Posted by psgels on 23 December 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mawaru Penguin Drum

Revolutionary Girl Utena aired in 1997. When I watched it, it immediately conquered a spot on my list of favorite series ever, and still stands there. After that its director, Kunihiko Ikuhara, put out the Utena movie, and after that things became eerily quiet around him for more than a decade. Once in a while he did a random storyboard, but apart from that he really was strangely absent. So imagine my surprise when it was announced that he’d do another full fledged series again.

Right from the start it’s obvious that these two are from the same makers: this show is chock full of symbolism. Everywhere, the creators stuffed in references, cross references and visual symbols that only became apparent episodes after they appear. At first sight this is just random, but the great thing is that every symbol here has a meaning and place in this series. At first sight this series may seem like it’s complete chaos, but it’s actually surprisingly well structured on hindsight.

And yeah, this show pretty much has the best direction of the entire year. The way it combines the visuals, music and story together: no other show did it better during the past 12 months. The music does an excellent job of fitting within every scene it’s used, the animation really makes the characters come alive, the timing of all of the scenes flows really well. And the acting of the characters is really solid, especially considering the amount of broken characters in this series.

The excellent acting also leads to an excellent cast of characters. Just about everyone develops throughout the series. It also makes use of a ton of flashbacks and flash-forwards, to illustrate this, also giving the cast a ton of background in the process. The cast in this series really is dynamic, and engaging beyond belief.

And then there are the plot twist. This series really likes throwing plot twists, and being as unpredictable as possible. This makes for one heck of a plot. At first it might seem that this series is just throwing around twists for the heck of it, but nearly everything in this series is properly foreshadowed and hinted at on hindsight. The plot of this series is so tightly put together. This is an anime original series, so there is no need to be afraid of rushed endings or stories that just stop in the middle. The ending of this series is amazing and closes off this series wonderfully. This really is one of my top picks of 2011.

Storytelling: 10/10 – Great sense of timing and bringing out all different sorts of emotions. Really tightly written plot.
Characters: 9/10 – Excellent character development, very likable characters, although some take a bit to get used to (Ringo!)
Production-Values: 9/10 – Very solid and inspired animation, excellent soundtrack.
Setting: 9/10 – Penguin Drum is highly symbolic, and even its setting makes use of this. Because of this, things aren’t made 100% clear, but this is a very interesting way to get its messages across.

Revolutionary Girl Utena

59 Responses

  1. c160 says:

    Agree so much with all your points. While people may be divided on the plot and the characters, but I think the presentation is really like no other. Really looking forward to Kunihiko Ikuhara’s next series :)

  2. Keira says:

    If I know him good enough, next one we will have Penguin drum the movie. Yay!

  3. kazid33 says:

    Eehehehe not to much to say, only about the screen shoots, mean while i see the Mago ones I say wow amazing. But i see this ones and i say what the hell whit this show?? hehehe.

    Happy Chisrtmas and New year.

  4. Loz says:

    Overall Penguin Drum is a great show. It expresses itself well. Tells a good story, in a very interesting and entertaining manner. It successfully explores topics that have been used to death, yet makes them feel fresh. It also strikes a great balance between a seemingly positive/cheerful story on the surface with some very dark/twisted undertones.

    It is always encouraging to see shows with this much creativity still being released in a market that is, lets face it, overpopulated with very poor material/shows.

    Perhaps this description would best describe a show like Penguindrum:

    Art – The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.

    However, I will also touch upon elements that some people seemed to have had an issue with. The the quite blatant marketability of some of its characters e.g. the penguins, and ‘symbolism’ which could be turned into a gimmick for merchandising etc.

    I only saw this a good business sense, as they managed to incorporate so much into the show, so well ans seamlessly, without taking anything away from the show. So full credit to the creators.

    Great show. Enjoyable. Good twists. Need more shows of this caliber more regularly.

  5. zo says:

    Oooh I get it! Double H were Momoka’s bunnies!

  6. kevin says:

    psgels, you say in your review that while it seems like chaos at first its not in ‘hindsight’. Could you elaborate how the entire series is not just hollow chaos?

    You also say that the plot twists make sense in ‘hindsight’, please explain how asspulls and complete 180s every episode is good plotting in anyway. I’d love to hear a more detailed elaboration on this.

    For me I had the opposite reaction to the series. I had hopes that the final episode would make it all worth it. Instead in ‘hindsight’ it made everything meaningless. In the end it led to nothing.

    • vi says:

      oh look, kevin the faggot is still trolling psgels penguindrum posts. big surprise.
      the kid who cant provide a single example from the show to back anything he says and relies on ad hominem to make himself sound like the douchebag he knows he is.
      once again im forced to wonder why you (psgels) allow him to continue posting this mindless dribble.

      • kevin says:

        Psgels allows me to, because I’m actually discussing the show and giving my thoughts on it. Unlike you and a few others who find it to be so very enjoyable to constantly keep talking about me. Don’t you have anything better to do then repeatedly spam out “WHAT A TROLL!?” comments, simply because an opinion someone voices is not the same as your own? Grow up buddy.

        • Machi says:

          You’re allowed to post because this is a blog not a forum. Had this been a forum you’d have probably received at least a cease and desist order to stop posting on this topic. In addition because this a blog its not as if he has the staff or time or rules to really moderate messages.

          Also I would easily question what you mean by discussion since A) Psgels is not replying to you B) you’re not adding anything value added from a few lines that only reveal the gist of your opinion and C) nobody is really trying to converse with you since most just tell you to be quiet being rather fed up.

      • Addictd says:

        Even if you disagree with kevin, it doesn’t make him a troll. Sure, he thinks the opposite of what most people that visit this site say, but that’s no reason to start attacking him and start calling him a troll. You’re not acting any better than he was in his first posts. At least lately he’s shown more respect in his posts than most of the people that reply to him, and you’re a perfect example of it.

        • Kim says:

          Yes I see how Kevin shows respect when he called people who enjoyed the show in the final episode thread a bunch of dumbasses. LOL

          • kevin says:

            Well when you all attack me in the manner in which you all do, that is what you are – Dumbasses. Grow up Kim.

