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Mawaru Penguindrum – 19 »« Mawaru Penguindrum – 17

Mawaru Penguindrum – 18

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「だから私のためにいてほしい」 (Dakara Watashi no Tame ni Ite Hoshii)
“That’s Why I Want You There For Me”

The more I watch Mawaru Penguindrum, the more I wonder if the goal of this series is to illustrate the traumatic effects that bad and twisted parenting can have on children. This week, the story delves into Keiju’s past just like I had hoped, where we find out that he too had a terrible childhood because of his mother (Hisakawa Aya). At this point, I would’ve only been surprised if Keiju had a normal childhood, since none of the characters seem to be fortunate enough to have such a thing.

Be that as it may, Keiju’s attempt to make the Takakuras pay for their father’s crimes does raise questions as to what Ikuhara has experienced and/or been exposed to over the course of his life, because this isn’t exactly the type of material that someone just cooks up overnight — at least not to the degree that’s been shown in this twisted story of intertwined fates. To write and direct a story with such heavy themes, I imagine one would have to get into the minds of the characters at times, which quite frankly, isn’t something I could picture myself doing. After all, we don’t simply have one-dimensional killers here, but psychologically disturbed individuals who each have their own outlook on a warped world and how they intend to “correct” it. In other words, they have their own “truths” and their own forms of “justice”, and for Keiju it’s avenging Momoka who gave him a new purpose in life, even if it’s in the form of misguided punishment on Himari, Kanba, and Shouma.

Amazingly enough, there were some positives to take away from Keiju’s depressing story where failed to excel at playing the piano, got his fingers crushed, and was cast aside by his talent-obsessed mother. Child Broiler notwithstanding (which I presume is some metaphysical plane like the library in the sky), his traumatic experience isn’t nearly as bad as what Yuri had to endure. Also, while Keiju seemed no better at first for wanting to exact revenge on the Takakuras, he came to his senses and redeemed himself when he was reminded of Momoka by Kanba’s desperation to save Himari. The quick turnaround in his character was really unexpected — and even refreshing — as was the sight of him breaking it off with Yuri, who doesn’t look like she has given up on making the Takakuras suffer just yet.

In terms of the actual progression, they had me going for a bit with the idea of Himari sacrificing herself to stop burdening Kanba, even though I wasn’t emotionally invested in the scene itself. If anything, I was more in awe at the direction the series has taken, which now includes a twisted take on attempted murder. It’s a staggering step above the attempted rape by Yuri and miles beyond what started our as a fantasy-filled fight over Momoka’s diary, and results in a dismal conclusion that’s in desperate need of an uplifting turn of events. This isn’t only in reference to the Takakura siblings either, as it’s becoming much more apparent that everyone’s suffering. The only way I can see this series ending now is the idea I had before, where someone uses Momoka’s diary to transfer the “fate train” that everyone’s on now and remold the world into one where Momoka’s still alive and they all have normal loving families.

* Brain’s Base enters the piano business.
* Full-length images: 06, 13, 29.

 

Preview & End Card

Mawaru Penguindrum   18   Preview 01 Mawaru Penguindrum   18   End Card 01
November 11, 2011 at 12:50 am
68 comments »
  • November 11, 2011 at 1:04 amFencedude

    I’m most interested in finding out the true story behind Momoka. She’s been built up as such an amazing, perfect, heroic figure. No one is that good.

    That being said, I’d totally watch a show about SUPER ACTION GIRL OGINOME MOMOKA

    • November 11, 2011 at 1:40 ambanzemanga

      @Fencedude
      That is some amazing insight. Now i am curious about it too.

      @Divine
      I agree with you with the awkwardness. I believe it is due to the over-exaggerated drama which interfered with the flow of emotions.

      And someone i hate how the younger brother is never able to be of any help. Although i understand that there are times that are inevitable; but it is mostly due to the fact that he would never cross the line of risking himself.

      P.S.> One interesting theme i always found in this series is that the suffering of these people where caused by the actions of irresponsible parents.

      • November 11, 2011 at 3:34 amJack

        I think it’s more because Kanba (adopted) is lusting over his “sister” whereas Shouma only sees her as a sister.

      • November 11, 2011 at 10:07 amMinnako

        I wonder what would have happened in a world where Momoka HAD lived…After all, bad things would still have happened as she would never have been able to stop everything from happening, yet Tabuki clearly feels he needs to blame everything wrong in the world on her death. Psychologically an interesting picture, but frustrating logic to have to watch unfold onscreen.

