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Mawaru Penguindrum
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Mawaru Penguindrum:

[up] Oh, that is completely true. Utena's mindfuckery and symbollogy was definitely more subtle. But I like this show for its clearer view. That said, I'm still interested in why Iku and company used a penguin theme. I'd rater have sea otters myself :<

[up][up] I'm for the Kan-ma pairing myself. I mean, did you see the way he grabbed him. And "I've always wanted to do this to you." *cocks gun* Obviously, the gun is a metaphor for penis.

[up][up][up] Well, I'm still interested in what the penguindrum is. What is the male equivalent of a 'maiden's' tear? Cause I'm expecting Ringo to be pierced by the million trains of hatred and Shouma opening the box with his tears.(Joke) I don't want to be displeased Ikuhara!

As a last thought, Momoka vs Sanetoshi was totally unfair. She has to cast a long ass spell, and all he has to do is put a sticker on her. WtfOPhaxkthx?

edited 17th Dec '11 8:22:56 PM by Pasperate

 
 702 Gilphon, Sat, 17th Dec '11 8:39:40 PM from The Third Sound Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Scum
And yet, it was tie, somehow. Obviously, what Momoka lacks in power, she makes up for in relative competence.

I guess there's a reason it took Sanetoshi 16 years of planning to destroy a book.

edited 17th Dec '11 8:39:57 PM by Gilphon

"Canada Day is over, and now begins the endless dark of the Canada Night."
 703 Bur, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 7:17:01 AM from Flyover Country Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Rock Over Japan is out! It's part of the HHH Character album!

 705 Augustine, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 8:38:20 PM from the Church on the hill Relationship Status: 700 wives and 300 concubines
My King
[up]

More importantly, Grey Wednesday and episode 24 are out. I honestly enjoyed the last episode, but I had to have some people explain some stuff to me. Now I need to rewatch the series in full.
OH MAN. THIS FINALE. So much to work with... I'm just going to keep dumping speculation and interpretation I've seen, for posterity.

As for the backstory: Originally, all three siblings were destined to "die" from malnourishment, not necessarily of food or water, but love, as per Yuri and Tabuki's comment about unloved children, and the entire idea of the Child Broiler. Notably, "Kiga, " which appears on the apples, means "hunger/starvation." For Shouma, there is an aspect of parental neglect and abandonment on the part of their actions and the consequences (this situation would then apply to #2 always consuming food).

But then Kanba got an apple, "The Fruit of Fate." He shares it with Shoma, saving them both. Shoma shares his half with Himari, saving them both, but the 'curse' or 'punishment' for sharing is that Himari must die eventually. In the end, Shoma returns his half to Kanba, who gives it to Himari who already has his half, saving her (a full apple) but he dies since he has no fruit anymore, becoming “invisible” and breaking apart into glass like in the Child Broiler. In the meanwhile, Ringo uses a spell to transfer fates. However, the cost of the spell is being burned to death, which Shoma steps in and takes instead, since he was about to die anyways from the lack of a fruit. So Shoma and Kanba die as a result, and Ringo and Himari live.

So basically, the Penguindrum is life/love, and throughout the whole show the brothers have been trying to give those things to Himari, and in the end do so and come full circle. Thus the title comes into play, as the Penguindrum "rotates/spins" through all three.

A purposeless Shouma saved Himari and gave her a family, thus shared his apple with her; Himari was henceforth given a purpose, but keep in mind that Shouma received nothing in turn. Then Kanba gets accepted into the family and Himari gives him the bandaid to keep the pain away, thus Kanba decides he'll do anything for her; here Himari was unknowingly sharing her apple with Kanba, because she gave him a purpose (and the bandaid appears on #1). Kanba was able to actually receive the apple because he wasn't completely empty and devoid of purpose like Shouma himself was, as Kanba already had precious people he wanted to protect (Masako and Mario, his words in the cage are a reference to them) as such his "box" was able to connect to the outside world, if only for a moment and the apple reaches him. Now, this changes with Himari, "going genes/instinct" not in incest, but by choosing her over his biological family, and Masako wants to reverse that (thus Esmeralda always taking Threetie's wigs). In the end, Kanba gives back his whole apple/purpose, and so succumbs to his fate.