    • Machi says:

      It all makes sense in hindsight because you can only make sense of the structure by piecing together the scattered chronology of the story once you acquire all the flashbacks. Meaning if you want to make sense of everything use the parents terrorism plot from 16 years ago as a starting point and connect the dots of how each character was related and affected by the consequences, that their current action in the present timeline does make sense. Moreover, don’t write off Momoka or Sanetoshi as doing nothing as they pretty much orchestrated events of the present time line as well.

      What is wrong with the plot twists? They’re great because while we haven’t acquired certain chronological events at certain points to completely make sense of events they do reveal a crucial detail of how each and every character is related to one another, coincidence or fate. Moreover, they do point to the bigger picture that the chronology of events would imply.

      Other plot twists just are great because they reveal just how crazy the entire cast could be, Yuri being the biggest twist of all. So I don’t see any reason to wonder why he considers plot twists to be great.

      Its as I said earlier try to make sense of what has happened now that the entire show is over. Best start would be to look at a linear chronology of events, now that all flash backs are revealed. Also helps to consider that Penguindrum is clearly a very surreal show – I think this makes itself increasingly clear when we can’t even clearly define what the Child Broiler is (being both literal and metaphorical). There are things in the show intended to go against logic and interpretation but taken to be a ‘normality’ of the show since face it this show ticks definitions of surreal quite well, at first I thought camp but when you consider how it purposely obscures and fragments its narrative as well as mix symbolic, literal, and non-nonsensical images you begin to see its actually a pretty surreal work.

  7. Aidanak47 says:

    And…I am going to have to completely disagree with everything you said psgels. Yes I know I am being a pain but hey…the truth needs to be told.

    The plot twists were there for plot twist sake. And no, even with all the symbolism in the show the twists were not foreshadowed at all. Notice the number of times penguindrum ending an episode on a note that could turn the story darker only to completely negate it in the next episode. Once the series entered into the tenth episode it became clear that the writers had no clue what to do with the story. The middle part consisted of flashbacks and developments that basically put the plot at a completely standstill.

    Character became cardboard cutouts. Drained of any emotion and simply fulfilling a role. Ringo lost any interesting character traits the moment she gave up on Tabuki and became a lovesick girl. Shouma just angsted all the time at this point. Himari was just a mary sue with the only interesting point about her being the penguin queen personality. Any sympathy I had for her was lost after her fourth fake death. Natsume is a strange character being introduced as Kanba’s stalker with clear sexual intentions but then transformed into a caring sister. I can’t even count the number of times I seen a conversation being said in complete monotone. And even the parents of the characters are just a faceless drone with highly questionable parenting logic.

    Take into account that sometimes the real world looks like the fantasy world and the fantasy world looks like the real world at point giving the writers the convenient excuse for lazy writing. People often forget that people need to make logical or believable decisions even in symbolic anime.

    And finally the animation wasn’t great at the beginning but actually went downhill as the series continued. Someone was pocketing from the animation budget or the budget was just small because with all those repeating scenes and even an excuse to not even animate people there is no reason you cannot draw a face from a small distance away and have scenes consisting of still images!

    I don’t think it’s a bad anime. I had a great start but ultimately it’s just an interesting but poorly executed concept. Definitely not anime of the year.

    PS: Please just shut up Kevin. For your own sake.

    • kevin says:

      While I agree with you on all points. I honestly think you need to calm the fuck down. This is a discussion not a battlefield. Try to calm down, don’t give yourself an aneurysm.

      • AidanAK47 says:

        Quiet you. Speak only when you have something worthwhile to say. Besides I am not on your side. I think Penguindrum is flawed but still a enjoyable and interesting attempt.

        • kevin says:

          As do I Aidan. I have said that all along. If you are trying to piggy back off my arguement, then feel free. But you are simply repeating what I have said all along.

    • Stuff says:

      I do agree there are flaws in this show. For example, I thought Yuri almost-raping Ringo was unnecessary, and did not really add anything to the series but a decent cliffhanger. The sexual tension with Masako and Kanba was odd too. I also wish I knew where the penguins actually came from. I know they function as reflections of the characters inner self, but what? Did they come from momoka? Is that why the penguin hat owners have them? There wasnt any implication at all where they might have come from.

      However, I do not think the some of the other plot twists were a bad thing though. Fore example, Shouma being the fated one? It was a surprise, but it wasnt anything bad per say. I feel some people reacted negatively to that because they were shipping kanba and himari. I guess it was because I wasnt really invested in the romantic aspect of the story that i didnt care. (though I did grow to like shouma and ringo at the very end)

      As for the characters, I would say the opposite. I actually began to care more about the characters as the series progressed. I did not have very much emotional investment in the characters when the series first aired. I did not care about Himari what-so-ever at first, and Ringo annoyed me, but I grew to genuinely care for both. I also sympathized with tabuki and what he was saying in episode 22.

      I also completely disagree with your opinion on the animation. The colors were vibrant, the background art was gorgeous, there were a lot of neat visual ideas, the movement was fluid, and most of the episodes had above average animation quality. (the 1st, 5th, 9th, 12th, and the last five episodes being especially pretty) Theres only about 3 episodes I can think of at the top of my head that were sub-par, and small segments of a couple other episodes.

      May not be for you, but its anime of the year for me :)
      well to each their own.

      • AidanAK47 says:

        Stuff, the bad thing about the plot twists was that most were just to gave false sense of drastic development. For example, Ringo about to climb into Tabuki’s bed only to find a pillow there. Shouma getting hit by a car only to end up completely fine. Natsume having a last stand and dying but turning up fine. Ringo being burned alive but showing up next episode completely fine. Himari dying again and again and again…the list goes on. I mean come on mate, you got to admit that this was just to screw with the fans.
        If you liked the characters I can’t say anything about that.

        Remember that when I am talking about animation I mean the amount of movement and use of key frames. The only complaint I have about art was that they suddenly spotted drawing peoples faces from a distance. In the middle of the series if you pay attention you will notice how the shows animation degraded. Very little movement and plenty of still images.

