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Mawaru Penguindrum – 21 »« Mawaru Penguindrum – 19

Mawaru Penguindrum – 20

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「選んでくれてありがとう」 (Erande Kurete Arigatou)
“Thank You For Choosing Me”

If this latest episode was any indication, it’s looking more and more like Mawaru Penguindrum intends to keep the Child Broiler as a figurative representation, leaving its significance open to interpretation. While that’s not all that unexpected, learning that Himari was unwanted by her mother and befriended by Shouma seems to suggest what it may actually be, namely, the act of abandoning children on the streets where they’re eventually forgotten and die. It could very well be that all the talk about becoming a “transparent” alludes to being forgotten, whereas the broiler itself purposely lessens the unsightly depiction of children dying. It’s almost as if the broiler a staging point in the children’s lives, indicating that they’ve given up on living as it looks like they willingly go there themselves. The facility itself on the other hand appears to signify society and how these children have become victims of it. What brought about this idea is the sight of the abandoned kitten that Shouma and Himari saved — befittingly named “San-chan” just like Himari’s penguin but with the world “Sun” instead of “Three” — which was also a victim of being unwanted and literally thrown into the trash. Judging from Himari’s reaction, the loss of the kitten reminded her that can’t escape her place in society, despite her attempts to disillusion herself with the help of Shouma, so she resigned to her fate and threw herself in the trash, i.e. the Child Broiler.

Assuming that’s the case, the question one might have is why the series is purposely being vague about the subject matter with a figurative approach. For practicality sake, if Mawaru Penguindrum wanted to depict an abandoned child on the streets, holding onto hope that her mother would come get them, it could’ve easily just shown Himari drifting in and out of consciousness to suggest that she’ll die before long. My take on it is that this form of “artistic” depiction allows the series to mask the message that it ultimately wants to convey, leaving it up to the viewer to gauge the implications for themselves. Those who don’t pick up on all the signs or simply don’t know any better will interpret things to the best of their understanding, which allows the series to shelter the less suspecting viewers. Yuri’s backstory served as the perfect example of the different interpretations that can result from the same episode, so I gather the Child Broiler, “Hole in the Sky” Library, the Adam and Eve-like forbidden fruit, and possibly even Momoka’s diary are intended to represent a more familiar concept in today’s society, be it fate, religion, or simply the harsh reality of the world that most people turn a blind-eye to.

As for some more concrete developments, it was really hard see the terrorist-like preaching by Shouma’s father Kenzan as anything other than that. They may see the mistreatment of “unchosen ones” as a great injustice in society, but that hardly wins over my support for their radical methods. The most surprisingly implication is that Kanba is actually Masako’s older brother and that the “Takakura siblings” is just a pseudo-family formed after the fallout of the Sarin gas attack in 1995. It was already mentioned back in episode sixteen that Masako felt like her father was used by the “Kiga Group” (and their constantly changing name), but it’s definitely news to find out that she might’ve been stalking her brother all this time. Next up to that is all the talk about love bearing fruit between Himari and Sanetoshi, which I presume is in reference to Shouma. I really wasn’t sure how to take Himari’s talk about being unsatisfied with kisses alone, other than she’d rather prefer to stay as make-believe siblings if she can’t go all the way with Shouma as her lover. Whatever the case, I do have a hard time imagining Shouma will see Himari as anything more than a younger sister, since he hasn’t exactly shown any interest like Kanba, who is supposedly free of incestuous implications now. I have an even harder time imagining how this series will end, so I’m just hoping that everything comes together in a somewhat fulfilling way.

* Full-length images: 14, 35.

 

ED7 Sequence

Mawaru Penguindrum   ED7   01 Mawaru Penguindrum   ED7   02 Mawaru Penguindrum   ED7   03

ED7: 「Private Girl」 by トリプルH (Triple H)
Watch the 7th ED!: Streaming ▼

Preview & End Card

Mawaru Penguindrum   20   Preview 01 Mawaru Penguindrum   20   End Card 01
November 26, 2011 at 6:18 pm
60 comments »
  • November 26, 2011 at 6:23 pmShijugira

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  • November 26, 2011 at 6:35 pmNeko

    despite knowing Masako and Kanba knew each other, her calling him ‘Oniisama’ kinda surprised me.Its nice to see Shouma does trust Ringo afterall if he could tell her all his family secrets but what a twisted plot.

    if bets were made on how this series would end, it would be interesting to hear all the speculations! I love this show. Thanks for blogging it!

