OP2 Sequence

OP2: 「少年よ我に帰れ」 (Shounen yo Waga ni Kaere) by やくしまるえつこメトロオーケストラ (Yakushimaru Etsuko Metro Orchestra)
Watch the 2nd OP!: Streaming ▼

「世界を救う者」 (Sekai wo Sukuu Mono)
“The Savior of the World”

There’s little question that Ikuhara Kunihiko has a unique direction with anime, but I don’t even want to know what goes on in that head of his given the twisted developments in Mawaru Penguindrum as of late. I gather he’s been exposed to some pretty dark and grotesque stuff — or has a strange fetish with gore — because I really can’t see a normal person thinking up of a script like this. In recent episodes, I haven’t been enjoying his original series so much as been intrigued by how messed up some of the characters are. They’re not the type of characters that I would ever think up of that’s for sure, as Yuri’s father (Uchida Naoya) belongs in a horror flick more than an anime with the way he wanted to “re-sculpt” his daughter’s body to make her beautiful in his deranged eyes.

His obsession with sculptures, particularly Michelangelo’s David which he designed a tower of, seems to have sickeningly transferred over to surgically modifying Yuri’s body under the guise of love so that she would have — as some people speculated — something that resembles the male reproductive organ. The anime was “nice” enough to spare us the unsightly details by figuratively showing chisels instead of scalpels, but the bandages on Yuri’s arm, leg, and cheek suggest that she had undergone genital reassignment surgery using skin grafts for phalloplasty — the construction of an artificial penis. Now I know this is a very “real” procedure and I have no problem treating it with the level of maturity that it requires, but I really don’t see why I’m talking about it for an anime where a young girl is coerced into undergoing it. I actually had to look up the procedure too, since I’m unsurprisingly, not familiar with the details whatsoever. I can just imagine the strange looks I would get if I told someone that an anime made me look into how genital reassignment surgery is performed. Thank you Ikuhara for that! -_-;

So what do I make of this possibility? For one, I’m surprised this is the same person that directed Sailor Moon, which I watched a fair bit of growing up. (It was one of the first anime to air on TV here.) I’m also more indifferent to watching Revolutionary Girl Utena than I was before, simply because I’m not entirely sure if I’ll ever fully appreciate Ikuhara’s “creative genius” as a director and screenwriter. I like how he goes against the norm and provides something different, taking viewers out of their comfort zones, but I feel there’s a limit to that before entertainment becomes a distant second in the overall delivery and he tends to exceed my limits. Striving to be different could be perceived as odd just as well as it could be a unique perspective on “art”, which is a twisted yet somewhat befitting thought considering Yuri’s father. That isn’t to say that Ikuhara’s some messed-up individual, but I can definitely understand how some viewers might think he is after this. I’ll be quick to admit that some scenes were uncomfortable to watch, which includes Yuri’s attempt to rape Ringo last time.

With all the recent twists, it’s kind of easy to lose sight of the overarching plot that brings all the characters together. Most notably is Momoka (Toyosaki Aki), who finally has a face and a voice that I can associate her with. Her appearance confirms that she is indeed Sanetoshi’s first love, whereas the revelation that her diary can change destiny (akin to transferring trains as she describes it) in exchange for some form of punishment provides a new understanding of why it’s really highly sought after. In Yuri’s case, it turns out she wants to change Momoka’s fate and bring her back to this world for saving her from her twisted father, but in the case of Kanba/Shouma and Masako, it’s almost as if it’s part of Sanetoshi’s test to see if they can change their loved one’s fate. At the moment, what I’m most curious about is what happened to Momoka herself, since she mentioned that people who come into contact with her diary lose something dear to them as compensation. Amidst all the questionable subject matter, the mysteries behind Momoka and her diary really have my interest hooked, so I’m still engrossed in Mawaru Penguindrum in that regard.

* I knew I should’ve kept that screen cap of the safe last episode. I figured it was going to be important in some way.


Preview & End Card


  1. When you think about it, it really is this show’s craziness factor that gives it all its color. The underlying story really isn’t all that spectacular, or even innovative; it’s simply a story of “changing fates”- quite elementary. The mostly competent insertion of these innovative “crazy” elements into the underlying story is what breathes life into Penguindrum and sets the show apart from others.

    Yet the irony is that this “craziness” element that Penguindrum’s its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness- many of these “crazy” insertions are very controversial, and some would be considered by many as outright taboo. Penguindrum’s “craziness” element is a two-edged sword. In moderation it adds color, intrigue and even shock value to the show as a whole- but when taken to the extreme, it also limits the general accessibility of the show, pushing away many potential audiences…

  2. Post at 5am. You’re kidding me right? It’s almost like you care when people whine about how you’re slower than the subs-that-are-broadcasted-at-the-same-time-as-they-come-out-in-japan.

    I’m gonna delay reading this though since I don’t have any subs heh.

  3. I say the crazier the better, I’m a fan of dark comedy, and as far as anime goes (IMO) Ikuhara seems to be the best at it (Shinbo for me is second). I like how each of the characters all seem to be pretty insane on some level because it makes them unique, especially if they’re all different kinds of crazy. Basically, this is starting to remind me a bit of Hamlet where you have the entire cast gradually losing their minds in their own individual way. Of course this is only my opinion.

    Der Fur Shur
  4. WTF?!
    first Pedro Almodóvar’s new film and now this?!
    Haven’t watched the episode yet, so please tell me: Is there any other reason for making Yuri a transsexual other than adding shock value to attract attention?

