Mike is a sensitive soul that has seen too much. His story begins with him in the midst of The Vietnam War, when this poetry-loving individual sees the horrors of war first-hand. While he survives and gets discharged after injury, several friends don't make it. Shell-shocked, he tries to find his place in the world, becoming a drifter, participating in underground fighting rings, and acting generally numb to the world until he settles down in a nice, quiet town to take care of their library. There, he falls in love, contends with a love rival, and discovers that running away from his problems only results in them exploding in his face.
It's very poignant. Very serious. And every single character is a cute penguin.
Conceived as an Anime vehicle to promote popular 80's-era Suntory Beer, this movie is one of the most jarring things to watch, as you see penguins that appear like they belong in a children's show with a script that is on par, in both content and tone, with The Deer Hunter. It also features the song "Sweet Memories," by Seiko Matsuda, one of the all-time most successful idol singers in Japan.
- Bloodless Carnage: Particularly jarring in the early Vietnam scene, in which three penguins are shot dead with machine guns and yet not a single drop of blood is shed.
- Everything's Better with Penguins
- Fight Clubbing: After his return from the war, Mike becomes a drifter who participates in underground fights for cash to get by.
- Gratuitous English: All the penguin names. In particular, "TOOOOOMUUUUUU!"
- Mature Animal Story
- Mood Whiplash: The art style versus the subject. Also, when the random singalong with the penguin chicks happens.
- Obligatory War Crime Scene: The helicopter squadron that rescues Mike guns down a group of refugees first.
- The Musical: Given the romantic interest was voiced by an Idol Singer, pretty much a given.
- Recycled INSPACE: The Deer Hunter with penguins. Also, Penguin First Blood.
- Returning War Vet: Mike is one of these.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Mike spends much of the movie like this.
- War Is Hell: Vietnam War is a horrifying ordeal that traumatized Mike. First, he had to see a group of escaping refugees gunned down by a friendly helicopter squadron. Then, Tom was killed by enemy gunfire as he attempts to save Mike when he was injured trying to stop the massacre. Finally, Al fell from the helicopter when it tried to dodge rockets fired upon from below.