「僕たちを巡る輪」 (Bokutachi wo Meguru Wa)
“The Ring that Spins Us Around”

After sitting on this episode for the better part of a day, I’d like to say I’ve come up with some brilliant theory to explain how the story of Mary and her lambs ties in with the Takakuras, but I’m still lacking enough information to formulate an idea that I’m even convinced about. The best I can come up with is that Mary is their father Kenzan, one of the key perpetrators behind Mawaru Penguindrum’s take on the 1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway (just like some people corrected surmised last episode based on the number 95 seen everywhere). The dark figure representing Mary also seems to suggest that she might actually be Kenzan in our story, which implies that he was tempted by the two black bunnies, Shirase (Iwasaki Ai) and Souya (Takagi Motoki), to commit a taboo to save something or someone dear to him (i.e. the apple tree). His punishment for doing so was of course incurring the wrath of the Goddess (Shimamoto Sumi), who randomly decided to take the life of his youngest lamb (i.e. Himari).

At the moment, that seems to parallel Mary’s story the best. The two black bunnies exist and Kanba/Shouma are dealing with the consequences of their father’s actions by doing everything in their power to try and save Himari now — even if it means making a deal with the penguins and giving up their own life to extend hers (much like Kanba already did in episode one). Kenzan also referred to the Sarin gas attack as initiating a “survival strategy”, further supporting the idea that he may have caved to an act of terrorism in exchange for saving the life of someone dear to him — possibly his wife Chiemi. The only problem with this idea is that Chiemi was reportedly well after giving birth, and I feel like I’m really grasping for straws if I throw out ideas like her health suddenly declined when the doctors learned that she was having twins (something that wasn’t apparent in Kenzan’s phone call with the hospital). What’s more, this took place sixteen years ago before Himari was even born, so it seems odd that her life would be picked as a form of punishment. Granted, there’s always the possibility that the “Goddess” decided to greatly shorten the life of his future daughter to make him suffer more, but again, there isn’t enough indication to suggest this just yet.

Regardless, Sanetoshi is starting to look like the Goddess, seeing as he has an apple in hand and is at the hospital to “collect” Himari’s life after it was prolonged a bit by the penguins. The two kids behind him on the other hand look like they’re the black bunnies who tempted Kenzan to “steal the ashes” from the “Goddess’ shrine”. Whatever the case, I really have to hand it to Ikuhara for taking things in a different direction just as I’m about to get a grasp of the current one. All of a sudden, the diary’s importance has dwindled and we’re now looking at a problem that goes back to Kanba, Shouma, and Himari’s parents. Not even the details behind Momoka’s death gave any sense of closure, because now we have the issue with Keiju’s hand. There always seems to be another layer to the story that no one could’ve foresaw, leaving me curious to see what it’ll all amount to. Hopefully, something pretty epic.

* I seriously thought Kanba and Himari were going to be each other’s “first” after talk about how the life transfer is like a “first kiss” and that they’d need to top it.
* I wouldn’t be surprised if those penguin hats caught on as a new fetish in the bedroom either.


Preview & End Card


  1. so this episode has all sorts of WTFs in it… but still epic to watch…
    for one thing, the phone conversation seems to indicate that only one son was born, which raise the question about the family situation…
    then there is the life transfer and why it doesn’t work the second time… (and the fan service there…)
    also there is the situation with the other penguin hat bearer, and how he/she fits into all of these…
    and there are always more questions than answers… 🙁
    I can’t wait to see the story play out here :3
    Thanks for the post as always, Divine!

  2. So it wasn’t the sarin gas attack but a fictional bomb attack instead.

    The doctor knew Kanba’s father, guess that explains how Himari’s medical bills gets payed.

    Momoka is probably still alive.

    Kanba may not be related to Shoma and Himari by blood. Makes sense that’s usually how incest conflicts get ‘resolved’ in manga and anime.

    The Penguindrum could be an artifact found on Antarctica.

  3. This episode was good, but the additional plot twists (to the existing convoluted plot twists) was the last straw for me. Brain hurts (and not in an enjoyable way) while watching this episode. Still no idea if this story is going anywhere at all and I don’t care to watch more to find out. Since I’m going to start watching a bunch of new season anime in the coming weeks, as much as I liked a lot of things about this anime, I’ve decided that I will reluctantly say goodbye to this one just as it reach/pass halfway point. I might get curious enough to read a summary of this when it ends, but I’m not going to put myself through another episode like this one (as enticing as it is). 🙁

  4. I kind of took Kenzan’s asking whether Shouma was a boy or girl as a coin flip decision making. Like: if his newborn was male, then terrorist attack; if the newborn was female, then something else.