        A show on Momoka’s exploits would be quite something, even though I find her presence in this show really grating, she’s an interesting character. It’s really the obsession with Momoka more than Momoka herself that becomes irritating. How can Ringo, Momoka’s sister, previously the craziest character on this show have the sanest rationale when it comes to dealing with her loss? (a rationale she got from Tabuki, who actually never believed in it at all…ironically)

    • November 11, 2011 at 10:14 amMinnako

      @Banzemanga: I hate Shouma’s helplessness, too. I feel it comes from the fact that unlike Kanba, he’s basically a normal 16-year-old. No secret terrorist organisations and shady jobs, no making pacts to share his soul with hot entities possessing your sister – it would just never occur to him to take the paths that Kanba takes. Which doesn’t necessarily mean he loves his sister any less (Whatever is going on between Kanba and the hat spirit notwithstanding), rather that because his morality and experiences are different, he just sees different options as being open to him, and evidently Ikuhara has different plans for him…

      Irresponsible parenting does seem to be a theme here – I doubt any of the relatively main characters have actually had responsible parents. I wonder if that would have been different in Momoka-is-aive world. And if so, does that mean that Momoka’s attempts to do good ultimately resulted in more evil? That in overstretching herself and dying, and in lots of people trying to correct her actions, she actually messed up more people’s lives than she saved? And the people she saved ended up twisted individuals bent on criminal revenge on people who had never done them any wrong (not what Saint Momoka would have wanted!), did she actually help them at all?

    • November 11, 2011 at 4:49 pmSinqueseizure

      I don’t think there IS a true story to Momoka. She’s just doing what Akio could never do for very long, because Akio was evil.

  • November 11, 2011 at 1:05 amFling

    Himari’s farewell to Kanba had me tearing up there.

    Shouma arrives late as usual.

    In a nonchalant voice : “We will now be crushing you into pieces now. There is nothing to fear. You will just become indistinguishable from one another. You will just become invisible entities” – lol

    • November 11, 2011 at 10:07 amHisoka

      Mostly this just made me angry at the director. I wasn’t going to grieve for Himari if she died a third time, and had she it would have trivialized the first two deaths (Ep.1 and 12, I think). Both of those were done really well. So glad we did not have a third — would have just felt manipulated.

  • November 11, 2011 at 1:18 amAlec

    This ep really got me hooked xD

    I just didn’t like how things ended up on the end, but I guess that’s what the mass want.

    I would’ve preferred if the creators did Tabuki’s back story similar to Yuri, where we actually see some actual events rather than a story being told through symbolism only — Not that I hate it or something, for it was actually pretty good

    • November 11, 2011 at 1:19 amAlec

      mostly*

    • November 11, 2011 at 3:12 pmHisoka

      Good point. I agree Tabuki’s story seemed too symbolic and non-specific, as in more cliche than content.

      • November 11, 2011 at 9:39 pmAni_BEE

        It’s a bit harder to show physiological trauma as the only physical injury to him were self inflicted. I think the metaphors used here with the mother and brother visually makes a great deal of senses (depicted in the master brush stroke of an style of a Monet, who also suffered most of his life with altered vision).

    • November 11, 2011 at 6:48 pmmomogoldfish

      Wait…Yuri’s story wasn’t symbolic?

      • November 12, 2011 at 5:10 amShibireru

        The chisels were symbolic of things that really happened. I think what he means is we got to see actual flashbacks.

  • November 11, 2011 at 2:06 amStuff

    I wasnt completely emotionally invested in the characters until this episode. For the most part, this show had shocking moments, but aside from that, I didnt connect with the characters emotionally. Episode 12 was pretty sad, but this episode made me tear up

  • November 11, 2011 at 2:23 ammtle

    Momoka is too mature for a child, doesn’t work out for me ..
    But i guess a magicial diary can do that huh?

  • November 11, 2011 at 3:00 amSlushiZ

    Watching this just before my lit exam, so I’m actually really appreciating the symbolic/thematic stuff. As flawed as these characters are at least I think what they do (or in Shouma’s case not do lol) really fits with who their characters are made out to be in this ep. PENGUINDRUM WHY YOU SO WEIRD/INTERESTING :P

  • November 11, 2011 at 3:15 amr

    Another amazing episode. We’re nearing the homestretch and the quality of this episode only makes it seem like it’s going to be better from here on out. This episode’s direction was superb, from the details of the music pacing to the scene transitions. Very well-woven.