        To me fate/zero is anime of the year. On animation, art, story and character it annihilates penguindrum but well that’s just pure opinion. Unlike numb-nuts(AKA. Kevin) up there I don’t plan on forcing people to accept this as the one and only true.

        However one thing I find odd is how from all the comments I read people haven’t mentioned what I believe was the main theme of pengiundrum. I mean I thought it was obvious. In the animeapple blog on a post about the first episode of penguindrum I made a wild guess after researching penguins that Penguindrum would have the theme of sacrificing love for survival. After watching the show I think I was right. Yes, I know this show is left up to individual interpretation and can be see in a number of ways but to me that seemed like the most obvious view of it. So it’s strange to see no one mention it. After all survival strategy, penguins being a family of three and if the parents leave the child alone it will die, penguins have to go through great measures to insure that the child lives, Tabuki and Yuri being in a loveless marriage to hold the illusion of a family, Shouma and Kanba neglecting Himari to find the item to save her, Ringo trying to force her and tabuki together to make her family get together again…it’s everywhere in the show.

        • AidanAK47 says:

          *Stopped drawing faces from a distance
          Not spotted

        • wendeego says:

          Fate/Zero is pretty amazing, but it’s ultimately a pretty conventional (but extremely well-executed) epic urban fantasy story with remarkably gray morality and a firm grasp on philosophy. It deserves credit for being the first TV series based on a Nasuverse work to be legitimately great, as well.

          That said, I prefer Penguindrum because while it might not be as technically well made, it pushes the boundaries of Japanese animation so far that it distinguishes itself from pretty much every anime I’ve seen. If Fate/Zero is an all-around competent production, Penguindrum is a battle-cry. You can debate its weaknesses or its merits, but I think that if the anime industry turned to Penguindrum for inspiration, we’d be in for a wild ride for the next few years. Would take that future over a future of well-made but conventional epics, any day.

          Fate/Zero, Steins;Gate, Madoka Magica, Penguindrum, Hourou Musuko…this year’s been pretty great for boundary-pushing stuff, hasn’t it?

    • kero says:

      I agree with most of what you said.

      I’m not going to pretend I enjoyed the ending, when I didn’t.
      Anohana made me cry, Crossgame made me cry, but the ending of MPD just had me wrinkling my forehead going, is this it?

      Another comment on the end episode talked about how the emotional experience was the important thing. Well, I felt completely detached from the ended, I didn’t care at all by the end of it all.

      Like you say, after Himari dies and revives for the nth time, there are no heart strings for them to tug on.

      I was super excited at the start, I really felt like it could have gone somewhere, and if I was to put it crudely, I think it derailed and went up it’s own ****.

      I enjoyed most of the ride, there were some episodes that I love, and some interesting things going on, but the payoff wasn’t there.

  8. billish says:

    well, kevin, for one, the brothers goal since the first episode is to save himari, which resolves completely by the end.
    i’d have to quickly research the answer and proof to your other question, which at this point i have no desire to do (or time).

    the one example i offered is simple and yet answers your first question, with, again simple, evidence, and yet it is much more than you have offered in terms of analysis or evidence. you like to use the word “hollow” which is unfortunately exactly what your arguments are. thus, i would like to ask you a question.

    You state that, in ‘hindsight’ the final episode made everything meaningless, and that in the end it all led to nothing. I would like you to elaborate, stating examples, to support your argument.

    Do as you please.

  9. billish says:

    @ kevin

  10. billish says:

    seems pointless now; meh

  11. dango says:

    This show is defintely a masterpiece, full of symbolism, amazing characterization. There were so many original ideas and the animation itself is incredibly beautiful. The symbolism is done exceptionally well and there are no glaring plotholes that I see. To me it does not really matter if they did not explain everything, it one of those series in which you just enjoy the ride. :D This was definitely the best show of the season and a worthy successor to Utena. I definitely am going to miss this show.

  12. Matt says:

    Ultimately, Penguindrum had more to say than Utena but significantly less time to say it. It was still a masterful show–definitely the best anime I’ve seen, though I’m no expert–but it could have been more.

    I can’t complain about the way the plot resolved itself. Plenty of people have already analyzed the finale and made sense out of it, and the results match up thematically with the bulk of the series, so I won’t argue.

    Among all the chaos, the stereotypes that were made and broken, the symbolism that illuminated the plot and the symbolism that confused the hell out of me, I’ve felt a personal connection to this show and its characters that I’ve rarely had with stories in any medium. And while I wish–and know–that it could have been even better, it’s been a joy spending these last six months watching it. Thanks for the review – I can’t wait to see your perspective on this year in anime.

  13. Lyra says:

    What was the deal with Mario and the emperor penguin hat anyway?

    • Machi says:

      Natsume being related to the terrorism in the past, her dad and all, Sanetoshi and Momoka wanted to get her onto their side. Basically Mario is like Himari for Natsume which is bait for her to follow them. Just coincidence like Himari Mario’s life was ending so the hat and Sanetoshi had something to use for Natsume. In the end though Natsume deviated from it all and was far too busy trying to save Kanba instead.

  14. tktym says:

    how come himari has to get naked a lot?

    • Machi says:

      Ask Momoka XD She’s the one actually controlling Himari when she’s wearing the hat. Looks like Momoka might not be as nice as Yuri & Tabuki paint her to be. Probably even more of an exhibitionist.

      @Stuff: For the Penguins Stuff I think they function more as caricatures of the characters to lighten the mood of a scene without having to resort to fan service. Of course as for their function plot wise I’d say they were supposed to be helpers who basically mimicked their owners but clearly aren’t very competent – which is where they end up functioning narrative wise as a sort of comic relief to a scene. Closest thing to gratuitous fan service really is Himari when possessed by the hat but it disappears half way later.

  15. kevin says:

    You all should watch this because it completely sums up why Penguindrum is not that great.

    • kevin says:

      Also psgels, unban me from the shoutbox. Stop bullying me, when I only intend to discuss this controversial series.

    • psgels psgels says:

      Apologies. I didn’t know that rejecting something also means banning someone.

