him a complex about keeping the family together and being responsible for the family, and b. he has a thing for his sister even though he knows its wrong… wonder how that first part influences the second?).

I was going to talk a bit about Shouma, but E Minor pretty much covers it, curiously enough, in a recent Blood-C post of his. Shouma is our Greek Chorus of sorts, etc. (I was going to link to an article about Kanye West being the American Greek Chorus, but, alas, I cannot locate the piece in question.)

Sadly, I’ll have to conclude here. I keep getting interrupted, which has derailed a good chunk of my thought process.

And, just in from irony, I’m currently making peach apple sauce.

EDIT: I did just recall one item I wanted to mention. Not crazy about Yui Horie’s iteration of the ED… in part because its her “typecast” voice really shining through. One of the nice side-effects of Horie ceasing to be such a hot-ticket V.A. is that she’s getting roles that I think display her vocal abilities a lot more than the genki-type characters she’s done to death (although, yes, she’s still getting those roles, too). See also: Kyouko in Aoi Hana, Anna in Hourou Musuko.

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9 Responses to Mawaru Penguindrum Episode Ten

  1. Yeah, ep 09 was great stuff, though ep 10, not so much.

    Shouma, so far has done the least and pretty much was the witness to all the craziness around him which makes him the POV that’s easiest to latch on to. That’s until he did the sacrifice thing, which, if we extend the notion to him being a character who “represents” the viewers, is also the moral compass of the show who is also part of a tradition of uptight, moral, albeit ineffectual leads who… “steps up and does something of worth” when the time comes.

    This is reinforced by the Princess of the Crystal who keeps telling them (and mostly Shouma), by starting each speech with “you who will never amount to anything.” By saving Ringo, Shouma has done one thing that most people will never get to do in their lifetimes.

    Now, perhaps the show will only use this to keep him annoyingly self-righteous in the spirit of “balance,” but I’d rather not, the best thing for me as a viewer is to see less of him and Ringo. Their story is mostly played out and I’m far less interested in either of them… and am more interested in having the Kanba conflicts resolve.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I am, quite frankly, pretty tired of the Ringo material. I find the siblings much more interesting, and, really, picking the brains of three people is surely enough? Which isn’t to say I’ve disliked Ringo’s story, but I don’t find myself nearly as engaged with it and curious about it as I am with the Takakura kids.

  2. Landon says:

    Right about Stephen King, but he wrote a book called Christine. It’s the one about the killer car.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Thank you; I’ll admit to not being as familiar with his work as, say, with Shirley Jackson’s.

  3. ajthefourth says:

    One has to wonder if Mario ever did this to Masako. ^ ^

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Well… the implication is there, certainly. I suppose in a show like this, guilty until proven innocent. I’m a lot more squicked by the notion of Mario also doing this, though, probably since he looks about seven years old.

  4. draggle says:

    One way we could explain the apparent discrepancy in Himari and Marios’ ages (assuming they were the two people in the child broiler) is if Mario died earlier. Maybe when they are dead and possessed by the penguin hat they stop growing.

  5. Pingback: Notes of Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 10 | Organization Anti Social Geniuses

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