Reviews: Pingu

Truly great anime

Pingu is an anime about a penguin who lives with his family in the South Pole. It has enjoyed wild success, with a movie (at the epic run time of TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES! Five times the length of a regular episode!!!!1oneeleven!!!) and several video game adaptations on PlayStation 1, Game Boy, DS, and PC. So whenever some Xbox fanboy reminds us, the PC Master Race, that they have Halo and we don’t, we shall simply point to Pingu and the argument is won.

Pingu is one of the most interesting anime protagonists I have ever watched. He has a vast array of powers, including the ability to shape his body however he pleases (flat, tall, etc.), the most prominent of which is where he makes his beak into the shape of a megaphone and recites his catchphrase “NUG NUG!”.

The South Pole is a critically underused setting in anime. It seems like every anime is set in a high school or a battlefield. So this is a nice change of pace.

The stories are always brilliantly developed and thought-out. Who could forget that time Robby kept stealing the fish Pingu was catching? Or when his friends wouldn’t let him join in their game of badminton? Stories like this teach us a valuable lesson: that you never know who can really be trusted or who could stab you in the back at any time. This anime betrayal is up there with the ranks of when Gary leaves SpongeBob to live with Patrick. But most importantly, the romance arc where a girl penguin called Pingi is introduced in the second minute of the episode and in the end, she and Pingu share a kiss. Any run-of-the-mill anime would have simply had Pingu fall head over heels for her instantly, but the writers were clearly interested in making the romance arc more complex, because at first, Pingu doesn’t like her and simply pulls faces at her. I cried for several minutes. And I used to think Barry and Vanessa was the best anime romance ever devised.

The writers clearly did their research on the anatomy and biology of penguins. When Pingu bumps his nose, it bleeds like the nose of any real penguin would. There’s also an episode where Pingu drinks too much and has to take a pee. Not only does this show a thorough, expert-level understanding of biology, it also applies realistic consequences.

Ever get tired of the lack of diversity in casts? Well, you’re in luck, because Pingu features underrepresented groups and treats them with dignity. Pingu’s best friend Robby is a seal who struggles with being the only seal in a society otherwise entirely comprised of penguins. And in the movie about a wedding, Pingu meets a family of penguins who are green.

Green Lives Matter!

Move over Robbie Rotten, there’s a new candidate for best anime villain. Pingu has a dream about a giant homicidal walrus. First it tries to crush him, then strangle him. A popular fan theory is that the walrus is either an accomplice of Freddy Krueger or IS Freddy Krueger.

I give this anime NUG! out of NUG! on a scale from “nug” to “NUG!”.

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