  • November 26, 2011 at 6:40 pmMyna

    Well Utena has one of the greatest endings I’ve ever seen. So I have confidence that Ikuhara can deliver another great one.

  • November 26, 2011 at 6:46 pmjrj

    Thanks for the post as always, Divine!
    It is interesting that Shouma wanted to be friends with Himari before become “family”… they look much more like the typical anime “Childhood friends” back there :3
    Poor Ringo… there is nothing good for her if the show keeps it current direction :(
    and yes, the revelation that Kanba might be Masako’s brother is shocking… though I still have a hard time believing that is indeed the case, given the way she addresses him now. Also this further complicates their relationship with Mario…
    Hope this show finish strongly.
    ps. seems like the train track is almost made to the reverse direction… might have some implication there.

  • November 26, 2011 at 6:53 pmtomato-san

    This is the third time someone has said living is a punishment. Shouma asked if it was in one of the first three episodes, Dr. Sanetoshi said we weren’t meant to be here in episode 13, and Himari confirmed what Shouma said that it is a punishment. I’m a bit worried about the author’s depression. Is he doing okay?

    • November 26, 2011 at 7:21 pmPokey

      It can be hard for famous people to recall that others look up to them and admire them for what they can’t do. Their fans have the most practical interest in them possible: they want them to be happy and healthy.

    • November 27, 2011 at 3:52 amverifier

      I don’t think a real-life Sanetoshi would say that… and I don’t think a real-life Himari would, either. That’s something Kanba would say.

  • November 26, 2011 at 7:08 pmPokey

    It was nice to see Dr. Sanetoshi talk about kisses. We all need kisses from time to time to rejuvenate us.

  • November 26, 2011 at 7:16 pmshinkirou

    i guess himari is adopted.. but it really suprise me that shouma is the the one who does everything to keep the family firm instead of kanban. btw is it me or what i heard younger masako call young kanba “oni sama” and their dad ” otou-san” in the middle of the episode so does it it make her and mario related sibling to takamura family ? anyway i love the younger himari so MOE!!!!!! that explain where the pink bear doll come from the opening and the scarf from the previous episode which himari keep stating is important to her.

  • November 26, 2011 at 7:41 pmR

    It’s amazing how up until now, some people thought Shouma was the adopted one in the Takakura family. With this episode, now we know that he’s actually the only true Takakura son.

    Ha, so the real incest is Masako and Kanba and the fakeout incest is Himari and Kanba. Masako and Kanba being siblings was shocking, despite my conclusion to it last week. However, does anyone else think Masako looks too much like Chiemi to not be her daughter? I know, Kanba looking like Kenzan amounted to nothing, this is anime and everyone looks the same etc., but still. Their resemblance is fairly close, much closer than anyone else’s thus far.

    Now that we know Kanba was originally a Natsume, I wonder if next week they’ll reveal how he was brought into the Takakura household. Judging from the way he is now, I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t revolve around Himari.

    I don’t think Shouma will ever see Himari as anything but a little sister. Plus, he’s been spilling his guts to Ringo this entire time, so I think she’s his endgame, if there are any pairings at all. I’m actually not too sure if Himari has romantic feelings for Shouma any longer, or if Sanetoshi is trying to manipulate her into feelings from the past for his own purposes.

    I love this show, but I can’t help feeling like Ikuhara’s desire to shock the audience has affected the storytelling. By now, I still feel like the most well-developed characters are Kanba, Ringo and Himari (although hers relies heavily on the use of flashbacks). My emotional attachment to Shouma is vaguely because of the aforementioned three, and I really hope he’ll be properly developed in the next four episodes.

  • November 26, 2011 at 8:02 pmschwegburt

    Shouma definitely wins major points in this episode. The relationship that developed between him and Himari provided a pretty touching reason for why Shouma changed fate/adopted her. It genuinely felt like they really cared about each other. That stands in stark contrast to Kanba who has consistently given off the creepy incestuous vibes. Sure his proclivity towards inbreeding got cleared this episode but his association and seeming acceptance of the terrorist Takakura parents hasn’t improved his image as the more ethically dubious of the two boys.

    While the Takakura parents don’t absolve themselves of their crimes this episode. Their scenes do add a compelling layer for what motivated them to commit an atrocity. Instead of some inherently evil or insane agenda, we find a group fed up with the lousy state of things. Though the plot twist doesn’t come as too surprising since this show has proven too intelligent just to paint things in black and white.

