「だって好きだから」 (Datte Suki Dakara)
“Because I Love Him”
Oddly enough, despite all Ringo’s questionable advances toward Tabuki, it only occurred this episode that a girl so obsessed with Kanba might be another stalker in disguise. After hearing Kanba list off all the things that he hates receiving from girls, only to see Masako forcibly remind him of each and every one, I was half-expecting her to kiss him at the very end like she did. The real question now is for what purpose. Just like Ringo, it’s as if she’s adhering to some plan and not really in love with Kanba (not anymore anyway). Likewise, it looks like she’s willing to resort to any means to get the job done — including using her body if need be.
At this point, all signs point to saving Himari’s soulmate, Natsume Mario, who also has a penguin hat on his head and shouts out “Survival Strategy”. For whatever reason, I made a point of figuring out his full name from the credits last episode, but didn’t put two and two together about how he has the same family name as Masako. In all likelihood, he’s either a her younger brother or cousin and caught up in the same life-or-death predicament as the Takakuras. In connection, I’m under the impression that the episode title refers to Mario and not Kanba. The only thing that threw me off is how Masako addressed him as “Mario-san”, suggesting that she sees him as having more seniority than herself. (It’s very unusually to use the -san “gobi” to refer to someone younger unless you’re a servant.)
Unlike Himari’s case, I presume Masako’s been tasked to stop Kanba and Shouma from retrieving Ringo’s diary — in reference to how she always says she needs to “crush them” — and to make Project M succeed. The latter is kind of hard to do if Ringo’s diary is taken from her though, so it raises the question as to what she hopes to achieve by making her hand it over for Shouma’s sake. The one idea I threw out before is that Masako’s Project M could be different from Ringo’s Project M, in which case I’m starting to think that she might be trying to pair Ringo up with Shouma instead of Tabuki. As for the reason why, it could be something as simple as “Mario” telling her to do so because it’s all part of some otherworldly game between him and “Himari”. I gather it’s no coincidence after Sanetoshi revealed that they’re soulmates, so it would be pretty twisted if only one of them could live.
Given that Mawaru Penguindrum does have 24 episodes to work with, I’d love to see a string of episodes devoted to Masako and showing her side of things. It could easily turn my understanding of her completely upside-down and make it hard to perceive who — if anyone — is in the right anymore. This episode did feature Horie Yui’s version of the DEAR FUTURE ending theme (which has many other variations on the single by the way), so I took that as a precursor to some more focus on Masako’s character in the upcoming episodes. I guess I’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case.
ED2: 「DEAR FUTURE feat. Yui Horie」 by coaltar of the deepers
Watch the 2nd ED!: Streaming ▼
Preview & End Card