    I can’t help but be worried about the end scene and end card looking like a major death flag for Kanba and Himari, but at the same time, I think I could accept if they both died. I freaking lost it when Kanba said “I want to live for your sake.”

    Divine, methinks you missed a full-length link.

    • November 11, 2011 at 3:16 amr

      Oops, scratch that last bitーAccidentally opened the second to last link twice without realizing it. Carry on!

  • November 11, 2011 at 6:13 amjrj

    just a random observation… the train track in the eye patch seems to indicate it is going back toward the left of the screen in a couple of episode… does this suggest that things will redeem itself or conclude that parallel to the early episodes?
    this show always raises more questions than to answer them… :)

  • November 11, 2011 at 7:04 amSlushiZ

    By the way does anyone know how Keiju saved Himari and re-appeared a second later holding her …even though she was dangling there in the middle of nowhere. (Its probs not the most unrealistic thing that’s happened) Somehow i thought this was particularly amazing though.

  • November 11, 2011 at 7:32 amewok40k

    We have Tabuki out of play at least for a while, leaving Yuri alone. Will she be able to exact her revenge? Will little miss President crush her enemies soon? Will the brothers save Himari? Stay tuned for the next episode of MP!

  • November 11, 2011 at 8:10 amrufe

    I also wonder what Shouma’s part is in this story. So far it’s been as a pretty periphery character who seems one step disconnected from the entire situation, but I’m sure that will not continue…

    • November 11, 2011 at 5:30 pmSinqueseizure

      You’re not supposed to think about Shouma that way. He doesn’t participate in evil like Tabuki does and, frankly, he knows Himari can take care of herself. Kanba doesn’t know that.

    • November 12, 2011 at 8:48 amJunk

      One part of Shouma’s purpose is to be the observer/narrator. It isn’t just being made as obvious in the series. He also represents the one who is frozen by doubt caused by feelings of guilts. Some people are energized by it and driven do act (Kanba), some are accepting/dismissive (Himari)… Shouma is frozen into inaction, ineptitude and self-hatred: notice his penguin has becoming increasingly self-harmful in what it chooses to eat. His penguin is showing us how desperate Shouma is to fill himself emotionally but is unable to make good choices in how to do so. So far, Shouma’s development arc has been very subtle but it is present.

  • November 11, 2011 at 8:39 ambluance

    Sanetoshi found Kanba’s secret pretty quickly, here I thought they were going to be BFFs. If this is all for Tabuki’s past it seems he doesn’t know about the dairy, though I have a strong feeling Yuri used the dairy and the whole Momoka past redeemed itself.

    • November 11, 2011 at 10:15 amMinnako

      I bet he knew all along and he just waited for an ‘electrifying’ time to reveal it…

    • November 11, 2011 at 4:45 pmSinqueseizure

      Found? Sanetoshi has always known… You might say that he knows the secrets of every person he meets.

  • November 11, 2011 at 9:06 amneko

    oh dear… Gotta add Tabuki to the bishie list now =3

    • November 11, 2011 at 9:19 amneko

      gotta love Unmei No Ko Tachi soundtrack too

  • November 11, 2011 at 9:26 amFujino

    After watching this episode, I can’t help but think that Himari’s “destined person” = Tabuki (i.e. Himari = reborn Momoka). Himari had a flashback to the Child Broiler in ep. 9, and the whole “thank you for choosing me” bit is pretty similar to the Tabuki/Momoka dynamic in this episode. You could take the opening’s dance scene with Himari’s unknown suitor as Momoka’s consciousness in Himari (princess of the crystal?) as Tabuki & Himari (similar to the scene when he catches her in this episode?)…

    … but as a Kanba/Himari supporter, I hope I’m not right.

    • November 11, 2011 at 10:17 amMinnako

      I got that vibe from the hairstyle of her ‘destined’ when he came up – it would make sense that she may be Momoka’s reincarnation in terms of personality (even if the hat entity isn’t Momoka, which it probably is) – Could Tabuki even have been referring to her actions, and not Kanba’s when he exclaims ‘Momoka’ and saves her?

  • November 11, 2011 at 10:00 amGuardian Enzo

    Heh, again we’re right on the same page. This week’s ep really brought home the fact that the damage parents can to their kids is a major theme of this show – it united every major major character.