  • November 26, 2011 at 8:14 pmPlaisir

    http://randomc.net/image/Mawaru%20Penguindrum/Mawaru%20Penguindrum%20-%2020%20-%20Large%2006.jpg

    It looks like you’re gripping something more than squeezing it, Kanba. Perhaps your method isn’t meant for women….

  • November 26, 2011 at 8:25 pmLucky Star

    Dr. Sanetoshi’s petting

    Himari is lucky that Dr. Sanetoshi likes her. He is very gentle with all his bunnies.

  • November 26, 2011 at 8:54 pmTSouL

    The epic music in the child broiler nicely fits the start of Himari’s induction into the Takakuras

  • November 26, 2011 at 9:11 pmJunk

    Mawaru, like Utena before it, is a post-modernist story. Telling a story as straight-forward as you describe of the dying girl on the streets is the opposite of what post-modernists are interested in. It’s also something which turns off a good chunk of the modern audience; in contemporary arts (visual and film, at least), straight-forward tearjerkers are seen as cloying, overly sentimental, painfully obvious and not intellectually engaging. It’s part of why red-herring BS, unimaginable twists and overly complicated plots have become such a huge part of filmmaking. The audience is believed to be somewhat sophisticated.

    There are wonderful stories out there which are more literal and concrete but they have to be very well-done to sidestep the complaints of a a jaded audience which gets it already. We know how sad the little, abandoned girl is. There’s nothing new about it so it helps for it to be told in a new way which also allows some shortcuts since we *should* already know how sad that girl is supposed to be.

    Mawaru is told in a way which attempts to stimulate deeper thinking in a way which a more blunt story wouldn’t be capable of. It doesn’t work for everyone but there’s no denying it has one hell of an effect on those is does have an impact on. I think it offers more for people to walk away with, if they choose. If they don’t care to take much from it, I hope they at least enjoy the superficial story which overlays it but I’m getting the feeling it’s not flying as well as Utena did in this way.

    There are advantages to tempting the audience to think deeper (to whatever their individual level permits): using metaphysical and symbolic elements permits the writers to cram more meanings into the story without having to spend too much time in boring exposition laying out bullet point ideas.

    For example: Is the Child Broiler something as concrete and real as an orphanage as I’ve seen suggested? Or is it representational space, a fantasy version of childhood depression and abandonment? Is it just for children who have been left behind, or do children end up “in that state” for other reasons we won’t be shown? Is there a bus which takes kids there and who drives it, if so? Probably not important questions; in fact, most are really a waste of time asking because they aren’t important to the message being conveyed. I think we can safely assume that many, many elements which are not shown to us (such as whoever drives kids to the Child Broiler) is something the creative staff never bothered to decide. But it isn’t laziness, it’s just a different focus on what they are saying. it’s like using the blank people in the background: there are multiple reasons why it works and perhaps none of them stand well alone but together they become brilliant. Save the budget and creative energy, present a radically different look, comment on the faceless masses and a society which encourages a blank conformity, and point to the end-game idea of the invisible members of society. Genius! We were being shown this from episode 1 and with no idea yet when the end-game arrives we’re somehow somewhat prepared for it.

    Seeking literalism in Mawaru is not the best way to approach the series and I think that’s part of why it has so many “silly” visual elements such as the penguins. We’re clearly shown from the beginning that seeking literal explanations is less important that the story itself.

    Linear narrative stories are a dime a dozen; as an art major, I’m thrilled whenever one a bit more complicated comes along. However, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I hoped Mawaru would be sufficiently narrative and superficially engaging enough for those who don’t want more but I’m unsure if it is.

    • November 26, 2011 at 9:16 pmJunk

      I want to add that I thought it was really weird in the final scene how Kanba’s statement of doing anything for Himari seemed to stand in start contrast, entirely disconnected in fact, from what his father said.

      Some people last ep suggested that the parents seen with Kanba might not be the real people (suggesting forced illusion via Sanetoshi or chosen delusion on Kanba’s part) but I didn’t feel anything either way. This ep the disconnected between the two seemed jarring.

      Not sure how to interpret it but it’s the first episode I’ve even been interested in Kanba’s version of reality. It’s been clear for few eps that he’s being manipulated; the nature of which may be finally up for discovery.

    • November 26, 2011 at 11:00 pmDivine

      I don’t know if this comment was directed at me, but just for the record, I didn’t mean to imply that I’m seeking literalism with this series. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, as I’m saying pretty much the same thing as you are and pointing out an advantage of doing so. I do however intend to give my take on what’s been shown.

