Summer 2011

September 12, 2011

Mawaru Penguin Drum 9: Frozen World

This is a good break episode. An episode away from Ringo and her obsessive ways on getting to Tabuki’s Pants. It also doesn’t dedicate itself on the other sub plot concerning the slingshot girl and Kanba. Rather, it dedicated its episode to Himari, the background character that only has the most screen time in the first two episode.

Before we go to the story and the complicated symbolism that is being shown to us since the beginning. One would notice that the episode is reminiscent to those we see in Shaft’s work. The neck bending, the far shots with matching visual interaction of the background. The interactivity of the environment around the characters. It smells and feels like a Shaft’s work. It is of no surprise, since the people behind are the core source of the what successful directors from shaft took notes from. Not having watched Utena, various fans has also pointed a lot of subtle references, not counting Sanetoshi, the librarian. Which is a shout out toward Utena, it seems.

So what does this episode tells us? To be honest, I don’t have the slightest idea on what it is trying to convey. This is the first time we get to see Himari other than the brother’s Achilles heel. But if we follow the story of three friends, which displays strong bond to each other. The mystery eludes as to why it had shattered in such a short notice. Regardless, we see that Himari looks forward to their career, yet, still has that dim feeling of guilt in her heart.

If dealing with symbolism. Fate is the center of thought here. I just come to realize that the train analogy can be interpreted as fate being the one linear path toward your destinies, and each station is a crossroads one must experience. Ringo’s refute towards Shouma’s desire to save Himari is head-on toward the brothers intention to preserve that moment of happiness as a family. Fighting the train for which would had move them on. Ringo succumbs to the hope of destiny will bring her parents back together. Where as Himari accepts herself as a work of faith and fight on toward the unknown future ahead of her.

Overall. I enjoy this episode. A break from Ringo is a good one, if the creators want to continue on this delusional antics. It is nice that they know their audience and to adjust to the situation and use its resources where it would fit in the puzzle.

Episode Rating: 5/5

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  • Mason

    This episode was brilliant. It is an exploration of the self through mystical surrealism-- what Utena did best IMO. I could draw parallels all day, but that’s rather pointless because although the idioms and themes are rich and wonderful in Utena, they’re ultimately pointless.

    Penguin strongly seems to actually DO something with its dark mahou shoujo evidenced by #3 taking the missing Super Frog book-- something happened, hopefully of consequence, to be revealed later. My impression is that this episode is a dive into Hikari’s psyche. There we see the beginnings of Triple-H, the success of Double-H, and with the ED in mind, the rebirth of Triple-H. But this is just flashback, albeit really well done flashback cause of how it subtly meshes with foreshadowing and the pervasiveness of the Double-H idiom in the Shoma subway scenes. But stuff happens in Hikari land. Besides #3 bringing home the bacon, we see that there’s a lusty bishonen after the Rose Bride, err I mean Penguin Bride, and that the Penguin Bride really is to be married to… hopefully her soulmate, hopefully as a part of the survival strategy. I look forward to seeing how these threads tie together after seeing how Tabuki’s relationships with Ringo, Momoka & family was handled. Judging from ep 10, it looks like it’s gonna be a killer with the Penguin Groom being Mario, Natsume’s matching treasured person and source of her dark penguin power. I imagine a strange love polygon between Hikari, Mario, Kanba, Natsume, #1, and Esmerelda. Maybe throw in Shoma and Ringo, but they’re too Honey-&-Clover-slap-my-face-in-disgust, so it’s unlikely.

    • Mr.A

      Well said. I couldn’t agree more.

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