  • November 11, 2011 at 10:56 amStuff

    anybody notice the new penguin logo in this episode?
    here

    • November 11, 2011 at 3:15 pmHisoka

      Looked like a penguin, eyes closed, wearing a (nurse’s?) hat with a cross on it?

  • November 11, 2011 at 1:11 pmSnowolf

    I really enjoyed Tabuki’s backstory- while I felt that it was the most abstract out of all the ones we’ve seen in some time, I did enjoy all the symbolism (the child broiler was really intense!) and you could definitely see how he really bonded to Momoka. It’s interesting how both Tabuki and Yuri view Momoka as some kind of God who came out of the heavens to change their life imminently, instead of just a faithful friend. Their lives revolve around her. Of course, I only have this fear that Momoka, like almost all of the characters in this show, is not what she seems, and that a much more sinister motive lurks behind that innocent smile. Her way of saying “Live for me!” and “I love you” seem almost stand out amongst a sea of almost too-dramatic sayings somehow. I mean, how did these two even really meet? Tabuki, unlike Yuri did not even know Momoka existed before this; of course, this is all figuratively speaking, so Tabuki may have had some knowledge of Momoka’s existence and the POV that we saw was at the specific time when Tabuki was at his lowest point. Tabuki’s parents also reminded me a lot of the parents in this show, and the theme of high expectations passing down from one to another. The Takakura’s unconsciously passed down their sin to their children; the Oginome parents passed down the strain of their relationship onto Ringo, who tried turning into Momoka to save that relationship, Yuri’s father physically abused her (and raped? I’m still not sure and I kind of don’t want to know) and now we see Tabuki’s mother as one who forced her own ideals of perfection (just like Yuri’s father had his ideals of perfection- Yuri and Tabuki almost mirror each other in terms of their parents and how they were treated) onto him and his little brother. Which resulted in him purposely crushing his hand so he could have an excuse not to play piano.

    While it’s kind of sad, I still in no way have any sympathy for Tabuki’s actions, which seemed to be more out of self-loathing and self-pity than actual revenge. Tabuki laments the fact that he wasn’t able to do anything about Momoka’s death, and immaturely puts that blame (in quite a gruesome and heart stopping fashion) onto Kanba and Himari. In the end, he finally grows weary (or gains sympathy, realizes his actions?) and saves Himari, but nevertheless, we were really able to see how desperate he had become. Which leads me to wonder- while both Tabuki and Yuri met Momoka for the better, they have only turned out to be vicious monsters of their own grim fate. As Ringo rightfully (ugh, I love this girl!) says at the end- she won’t grow up hating the family when it was her own sister who died at the hands of the Takakura parents, not just because she loves Shouma, but also because she realizes that grief, loss, and happiness all play a part in one’s life, and it’s up to us whether to accept that or not. But Tabuki and Yuri have grown haunted, almost into corpses reeking of self hatred, shared by their bond with Momoka. Of course, it seems that Yuri is a little more mature than Tabuki, slapping him in the face (damn straight!) after seeing what he did and his patheticness at doing it.

    I’m still annoyed that this show isn’t making full use of Shouma’s character- he’s my favorite, despite his inherent uselessness and lack of tack and coming on time, but that’s not his fault- I blame the show. Shouma is the only character in this show who isn’t effed up somehow/has shady intentions and thus I really want him to play a major part in the end, if he can. I have a feeling he’s connected to the Penguindrum, considering that the show’s focus on Kanba and his countless sacrifices (as Himari said rightly- enough already!) might just be a little red herring so that we don’t think about Shouma. If that’s true, that would be excellent; I’m just dying for Shouma to actually accomplish something, though I feel like his relationship with Ringo is really going to amount to something important in the end, rather than him actually doing something.

    Going back to the Himari/Kanba scenes-that was intense. I was literally clutching the end of my seat. Damn you Ikuhara! But oh boy, the use of music during that scene was fantastic. A major problem I have with this show is its lack of good BGM- which is actually a bigger factor in creating/evoking emotions than people think (think horror, folks, and all those violins) but this episode did a nice job of using the BGM well.

    Also, Shigeyasu Yamauchi directing this episode was a dream come true. I could totally spot his signature styles of shooting things in different ways and adding a lot of gorgeous visual feasts to the action scenes as well as the flashback scenes. HEARTS IN MY EYES, I’m telling you.