    • November 26, 2011 at 11:03 pmLimes

      Utena isn’t post-modern. It has a built-in interpretation and a built-in meaning and, more importantly, Ikuhara was doing his own thing, not going along with any movements. He’s the sort of person to start a movement, not follow one. In any case, a person always feels cheated after reading an analysis to a work of art that is self-explanatory, as though the analysis is meant to replace the art as the thing to admire. Analysis should never be ambiguous or imprecise, which unfortunately yours is, Junk. Utena, like Mawaru, is self-explanatory, because it guides the audience to an intended point of view.

  • November 26, 2011 at 10:32 pmkabayongtao

    Seeking literalism in Mawaru is not the best way to approach the series and I think that’s part of why it has so many “silly” visual elements such as the penguins.

    With few episodes left, I can’t seem to come up with a deeper meaning behind those penguins. I hope they were never meant for marketing purposes only.

    +1 to your post.

    • November 27, 2011 at 5:54 amKim

      The Penguins have always been a deeper reflection of their owners. I thought that symbolism was some of the most obvious in the series.

  • November 26, 2011 at 10:48 pmskylion

    Re: Symbolism

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it falls, and depends on how well the audience reacts. We see many of Yuri’s and Tanubi’s Flashbacks drenched in symbolism, so much to the point, that I don’t trust them, and regard both of them as unreliable storytellers.

    For Yuri, it was obvious, and in a manner that could not be told in a straight forward manner; she was assaulted in both body and mine, and raped as a very young child. I have doubts that her father was an artist, much less a sculptor. And the statue of David is just to much to behold.

    For Tanubi, I think his mother was/is mentally disturbed. And in the realm of the unreliable, she probably hated music, of which the young boy showed promise. He maimed himself, and that was not enough to please a sick mother. So…Child Broiler. If Himari ended up there due to neglect, then it is possible he did too.

    Again, I cannot help but think the Flashbacks are part truth, part lie. A mechanism to cope. Not all of them are, of course. But the memories of distant past might be.

    As for not being straight forward, sometimes you have to come down on the side of showing rather than implying, and the vision of little Himari lying crocked and nearly broken on the maddening conveyor belt was like a punch to the stomach. My mind was screaming, “She’s only three years old, a very well spoken three (thanks to the conventions of storytelling and anime), but just barely out of diapers.”

    As far as romance goes, I think we might be missing a solid point. The person we probably love the most is Himari, so we very much want to see her happy. Her true self is not romance, that is what she is trying to tell Sanatoshi. Her true self is giving back to the young men in her life that sacrificed all they could to keep her safe. It isn’t about kisses for her, it’s about being their center. The person to whom they could pour their love into. Which makes the ‘Princess of the Crystal” and her actions with Kanba a bit suspect.

    • November 26, 2011 at 11:02 pmDivine

      I still stand by my interpretation that Yuri wasn’t simply raped, but “resculpted” to her father’s “ideal” form. :)

      • November 26, 2011 at 11:23 pmskylion

        It’s an interesting viewpoint, and in this particular world of the bizarre, it just might fit. But you might be reading waaaay to much into it. If anything else, Yuri’s story stands as a potent reminder of just how awful incest can be. The idea of which is brought up numerous times in the fandom as something ‘positive’.

        We have to agree to disagree Divine, it is just too out there.

      • November 27, 2011 at 4:34 amDivine

        I would just keep in mind some of the dialogue in that episode, such as how Yuri’s father was “operating” in stages. He talks about it being the last time when he receives his new chisel and says Yuri will be his “ultimate masterpiece” afterward. The whole episode is ridden with lines like that, which I can’t see being coincidental in a show like this. I don’t know if something was lost in translation in fansubs, but that’s the impression I got from the Japanese.

      • November 27, 2011 at 6:18 amShibireru

        The “improvements” represent how twisted, sick, and irredeemable her father was, not how he was literally modifying her body. Come on, Divine.

      • November 27, 2011 at 7:34 pmDivine

        Then what’s the “completion” in reference to? Come on Shibireru, you’re glossing over details.

        I didn’t want to believe it either, but I took the time to do the research and was in awe by how many of the details and signs fit. Re-watching the episode a second time made it even more apparent. I suggest looking into the details of the operation before you rule it out as a very real possibility. Search for “arm”, “cheek”, and “leg” — the three areas that Yuri had bandaged up after each “session”. It doesn’t make sense that her father would simply abuse her when she never resisted to begin with.

