Mawaru Penguin Drum – 3

There haven’t been many times in the last decade when I’ve said “That really reminded me of FLCL” – but that really reminded me of FLCL. The colors, the glossy look to the animation, and that cat – you could hardly get more Miyu Miyu than that.

So, with that said, I’ll stipulate for the record that this is a really interesting show. It’s beautiful, the music is great, the visuals are incredibly creative and the penguins are adorable and hilarious. I’m in it for the long haul – but for me at least, there’s still something missing. It may not be fair to compare any series with one of the greatest in anime history, but with FLCL there was an instant buy-in with the characters. As zany and as intellectually complex as it was, there was always a sense of what the writer was trying to say. So far, I’m not getting those things with Mawaru Penguin Drum.

This episode, carrying over from #2, primarily focused on the crazed stalker and possible yandere Yuno Gasai Oginome Ringo. The notion of stalking the stalker was an interesting one, but the most memorable part of the excursion was watching the assistroids penguins doing their thing. They’re damn funny, spraying bugs and getting stuck to mousetraps, though my favorite of the antics today was seeing Penguin #2 (my favorite) eat the jar of umeboshi and the face he made for the rest of the scene. As far as actually telling us anything meaningful about the characters or advancing the story, I didn’t get much out of it.

Ringo is sort of wavering between misunderstood troubled schoolgirl and downright psychotic. Clear Daddy issues, and Mommy is too busy to be much help, and her idea about bringing the curry to Tabuki’s house because it was curry day might almost be called sweet. But the events after Tabuki’s lover Yuri (Noto Mamiko) answered the door were downright scary – a normal person doesn’t give themselves second-degree burns just to switch one curry pot for another. I smell further trouble ahead there.

Another issue is that the survival strategy routine could get old pretty quickly. It’s only three episodes in so I don’t think it’s a big issue yet, but the transformation sequence and subsequent speech didn’t really bring anything new to the table this week, other than a chance for Ikuhara to slip in a few more sight gags. At some point, he’s going to have to do some heavy lifting and give us some real story and character development if this show is going to the next level.

So we’re no closer to knowing what the penguin drum is, and Ringo has been befriended by Himari and now appears to be part of the family circle. At this point, I guess we just have to wait and see where Ikuhara plans to take this story, and trust that it’ll be an interesting place. So far at least the journey has been the best part, and it’s been a damn good journey at that – there isn’t another show out there than can touch this one for eye-catching backgrounds and clever visual humor. I’ll stand by “fascinating mess” for now – it still feels that way to me, and that’s good enough for to me to be a fan but not good enough that I won’t be hoping for something more.

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18 comments

  1. l

    Yandere, willing to brave a boiling hot pot just to switch the curry. I must say it seem like she must do everything that written in the her "mirai nikki" in order to reach a good end. It probably won't take long until something powerful happen, presumably with knife or jumping off the roof or opening a womb(shiver).

    Another thing as much as I like the "SEIZOOOOOOON SENRYAKUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! " I'm starting to feel weird to keep seeing them being suprise at being cuffed and to see Shouma keep falling down. Oh well, if Sailormoon is any indication. I'm pretty sure a new transformation will happen soon enough.

    P.S. haha on Himari milk drinking in cow suit.
    Also yippe gg-fansub finally subbed the song. Rock Over Japan.

  2. A

    It also seems odd that they introduced the "Queen" looking character from the intro, but the way she was used almost made her seems like a non-character.

  3. A

    Are you going to follow the same road to the "fast food" as some others did ?
    As I already pointed out at RC, this show has negative cultural value mostly due to the personalities of the people involved in its making (the mentally retarded people). It determines its general sickening influence. Comparing to hamburger analogy – are you going to taste the poisonous fast food product just because it looks shiny from the outside ? Honestly I had a better opinion about your tastes, but watching the stupid penguin drama made by a mentally retarded sicko is not the best personal trait.
    (SpoilerMaker)

  4. l

    @1st Anonymous

    She is not the main character (the twins is) therefore lack of involvement in the plot.

    @2nd Anonymous

    ??? Then what is the better show?

  5. Opinions are opinions – you have yours, I have mine.

    Ikaze, yes, I do worry that we're only three eps in and the show is starting to repeat itself already. But then again, it's only three episodes so as long as it doesn't keep happening it's not a big deal.