    I’m still a little concerned about how this show is going to wrap up in only eight more episodes, but that’s still enough time. It feels like this is more of a 50-episode show, but now that we have formally introduced everyone (except for Sanetoshi, whose random 2 minute scene was just…weird- what’s up with that rabbit fetish, I would like to know) hopefully we’ll start moving toward a good climax. It’s been a fun train ride, and now it’s finally time to wrap up all of these loose strings and tie them into a grand finale!

    • November 11, 2011 at 1:12 pmSnowolf

      Also, some food for thought; The whole “invisible entity” idea? Think back to Sakakibara Seito, the then-juvenile perpetrator of two vicious child murders in Tokyo back in 1997.

      On June 6, a letter was sent to the newspaper Kobe Shinbun, in which Sakakibara claimed responsibility for the slaying and decapitation of Jun Hase, and threatened that more killings would follow. This second letter, delivered in a brown envelope postmarked June 3, had no return address or name. Enclosed was a three-page, 1400-word letter, also written in red ink, which included a six-character name that can be pronounced as “Sakakibara Seito.” The same characters, which mean alcohol, devil, rose, saint and fight, were used in the first message that was inserted into the boy’s mouth.

      Beginning with the phrase “Now, it’s the beginning of a game,” the letter stated that “I am putting my life at stake for the sake of this game… If I’m caught, I’ll probably be hanged… police should be angrier and more tenacious in pursuing me…. It’s only when I kill that I am liberated from the constant hatred that I suffer and that I am able to attain peace. It is only when I give pain to people that I can ease my own pain.” The letter also lashed out against the Japanese educational system, calling it “compulsory education that formed me, an invisible person.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seito_Sakakibara#cite_note-1) Wikipedia translated the phrase “透明な存在” (toumei na sonzai) as “invisible person”, but the translation “invisible entity” is also suffice.

      This might be a long shot, but it was one of the first things that came to my mind after I watched the show. But considering that Ikuhara has stuffed this show with a lot of allusions back to the many dark secrets of Japan, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • November 12, 2011 at 9:08 amJunk

      I’m certain Shouma is carrying his own dark feelings and painful suffering inside. It’s what is causing his inability to be effective in anyway. He’s being held back by his own internal pain. I do hope Shouma will be able to revolutionize his world, though!

      I agree that much is missed in the show by people who aren’t familiar with or willing to do some reading on the japanese incident events referenced. Of course, anime fans should recognize the idea of “invisible entity” as relating to other hikkomori themes from other titles; another idea which seems commonly related is the idea of the mass-joining of selves to fix to problem stemming from being a lonely individual (a la EVA).

      It’s hard to find Western counter-part ideas without heading into Unabomber/Waco territory. I think Ikuhara is showing how these mindsets are a spectrum and that the extremes (terrorists and isolationists) are still connected to our social spectrum and not only are they not totally different from us, some of their motivation is created by their relationships with others. The social disowning of these people does nothing to address the issues which are pushing more people than not into personal disfunction but as long as they all aren’t bombing others who cares how they feel inside, right?

      I find it really hilarious that Ikuhara claimed that he didn’t think Mawaru would be very comparable to Utena because both are, at their cores, similar morality tales about honest, genuine love and doing for others vs. displaced, inappropriate love and self- or faked sacrifice performed for reward.

  • November 11, 2011 at 1:20 pmneko

    @Divine
    Your ending theory is interesting. In the 1st op, dont know if you noticed, Tabuki was always shown with a very serious/dark expression, so if fate transfer happens again, it looks like Ringo is going to do it as there are a few hints she gets same ‘burns’ as Momoaka…

    but again with this show nothing is certain lol

  • November 11, 2011 at 1:33 pmskylaris

    — and even refershing —

    Divine, you mean Refreshing?

    This episode is pretty solid. I’m hook on this series to see it’s ending. I can’t fathom that Ringo is the most sane character of this series after the “Ringo” show in the beginning.

    • November 11, 2011 at 3:18 pmDivine

      That I did. Thanks.

    • November 11, 2011 at 5:54 pmHrmmmm

      Keiju’s depressing story where failed to excel at playing the piano

      he*hehehehehehe xD

  • November 11, 2011 at 1:49 pmSoiyeruda

    Bit surprised this series isn’t as popular as it could be. 2nd to Mirai Nikki in series I’m anticipating every week. Hell of a ton of twists and turns. Finally on the final quarter and the story could go any direction.