        The biggest part you’re glossing over are all the artistic references. There’s no denying that Yuri’s father is sick as hell, so that’s even more reason to believe that he wouldn’t simply just molest her after talking about how ugly she is and how he can make her into his ideal form with a huge Michelangelo tower in the background and various Hermaphroditus sculptures in his room. The slow-motion in the scene where Yuri’s towel came undone also suggests that “something” was revealed. Quite frankly, I think it’s an insult to the script/screenplay in the series to assume that it’s something so obvious as incest.

      • November 27, 2011 at 10:45 pmShibireru

        Divine, I notice that you keep using the word simple, but molestation is not simple. It’s about power, which is very complicated. It might be difficult to think about the details of what happened, but it’s necessary to do that to understand why it was not simple for Yuri. Yuri’s father was the one who gave birth to her, and he’s the one who did everything to provide for her. Having sex with a person like that must have made Yuri feel extremely powerless, which is what her father unconsciously wanted. We know he separated her from her friends and even from her mother. This is almost total isolation. He was acting unconsciously this whole time, trying to hurt his daughter beyond repair. Yuri was conscious about what was happening, as children very often are (children are innocent but they are also very sensitive), and this made the abuse more dangerous. There are a lot of bad things to say about the sexual molestation, and all of the details make it a very complicated thing.

      • November 27, 2011 at 10:52 pmDivine

        “Simple” as in “obvious” — not “straightforward” — is what I was getting at. It’s a complicated situation either way, but I believe viewers were expected to pick up on the signs/subtleties and suspect there’s more to it than it seems.

      • November 27, 2011 at 11:01 pmShibireru

        I still think I’m not getting through, Divine. What I’m saying is that the “more than it seems” part is all the implications of the sexual abuse. Nothing other than the sexual abuse is needed to make Yuri into the person she is. Children who have been abused, and people who have been mistreated throughout their lives, understand these aspects of subtlety.

      • November 27, 2011 at 11:03 pmshin

        I think I’m buying into Divine’s take on this more. I originally thought it was more molestation and rape, but I think that is simply one aspect of it. If we take more recent child broiler talk into account, I like divine’s explanation more. He could represent an one of those parents who want to force his ideals and shape his children into perfect human beings. You can see that from how popular Yuri is now. She is the epitome of perfection but it doesn’t give her happiness. Instead of looking at things one way, it is better to look at them in a variety of ways and ask yourself what the message they are trying to convey.

    • November 26, 2011 at 11:35 pmShibireru

      I think anime incest is usually b/t brother and sister, not father and daughter like it is here. You’re right, that’s sick.

  • November 26, 2011 at 11:43 pmSnowolf

    Boy, this was an emotional episode! For one thing, I thought it was interesting that this entire episod was a flashback, which is something we have only gotten bits and pieces of throughout this show. While it focused on Shouma and Himari’s relationship, I also felt that (once again) it alluded to various things, both in the past and the present. For one thing, I strongly felt that the “Takukura” family is not just a family- there’s a very strong hint that it’s actually some sort of cult. A cult of terrorists whose ideals are to reform traditional Japanese society (I don’t think it’s quite a pseudo-family; the Takakura may just be another term for the cult?) In that regard, it’s very similar to the ideas that Utena’s “revolution” had to change the world and the concept of love and fate. For one thing, the way Kenzan alluded to the state of society as being driven by cold people who would “amount to nothing” gave me the idea that Ikuhara’s main criticism of Japanese society is that it is extremely work-driven. Parents focus on work to the point where they neglect their kids and pursue a materialistic goal of happiness, and it’s here where the Child Broiler comes in and really takes on a terrible meaning. Not only are children unwanted by their parents, who think they are failures in life and will not succeed in the way and hopes that they wanted, but they are also crushed in a factory. The Child Broiler, while metaphysical (I still argue that the Broiler is more of a state of mind but does exist as a real process of disowning children/child neglect), does examine a real sort of parental abuse. Not just one of neglect, but one of personal strife. Children are the symbols of love, purity and happiness. But they are incredibly fragile (hence them turning into shards of glass as they become physically, mentally and emotionally broken down into a formula of stagnancy, of similarity, of sameness). The idea is almost that of Orwell’s 1984 where there is a sense of paranoia and stagnancy despite the facade of happiness. The way the man announces that the children will literally ‘die’ and be crushed from gears and other terrible machinery is one that’s almost happy, if not apathetic. Himari very rightfully says that in this world, you are chosen, or you are unchosen (once again alluding to that “there are only two types of people in this world concept” that’s been brought up again and again in the show). If you are unchosen, you die. Which brings me to think that in choosing Himari, one who was originally unchosen, Shouma also unwillingly put the illness on her. She is supposed to be ‘dead’. But Shouma chose her into his family (or whatever it is) and the price is that she is forever marked as an Unchosen- her illness is actually terminal, so she should be dead (this is just a theory of mine though).