  6. A

    @Ikaze
    Almost anything is better, I myself prefer Natsume Yuujinchou San this season. Some classics might work as well. Or it would be just better to listen some classical or relaxing music instead of watching this show if you can't go and have some fun outside – it would make you more healthy in many ways, while the shows of this kind would make you only feel more sick.
    Maybe you just got an enormous addiction to anime, and even any trash made in the form of "anime" becomes automatically "attractive", but it is better to make the difference between some really good shows with some positive values and the the flashy shows with multiple hints (which unfortunately go past censorship) to rape, incest, sick homosexuality, sicko actions and so on – it is flashy, but it is sickening as well, and the factor that it goes even past your own "filter" which works towards H-shows (which you actually realize are perverted and such), makes the total effect even worse.
    Well, it was already described in different discussions in forums, so there is no need to repeat it again, the short answer to "what is the better" was already given in the first paragraph.
    @Guardian Enzo
    What is your opinion (in short) ? I stated my own opinion, similar points were made by other people at forums as well (about Ikuhara's being a sicko and mixing rape, incest, retardness and other doubtful values in whatever is entrusted to him and putting it all in "innocent" form, utilizing dirty tricks of advertisement to bring attention, which appeal to the internal desire of escaping the reality of many watchers, but in fact their condition is only worsened by such "shows").

  7. My opinion is that Ikuhara is an amazingly talented visual director whose dramatic ambitions sometimes work, sometimes don't. I'm leave the name-calling to other people – not interested in playing that game.

  8. A

    You probably know even better than me how "talents" work in Japan, it is some sort of "clan" society, in which the positions are mostly gained in strict hierarchy according to non-written rules (mostly gained by certain relations and family bonds). That is the difference from Hollywood, where the positions are gained due to immediate target auditory impact and promotion process.
    Yes, it is name calling, but I wonder how exactly ("miraculously") he got past so many limitations present due to small hierarchies present even in such industry, and how come many, more talented works didn't get even nearly as much budget and what is most noticeable, the enormous advertisement within the target auditory. To get the approximate numbers, you can query the prices of normal advertisement agencies, it would closely reflect the situation within the movie-making industry as well.
    About the initial question – are you going to follow the masses in your attitude towards this piece of "work" (i.e. by stating that it is "fabulous" or whatever alike) ? I was interested mostly in the answer to that question, in its short form of yes/no.

  9. l

    @Anonymous

    Yup, me like Natsume Yuujinchou. It very moving each and every episode of it. Too bad RC never blog it before and thus it has gone under my radar for god know how long. It was just recently I started Natsume. However I felt that this show need to be appreciated rather than rushing overnight to get into season 3 so that I could comment properly.

    Did you not enjoy other anime this season? Stein Gate is pretty thought provoking, you should watch it. I'll recommend Mayo Chiki but you might not enjoy it.

  10. A

    @Ikaze
    Yes, Steins Gate is rather interesting, and it started in the previous season, that is why I didn't mention it as something interesting of THIS season.
    Mayo Chicky (probably that was the "actual" name) looks a bit plain with its (in-depth?) BDSM jokes, probably it is fully understandable only for those with such intense interests in such "practices".

  11. t

    @Anon:If you dismiss any work that has "unhealthy" topics you're throwing a whole lot of classics out the window.
    First exemple tha comes to mind is that by your logic Stanley Kubrick is some sick man and his work (most notably "lolita","dr strangelove","clockwork orange","the shining","eyes wide shut") are "poisenous food" too?If so you'd find yourself pretty much alone because Kubrick is considered one of the great visionaries of the past century.

    The food analogy just isn't right,I'm not getting "poisoned" by watching this,I'm not going to go out tomorow and rape my sister because I watched this anime.
    If you feel that the content in this anime could somehow influence you in a bad way then I'd say it is you who is weak for basicly being very easaly influencable.

  12. I'm blogging the show because I like it, plain and simple. Anyone who doesn't like it is free not to watch. Anything else is BS and I don't think the best way to deal with BS it to stoop to the same level. The best thing to do with BS and those who spam it is to ignore it.

  13. A

    >> because I like it, plain and simple
    ok, thanks for the direct answer, it is acceptable, it is sufficient and exactly what I needed. With that I'm not going to bother you with any "BS".

  14. You're welcome. I simply don't want this to turn into a debate on the morals of the director – that's a topic for somewhere else. I'd like to talk about the creative side here, if at all possible.

  15. S

    If there's a series that I can say I'm fully committed to follow through this season, Mawaru Penguindrum would be the first. The transformation sequence stunningly beautiful and I can't get enough of it (at least for now).
    Still not sure what to make of Ringo and her craziness but like Shouma, I've been craving for some Japanese curry all day after watching this episode.
    Himari's rocking the odango's too ;D

  16. A

    @Ikaze

    Just because a character may not be the main character, doesn't mean that they can't be interesting. She may have not had much of a role in the scene, but I can't believe there wasn't some way to make her 'pop' a bit more to where someone would say, "gee, can't wait to see more of her."

  17. l

    @Everyone

    Is there nobody else apart from that interested in the song "Rock Over Japan"?

    lkaze is sad and lonely cuz he only one ever comment on it

    @anonymous on top of me

    … hmm, you know you're right. Maybe somehow the "SEIZON SENRYAKU" have attract too much of my attention that I didn't think she didn't have enough screen time. Maybe I'm too easily satisfied, having heard that once per week is already enough for me.

    P.S. get a nick, please

  18. No, I'm interested too! There's just a lot to comment on with this show.

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