    • November 12, 2011 at 10:46 pmYuumei

      This show has a lot of symbolism and makes references to a lot of Japanese culture. I think most people (not from Japan anyway) are not that knowledgeable, and are also unwilling to look these things up. This is why I think it’s not as popular as it could be.

  • November 11, 2011 at 2:36 pmClick

    The whole episode was surprisingly full of suspense, even with the tension-breaking penguins.
    Very good.

  • November 11, 2011 at 2:38 pmAnanas

    Kanba, still bleeding. The Red One.
    Himari, still endangered. Red Thread of Fate
    Shouma, still useless. GET A GRIP.

  • November 11, 2011 at 2:41 pmpimpolla

    Wow, que episodio!! no hay ningun capítulo de esta serie que no me deje completamente picada! casi lloro al final que buena tactica la de meter el nombre del episodio en vez de las palabras de Ringo. Me ecnantó este episodio, aparte Himari se me hace super bonita

  • November 11, 2011 at 3:20 pmHisoka

    Himari rocks. She’s such an earnest character. Still my fave.

  • November 11, 2011 at 3:54 pmStereoman

    Lily Hoshino’s artwork at the end is really stunning this week!

    • November 11, 2011 at 4:41 pmSinqueseizure

      I don’t like it… it’s drawn by somebody who doesn’t believe.

      In other news… The animation this week reminded me strongly of Madhouse’s style. I wonder if anyone from Madhouse worked on this episode. I think something like that must have happened.

    • November 11, 2011 at 6:25 pmMGO

      So in love with Lily Hosino’s artwork!! Her end cards never cease to amaze me each episode :)

  • November 11, 2011 at 5:06 pmSinqueseizure

    Now, for a more pointed comment. I was not moved by Tabuki’s childhood story. His mother only likes talented people. Big whoop. He couldn’t get over it, or he couldn’t change her mind? What a pathetic, faceless wimp, who truly deserved to die in the broiler.

  • November 11, 2011 at 6:25 pmacolyte

    -_- Stopped watching this anime. Will be relying on randomc for synopsis.. Then maybe after it finishes..

  • November 11, 2011 at 6:31 pmSeishun Otoko

    Not sure how am I supposed to interpret that slap Yuri gave Tabuki. Does that mean she actually has feelings for Keiju or she’s just pissed at him for not letting her take part in his grand plan to revenge Momoka?

    • November 11, 2011 at 7:00 pmpimpolla

      I dont know, but i think she actually had feelings for Tabuki

    • November 12, 2011 at 5:09 amShibireru

      It’s not very clear, but I thought Yuri was just angry Tabuki used her.

    • November 12, 2011 at 7:59 amMinnako

      Perhaps she needed the validation of having another person to obsess about Momoka and relive the memories with? Even if they had no feelings other than platonic for each other, Momoka could have been a very powerful force driving them together.

      Although, she may have had some feelings for him (nowhere near those for Momoka probably). Yuri is, after all, deeply insecure and forever searching for people to give her a feeling of worth (something that only Momoka has succeeded in). So even if she didn’t feel for him deeply, she probably appreciated having him there – and likewise didn’t appreciate him pointing out that their relationship was a sham based on two codependent adults clutching to each other because they craved Momoka instead. The truth was evidently shocking for her.

  • November 11, 2011 at 9:07 pmTalaGrey

    I liked the use of Monet’s painting “Woman with a Parasol” in this ep.

    • November 11, 2011 at 9:49 pmAni_BEE

      I’ve only scene that painting once but I recognized the style right away. It’s kind of poignant that the mother is depicted as Monet’s wife Camille and the brother Monet’s son jean.

      The original paint capture the light and turbulent blue sky of spring or early summer were as Tabuki’s remembrance is at dusk and the fall of the light.

  • November 12, 2011 at 10:49 amJunk

    I’ve been waiting to see Tabuki’s background and the meaning behind his scarred hand. It was important because Ikuhara’s focus has always been internal pain and suffering, not external. Physical pain is fleeting and our bodies easily forget physical pain and they are easily “repaired” if necessary. What is lasting and fundamental is internal pain and physical injuries and scars have only been used to represent the internal. This episode shows that nothing has changed.