    I don’t think Ikuhara says that it’s the fate of all unchosen children to die however. Tabuki was also in the Child Broiler but Momoka saved him. I think the reason why Tabuki never had an illness is because Momoka perhaps might have transferred or changed his fate in some way rather than just taking him out; Shouma used the Fruit which while it can temporarily save someone, cannot last forever. All apples go rotten at one point. But what marks something as boring to one person is another’s greatest gift (see: Train Station ID #20 in this episode) For Himari it was the simple moments she shared with Shouma. For Shouma, it was Himari. As the motifs of trash cans/recycling bins have been reinforced, just because something is thrown away does not mean it is lost forever. It can become anew, and change. Ringo was also unwanted as a child in some ways, but she fought her own destiny and overcome her troubles, and thus became renewed?

    What I’m intrigued by is the fact that we saw the Red Penguinballs that Masako uses in that room, as well as these Kiga Apples. Who supplied them and are they magical in any aspect (Masako’s Penguinballs erase and restore people’s memories, Shouma’s apple was a Fruit). What is the true objective of the PinGroup and are they really just trying to revolt against society due to the Child Broiler?

    The scenes between Shouma and Himari were adorable but the thing that really hit me was the music that was used when Shouma ran to save Himari from the Child Broiler. Ugh. That was beautiful and not just the music, but the animation and direction (especially the glass shards actually cutting Shouma’s face).

    I’m not sure where this is going but I have enough faith (just about) in Ikuhara to believe that all of this can be resolved within four episodes?

    • November 27, 2011 at 7:45 pmbear

      I agree with your analysis, but would explain the Child Broiler as a crushing of the children’s egos, making them dead emotionally rather than physically. Whether that leads to physical death or not is another matter.

      Ringo. Ah, the symbolism associated with Ringo. The show is saturated with apples. She was the one rejected child not subject to the Child Broiler. Is she actually key to this? But then there’s those damned penquins…. There are just too many things that need to be addressed.

  • November 27, 2011 at 4:05 amRS456

    I don’t think Masako is their sister. Technically they had no sister until Himari was adopted into the family due to Shouma’s request. I think when Masako refered to Kanba as onisama it is more like a respectful way of addressing people who they grew up with that are older than them which is very common in Asian countries. From the looks of it I think Shouma will stick with Ringo and still thim of Himari as his little sister but I can’t say the same for Kanba. It now looks like:

    Masako->Kanba->Himari-?->ShoumaRingo

    • November 27, 2011 at 4:35 amDivine

      But Masako also said to Kanba how their father would be mentioned next while Kenzan was talking. She also referred to Shouma as “some boy” who should be paying attention because the part about their father is coming up. That seems to imply that Kanba, Masako, and Mario are related, but none of the current Takakura siblings are.

      • November 27, 2011 at 1:38 pmSpoon

        I took that “our father” thing that she said as referring to the leader of their cult – cults tend to refer to their leader in that manner. As everyone’s father in the cult. like the “father/god” of a religious cult.

        If Natsume didn’t like Shoma (and Natsume doesn’t seem to like to very many people), it’s totally in her personality to refer to him as “that boy” regardless of if they’re related to each other or not. Especially he was acting like someone who had nothing to do with the cult, outside, not paying attention – outside of the “family”, so to speak.

        She also said about the part about “our father” that “he” (Shoma) should be listening to it as well as all the rest of them are. That just drips with church or cult connotations, hearing the word of the father/leader/lord.

        Anyways, I don’t really think the bloodline matters. I thought at least part of the point of Ringo’s and Yuri’s and now Shoma’s and even Tabuki’s stories was supposed to be that blood is not what makes a family, it’s the people that you live/work/connect/choose to be with

      • November 27, 2011 at 7:37 pmDivine

        Hmm, I don’t know about that presumption about referring to their leader/god as their father, unless you’re implying that Kenzan isn’t their leader.

        This idea seems to be grasping for straws since it was pretty clear that Masako was referring to someone else as their father and not the person speaking, i.e. Kenzan.

        Also, Masako’s use of “boy” causes Kanba to refer to Shouma as someone he doesn’t know. That’s the point I was trying to make.

      • November 28, 2011 at 6:37 pmschwegburt

        One thing to take note of is Masako’s image of her father.