      Having said that: I can understand that you want to discuss. I can not understand insulting the ones who like it.

      • kevin says:

        I still can’t comment there.

      • Machi says:

        Psgels you do realize that the youtube post is no less insulting right XD Calling fans delusional. Literally it goes into generalizations without bother of trying to understanding certain things for the reason of ‘Penguindrum is dumb’. Yeah…

        In addition to having the common flaw that makes Kevin’s posts trollish namely cite your examples and analyze the scene XD. But no the show isn’t worthy of that so we just get sweeping generalizations that do not generate discussions at all or at least civil ones – you think starting off anything with an insult and only citing very vague generalizations would actually generate good discussions =/.

    • Hogart says:

      Kevin, this video was a colossal waste of time. You’re selling yourself short by hailing such a masturbatory rant as a summation that Penguindrum “isn’t that great”. It only summed up these things:

      – they have a hard-on for Un-go.
      – they think Penguindrum is shit.
      – they think you’re delusional if it made any sense to you, because:
      – they prefer stories to be told in a more traditional manner.
      – they won’t explain why that makes you delusional, they’ll just play Cruel Angel’s Thesis in the background instead.

      As a person who didn’t find Penguindrum amazing, but merely fun when I was in the mood for it, I find his validation-seeking far more pathetic than he seems to find Penguindrum. What’s next? Telling Madoka fans that their mothers are slags?

  16. Esmeralda31 says:

    Mawaru Penguindrum: a genial manner to air nothing in 24 episodes.
    Fried Air.

    Best wishes:-)

  17. wendeego says:

    Something that I read over in a comment on 8thSin’s blog, which I thought was pretty mindblowing:

    In the very beginning of the series, the three penguins are seen hiding in three trash cans. Kanba’s penguin is in a bin labelled “recyclable trash,” Shouma’s penguin is in a bin labelled “flammable trash” and Himari is in a bin labelled “inflammable trash.”

    At the end of the series, Kanba turns to glass and shatters (recyclable), Shouma takes Ringo’s sacrifice and burns out of existence (flammable), and Himari survives (inflammable.) Huh.

    Either Ikuhara is some sort of genius who had the entire show planned from the beginning, or he’s an extremely lucky manipulative bastard who somehow tied everything together on the fly. The show doesn’t appear coherent on the surface, but if you look closer, and closer, and closer…

    • Doggie says:

      The fact that this is what is considered genius by your average anime fan worries me deeply. Standards have plummeted, that’s for sure.

  18. VyseLegend says:

    While I did watch the entire show and anticipated each episode, I’m going to have to call shenanigans on the ‘deep’ and ‘well planned’ symbolism in the show. Quite frankly I can’t recall much of any coherent and clear point to this show, and I don’t think a long study guide should be required for that.

    And the show will probably be more remembered for its mischievous and pointless use of penguin animation than anything else.

    • jzar says:

      I have to agree. In the end it all added up to saying not much of anything. It didn’t have a story to tell beyond things happened that looked good.

      A show I am very sorry to have watched to the end.

      If you have not seen it you might want to look elsewhere for a decent story that at the end goes someplace and has something to say.

  19. Sapphire says:

    While I can understand those who loved and those who hated MPD (because it is a matter of taste), I just can’t grasp the ones who said that it didn’t answer anything, that it’s meaningless and full of nothing. Because that’s denying something that doesn’t have anything to do with taste, but with perceiving facts.

    Anyway, I think MPD provided all the necessary answers: we know who the characters are, how they relate to each other, why they are there and all of this is connected to a plot and shapes a plot that was able to finish what it began.

    To me, this was a story about how unfair life can be, how inevitable fate is and how love can conquer all. Life is cruel in different ways (Himari was abandoned, Kanba lost his parents as a child, Tabuki was neglected by his mother, Yuri was abused by her father, Ringo watched her family fall apart, Shouma had the burden of having terrorist parents) and we can’t escape our fate (MPD starts with Kanba saying he hates the word “fate” and it ends with Himari saying she loves it, which sends a positive message although we can’t fight it either we like it or not), but we can choose to live through love (Momoka, who saved Tabuki, Yuri and some people in the terrorist attack) or hate (Sanetoshi, who decided to rebel against his fate and seek vengeance). In the end, fate prevails, but love also wins.

    I am very satisfied with MPD’s ending, I think it fitted the series perfectly. I was afraid of not understanding what the hell was going on and finding it underwhelming (the kind of disappointment I had with Star Driver), but that wasn’t the case. It was beautifully animated and stylish (what more could we ask of Utena’s director?) and provided decent closure for all characters. The ending was also coherent with the diary’s importance throughout, because its spell for transfering fate was responsible for triggering the big finale.

    On a final note, I still like Utena better, I gave it a straight 9/10. It’s a whole world of colorful characters and fantastic fights that is not easy to defeat (however, I did understand MPD’s ending a lot better than Utena’s). As for MPD: 8,5/10.

    • Aidanak47 says:

      Penguindrum answered everything?! Ok then was the child boiler real or imaginary? Ah! That’s left up to interpretation. Why were Shouma and Kanba placed in boxes? Ah! That’s left up to interpretation. Why did Momoka possess a spell to effect fate and how did double h know it? Ah! That’s left up to interpretation. Why did pink hared guy posscess a spell that only cut Momoka’s spell in half instead of negating it and it so why did it split them in two? Ah! That’s left up to interpretation. Why was Kanba not still in Natsumes family? Ah! That’s left up to interpretation. Why did Natsume attempt to shag Kanba on their first meeting? Ah! That’s left up to interpretation. Why did Momoka AKA peguinhat appear to tell kanba and shouma to look for the penguindrum if the bloody pengiundrum was with them all along?! Ah! That’s left up to interpretation.

      There is a key difference between fact and interpretation. Say what you will but penguindrum answered nothing. That is a real fact.

      • Sapphire says:

        I’m sorry for having to quote myself, but I didn’t say MPD answered everything, I said it provided all the necessary answers, from my point of view. So I guess your whole comment was based on something I didn’t say, which means it was rather pointless. You might find a comment to back up yours, though, so please feel free to look for it.