    Tabuki’s physical scars and the pain which surrounds them are symbolic. He doesn’t care about his hand (and thus, as extension, himself) because the entirety of his world was empty and meaningless without the love and support of his family. That connection is everything to a small child and his dependance on his mother (greater than normal due to being separated from his biological father) turned out to be a destructive relationship. Necessary reliance on an unreliable, unloving person does that. But the hand itself, and its scars, are not themselves important. I read Tabuki’s journey to the Child Broiler as a metaphor for child suicide. Of course, he wasn’t on the ledge ready to jump but his emotional state was on the edge of no return to being a non-suicidal child. It was only a matter of time.

    Ikuhara’s characters are always sympathetic, to a point. Where that point rests depends on the actions chosen by that character. Tabuki was willing to put a child at great risk to attain a goal but he was easily inspired to not follow through. He should be more sympathetic than Yuri since Yuri has expressed a desire to kill while Tabuki did not desire death. Yet because Tabuki ‘merely’ suffered a deprivation of love while Yuri suffered sexual abuse many seem to believe Tabuki didn’t suffer as much and is less sympathetic because of the nature of his abuse compared to hers.

    However, the cause of one’s suffering is less important than the path one chooses in dealing with it. This is an important idea to understand: both Tabuki and Yuri suffered. Comparing the causes of their suffering is trite because each individual only experiences their own internal pain. Tabuki’s pain is not less important or meaningful than Yuri’s. Yuri’s abuse is not greater because it had a physical component: the physical is forgettable. The damage done to her was done at the emotional/internal level.

    The chisels visually employed in Yuri’s ep makes crystal clear sense: they are representing how the abuse Yuri experienced by her father resulted in her being “chiseled” out of normal society and separated her emotionally from others and the reinforcement of this isolation in the form of physical and sexual abuse. She was separated from her mother. She was told she cannot trust anyone else and is reprimanded for making a friend. She cannot connect on a personal level with anyone. She was taught to do things which pleased her father but surely seemed wrong to her (secret things she was forced to do “eagerly”). Only Momoka was able to defy Yuri’s world as her father had created it. Then Momoka “fixed” Yuri’s world by removing the damaging connection with her father.

    When understood in this light, the genital surgery idea becomes entirely irrelevant. Yuri doesn’t need an overly extravagant fake penis to suffer or be isolated. The emotional abuse inflicted is more than sufficient; being physically hurt and sexually abused (suggested rape) is a part of the cause of her emotional abuse but his words and the world he created to isolate her in are the lasting effects.
    (I know it has been repeated but chisels are only reductive and cannot be used to add, build, or shift around.)

    Recall in her flashback the beginning of the art class: what did Yuri do when the students began to pick partners? She sat without moving or looking at anyone. Of course no normal students would approach her if they weren’t already her friend. They weren’t avoiding her because they knew she had a fake penis or it had been said she missed much school because of her physical injuries (because it wasn’t said she had missed any and you’d think she would if that was going on); they avoided her because she (blamelessly) created that reaction in them by her own actions. It was a self-reinforcing situation which would have continued without Momoka’s breaking into it. Unless it is shown or clearly stated that her father was constructing a fake penis on Yuri, it is entirely unnecessary to believe that was the situation. Despite the characteristic flourishes of the show, at the root of the characters always lay very ordinary and common emotional traumas. Abuse, neglect, abandonment, deprivation, self-worth and perception… I find many typical episodes of CSI to show more depravity and mental sickness and that airs on prime time network TV. So the idea that somehow the genesis of mawaru and it’s characters is rooted in a uniquely disturbed mind surprising considering how much “disturbing” material is readily available in ordinary entertainment media.

    On to Momoka: yes, she seems too good to be true. Of course, the only times we have directly seen Momoka has been in the memories of those who love her. Running away from Sanetoshi; befriending the unfriendly and self-isolating Yuri; loving Tabuki for who he is and not what he does. Humans are notoriously unreliable and I greatly enjoyed Sanetoshi’s explicit reminder of the fluidity of “reality” and “truth”.

    Remember Himari’s journey to the library? It was very real because it was real for her even if it “occurred” while she was dead on a table. It wasn’t as useless as “just a dream” even though what we were shown may have been her dreaming a confused version of what occurred when she died. Either way, it was real enough to count in the story. There really aren’t any throw-away eps, objects, events or people in an Ikuhara story as should now be understandable to viewers for whom Mawaru is his first work.

    I do believe Momoka is probably the entity in the hat because it’s much too late to introduce a new character unless the hat entity is the mentioned “Goddess”. Personally I suspect a “goddess” character does not actually exist but was a symbolic entity representing society/humanity at large. I believe Shouma’s understanding of the situation to be incomplete.

