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.

Suggestions:
Revolutionary Girl Utena
Simoun
Noein

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.

    http://www.capsulecomputers.com.au/2011/12/anime-say-episode-6-penguindrum-is-still-dumb/

    • 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

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Anonymous3324478
Oh and the music was pretty good too I guess. Another episode is airing in March.
Anonymous3324478
Masa also recovered from his car accident from a few episodes ago. It was totally unneeded in my opinion.
Anonymous3324478
The last episode of Tsurune was a decent ending to an otherwise formulaic sports show with some great animation on par for the course with KyoAni. Minato overcame his target panic and won it for the team. Twins got owned big time.
Animosh
There's a new episode out of the Gridman voice drama: https://barnnn.blogspot.com/2019/01/ssssgridman-voice-drama-episode-6n.html. It's a pretty good one too.
Animosh
My only worry is if the series will be able to get to its logical stopping point (the end of the Claw arc) in 12 episodes. But I suppose I should trust Bones over my vague memories of how much content there is left to cover.
Animosh
Yeah, I agree a split cour could be good. It would allow the series to maintain its high levels of animation, and given how stacked next season looks to be (anime aside, there's also American Gods and the Game of Thrones madness to keep up with), and with another ONE show airing, a break wouldn't be so bad.
SuperMario
Split cour of Mob Psycho would be awesome. I don't want to watch 2 ONE's adaptation in one season
Lenlo
Not for bloggin
Lenlo
While I love Mob, I am a bit happy its only 1 cour. I couldnt do 3 2 cour series
Animosh
Assuming we do get 12 episodes, a split cour would still make sense ... but I guess we'll just have to wait for the official confirmations
Animosh
As far as I can tell the only source is some guy in Twitter, so not sure how reliable it is
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Devilman Lady is what comes to mind on how to do this type of show better. That one had also a special agency for supernatural incidents, has a simple but compelling main character, uses it's time to build atmosphere and mood and even the action while a bit stilted had better monster design and the violence it's graphic but entertaining like Robocop.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Ok I will check. I'm also curious where it goes in terms of tone. Because it's all over the place.
Vonter
Ok. Last time I tried the login in feature didn't respond. This time it worked.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Keep me posted of magical girl spec ops in case it does turn into the kind of guilty pleasure shlock it should.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Is this vonter? If you register an account you can keep the name.
Anonymous3321080
But I think what gets me the most its how it beats the dead horse of the 80s action hero arc. Van Damme, Arnold and Stallone had more or less these type of lines. Its kind of funny this anime pretends these aren't tropes we don't use anymore because of how corny they come off. It'll definitely work better as an abridged series since it can be very boring when it tries to add the school life moment
Anonymous3321080
Also Mahou Spec Ops... Is interestingly bad. It tries to be exploitative and shocking but feels very sloppy, kinda like that meme of *slow heavy metal music plays* It also wants to play it like a dark shoujo anime, but the cute monsters are just distracting.
Anonymous3321080
Reading your conversations about idols, despite being mediocre Gokudolls and Ore Mahou Shoujo made jabs at that culture. At least painting some aspects that may be true of how exploitative it is. I suppose because those are subpar, over the top and cheap is what they can do that. Can't remember one aside from Perfect Blue which criticizes that industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But only if there was more anime noirs.
Amagi
Reminds me of that stalin vs hitler comic. Think it was russian. They're attacking each other with magical super powers there. And yeah, I love noir now that you mention it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: That'd make for a great noir story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Imagine Stalin and Hitler trolling each other on twitter.
Amagi
It's easy to construct superiority when you never have to show your private face and never participate in mundane chat talks or so.
Amagi
I bet a lot of people who had some aura of authority back then due to only ever appearing in books or for very rare (scripted) speeches would probably laughing stocks now if we'd see them commenting on daily stuff and news on twitter or reddit.