    But yeah, I’m thoroughly confused because I though this was the last episode, but now I can see a whole new storyline coming into play.

  5. If everything is going in the direction I´m guessing this is going to get really ugly. Kanba seems way more drastic in his mission to save Himari so It could be expected that he might do something like his father did in the past. Just my opinion, but the guy seems to have to many screws loose in the regard of his love to Himari.

    Don´t get me wrong, I have 4 brothers and I´d do anything for them but Kanba seems to see Himari as something more than a little sister.

    1. It wouldn’t be bad if it went in a crazy direction though if you ask me. With the almost rape episodes before, Tabuki going crazy over a love potion, etc.. You can see this isn’t a normal anime, which is good since we need an anime that’ll blow our minds and make us leave our comfort zone every once in awhile. Sure animes that play out just like we want is nice, but animes that go against the norm and perhaps kill their main character (ex- Death Note, Code Geass) turn out to be even more epic.

  6. This is brilliant.

    I’ve always loved the Seizon Senraku scenes, but the brothers trading their lives to keep Himari alive came off as a bit of a shock. But now I feel like I understand the whole spectacle now. Himari’s shedding of clothes, which some would say is sultry and kind of fan service-y, is actually pretty symbolic. While admittedly the scene is rather sultry and kind of erotic, being naked also represents leaving yourself bare; being completely defenseless and vulnerable to someone else. It’s mesmerizing.

    And just theorizing right now, but I’m almost sure that the terrorist attack lead by the trio’s parents is actually a direct parallel to the Tokyo Sarin Gas attacks in 1995, sixteen years ago: the same age of Shouma, Kanba, and Ringo. The number 95 which has been thrown around constantly is possibly a reference to that year. This also explains the significance of the trains.

    This is destined to become Ikuhara’s magnum opus; even greater than Utena.

  7. The goddess said so herself, right? That punishment is meant to be unfair/cruel, or something along those lines. Shortening Himari’s lifespan/killing her may not make much sense in regards to what happened, but it seems that this the most unfair and cruelest form of punishment.

  8. was hopin not to see anything else since the kiss. I dont even like Kanba’s char, tho Himari is just ok. To me it felt like this series so far was Kanba/Himari Kiss>Whole Lotta development of Shoma/Ringo>then random naked Kanba/Himari lifesource. Why does incest have to be one of the main parts, it doesn’t fit it in so far, I think. I prolly gotta stop thinkin to much of it.

  9. Kind of felt the Mary story hard to take in to where things are going, whatever Kenzan cherished I am thrown off when the story mentions a yearly creation. Also did Masako foreshadow this would happen?

  10. That’s as good as interpretation as one can come up with at this time I’d say. I’m too lazy to speculate and just going with the flow, waiting for things to explain themselves. However, I do think that, as insinuating as those scenes might have been, Kanba is not sexually attracted to his sister and is just doing what’s necessary to save her life. Unless it turns out they’re not blood-related.

  11. Looks like this is one of the major breaking points for viewers: are you interested in letting the series bend your brain or do you jump ship for something more relaxing to watch?
    I’m glad you’re into it, Divine, along with so many people here. There are lots of blogs to get meatier discussions but I’m really interested in what more casual viewers think about it. There are enough places for the obsessives who are deconstructing each episode frame-by-frame but that’s just too time consuming for me, heh.

    I’ve felt pretty comfortable with what my thoughts were after each previous episodes; discussions only enhanced or added to what I was getting from it. But now I’m in coasting mode; this ep really is like going back to episode 1 with so many fresh elements and ideas to move forward with and little information to connect it all together. I’m going to have to simply enjoy watching it unfold further for the next few episodes and not try to prove I’m as smart as the creators by figuring it out in advance.

    I admit to having some difficulty in connecting earlier scenes with the parents protecting their children with people who would cause indiscriminate harm to others. Prior to this episode was a dominant theme of “self-sacrifice to protect a (weaker) loved one” connected to the parents so I hope it loops back to give a reasonable explanation which also doesn’t justify terrorists acts. But if it comes down to being about the perspective of the children of adults who do terrible things, it would be a very rare angle to be shown in anime.

  12. Himari is hot Yes!
    Himari dies (again) No!
    Penguin disappears. penguin is linked to them? wonder whether it works the other way? penguin dies and human dies with it. (similar to Daemons in Dark Materials)

  13. Amazing, amazing episode. Anime this year is definitely top-tier!

    I thought they were going to be “firsts” for one another, too. However, after that scene, I started wondering if Kanba was less of a siscon and actually fell in love with Princess of the Crystal (the persona that possesses Himari once that penguin cap is on). When Himari died the first time, he was significantly more calm and level-headed about it. He and Shouma seem to have switched places this time around, with Shouma being calm (albeit definitely rattled). Also, Kanba’s flashback with Himari being everything to him was only after the penguins entered their lives.