        • AidanAK47 says:

          I didn’t misinterpret you. Those are questions that need answers. You say it answered everything necessary. (Since I need to specify so you won’t try to find a loophole in my words then I will)
          The child boiler is something that needed to be clarified. Because if it is real it calls into question how this place operates and why it was even created. If it isn’t then it calls into question the very goal of the terrorists. I really don’t want to have to waste my time explaining each questions significance in the story especially when you are just going to write each one off.

          The main point is that I could say penguindrum is all an illusion that two brothers are having while dreaming of banging their sister. And you wouldn’t be able to find anything concrete to prove me wrong. Because any necessary answers that you did find were gathered mostly from interpretation.

          • Stuff says:

            The thing about penguindrum is that people who understand the show generally come to similar conclusions. The interpretations people make of this show make sense. The themes and messages that are present in this show are unified, and although there maybe slight variations of how something is interpreted, they arent completely different from one another. Theyre all related.

            I dont understand some of the references the show makes, but the fact that they exist means I cant dismiss them as pointless, because I dont understand them.

            The core of the show is understood, so yes I do believe the necessary questions are answered as well.

          • Sapphire says:

            It goes without saying that the 3rd paragraph of my 1st comment is entirely based on my personal interpretation of MPD. I think this is pretty obvious and I can’t see why do you think we disagree on that.

            However, I am able to separate my interpretation of MPD’s message from the answers which I believe to be necessary to understand any kind of series. Those answers, as I’ve mentioned, concern the characters’ identity, purpose and connection to each other. MPD slowly provided these answers as it progressed, like any good mystery series.

            Besides that, the plot presents its main problem/question at the beginning (Himari’s illness and the brothers’ will to prevent her death/will Himari be saved?) and in the end we are given the solution/answer (the brothers had to die in order to save Himari/yes, Himari is saved).

            Because of this, I think it’s unreasonable, stubborn and even childish to say that MPD answered nothing. Saying that MPD answered nothing only seems like a frustrated rant from someone who didn’t get what he was hoping for, instead of a reasonable statement.

            Anyway, I also have questions that I can’t find answers to. For instance, I don’t understand the point of Shouma and Himari being soulmates, I thought it was going to have some kind of meaning or impact on the story and it didn’t.

            On a side/final note, if I may, I suggest that you should never try to read poetry, because you would definitely need to put your interpretation skills to work.

          • zo says:

            to answer this question: It was not real. It was a metaphor.

            Just like how Shouma and Kanba being in cages was also a metaphor.

          • zo says:

            I was talking about the child broiler btw

      • Passs says:

        Can’t say much typing on a phone, but personally I thought it was obvious that some of the things you said were metaphors, child boiler alludes to social institutations(like school) that molds kids into mindless workers and destroys their potential, personality, creativity etc.(and this phenomenon is especially evident in Asian countries like Japan, china). And the cages were referring to the distance between people, as we are all stuck in our own body/mind/soul whatever u call it, and it is only through love and sharing can we interact and survive.

  20. bubble-t says:

    This show was one heck of a ride. In many ways.

    Although I have gazillions of remarks I want to make about this show, I just would like to say that the creators implemented the symbolisms which can mean something or not depending on the interpreter (the viewers), but the common message is there: love.

    Whether people understood all the minor (or significant) details present around the series in whole or not, anyone with half a wits would understand the main theme the writers wanted to get out there.

    At least, that is how I felt about MPD as a whole. I would have never picked up many ‘trivial’ elements throughout each of the 24 episodes (e.g. the three penguins and the labels on the bins someone mentioned above) unless someone else pointed them out.

    Nevertheless, I do admit that this show displayed very intricate artistic direction that I rarely see in many modern shows.

    Whew, now that I let everything out, I have no idea what I wrote myself… so this post is not going to make much sense. So… moving along… pretend I was never here…

    (P.S. To psgels, thank you for writing such enjoyable summaries of this show!)

  21. Z.L. says:

    Man, now I am really bummed I didn’t watch this series. But it’s so hard to find all the episodes! Psgls, where did you watch it?

  22. pastel says:

    Having read all of your arguments and rants, can’t you just stop calling each other morons and bashing each other? To each their own, people.
    (I loved Penguindrum though…)

