Penguindrum

Type: Terrorism is Bad

Mawaru.Penguindrum.full.852216

Synopsis: There’s a lot of talk about circles and fate, but the gist is this. About twenty years ago, a terrorist attack killed a girl named Momoka. This made her younger sister obsessed with replacing her in the eyes of her parents and childhood friend. It also turned her best friends into obsessive psychopaths. Meanwhile, the children of the terrorists have a sick sister, and their quest to cure her forces them to cross paths with the aforementioned people. But it all turns out to be a battle between this evil bunny and a little girl with a magic diary.  And Penguins. What was with the Penguins?

Pros: Visually beautiful and dynamic. That’s not a word I get to use often, but this was very dynamic. Maybe dynamic isn’t the right word. Colorful? Bright? Bouncy? Something like that. I happened to watch the English dub, which was very good. A little flat in some parts, but overall excellent voice work.I really liked that the protagonist were brothers, because I don’t feel anime takes advantage of sibling protagonists that often. Its a pretty easy way to establish a relationship without backstory. There’s a good story here, if not entirely straightfoward. It’s also very funny when it wants to be. It even made some of the dark stuff they get into worth a chuckle. There was one scene between Himari and Masako that made me really want them two to have their own weird spin-off. There’s also a pretty tragic story underneath all the color, just in case your into that sort of thing.

Cons: First off, it has pacing problems. The first half of the show (ep.1-12) deals with Ringo, the girl who supposedly posses the “penguindrum” that the protagonists need to save their sick sister. We watch her stalk some teacher and try to impregnate herself with his baby. Yeah. This part drags on and on, especially compared to the second half, which just throws as much backstory and set up as it can. The whole story feels a bit full of itself, with incessant talk of destiny and fate. I feel that if this were set up in chronological order, from at least the day of the terrorist attack, some of the plot would work better. Speaking of the story, can I say that there was entirely too much weird sex stuff in this. There was implied rape, attempted rape, incest, obsession that turned out to be incest. I get that this is one of those stories, where the bright exterior hides as gritty underbelly, but can we not. Please. Can we just not. You already have terrorists, cults, and abandonment. Isn’t that enough? It should also point out that for a show that clearly spend a lot of animation, they recycled the Himari “Survival Tactic” scene way too much. And once again, what was with the damn Penguins? What do the symbolize, dancing? Did a watching of  March of the Penguins inspire some sort of existential crisis? What’s the deal?

Watch it?: It gets slack, because people clearly worked hard on this (4/5)

MVP: Shōma Takakura

Shouma

Clearly the main guy. Am I right or am I right?

Best Episode: Ep. 20 “Thank You For Choosing Me” (I was thinking of The Little Matchstick Girl when I saw this)

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