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. Avatar 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. Avatar Keira says:

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

  3. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar zo says:

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

  6. Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

      • Avatar 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.

        • Avatar 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.

      • Avatar 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.

        • Avatar 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

          • Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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. Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

      • Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

      • Avatar 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.

        • Avatar AidanAK47 says:

          *Stopped drawing faces from a distance
          Not spotted

        • Avatar 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?

    • Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar billish says:

    seems pointless now; meh

  10. Avatar 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.

  11. Avatar 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.

  12. Avatar Lyra says:

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

    • Avatar 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.

  13. Avatar tktym says:

    how come himari has to get naked a lot?

    • Avatar 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.

  14. Avatar 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/

    • Avatar 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.

      • Avatar kevin says:

        I still can’t comment there.

      • Avatar 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 =/.

    • Avatar 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?

  15. Avatar Esmeralda31 says:

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

    Best wishes:-)

  16. Avatar 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…

    • Avatar 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.

  17. Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

  18. Avatar 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.

    • Avatar 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.

      • Avatar 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.

        • Avatar 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.

          • Avatar 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.

          • Avatar 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.

          • Avatar 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.

          • Avatar zo says:

            I was talking about the child broiler btw

      • Avatar 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.

  19. Avatar 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!)

  20. Avatar 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?

  21. Avatar 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…)

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One Punch Man S2 – 3 [The Hunt Begins]

Alright OPM, credit where it’s due, you managed to recover a little this week.  Garou gets more screen time, the animation is a little less shit and ONEs writing is starting to shine through. Lets jump in! Starting off, as fun as it would be to rag on OPM for another week, it’s improved. This […]

Dororo – 15 [The story of the scene from hell]

Fuck you Osamu Kobayashi. Your a terrible director and you ruin everything you touch. Welcome to another week of Dororo, where for once OPM isn’t the show I am most disappointed in. Lets dive in. Let’s cut right to the chase, Dororo looked like shit this week. And all the credit goes to Osamu Kobayashi, […]

Sarazanmai – 02 [I Want to Connect, but I Want to Take]

And the wild ride is here. In turn for cardboard zombies last week, our three kappa-who-are-pooped-out-by-someone-else have to fight cat zombies, an acid bee-themed amusement park, a person with a cat face who clearly reference Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lamb, weeds and a (yuri) kiss at the end of the rainbow. It’s […]

Fruits Basket (2019) – 02/03 [They’re All Animals! / Let’s Play Rich Man-Poor Man!]

I believe it’s safe to say that one of the main concern for this adaptation of Fruits Basket isn’t about the source, but more about whether or not the current staffs have what it takes to bring this classic to life (while at the same time pleases the original author, but that’s beside the point), […]

Mix – 02/03

Star Crossed is one of the oldest anime blogs left on the English-speaking internet, so we’re bound to have a few devotees of Mitsuru Adachi, that master of classic storytelling, among our readership. If you fall into that category, you might wonder why someone who has never read or watched Touch, his seminal work, has […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 3 [Sabito and Makomo]

Welcome to Kimetsu no Yaiba, the premier Saturday Morning Cartoon of the season! This time we burn through a training arc, meet some ghosts and learn the arcs end-goal. Lets jump in! Starting off, like always, the production. Yaiba does a great job here, like usual, looking fantastic. Assume you like digital effects that is. […]

Paranoia Agent – 13 [The Final Episode] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome all to the finale of Paranoia Agent! People grow up, Shounen Bat is defeated and absolutely nothing makes any sense. Lets dive in! Starting off, visually, it worked very well as a finale. Lots of awesome shots, action and moments throughout, all blending into just a joy to watch. Really, it just flowed well. […]

One Punch Man S2 – 2 [Human Monsters]

Breathe deep… Siiiiiiiiigh… Guess we are doing this. Strap in folks, because this is going to be a rough season of OPM. Let me start off, with a friendly warning. If your here for my usual attempts at constructive criticism and attempted multifaceted analysis, I apologize. There will be very little of that for these […]

Dororo – 14 [The Story of Sabame]

Another week, another episode of Dororo. This time we learn the mystery of Dororo’s back, meet a new demon and get a lot of parallels to their current overall situation. Lets jump in! Starting off, Dororo once again is a bit disappointing on the production front. There were a number of dull or sliding stills, […]

Latest Reviews

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]

Mob Psycho 100 S2 Anime Review – 87/100

Upon finishing this series, the only question on my mind was how many animators did Bones sacrifice on ONE’s altar to achieve this. Following their prior season, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 continues Bones adaptation of webcomic and manga author ONE’s 4th work, Mob Psycho 100. ONE has also authored the critically acclaimed One Punch […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai Review – 84/100

Anime draws on many different media types in its endless search for properties to adapt, but manga is still the king of the bunch. And why not? It’s a distinctly Japanese art form, their main demographics have significant overlap, and manga’s panel-based layout means that some of the anime staff’s work is already done. Plenty […]

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Recently, sports anime have become a bit of a dying breed. Falling into the same hole as Mecha, aside from a passionate base audience, most are overlooked. There are the occasional hits like Haikyuu, Yuri on Ice, or Darling in the Franxx for Mecha, but those are few and far between, often taking years. Even […]

A quick and dirty review of Garo: Vanishing Line

What it claims to be about: A secret order of knights and alchemists, the Makai Knights and Alchemists, fight horrifying creatures called Hollows who prey on human weakness .Part of the media franchise spanning anime and live action shows, this iteration is set in modern metropolis and concerns the attempts of Sword, the strongest Makai […]

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If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]