Amagi
I personally have given up upon having heroes. I still find a lot of historical people interesting but let's be real the few of them that weren't blatanly bad in some way were different then we imagine them to be (even if they're good). Just look how different people feel now that you see them tweeting on twitter VS policians etc decades ago.
Amagi
I like the idea of a main character longing for a dead friend and role model he had and still idolizes. Then at some point he starts reconstructing his friend's past to cherish his memories about him even more but finds out that the friends wasn't the hero he believed him to be and maybe even the own memories of him were idealized a lot over the years after his death without him even noticing.
Amagi
Yeah we are always searching for some sort of über-ich or perfect being that symbolizes the goal of some personality growth we're trying to achieve.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or the reason why some people need to have so many things or idols they probably don't need.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think there is a genetic/mental inadequacy in humanity that makes us susceptible to following "higher people who we forget are actually human" because of our own desire for an avatar or general inadequacy as human beings.
Amagi
Yeah this. It's probably also why they defend them so eagerly. Because it's actually true that "their" version of that person would never do that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: And that probably creates a much stronger blow to them when the actor is found guilty of a crime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Very good response.
Amagi
It's kinda weird how almost everything we know about others is actually just interpretation to some degree.
Amagi
The weird thing is that I think that many fans of acrots/celebrities rather create their own versions of them they fall in love with rather than loving the actual person, whom they barely even know. It's fun because the concept of a waifu sounds extremely weird to normal people, but many normal people kinda do this too but with real persons (but imaginary personality).
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think thats where it starts getting obsessive or where it gets too close to the next level, such as what the anon mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also can't bring myself to get too attached to a celebrity or to a character. I do look at hentai doujins yes but, I've probably had thoughts about certain actors or what not, but I never actually want to sleep with them, again I think that's taking fantasy too far.
Amagi
I never know if these are serious celebrations or rather some fun memes they do to post, I always assumed the latter. Kinda.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the fans celebrating the idol's birthday thing is taking it to far too, especially if its an anime character.
Amagi
Yeah I was never an idol fan either, and I don't just mean the idol genre in anime but anything similar to idol stuff in general, like being a fanboy/girl of some celebrity or something. Was never able to get into that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its all too superficial.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Don't like the ideas it gives teenage girls either .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Certain topics just set me off =<
Amagi
The third episode of Wake Up girls was pretty good in that regard. I think it was the third one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But yes, thats a pretty bad story what happened to the woman you mentioned.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Might be a good idea to catch some documentaries on that topic .
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that was just a sentence from some guy on a podcast though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now though I didn't see it, I do recall someone saying some of that Wake up girls idol anime slightly brought up seedier parts of the industry if not much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The hallow shallowness of the idol industry I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also dislike the shallowness of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love how Perfect blue takes influences from those gialli/giallo style films from the 60s/70s to an extent, while also spitting on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But you know what sucks? A part of me, both in regards to those women (and probably some of the male idols) whether it be in reality or animation, I can't actually deny finding some of these men/women actually physically attractive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Music industry has its seediness just about everywhere and of course victim blaming going to appear everywhere, not just Japan.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*commodification-consumerist
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I hate capitalism, I hate the idol communication-commercialist industry and the willing self-aware slaves and their masters who perpetuate it, the music is largely awful aswell. I don't watch most of the idol anime, I think the idea of 30 something men throwing cash it is awful.
Anonymous3319279
Wonder if there will be some modern equivalent of Perfect Blue? That was a scathing critique of the idol industry back in the late 90s. Although given how shows that are flat out glorifying the industry are the best-selling shows on BD every year, I doubt it.
Anonymous3319279
In short, she was assaulted by two men at her home who were then arrested. Then she was pressured by her managers into claiming that she was to blame for this, not the men and apologizing to an audience.
Anonymous3319279
Hearing about what happened to some idol named Mahohon seriously makes me wonder if idol culture in Japan seriously needs an overhaul and if media needs to stop glorifying the industry so much.