When Kanba shares the apple with Shouma, Shouma's purpose becomes precisely that: Himari no Tame Ni + Kanba = Takakura Family's wellbeing. That's the reason why Shouma is so single-minded about keeping the family united; because thats' what gave meaning to his existence, as such was what he inherited that day Kanba shared his apple with him. He, however, still remains kind of empty and from that comes his apparent uncapability to love, but Ringo comes around to change all that. When Ringo (whose name speaks for itself) comes around, she effectively becomes an apple for Shouma, a "whole" one all to himself, and she fulfills the part of Shouma that had remained closed-off to the world. He isn't able to accept it however until he lets his barriers down. The key difference here is that Ringo's metaphorical apple didn't give him a purpose, as he already had one, but gave him the will to break the chains of fate and be assertive, which is what he lacked.

Seito Sakakibara is a pretty blatant influence on Sanetoshi as a character too. He uses a lot of the same terms and phrasing as Sakakibara did in his creepy letter to the TV station. Sakakibara thought of himself as an "invisible entity" created by society (he calls out public education specifically) and that he had conversed with another such entity, the only other one like him. He claimed that he took credit for the murders he committed, that he otherwise could have gotten away with, to make the world recognize his existence.

The Sanetoshi - Aum Shinrikyo/Shoko Asahara connection seems pretty clear. The parallel to the actual subway attacks done by a fanatical group bent on "saving" society/others aside, there are other things. Seizon Senryakyu/Survival Strategy could be a play on Aum Shinrikyo's own "Perfect Salvation Initiation" (PSI) method, or their PR slogan which was "Aum Salvation Plan, " which promised to "help people with no direction or sense of future to redeem themselves" (aka, "those who will never amount to anything.")

Also- Asahara, the cult leader, was described by his followers as perfect, spotless. Because the souls of ordinary people are "covered with dirt. they are polluted, but Sonshi's (Nakahara) soul is different from ours. It is open, uncovered, without any dirt." A key point of Sanetoshi's character design is his immaculate white. He also presents himself as a doctor, same as Asahara who came from a medical background.

Sanetoshi is an embodiment of spite and hate, while Momoka is an embodiment of forgiveness and love. At the very core the opposition between Sanetoshi and Momoka is, simplistically, selfishness vs selflessness. Sanetoshi doesn't give a shit about harming others to satisfy his desires and uses the same ideology to win over followers (i.e. Kanba) to the same methods. He doesn't kill to end others' suffering, since that would require giving a shit about other people––Sanetoshi wants to kill and end the world because he doesn't like it, because he's invisible, and so on.

Obviously, combined with his imagery and behavior, he is effectively Satan, even moreso than Akio from Utena, and compounded by the role of the Black Bunnies as a Serpent role in Shouma's Mary's Little Lambs story due to its Garden of Eden parallels. Furthermore, the Apple/Penguindrum is shared love and purpose in life, but also shared punishment, and in the same way Adam and Eve shared the punishment of mortality (living is punishment according to Kanba), but was also given the solution out of punishment, by love

The box metaphor is all about selfishness and self-preservation (survival strategies). Ultimately, the fate Sanetoshi is talking about––the "self-serving rules" that govern the world––is the cynical idea that people are selfish and––not even will not, CANNOT help each other because it's contrary to their best interests as dictated by "fate" (genes/instinct/whatever). Kanba sharing the fruit with Shoma when they were trapped in the cages effectively broke fate because he violated that principal. Thus, the boxes are fate, or what could be seen as the human condition itself.