    It currently seems Momoka was somehow born with or granted an ability similar to Sanetoshi’s (which leads me to believe Sanetoshi is a born-human and not anything like a “Goddess”.) He’s simply older, more experienced, and cynical than Momoka and he’s self-serving while she’s self-giving. She seems supernaturally wise in the flashbacks but that fate-seeing ability would probably cause that.

    What we may be seeing in the hat is the side of Momoka that those who love her never saw or believed possible. Or she may recognize that the Takakura boys are so guilt-riddled the only way she can communicate with them is in the manner in which they think they deserve. She has been shown to know exactly how to tell the person she’s talking to what they need to hear.

    I believe we need to know more about Masako and Mario. Masako’s episode was brilliant in what it did: showed how those who are brilliantly competent and strong can be entirely foolish and ineffective. Or perhaps it is showing that a strong display of (useless) competency cannot hide one’s weakness and defects as they find ways to emerge regardless. But the episode did little to explain Mario’s hat situation; so he’s possessed by Grandpa (to torment Masako obviously) but who is pulling Grandpa’s strings? ‘Cause everyone’s strings are being pulled by someone. Grandpa’s the odd one out unless we’re to believe he was just that GAR even in death. How is he connected to fate? Did he bite an apple at some point in the past to build his legacy? Is he just another pawn in some power-game between those who can move fate?

    • November 12, 2011 at 1:20 pmDivine

      Just for the record, I’m sticking to my interpretation of the chisels, since they could just as well been used to symbolize “re-sculpting” of Yuri’s body. Her father could’ve actually been a surgeon on the side or even had made her undergo an operation by another surgeon — it doesn’t matter — but the show wasn’t going to make it that blatantly obvious. It would rather leave it up to interpretation so that someone with your understanding wouldn’t be disturbed as much as someone with my understanding.

      He was obsessed with art and the human figure, and even had statues of Hermaphroditus in his room. He was also obsessed with the statue of David, which was the subject of a lot of controversy but is ultimately renowned for showcasing the male figure in its entirety. Sexual abuse is too straightforward for a character like that, especially one devised by Ikuhara. I wouldn’t put something to this degree past him, judging from all the other messed up stuff in this show.

      What’s more, it seems odd for Tsubasa to say that Yuri’s body has a “secret” if she was simply sexual abused as a child. As you can see from the hot spring scene, she doesn’t have any scars on her arms, legs, or cheek, yet she’s wearing a towel to conceal the rest of her body. Also, the slow-motion scene where her towel comes off fighting Masako clearly suggests that “something” was revealed.

      I don’t know if you bothered to look into the Phalloplasty link that I had in my original post, but you might be surprised at how well the grafting techniques fit the areas that Yuri had bandaged. For example, it’s not just the arm, but the forearm, and it’s not just the leg, but the lower leg because those areas scar less easily. If you look at all the signs, sexual abuse is too simple. Let’s not forget that Yuri’s father considered her “ugly” and wanted to make her “beautiful” in his eyes.

      • November 12, 2011 at 5:58 pmExperienced

        Her father’s a doctor? That’s really stretching it, Divine. We haven’t seen any evidence of that… no sign of him in doctor’s clothes, wearing a stethoscope, having a doctor’s diploma, etc. I’m a little disturbed by your comment about sexual abuse being too simple, especially after you said that the attempted murder is a “significant step” up from attempted rape. You’re taking it too lightly – because you’ve never been sexually abused and, as a man, you probably never will.

  • November 12, 2011 at 5:14 pmLovelyAngel Amy

    They should just retitle the series Puella Magi Momoka Magica. (^_~)

    • November 17, 2011 at 9:08 pmKaka

      You are being disrespectful to Ikuhara’s work. Madoka and Penguin are two totally different anime.

  • November 14, 2011 at 3:56 pmvaldor

    CASSHERN!!!!!!

  • November 16, 2011 at 5:37 pmNumismatic

    I can’t help thinking Momoka is someone from Ikuhara’s past. Did he make this anime to reconnect with him/her? Maybe they lost touch before he became famous?

  • November 21, 2011 at 9:43 pmricz

    Momoka is so moe <3

    Moemoeka

  • November 28, 2011 at 9:52 pmRS456

    From the looks of it I think Yuri ready to start a family with Tabuki for real but Tabuki feels since they are no longer trying to get revenge they longer have to be together.