        The middle and end of episode 16 show a man that looks remarkably like Kanba, but Masako refers to this figure as her father. Also at the end of the episode this mystery man and Kanba stand in the same car suggesting the idea that the two are separate characters.

        Episode 16 pretty much supports the hints at episode 19 and 20 that Shouma’s the only real child and the other two were either adopted or had their fate changed.

      • November 28, 2011 at 9:37 pmRS456

        I thought about Kanba and and Masako being related when I saw the flashback episode of Masako but to suggest she is his his blood related sister is saying she has incestual feelings for Kanba and I don’t think she is that crazy. Being as stubborn and chauvinistic as her grand father is, he more like the person that would push the oldest male child to suceed him which was obvious when he forced to train Mario. If Kanba was her brother he would most likely track him down and force him to suceed him rather than wasting time on Mario.

      • November 30, 2011 at 5:31 amSpoon

        It doesn’t really matter who is blood related to – and to be honest, I don’t really care about the exact identity of the father – but to clarify what I was saying earlier – I don’t believe they have the same “blood” father. I believe they have the same “cult” father figure, Kenzan or whoever it’s shown to be.

        The person who it is does not matter, and I never said that I thought that Masako was referring to Kenzan. There wasn’t enough information to make the definite conclusion that it was Kenzan that she was talking about, so I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion.

  • November 27, 2011 at 9:08 amtheskylion

    So. Kanba wants Himari, Shouma may have at one time but doesn’t any longer. Himari wants neither one. I don’t think any of them are blood related. The Princess wants Kanba. He may or may not want her; that’s just blood complicted. Masako wants Kanba, Kanba doesn’t reciprocate. They are related. Mario, like Himari, may be a rescue from the Child Broiler (or shredder as I prefer to call it).

    It’s interesting that we have to sort out blood relations before we start to ship these crazy kids.

    Oh, and did I mention that I don’t think the version of Momoka in the Flashbacks is in any way real?

  • November 27, 2011 at 10:39 amsharleeism

    This is kind of irrelevant, but Himari always reminds me of Hagumi from Honey & Clover. They’re both kind of short, they like to put their hair up in buns, their eyes have that similar expressive quality…

  • November 27, 2011 at 10:48 amHisoka

    “I have an even harder time imagining how this series will end, so I’m just hoping that everything comes together in a somewhat fulfilling way.”

    Agree. Even though I loved this episode for the humanity of its emotions, I’m still waiting for the story to have that wow factor that ties it all together, like “I should have seen it coming!” I’m hoping for an ending that ties everything together epically. Strong possibility for one, given how good Utena ended.

    I for one think it would be cool if the new Kiga plot involves a core-drillin’ digger drum like the one seen over and over again in Rock Over Japan. If those surreal ROJ visuals are reciprocated in a real-world event courtesy of Kiga Group, that will blow my mind.

  • November 27, 2011 at 5:02 pmsealouse

    I don’t know man. Basing a story on abandoned children? Does that really work in this day and age? Sure maybe in some third world country, but this is Japan we’re talking about. Are there children dying in the streets over there?

    • November 27, 2011 at 7:17 pmKim

      I don’t think “the chosen” and “unchosen” necessarily represent abandoned children. In fact I think using children is just a metaphor itself.

      Of course everyone is free to have their own interpretation.

    • November 27, 2011 at 7:32 pmDivine

      Yeah, I don’t think the “chosen” and “unchosen” bit is solely in reference to abandoned children. Instead, they’re just an example of “unchosen” ones in society who get kicked to the curb.

    • November 28, 2011 at 5:58 amskylion

      Did you hear Newt Gingrich lately? Poor kids in school should do janitorial work for money. Extracurricular activities? No, gotta scrub the loo. Poor, but with athletic ability? Out of the loo and onto the field. Prejudice and exceptions live in society.

      Which is ironic to talk about here, given that all Japanese children are given over to help out with cleaning the schools they attend.

  • November 27, 2011 at 10:05 pmTeela

    Why nobody wants to acept that the child broiler is exctly that and not a representation of something? the conversation between Shouma and his father seemed to poit at that, I know is horrible but is the explication that makes more sense if you put it all together.

    Also I always knew that Shouma was the real Takakura his eyes and hair are the same as his father’s (even if his father’s hair is darker) so he is the only one who actually has genetic caracteristics of the takakuras! he is just tareme instead of tsurime.

