Right after episode 14 is a popular time for characters to come with their backgrounds. I just love the way in which this episode did it, though. Natsume’s background was awesome in its presentation. It was completely over the top, but it fits this series really well. It was a really hilarious episode, and especially Natsume’s dreams were hysterical.
What’s more is that there still is order within the chaos: you could really see traits that give no mistake that she and her grandfather were related. This episode did a great job of explaining her background, her role in the story (although please: couldn’t they have gotten a younger voice actor for the young Kanba?). Also, the penguin hat isn’t dead!?
Overall, in a way I can understand where the people are coming from when they say that this show throws random stuff at the viewer. I have this same problem with most Shaft series, like the later series of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei and Bakemonogatari: the creators there really seemed to throw in just whatever the hell they’d like based on shallow wordplay that eventually got way too predictable in its unpredictability. Penguin Drum however has for me achieved the perfect balance between chaos and order: everything is related, but the things it throws at the viewer are all very creative and imaginative, and yet all of it is meant to flesh out the characters. And the thing is that this show is continuously changing: it still has the same style and mood, but it keeps finding new ways to play with its scenarios in lots of different ways.
And granted, Utena WAS better at this. It was completely un-rivaled in how well it used its own repetition to create excellent drama. However, we have yet to reach the ending of this series. Overall it’s a bit hard to compare two series of different lengths at this point, but what I can say at this point is that Utena’s brilliance lied in how much it did with so little. At this point it too still hadn’t shown its trumps yet, but instead of trying to be the roller-coaster ride that Penguin Drum is trying to be, it really tried to go for an as elegant series as possible. And with that it ended up being un-rivaled.
Rating: *** (Awesome)