    The lack of closure with Momoka’s death is definitely suspicious, especially since they went out of their way to note that they didn’t find a trace of her left. Yuri=Momoka definitely crossed my mind for a split second.

    Wondering where Keiju stands in all of this. He can’t possibly be that clueless regarding Ringo trying to become Momoka, so I’m wondering what his issues are…

    >>What’s more, this took place sixteen years ago before Himari was even born, so it seems odd that her life would be picked as a form of punishment.
    The sign in the train this episode was “That happened before I was born.” This and the goddess saying punishment is “meant to be the most unjust” point towards why it’s Himari.

    As for the Kenzan & henchmen initiating Survival Strategy, someone on 2ch pointed out that “It’s a boy” could possibly be a reference to the atomic bomb (which was codenamed “Little Boy”).

    Forget the penguin hat being a fetish, how about those thigh-high boots?

    1. Yes, it was a bit suspicious how they emphazised that there were no traces of Momoka, but somehow her diary survived. And you’re not alone to have the suspicions that Yuri=Momoka, Yuri has always been too calm when Ringo has been doing her antics.

  14. I know this is completely unrelated to this post but..
    I’m using a browser-based Feed reader and the RandomC Feed plasters my screen with you lovely “No hotlinking” picture. And I guess I’m not the only one using a web-based reader nowadays.

    So you should either remove the anti-hotlinking (how big of an issue is that, I don’t know?) or remove the pictures from the feed.

  15. I hope Himari isn’t dead for good too but her death this time round was so much more powerful. The KanbaxHimari scene was pretty breathtaking. With the whole only one boy being born thing, haha I thought it was only a matter of time until they pulled something like that out.

  16. Highly doubt Himari will be Kanba’s “first” seeing how he’s portrayed as a Casanova
    Any knows where I can pre-order my penguin hat? Someone’s getting a very cool Christmas present this year ;D

    Seishun Otoko
  17. * I seriously thought Kanba and Himari were going to be each other’s “first” after talk about how the life transfer is like a “first kiss” and that they’d need to top it.

    >implying Kanba is still a virgin

  18. Why are penguins so important in this world anyways? They could have chosen anything, but they went with penguins. Why? Seeing as their father went on an expedition to Antarctica, could that have something to do with it? And now bunnies and lambs are getting thrown in the mix too. And while I’m on the subject of animals, whatever happened to that skunk with the penguin markings on its rear?

    1. My guess is that penguins tend to travel in large ordered communities, and therefore, are a symbolism of fate, one of Mawaru Penguindrum’s themes. (Fate is predetermined, organized, ordered)

      The lambs were just taken from the “Mary had a Little Lamb” nursery rhyme, which was combined a bit with the story of Adam and Eve (could be another story, but Adam and Eve was my first thought) to give us an idea of the thought process within father Takakura’s head. Outside of that little tale, they probably don’t have any significant meaning in the story.

      The rabbits in the Mary story are probably a symbol of chaos, considering their role and their black coloring. In the actual Mawaru Penguindrum world however, I can’t say for sure, if those two kids really are those black rabbits.

  19. I’m not really watching Mawaru Penguindrum in a weekly basis so I rarely visit this blog, finally I catch up, my first impression here is I’m kind of amaze there is actually some interesting theories circulating around.

    As for the diary, if it loses it’s importance just like Divine said, I’m more than happy because, up to ep11 I believe Momoka died just a few years back and not like how it was revealed in ep11/12, I WTF when I discover that the creator of the diary was just merely an elementary schooler when she started writing all those things Ringo now is doing, or Ringo misinterpreted it wrong ( or may be I)?

    As for Himari dying this episode, I’m not buying it considering how they ended up the episode with a preview of something like “I’m not giving up” – by Himari – a good way to destroy the rather depressing but not really that depressing episode, I’m more sadder with the fact that we have 1-less penguin than actually losing Himari.

  20. This episode had an emotional depth – a sense of urgency, it’s difficult to explain.

    I can see, reading the posts before me, others felt the effect, too. You really don’t know
    where to start in describing what you saw. It’s a confusing amount of facts; by themselves
    none seem random or out of place – you feel they’ll all fit – somehow!

    Amazing series – I hope it continues like this.

  21. I think I get half-credit for guessing their parent’s involvement in the Sarin Gas Attack, but yea this was a great episode, it had great artwork/visuals, was gut wrenching, and had wincest. All is well

    Der Fur Shur

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