  • November 27, 2011 at 10:51 pmshin

    This episode really reminded me of Koyaanisqatsi. It wouldn’t surprise me if they drew some imagery and ideas from it. If we view it from that angle, I think that the terminology makes sense.

    I think that the child broiler represents the cracks in society. It represents how society processes children in terms of orphanages, homeless, adopted w/o love, abused. By turning them invisible, they mean that these children give up on their individuality and dreams to become the cogs from which society is built on. They don’t actually die or disappear they just lose their individuality and become one of the faceless people that have been shown countless times. All the imagery of the factory style broiler, transit system w/o destination, escalators is society turning children into something like conformist faceless individuals.

    The Takakura family can’t take this cruel world anymore. They see it as so distorted that they would murder countless amounts of people to break these chains of society. It made me wonder. If I really saw the world as distorted as that, I might be able to understand why crazy disillusioned people decided to resort to terrorism. Although it is unclear how their terrorism can change the world.

    I am not sure what the penguindrum is supposed to symbolize and how it will be used. Perhaps it is a child’s purity that can save the world. If that is the case, can and will people with the wrong intentions try to exploit it?

  • November 28, 2011 at 1:47 amRS456

    I am pretty sure it is established that Kanba and Shouma are twins. No matter what Kanba and Shouma are 100% blood related. Everyone else is questionable.

    • November 28, 2011 at 6:02 amskylion

      When Papa Takakura got the phone call informing him his wife gave birth he clearly remarked, “a boy”. As in one boy, singular. Family is an interesting thing to pin down in this show.

      • November 28, 2011 at 9:17 pmRS456

        I noticed that too. It could be at the time their father called only Kanba is born.

      • November 30, 2011 at 5:18 amSpoon

        Yeah, twins aren’t necessarily born with one born seconds right after the other, right? I have friends who are twins who said they were born about 20 minutes apart. He could’ve called in between their births

      • November 30, 2011 at 6:04 pmtheskylion

        Also, when little Masako turns to little Kanba, she says, “our father”, which makes me think of the ‘unseen father’ from episode 16. So Kanba, Himari, and Shouma are not blood related, but have choosen to be a family. For what reason or reason, we are not yet in the clear. But, I think I wouldn’t want to be in Masako’s stylish shoes if she pushes them to the breaking point.

  • November 28, 2011 at 3:04 pmFuu

    Damn I love Ikuhara. The Child Broiler is up to interpretation. Just like in Utena where the school being an actual place, or some other world where lost children go, was up interpretation at the end. I think the Child Broiler is either unwanted children whether that be abandoned, neglected, or orphaned. I was kind of bored of Himari’s backstory at first, but it made me believe even more now that she is going to die in the end. I feel like it is fate. The entire show is debating if “fate” and “destiny” truly exist or not. Maybe Himari wasn’t given the Takakura’s punishment, maybe she really is “unchosen”? I hope that is not the case of course.
    I don’t get how Masako and Mario could be related, to Kanba and Shouma because Mario is too young. Unless Kenzan had two wives.
    I do have a feeling that the ending will have a “choose to be your own person/defy fate” ending.

  • November 28, 2011 at 5:50 pmRick

    Am I the only that the scenes of the Child Broiler make remember the song “Worthless”, from “The Brave Little Toaster”?

  • December 2, 2011 at 3:46 amwintermelon

    I don’t understand why the Child Broiler and the “Frozen World” cant be seen as actual existences inside this story…since it seems that there can be different versions of the world, I think it is possible that they exist in actuality in this fictional world. But I suppose what is discussed here is just how that relates to the actual world?

  • December 2, 2011 at 8:01 amGhostalker

    This series is not really in my priority list, so I guess I can safely say I’m not really trying that hard to understand or interpret any message this series wants to convey. So yeah I’m lost, I thought I understand the series but not, to me its as clear as a fog. With only 4 episodes left I don’t think their is a clear answer waiting for me to this series. So I thanks this blog for giving an explanation to what is happening, I’m aware this series should be interpreted openly but still, even if it’s just the writer’s own interpretation, it makes Penguindrum a lot more easier to watch.

  • December 3, 2011 at 9:04 amMei Linwau

    Those clothes she was using reminds me of Madotsuki from Yume Nikki… what do you think?

  • December 3, 2011 at 10:15 pmAshen

    This, combined with ep. 19, have effectively flipped all my understandings of this world upside down and stretched it out sideways.

    I’m absolutely loving your interpretation of the symbolisms; religious, filial and societal.

    I have no earthly idea how this series will end, much less how it can ever end with everyone involved being happy, but at this point? I’m not counting anything out.