Anonymous3319260
Ok. No pressure, just asking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, we are working on it. It's nearing completion and should be posted soon.
Anonymous3318799
I don't know if I missed it. But have you put the overview of 2018? Of best show, best character, etc. Did 2018 had a good anime villain?
Masky
Anyhoo, surprisingly Lovecraft's books have some really faithful manga adaptions
Masky
A story set in world post "Cthulhu"(or whatever is setting equivalent) awakening and transcending humans into "savage" inhuman world that he is supposed to bring forth
Masky
Ya know, speaking of lovecraft here is what I really want to see:
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well I guess Die Farbe and whisperer in the darkness count and the cthulu one, the latter two were done by the Lovecraft society.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The closest we got with an actual adaptation was Dreams of the witchhouse , but they left out Nyarlathotep.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Those films were fun, but none of them dated well either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to seperate my knowledge of the books from Stuart Gordon and Brian yuznas films that borrow elements and titles from Lovecrafts works, once I accept their takes on him are just body horror a black comedies I can kind of accept it more.
Lenlo
I think Junji Ito's manga works have come the closest to Lovecrafts brand of horror, and we all saw how that adaptation went.
Lenlo
Yeah, Lovecraft is a hard one. Even his own books are hit or miss, because it is a very fine line for his brand of psychological horror. Would make for an interesting and unique anime if done well though
Kaiser-Eoghan
A lovecraft themed world would find some difficulty in getting the atmosphere right as he has proved difficult to adapt.
Lenlo
Ah. Yeah, a non-traditional setting like that would be good. I think Isekai, to really change it up, should start going for non-traditional settings. Sci-Fi, Lovecraft, etc. I think this was mentioned before yeah?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I believe the anon was saying it in relation to making a good setting for an isekai show.
Lenlo
Its why I standby Sakaki in this that, even if he was a dick about it, he is right to be angry at how it all placed out. Just not at Kurahara.

Also @Anon, I loved Bloodborne! No idea what the convo is about, but saw it mentioned
Lenlo
They should Kaiser, I agree. Just look at American college football right now. ITs coming out all over the place, and people wonder why teams dont speak out against it. Its because they are kids, they think "This is how its SUPPOSED to be. Only the best make it. Its not the coaches fault, he makes us win". etc etc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a spinoff anthology for bloom into you's manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or other big issues relating to sports such as performance enhancing drugs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo, a thought popped into my head there, more sports shows should focus on abuse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think flipflappers is one of my favourites in years, but it was definately at its best when it wasn't really about wrapping up its story.
Amagi
Space Dandy and Kaiba had this to some degree too. Liked both series.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Kinda sad that the latter half of Flip Flappers was rather weak because it started with this different worlds idea.
Amagi
I think Matsumoto stuff might actually be the very first anime I have seen in my life, not regularly though and usually when I was in Italy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The noir world could be in black and white.
Kaiser-Eoghan
How about another world that has different sections that follow different genres?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Helped greatly by his use of artistic cinematography and use of dramatic stills.
Anonymous3316528
Old anime has very bitter stories. Despite the old drawings, several had harsh live lessons. Osamu Dezaki had such a talent to direct drama.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I need to actually watch that Leiji Matsumoto stuff some day.
Anonymous3316528
Also Galaxy Express 99 I think also treated that topic.
Anonymous3316528
@Kaiser-Eoghan Wasn't that Gate?
Anonymous3316528
Just like how Gundam made one for the Vietnam War.
Kaiser-Eoghan
A proper story dealing with isekai and immigration crisis.
Anonymous3316528
I mean they could make an allegory of the Berlin Wall.
Anonymous3316528
So Papers Please the anime?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think a romance themed isekai involving borders and beraucracy getting in the way could work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked those czech Jules verne animations.