Leave a Reply

Anyone out there that's a fan of crude humor should go watch ep.3 of To Be Hero. Certinately stepped it up a notch from the last two humor-wise.
One downside I can think of already is that I'm bound to lose or break one of the detachable controllers. The cost for those pieces is what I'm most interested in.
Nintendo Switch hmm? Honestly it looks too good to be true. I expect some major downsides to this thing.
I like cartoons, don't get me wrong. Certainly good for a change of pace. But there is something about the way they are written that I find rather distracting.
I don't know, maybe if I said it's like the difference from how characters talk in movie vs how characters talk in a sitcom?
@K-Off, I said one liner's or jokes. Not one liner jokes. It's hard to explain. Basically when I hear a conversation in anime even if it is based in stereotypes, it at least feels like a conversation that's being had in the moment. In cartoons however there is a layer of artificiality and it feels like characters know what a person is going to say and has a response prepared.
That's probably why some of my favorite anime in recent years haven't been very heavy on character archetypes, or were either parodies of it.
Comedic dialogue with anime in recent years have leaned too much on the idea of playing off character archetypes. The collected character vs the energetic character, for one. I'd like to see more variety. Some more word play, hyperbolic humor, body humor, etc etc.
@Aidan Not quite sure what you mean by that, because it's certainly not even a majority of cartoons that rely on cheap one liner jokes. I suppose it's entirely up to taste, but I can appreciate the energy in cartoons like Steven Universe or Regular Show when compared to the increasingly repetitive dialogue found in some recent anime.
@Topgavin: I just read that review and his main reason being Shelter is pretentious. oh well! Can't never please anyone.
Thought I'd check out the reviews for Shelter on MAl and the top review is a 1/10. Apparently because it's a cute girl we sympathise with her more, which is bad because reasons. I mean.. what? MAL never ceases to amaze me
@Mario, no. It's more that the dialogue keeps trying to push out one liners or jokes regardless of whose talking.
@Aidan: maybe because they spoke in your native language do you can feel that it's artificial, ya know? I know I have the same problem with Vietnamese drama/ cartoon and maybe Japanese people have that same issues with anime?
By which I mean, the way characters talk in cartoons is very...artificial. Like you can tell that the dialgoue was clearly written beforehand and it never really sounds natural. At least to me.
@Anon, I wouldn't. The writing and structure are too cartoon. What with the episodic nature and dialogue that generally pushes for a comedic tone.
Kaiser Eoghan
Flanagan also directed absentia which I haven't seen yet but I think someone I came across of 4chan linked it to being lovecraftian?
Kaiser Eoghan
Oculus was a film of two halves for me. Hush was a pretty standard home invasion thriller, making the victim deaf was an interesting twist but not as unique as you might think, still suspenseful though.
Kaiser Eoghan
I never saw the first oujia film. Though Mike Flanagan who did the sequel, he's never made a bad movie but he's never really made a great one either.
Kaiser Eoghan
I stick to the firm belief that cartoons and anime, visually should do and be their own thing. I'll prefer a western artstyle for cartoons rather than one pretending to look like anime style.
But this is a good topic and I'm sure everyone has their own opinions so I'm looking to hear some more arguments
@anon352392: no they aren't. For me not because of where their production based, nor their intended audience, but rather their styles, both visually and storytelling-ly, are different
Anime,” they assert, is not a “style” of illustration or animation.
That's where I differ to those guys. For me, anime is a style. In that sense, I consider RWBY, and Canadian-produced short Flutter as an anime. Thunderbolt Fantasy is not and anime-influence shows/movies that are intented for Western audience like AniMatrix or Afro Samurai are anime
@Anon nah they wouldn't be because they aren't made by a japanese producer for the japanese market. Quality isn't the question, production is
NX and Red Dead Redemption 2 trailers tomorrow.
They are good series and i honestly like them alot more than most anime series, would their quality make them anime?
What about cartoons like Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Star Vs The Forces Of Evil?
In other news a sequel to an absolutely terrible horror movie called Ouija is out and it's...actually pretty good? Wondering if critics were paid off or it is legit good. Well it did have the guy who was behind Oculus and that was a pretty good movie.
Simplify the term down enough and anime is literally anything animated but the whole point of the term is to distinguish it. For to call Spongebob an anime makes me want to projectile vomit. Point is this, you say you watched a cartoon, people think Tom and jerry, Scooby doo etc. You say you watched an anime, people think Cowboy bebop, Attack on titan, etc. Whole point of the term.
For example, I don't consider Avatar or RWBY to be anime for while they use anime style, the writing is fundamentally structured like an American cartoon. Through I would consider Bloodivores an anime even though it was made by a Chinese animation company, making it technically a Chinese cartoon.
As far as what is and isn't anime I honestly think of the term as a means of distinguishing it from cartoon which gives the impression of being for children. It's like Graphic novel is to comic book. Though techically graphic novels are issues of comics bound in book form, the term Graphic novel is often used to distinguish works that go above superhero comics and whatnot.
Basically I think it was due to Porter Robinsons involvement that they didn't consider it anime.
@Aidan: Did the mods give any concrete reasons why they didn't consider it an anime?
@Mario, It wasn't the community that had the problem. It was the mods. The community made it pretty clear that they considered it anime.
So despite the art style is obviously anime, the character speaks in Japanese, and the production was animated by A1 Studios, it's not an anime? Sometimes I feel sad that the anime community keeps limiting themselves with such fixed minds.
I saw it yesterday and yes it was good. For a 5-minute story, they don't make it too overwhelme with details, and still pack an emotional punch. Moreover it elevates the song. Good stuffs.
Shelter was quite good though. It works well and the animation was beautiful. Song is not bad either. It's got a nice emotional punch to it though it's a bit simple a story.
Well anyway I only saw all this because I checked out the video for the first time and wanted to see how others thought of it with a quick scan through reddit. And I get this shitshow instead.
Playing the victim is the one really pisses off the internet. For refusing to admit you f*cked up only encourages people to shove how you f*cked up into your face. That's what really grinds peoples gears.
Yep, seen that too. The mods even put up another tread about the video and tried to guilt trip people by saying they got death threats. Look, internet rules 101. If you said or did something stupid admit to it and just walk away. Do not try to deflect blame or play the victim, that only adds fuel to the fire.
@Aidan oh yeah saw that live lol. Porter himself even commented on twitter about it, gotta love internet drama
So did anyone happen to catch the big old shitstorm of that Shelter music music when a mod of the Anime subreddit decided it wasn't "Anime" enough and removed the discussion post about it? Oh internet drama...what silly nonsense.
Finally caught up with JoJo. Diamond is Unbreakable has turned out to be much better than Stardust Crusaders. Should have waited for the season to finish through as I really loved marathoning it.