Fate is not supposed to be taken as a fact or a concrete force at work determined by divine will, but something else. Fate isn't used in the classical sense here, necessarily— fate (especially in relation to unwanted children) is meant to be the future that people resign themselves to as a result of the selfishness of others (meaning those stuck in their boxes). The future that dictates they will never amount to anything. Altruism is what changes 'fate', or the bleak and awful future so many children face as a result of the lack of love. That is, genuinely reaching out for an unwanted person and making them a part of your life, make them feel needed, and giving them the power to do the same for others. To step outside your box and truly reach out to another person who needs love will change their life completely.

TL;DREpisode 1: "This is all about love."

edited 23rd Dec '11 11:47:59 PM by Eschaton

 707 Imaginer, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 10:36:04 PM from a sinking ship
I know where you live.
[up]

You've shed so much light on my understanding of Penguindrum, even if it is only speculation. As a casual viewer, I mostly only got the surface of the whole story whilst getting distracted by the penguins/subway motif/incestuous overtones/antics of just about every character, but you just made me appreciate the whole thing ten folds. :D Guess it's time to watch the whole thing all over again~

edited 22nd Dec '11 10:41:16 PM by Imaginer

You're such a pretty thing to be running from anyone, a vision with nowhere to go.
 708 ninjaclown, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 10:42:31 PM from The Great White North
It's back.
DAMN. It all makes sense now. You deserve many medals for that, Eschaton, because I would never have figured all that out on my own. Many medals [awesome][awesome][awesome]

Now that Shoma and Kanba have been given new beginnings, you think this show will ever get a sequel of sorts? Not that I'm demanding one, I just want to know if there is a possibility.
Thanks a lot guys. But like I said, I've just compiled as much of the good speculah that I've seen, specifically from /a/, with a little bit of my own interpretation thrown in here and there. Major props to the Penguindrum fanbase as a whole.

I was worried on how this was going to play out, but I can firmly say this is a satisfactory conclusion, consistent with the direction of the series, and I'd put it in my top favorite anime (which admittedly isn't that hard because I haven't seen all that many).

I just really like the way it handled it's narrative style, visuals and music, and its message: the power of unconditional love and self-sacrifice, even through the deepest suffering, and just in time for Christmas. smile

I don't know about a sequel, but I can imagine a movie, although its density and incomprehensibility woud probably be off the charts if we're going by Utena's track record.

edited 23rd Dec '11 11:52:42 AM by Eschaton

Decent ending. For the show as a whole, I feel like they should have cut down the early 'look at Ringo be crazy' episodes to make room for some of the later insanity

edited 23rd Dec '11 12:19:22 AM by Hylarn

Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought
That ending was pretty damn definitive, but bittersweet. I like to watch an anime with a definitive Earn Your Happy Ending. Star Driver was disappointing, while both Control and Penguindrum were just too depressing for me. Right now, the most satisfying ending for me this year was Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, although that really just means I have to watch more anime.

edited 23rd Dec '11 12:15:53 AM by Roxas

Apparently Night on the Galactic Railroad has more background on the Scorpion Fire, if you were still wondering about that, in an allegory about altruism. I should really get on with watching that.

And In case the Shouma/Ringo scene wasn't already enough, here's a bit of dialogue from the 2nd book, from Shouma to an anonymous person:

I love you.

So, please, run away from here. And, someday, when you find that real apple, glowing with a warm light... When you find it, then remember me. Just a little bit. And even if you're all by yourself then, you have to eat that apple no matter what. It's a reward for the ones who were determined to live on. And it will be a reward for me, who gave his life in order to save you. You understand, right? That this isn't a sad ending. It's the happy beginning of a new story. So you mustn't cry.

edited 23rd Dec '11 12:26:39 AM by Eschaton

@Eschaton: Impressive work you have there. But how does Masako factor in everything? By choosing Himari/the Takakuras, Kanba essentially ignores her wish for him to stay alive/return home and causes sufferings for her. One probably can argue that her love is selfish and a bit propriety (he is her brother as opposed to Himari's) as opposed to Himari's simple wish that he's happy. Kenzan and Chiemi too. They're remembered as loving parents yet at the same time spiteful at the world, and what they did (possibly) out of love (changing the world for their children) ended up being a burden to their children.