Anonymous3316528
I suppose the work for creating assets for new settings it's why they don't do it. Most Isekai seem like they can take a tree, or a house from previous works and just change them a little.
Anonymous3316528
On second thought, that was technically the Anastasia animated movie.
Anonymous3316528
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Yeah. Just take the roadmap Bloodborne put out. It's even the perfect setting for an antihero archetype, considering these settings are about the hunt, surviving and superstition. I'll also like the Russia setting, harsh weather, espionage, travelling through train, boat and land like Jules Verne's Ivan Strogoff
Kaiser-Eoghan
That time I got reincarnated in the Soviet union.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd love to see an anime set in Russia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gothic horror or industrial if only for liking the genre. I still want my anime western.
Anonymous3316528
All in all as I always say. I want new settings, steampunk, western, egyptian, chinese, space, nuclear dystopian, castaway, underwater, skyworld, gothic horror. Or any other tired trope other than european medieval fantasy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm, with the nostalgia of old games undertale went for, but without the maudlin di7alogue.
Anonymous3316528
Or something like Mad Max or the RPG series it inspired Metal Max. Maybe another one inspired by Phantasy Star.
Anonymous3316528
I got it! What if someone makes an Isekai on the vein of Earthbound or Undertale. I mean most are influenced by the standard fantasy JRPG. So why not take from the less typical ones?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just for the novelty of it, I would like to see an anime about a relationship between un-traditional/un-usual couples that we never see.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Maybe that'd be cheesy or something but they manage to form new friendship/families which allow them to put behind what they lost.
Amagi
I like semi-episodical series that have an episodical plot and a golden thread at the same time, the latter usually being more subtile or like a subplot and each episodical adventure gives the audience a few new hints or informations about the setting, characters or main plot.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wouldn't even mind a drama driven otherworld story about a depressed person trying to move on and the new world actually helping them move past that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So how about my don-quixhote anime Japan =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But at the same time there's a bunch of serious stuff, but its not clashing with the lighthearted stuff badly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My favourite type of adventure story though are the ones where its more about the journey and hangout, sometimes the story appears here and there. And its usually centred around three goofballs with alot of chemistry.
Amagi
Sadly there never is any culture clash or culture shock either, speaking of the LN/game mechanic isekai here. The isekai people are just like the people of nowadays Japan but with swords and magic, basically. Maybe a few rituals at best.
Amagi
An isekai should be like King of Thorns despite KoT not being an actual isekai. But awakening in another world, not understanding anything, exploring, mysteries and slowly piecing things together that make the MC understand the logic of that new world a bit better while trying to integrate into the foreign culture.
Amagi
@Kaiser/Anon: I feel like that too. I love explore and isekai would be perfect for exploration and yet it's always about the MC finding his place as soon as he got teleported, he finds his crew, friends, house, power and so on.
Amagi
@Anon: You're right I watched a few scenes, the dub actually fits pretty well to Nanbaka. The series itselfs is too insane for me I guess.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Lack of journey, focuses too much on harem/romcom bits.
Amagi
I have yet to watch Voltron. The animation looks somewhat weird to me but everything else I heard about it so far sounds pretty good.
Lenlo
I welcome the essays Kaiser! Sakaki is a much more complex character than I expected, and Animosh is right that it doesnt justify his actions. I didnt mean to imply that. I do think however that Sakaki is not wrong to be angry. He is just directing it at the wrong person.
Anonymous3316315
@Kaiser-Eoghan - In what sense? In that it isn't a journey? A quest? A series of trials? The hunt of ancient treasure? Or whatever dimension hoping happens in Milk Closet?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Well said about Sakaki's character and I agree with you on it. Saves me writing an essay response now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Tangent, but I want to say something, one of the most annoying things about LNs is when they do the isekai thing, the other world almost never feels like an adventure.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I honestly wouldn't complain if it was full blown yuri or shoujo-ai.