I had a feeling that might be the case considering the source materail for luger.
@Mario Oh I watched that, certinately worth it. Packed more story that some 12-episode shows do nowadays and gorgeous animation.
and I will check out "Shelter" music video to see what all the fuss is about
*this weekend to be exact.
Sounds like Luger Code 1951 is an OVA that will air next week, the same air date with "my" Zaregoto OVA.
@Mario: doesn't sound real at all to me lol
@Mario, I might be able to manage. If all else fails I can talk about the past of these historical figures.
While I don't mind watchinng Drifters, I swaer if I had to cover that show, I couldn't come up with anything to say.
Do you guys know what language the fairies speak in Drifters? It does sound like a genuine language
@topgavin: humanity has declined is a great show. It has good writing and dark, witty sense of humor. I could talk about it in length but psgels pretty much covered it all. He was really impressed by that show however.
That should be me covered till the weekend. Why do all my shows air on the weekend...
@Mario nah I've watched the whole thing but I'd heard about it at the start of this year and put it off. The dialogue between her and the fairies was great stuff, probably gonna rewatch it this weekend now that you mention it
Alright, I got three posts written up and will be throwing them out in about two hours or do.
I thought you've finished it. Yeah I love her character a lot, so cynical but witty. My favorite moment was when she read about fairy's plan to invent religions. She was like "so religions are invented?" (beat) "I've learn something new today". Priceless
@Mario Oh nice, it was one that I had heard about but never got round to. To put it in simple anime terms, Watashi is best girl
@topgavin: I just finished the series yo mentioned the other day: humanity is declined. Man, I love it. I know now I have a thing for dark twisted absurdist anime
@Ano340004: the name is Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, or to put it short Motete. I have fun with it but i'm not that enthuastic
@anon the english name is Kiss him, not me. Search through the first impressions if you need the jap name.
then that girl really loves BL (boy love)
what is the name of the anime that the girl is fat and then she got depressed because her favorite boy anime died then she got thin?
Season 7 is awesome so far too. It feels like the tone of the show is finally back to normal and it feels like Adventure Time again.
Whew, I binged all seasons of Adventure Time this weekend. The show hit a low spot in Season 6 but I think it needed to happen...Poor Finn needed the serious character development after what he did to FP.
You guys are too hard on it
Motete is very funny
Kaiser Eoghan
When it comes to gag manga and four-koma, I just eventually reach a stopping point with a comedy series in that format. Even with hidamari sketch.
I think it was typical light novel trash based on what was in the PV. I laughed that despite it being horrible that the crowd still cheered anyway, likely because it had a bath clip in it.
The PV was hilarious. I had no idea what the anime was about.
@Aidan I'm good, I'll stick with Working.
@K-Off, you could switch to something like Gi(a)rlish Number if you like. I for one am really digging the satire of the show. Plus I like that it's basically showing how an utter train-wreck of an anime can be made. That PV in the last episode was truly painful.
Feeling pretty disappointed with Working. I haven't gotten any more cynical with comedies, at least I don't think, and its flaws are so irritating.
@Adam Le, I find that with Comic book dialogue. Which is one of the reasons I have gone off marvel movies. Cartoons have it to a degree as well.
I love the instagram shots in Yuri
Maybe I can have a watch through those live action films and do a compare/contrast to see which version works better. After all movie and tv series are 2 different medium, and live-action vs animation is the topic that we never get tired of
speaking of which, the overlap between anime and live-action adaptation from manga is overwhelming. For this year alone, there were Erased, 3-gatsu no Lion, Fune o Amu, orange, and Chihayafuru (part 1&2). Those were just the ones I know.
@Adam: Don't know which genre you're into but you can try Fune o Amu (The Great Passage)
Adam Le
I can't seem to get into any of these new shows. I don't know, the dialogue always seems off to me and the forced comedy is a big turn off.
Reminds me of a thought I had when I was last at the Getty art museum. People walking past works of art hundreds of years old, but only taking a second-long glance before moving on to the next one. Not their fault really, it's only the professional critics who can understand what they see with depth.
I'm the opposite really, they're getting paid for what they said so they better know their shits
Kaiser Eoghan
I suppose I'm slightly envious of professional critics somewhat.
Sometimes you're just meant to experience the ride you know. I don't watch those explained video anymore because after all it's just one guy's opinions.
Kaiser Eoghan
Kaiser Eoghan
And I mean people who art professionals or students.
Kaiser Eoghan
I guess I'm just unsure of something, how many people watching "arty" stuff are able to pick it up on their own. By looking up an "explained video" or "explained essay" to get it, am I copping out?
Kaiser Eoghan
I feel like I've begun getting on board with the european art stuff but am really only scratching the surface with the Chinese and that stuff.
Kaiser Eoghan
And find myself missing whats going on sometimes.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'll admit I do find it frustrating, that even though I can like art films, emotionally connect at times, appreciate the visual techniques and admire them for being so different without looking up analysis by people far smarter than myself I honestly feel lost sometimes as to the meaning.
@Kaiser: Apichatphong Weerseethakul's films are so otherworldly and spiritual that I wouldn't dare to call them "dreams" anymore. Check out his "Uncle Boonmie", "Syndromes and a Century", "Cemetery of Splendors". he has such singular vision that just watch and experience his films are rewarding enough
@afgm: well, if we really go over-analyze it, bunnies can represent desire for example ^^
like eating sweet snow is so randomness for me
@Badesh: the things you said might be something I might do in the future. After all I love dissecting symbolism. But for Flip Flappers I need to know more what are intentional and what are randomness first
So Papika is corrupting Cocona? That would make some sense I guess
I mean I guess bunnies represent purity? Maybe?
@Kaiser: I mean yeah I get that things can be beautiful just because they're beautiful. But the effort comes in trying to connect that beauty and symbolism to the story as a whole, which is something I honestly struggle to do with Flip Flappers. It just seems pretty gratuitous at this point.
I don't know I think flip flappers is probably deeper than people might give it credit for. I just don't have the time or energy to piece together the abstraction. Doesn't mean that the meaning doesn't exist, it's just hard (and possibly misguided) to uncover it on the first run through.
but i don't want to get into a "who is right" argument. it was just a wish of mine to get to know the persons view of the world and not just be part of his daily mood
yeah, but i could happen that you grow intelectual but not personal ;)
Kaiser Eoghan
But theres no shame in watching a heavily thematic arthouse thing, liking it then going "didn't quite get/catch that" then looking up what it means.
Kaiser Eoghan
But for going into things, analyzing them, I wasn't saying thats wrong, when I meant overanaylsis I meant people making shit up that isn't actually there.
Kaiser Eoghan
And going too deep into thinking about that image shows the person is failing to understand that they were supposed to interact with it on an emotionally or spiritually intellectual level.