(All of this means I need to rewatch the whole thing)

edited 23rd Dec '11 3:03:48 AM by Musicalcroc

 714 Arilou, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 6:14:19 AM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
My mind is full of glorious fuck.

And yeah, bittersweet. I laughed at the "tiny spots that turns into apples" thing, but then almost cried when Shouma disappeared.
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
 715 Bur, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 7:19:23 AM from Flyover Country Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Oddly, what got me the most was Esmerelda hesitantly joining the other penguins to walk with Shouma and Kanba. Poor thing was probably left all alone until then.
 716 zankokuangel, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 9:05:48 AM from somewhere only we know
Up past bedtime
There are so many things in that finale to ponder about but right now I'm mostly preoccupied with Shoma X Ringo OTP FOREVAR why did it have to end *sobs*.

Did anyone call that ending? Just curious. It seemed fairly likely that at least one of them would be making the ultimate sacrifice but I didn't think it be two of them, and in that combination...

@Eschaton Nicely done, thank you! I needed that.

[up] That got me too...At least she's got friends now. I also like to think that Masako meets up with Himari and Ringo and they all become BF Fs. Takes the sting off the ending.

edited 23rd Dec '11 9:06:21 AM by zankokuangel

 717 Crinias, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 12:08:01 PM from The Bleak Academy Relationship Status: Mu
I have just finished watching the entire series after catching up for a few days.

My mind is full of fuck! It is glorious!

@Eschaton: You, sir, have made an excellent and coherent explanation for much of the symbolism of this series and have thus created Fabulousness. By realizing that this story makes the claim that love is necessary for humans to exist, you have further contributed to our enjoyment of life and appreciation of love and its role in human affairs.

For that, you shall be rewarded by being given all medals and all the internets by me. All of them.

[awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome]

edited 26th May '13 6:28:47 PM by Crinias

Your feelings of disgust and frustration are a beautiful sight.
 718 asellus 111, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 5:57:26 PM Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Time to A - Rise
Now that was one hell of a ride a great show indeed.

[up]And I agree with you Eschaton deserves that.

 719 Imaginer, Fri, 23rd Dec '11 6:30:15 PM from a sinking ship
I know where you live.
@ninjaclown: I'm sure you're not the only one who wants the awesome to spill over to a sequel, but I like to think this one wrapped itself up pretty nicely in its single season. Yeahp.

Though maybe a bunch of random specials would be cool too, haha.

@Hylarn: IKR. Gosh, and here I was thinking during the first few eps that Ringo in all her stalker-ness was the most insane thing in the series. I'm glad it didn't turn out that way.
You're such a pretty thing to be running from anyone, a vision with nowhere to go.
That was a damn good ending, and like many others here, I'd like to give props to Eschaton for explaining the story coherently.

To summarize what everyone's been saying: Eschaton is Fabulous Max.

edited 23rd Dec '11 11:52:20 PM by Roxas

Too Good For You
I wonder what the hell the penguins were in the end, though. I thought they were supposed to be their guardian angels or manifestations of Momoka's power or something, but why were they still with Shouma & Kamba in the post-reset world?
Please be gentle with me.
奇跡の魔女
Eschaton, you are awesome for shedding light on the series. I highly doubt I'll be able to understand it on my own either. All in all, this was a really nice way to wrap up the series. I think I'll have to rewatch all this to get everything ;__;

You should put that up on an analysis page for Penguindrum. Or I will, if I may have permission.

edited 24th Dec '11 6:05:22 AM by LiberatedLiberater

MAL || vndb || Blog
Eschaton, great post.

I don't want to get bogged down in analyzing all of the symbolism. It's enough to say that it comes down to: "This is all about love"

Additionally, it is clear that Shouma and Kanba where from the beginning built up as opposing opposites. Once we realize "This is all about love" this contrast becomes clear.