Anonymous3316315
@Kaiser-Eoghan - A lot of series have hard ship baiting. Voltron, She Ra, Seraph of the End, Korra (which at the last second they did it). I know sometimes is a stretch like Frodo and Sam in LotR or Venom and Eddie. But other times it's that relationship in everything but name.
Kaiser-Eoghan
People seem to play up the shoujo-ai thing in Euphonium.
Anonymous3316315
@Amagi - Nanbaka has a good English dub. They knew the delivery had to be as hammy as possible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm looking forward to those Gundam NT films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't finish violet evergarden nor did I watch tsurune. In the priors case, that was something I would have seen myself liking maybe 10 years ago.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I liked Koe no kitachi aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
We can call it Racing Lads.
Amagi
Okay thanks. I can deal with slow pacing as long as there is an atmosphere or good character story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Free and kaze cross over WHEN!
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked how scaled back it was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I think you were asking about the new kyoani movie earlier? I can't remember if I posted about it on here what I thought, but I actually liked it more than the main Euphonium series, it stood out in its adherence to using body language, silence and movements moreso than dialogue while giving me a coming of age movie I had been asking for. Though some won't like the glacial pacing
Amagi
KazeGa is pretty damn good. It kinda feels like it actually is what Kyoani is always trying to do when they produce sport series with a male cast that are half comedy half drama. But while I often like some aspects of Kyoani shows (like the setting and themes of VEG), I never like the execution, save from the looks of course that are awesome but don't help making the content any better.
Amagi
*above
Amagi
@SuperMario: IIRC mosts Steven Universe VAs are actual singers so they should be a level about typical VAs anyway. Not sure who's voice acting for RWBY.
Amagi
But since I watch everything seasonally subs are faster and I usually don't rewatch series, otherwise a rewatch could be a good reason to watch the dubs for the second time.
Amagi
At least eng dubs got way better in general over the yers. Probably because anime is more mainstream now. Maybe I would like many of them more if I started with the dub.
SuperMario
Maybe it’s a translation issue, by that I mean usually some nuance from the native language is lost in translation. That issue can be alright if it subs, but when saying it out loud it becomes unnatural?
Amagi
Japanese VAs also talk a lot about their characters and give interviews about them, including their own interpretations or head canon stuff. Not sure if western VAs of Japanese shows do that too.
Amagi
Instead when it's a foreign show there is nothing to do but to memorize the finished lines and everything is already set in stone, so you are 100% passive and can't really view it as your or your team's work.
Amagi
I often heard that western VAs thought up some ideas that were integrated into the script. Not sure if that's the case for most cartoons of if these were exceptions, but it could be a hint that VAs are way more involved into a show and the development of their characters when it is a native show, it's kinda logical.
Amagi
Yeah, native stuff is usually better.
SuperMario
Then again, I enjoy the English VA of western cartoon like RWBY or Steven Universe so I guess it’s just a matter of original intended language for me
SuperMario
Well, I’m not a fan of dubbing either. Not that much of a dub-hater but I remember watching Monster and Cowboy Bebop in english dub before I had to switch back to Japanese voice midway through
Amagi
Still living ones I mean. But as said actual movies are usually well dubbed, so I guess it depends on how much money something generates.
Amagi
I knew a bunch of old ones but they're all dead by now. Know maybe three or so with name and face (and often don't even recognize them in movies) and another 6-10 by name only.
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Some days, I wonder what it is with America and anime about organized crime. Baccano!, 91 Days, Blood Blockade Battlefront, all set in America, all involving criminal underworlds. Today, I get to add another to that list in the form of Banana Fish. Much more grounded than the others, it’s story dates all the way […]

Castlevania Season 2 Review – 73/100

According to much of the Western Anime community, this series wouldn’t be relevant for a site like this. Being made in the West by Americans, and English being its first language, many would disqualify it from the start. However I name them all fools for Castlevania, Directed by Sam Deats and Ryoichi Uchikoshi is clearly […]