Kaiser Eoghan
Rather than de-mystifying that image or losing its enigma.
Kaiser Eoghan
I just think sometimes people forget that things can be entirely impressionistic or expressionist, people sometimes forget that images don't necessarily need a giant essay behind them or meaning or analysis. What I mean is you can have a 15 minute stretch of gorgeous looking images but the point is that you feel that or see the imagination and creativity because its beautiful.
It requires an understanding and a concept of life of the reviewer that highlights the right things, the things that widens the readers perspective, based on the narrow popculture consicousness that we have, sorry to be that dramatic...
Yeah, i don't mean that kind of overanalyzing :) so i.e. that beautiful picture of flip flappers to the left is so much more than the "character floating through an imaginary world" if you start to go into that, what it does with the viewers heart, you can write an essay weather it was the creators intention or not. that's the kind of thing i dream about and care to read
Of course afterwards they will certainly claim that they planned everything from the colour of toothpaste used but I take that with a grain of salt.
Plus the basic idea that the creator of a materiel is a complete mastermind who has internally planned out a massive series of symbolic comparisons and intricate threads which the vast majority of viewers would completely fail to see. And quite frankly, people just ain't that smart and have no reason to put in such massive effort.
The problem with overanalyzling however is that it's usually down to a series of simplifed concepts held together by a flimsy logical foundation. Like the ring theory of star wars.
...which is only achieved through what you call overanalyzing - at least in the internet world where only words count.
I wish people would "overanalyze" more. For me it get's pretty boring pretty fast to read something along the lines of "this wasn't good/perfect because i have seen better" - that's interesting as long as i need anothers opinion to get a feel for the materia. once you are somewhat experienced in life you only care for this sort of things if you know that persons view of the world...
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Would you say the Apichatphong Weerseethakul's films are worth looking into as "dream" films, always wanted to get into his work but it seems....daunting.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'd imagine if you went looking you could probably find people who overanalyzed Eden of the east (as with anything) to where they saw something none of us could (or that they wanted to see). Something about young peopl in society was one look at it. But for me eden of the east was an undercooked thriller merged with a bad chick flick and the films ruined whatever good will I had for it.
I'm almost giddy with the possibility of this being the closest thing I get to Utena this decade (besides actual ikuhara works of course haha)
@ano327926: Boy, how true. agreed 100% with you here
"liberate pure illusion" is the new "revolutionize the world"
@mnei, that's hardly the only thing in Eden of the east that didn't make any sense. It was a great idea but boy...did the writing fail hard.
Anyone here watched Eden of East and got fucking confused as I do about why Akira had to wipe off his memories and ship NEETS to Dubai? He wasn't really deceived (in my opinion). He didn't have to send the NEETS anywhere either.
@Mario and from what I've heard, they skipped out a whoooole bunch of fanservicey training sessions that happened before the 1st episode. Dunno whether I'm happy or dissapointed with that
I swear Keijo's everyday training is much more intense than Saitama's
I goddamn love Drifters opening.
@Anon, the story improved in volume 3 but I don't think your issues with the show have really disappeared. So yes, it did get better but it still has it's issues.
Did RWBY get better in vol 3? I watched the first two and hated them but the designs of the girls are nice and the characters are even good, I just can't stand these graphics and that shitty plot or the comedy scenes in which it tries to copy anime humor. The "western" comedy is nice.
So RWBY volume 4 airs next week. Nice. I was actually going to write a review on RWBY and just never got around to it. Seeing as it's somewhat anime I say it's suitable for the site though honestly while it is anime styled, the writing is pure cartoon.
So that's Raising project, Drifters and Occult Nine for me.
@Topgavin, seeing as it was pretty much Top of the Preview poll(Besides Natsume but I am not the man to do Natsume.) I will do Occult Nine. I can at least have fun ripping it apart and comparing it to its contemporaries.
@Mario, for starters you can stop calling her a bitch. Flip Flappers is a classy lady so put you fapping aside and treat her good. So yep, it fine by me.
@Topgavin: He'll be fine.... I hope
Guess it'd be Raising project, Drifters and Keijo/Occult Nine..?
@Mario poor aidan, what shows are there left to cover?
@Friend: Ha! I'm really looking for RWBY 4 as well. At one time I was intended to blog RWBY 4 here but even for me (who tend to go off track), I know that covering RWBY would not be appropriate for this site. But I'll give each season a proper review in the World Animation section, I promise!
@Topgavin: I'm a bit underwhelmed with Izetta 2nd episode, but it's still a better-than-average show out there this season. Anw I'm now settled for Flip Flapers
@Vonter: Agreed with everything you said. I remember one of anime blog that I visited had that format: they break the episode down by time, and give their witty comments (sometime pics) alongside. I could see that format work very well for comedy, slice-of-life and shows with heavy symbolism...
So this season I'm blogging Sound Eupho 2, 3-gatsu no Lion and Flip Flappers
Aidan, having watched Flip Flappers, I'd say she's my bitch man. Not sure how to handle her yet but I promise I'll take good care of her ^^
...and you are banned for a day.
@psge1s usually fake names with capital i's work better than a 1
gettin' pussy foh days here
Kaiser Eoghan
Damn, sorry that flipflappers/sangatsu comment was meant to have an @Mario before it, my mistake.
I admit there isn't anything interesting to me this season. But! I'm really looking forward to RWBY! Volume 4 looks so great :D
@Mario could try covering Izetta, even if it might fall off later it might not. All Out/Keijo could work too, but they're quite simple so they'd be short reviews
Kaiser Eoghan
I could see keijo's trash value only working once though.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think there were times where crying scenes had me anxious and I muted. But when it comes to pausing things I'm a demon for that moreso to make sure I didn't miss anything in the subs or because I liked the look of a certain shot.
Kaiser Eoghan
Watamote's a good example of one of those things where you laugh...and then think you should probably feel guilt for doing so, kind of like a Solondoz film.
Kaiser Eoghan
I was very happy with your early posts on sangatsu and flipflappers and based on that I'd like to see you blog them weekly.
I don't know, mainly because most series of this season seem that could either go north or south in terms of quality. As for Keijo maybe just suggesting, but maybe a list type of post could keep it brief and be funny. Since there are times in which some anime are more about moments than story.
Guys, if you want to recommend us some shows to cover you're welcome to. Anything but slice of life drama, as I already covering 2 this season. You don't want to see my soul crushed when I repeat the line 'quiet but beautiful' eveytime, do you?
I wouldn't reccomend it either as I think the jokes will run thin quickly. Anw, I'll give you my answer later today after watching the episode.
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