Kanba represents "Love As Sacrifice." Kanba is constantly sacrificing himself for those he loves. As he becomes darker, and falls under the power of the Tempter (Sanetoshi), Kanba begins to sacrifice others for his love. Thus we see both the light and the dark sides of Kanba's conception of love as sacrifice.

Shouma represents "Love As Connections" (I can't really find the one word to describe this, but connection is as close as I can get). Shouma is constantly trying to build connections with those he loves. Entangling themselves together emotionally, creating a unity of souls. Shouma creates relationships of affection, affinity, and affiliation.

At the start, Shouma is the one who keeps Kanba rooted, Kanba seems to sense this as he originally tries to protect Shouma from the effects as Kanba falls into darkness. Shouma begins to become the light alter ego of the dark Kanba.

We see the strength in Shouma's approach in the first half of the show, as Shouma is struggling to save Ringo from her madness. Ringo is lost, but Shouma goes and finds her, and through the strength of his affection and affiliation he is able to infiltrate Ringo's defenses and call her back to light. Once Ringo realizes "I love Shouma" she then abandons her darkness and becomes a figure of light. She has been rescued by the connection Shouma built with her.

Meanwhile, in the first half of the show we see Kanba sacrificing himself for Himari, confident that he will succeed. The height of this is when he successfully rescues the hat (Himari's life source) from the garbage truck.

Then at the mid-point we enter the frustration stage. Ringo has been rescued, but the diary is lost. Shouma (representing Kanba's light half) is injured and threatened, Kanba begins to lose confidence that he can save Himari. Then the Tempter appears to Kanba suggesting he can save Himari by sacrificing others.

We also begin to see the dark side of Shouma: passive despair. Shouma is losing the connection to his family, both Himari and Kanba. He rejects Ringo. Instead of staying involved with Kanba he decides to just blindly trust in him. He becomes centered on himself- not selfish, just incapable of reaching out to anyone else anymore. Shouma cannot resist fate, he can only passively accept it. This reaches it's peak when he tries to use his connection with Kanba to call him back from darkness into light. Not only does this fail, but Kanba cuts off their relationship, shattering Shouma's family. We don't see as clear a scene of this as we do for Kanba, but the Tempter is also interacting with Shouma throughout this period; encouraging Shouma to stay passive and hopeless.

Then we enter the final stage when Himari is now on her (final) death bed. Kanba is called back to the light by his younger sister, but he rejects her, leading to Masako's destruction. Meanwhile Ringo reaches out to Shouma again, and he accepts her- Shouma begins to heal and is re-empowered to represent the forces of life to Kanba's forces of death.

Notice as we are going along that the other major contrast in the show (Sanetoshi and Momoka) is between these dark and light versions. Momoka represents self-sacrifice and connections with others. Sanetoshi represents sacrifice of others and a self-centered despair that he can never truly connect with others.

At this point it is all great stuff, a very well done symbolic story. It then falls apart in the final episode.

In the final episode Shouma uses his connection with Kanba (the Penguindrum), returning it to Kanba (a sacrifice of himself and restoring their connection), thus empowering Kanba to finally sacrifice himself to save Himari. Meanwhile Ringo tries to sacrifice herself to save Himari (and by extension Shouma and Kanba), but Shouma stops her, rejecting her offer and instead sacrificing himself to save Ringo (echoing his earlier sacrifice when he saved her from the car).

We are then left with Kanba and Shouma together in the "other world" and Ringo and Himari together in the "real world, " with no memory of Shouma or Kanba.

There are three major problems with this ending:

1: The first problem is that Kanba is separated from Himari (his other half) and Shouma is separated from Ringo (his other half). Nor is there any hint that they will ever be reunited.

Now perhaps you might say that this is all about family love not romantic love and thus Shouma and Kanba being reunited is a good ending. This could be so: if the show had been setting that up! But that is not the direction the show was going. Himari was revealed to be unrelated to Shouma and Kanba. The show was filled with people trying to find their correct other halves, and all the mistakes and misjudgements along the way:

Ringo thought Tabuki was her other half, but instead she discovers it was Shouma (and once this discovery is made she becomes at peace with herself). Tabuki and Yuri both think Momoka is their other half, until finally they come to realize that they are each others other half (and so they become happy). Sanetoshi thinks that Momoka is his other half, but because she won't accept his self-centered destruction of the world Sanetoshi rejects her and tries to destroy Momoka (leading to his tragic end, alone and without love). Himari at first thinks Shouma is her other half, until she realizes that Shouma is Ringo's other half. Kanba knows from the beginning that Himari is his other half, but Shouma's creation of them as a family is blocking him.

The whole show has been building up to create the correct pairings that will lead each individual to happiness in a untied whole of man and woman. Kanba, Shouma, Himari, and Ringo in particular are at the correct age for this as they are on the verge of becoming adults, and forming a pair bonding with their other half is a major element of maturity.

Then at the end Kanba and Himari acknowledge each other as other halves, and Shouma finally acknowledges Ringo as his other half (the emotional climax of the ending as several people have noticed). But then they are ripped apart. Not only are they separated with no promise of being reunited, but Himari and Ringo both forget their other halves. This is particularly cruel to Ringo, as it essentially deprived her of half her character development with just a wave of a magic wand.

All four of the main characters are regressed to childhood. Shouma and Kanba explicitly.

WTH?!

2: Instead of the natural moral that love is both sacrifice and connections, requiring a balance of the two, we end up with an ending that suggests Kanba was right, love is sacrifice. This is driven home by the forgetting of Shouma and Kanba by their other halves Himari and Ringo. Not only are the connections severed in the end, but they are forgotten, erased as if they never were!

3: A major sub-plot was Kanba's inability to accept Himari's death. All men die, and part of maturity is acceptance of this. Not in despair as Shouma did, but in a healthy way. Kanba never accepts Himari's death, to the point that he chooses destroying the world as preferable to Himari dying. Kanba never rejects this viewpoint. Isn't that strange?

The natural ending would have been for Shouma to return the penguindrum to Kanba, for Kanba to try and sacrifice it to Himari so that she can live. Himari rejects this offer and embraces Kanba with the penguindrum between them creating a connection binding them together. Kanba then comes to realize that his purpose was not to sacrifice his life so that Himari can live on alone, but to sacrifice himself (so that he no longer is a figure alone running off in his own direction, but is instead bound to another soul) so that he and Himari can be united in the afterlife.

Kanba and Himari then enter the train of destiny together, with Shouma following them. Ringo tries to sacrifice herself to return them to life, but Shouma embraces her telling her he loves her and that this is their punishment that he accepts. As he begins to leave Ringo reaches out and grabs his hand and announces that she will share the punishment with him, pulling him back to her in an embrace. Revealing their own penguindrum between them binding them together as Himari and Kanba were bound.

We then see an epilogue with Ringo and Shouma together in life, remembering Himari and Kanba, with the understanding that someday they too will die and join them in the afterlife- while Kanba and Himari watch over them before leaving on their "journey" into this "other world."

That would bring the story to it's complete and final end. All things would be in balance and united wholeness, love would be established as requiring both sacrifice and connections, and death would be revealed as natural and not be feared- it's the separation caused by death that should be feared, not the end of life.

That would have been a good bittersweet ending. Instead the ending we got was a lesser Downer Ending.

This show was frustrating because it was all built up correctly and then at the end it missed the mark.

edited 24th Dec '11 8:46:19 AM by Sackett

 
 725 ninjaclown, Sat, 24th Dec '11 9:44:13 AM from The Great White North
It's back.
It was never about the perfect pairings, it was about sacrifice for those you love, that's why the show ended that way, and why this ending was perfect.
Total posts: 745
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