    P.S. Why didn’t Yuri just have another surgery to return herself to normal?

  5. They keep on adding new things every episode. I’m just hoping that the things the creators are adding won’t haunt them when the series is over.

    I’m a little bit disappointment that MPD just got even more supernatural

    1. It’s not fair or accurate to say that he’s useless. Look at the effect he’s had on Ringo. It’s more that he’s ineffectual. As for his brother, the only thing Kanba’s good for is bribing Sanetoshi, like he’s a lap dog.

      Dr. Sanetantei
      1. Looking at the results its kind of obvious who is completing the goal of keeping their sister alive. And its definitely not Shouma. In the end, no one cares if you’re ineffectual due to whatever reasons, only results matter hence Shouma=useless.

        If the goal was to make food, then probably Shouma != useless. However making food is not a priority (in fact it should be pretty far from the top of the priority list compared to your family member’s life!)

        Zaku Fan
      2. I’m just saying that it doesn’t make sense to criticize Shouma when both he and Kanba are slow and playing by other people’s rules. I think that makes them pretty normal and pretty realistic.

        Dr. Sanetantei
      3. It’s harsh to say he’s useless because Shouma and Kanba are very different individuals – Shouma’s not doing much, but he’s doing what a reasonably normal, rather timid, neurotic and reserved 16 year-old brother can do when his sister is terminally ill. Kanba was, even since much younger, always the more impulsive one, and he’s evidently been involved in a lot of dodgy dealings and generally shady stuff (and messing girls around) since before Himari needed saving. Kanba’s always been more morally flexible, so he sees roads Shouma and much of the audience probably wouldn’t (and tries hard to keep Shouma out of doing the same) – that doesn’t necessarily make him a better brother.

        I find it interesting that Sanetoshi didn’t necessrily have to accept money – he just vaguely implies Kanba should give something alike to his sister’s life. It’s interesting that it seems to imply Kanba sees things in monetary terms. Though since even Kanba still seems to believe Sanetoshi is a doctor and not just a random weirdo, I guess they really do assume it’s just a medicine she’s getting.

  6. Hmm…I still don’t buy the phalloplasty angle. The fact that Yuri was part of the Sunshiney (Takarazuka) Troupe in addition to Tsubasa’s statement last week regarding this feeling “only women could experience together” would seem to point towards Yuri being female…at least, she certainly is at the present. Both Ringo and Shouma would react differently this episode if she wasn’t, and well, “adding” a body part to Yuri will go against the deranged father’s goal of “removing” all the imperfections from her body in the first place.

    1. Genetically, Yuri’s still female. However, Tsubasa mentioned that she has an extra thing and Yuri herself said that she was going to take Ringo’s virginity even as a woman.

      When Yuri’s father mentioned removing her imperfections, I understood that as replacing her female reproductive organ with a male one. He also alluded to beauty “like the statue of David” and had a Hermaphroditus sculpture in his room. Judging from how he said Yuri’s mother got uglier after giving birth, it sounded like he detests the female body altogether.

    2. Did Tsubasa actually say anything about an extra thing? I recall her just leaving it at “your [Yuri] body’s secret” (あなたの体の秘密) and that’s it. It would have been a lot more different if she at least said アレ/”that” or something along those lines.

      The Hermaphroditus sculptures are a great catch, however. Thanks for pointing it out Divine. Oh Ikuhara…

    3. I gotta go with you here on this one. There are “hints” if you are looking for something extra. But really her father is a nut job and the exact wording tsubasa says means very little. her secret I read more as the fact she likes women than she has junk in her trunk.

      also for having taken her “you know what” she was sitting on her chest. and had plenty of toys an “equiped” person wouldn’t need.

    4. Yeah, Very sure the secret of Yuri’s body is that she wants women, or more so doesn’t want/respond to men. The chiseling and so on with her father was more likely a metaphor for rape than surgery. But even the verbal and physical abuse from her father was bad enough.

  7. Messed up? Yeah. Disturbing? Oh yes. But it’s that fantastic brand of disturbing and crazy which makes it bolder and braver than any series which has come out this year. I hate to say it, but I thought that it was the disturbing type of genius.

  8. Granted some of the stuff in this series is pretty disturbing (and I was not happy with attempted rape being used as a cliffhanger) but overall it doesn’t feel anymore messed up than some of the things I read in the latest A Song of Ice & Fire Book by GRRM. And Ikuhara does go into extremely less detail than those books which describe every gruesome detail. In Pengiundrum the stuff is more implied than shown.

    Also after watching 15 I didn’t think it was absolutely confirmed that Yuri’s father gave her a male organ. Maybe, but from watching the episode I was under the impression that he just physically deformed her.

    1. I pretty much agree, but GRMM at least has the given that he’s in a setting where rape, incest, and stuff like this can go down pretty easily because of society’s expectations and standards at the time. Here…..it’s just messed up. 🙂

  9. Nothing is ever explicitly stated. Everything is implied, which leaves a lot up to the viewer’s interpretation. What Divine stated is a possible theory. But I have to say it is a bit extreme. His father is an artist, not a surgeon. I doubt a 6 year old girl’s body can so easily withstand transsexual surgery. The more likely theory is some form of physical or sexual abuse.

  10. Well, Yuri said only Momoka knew and accepted her as she was, right? I supposed Tabuki and Yuri have already had sex or something, and again, if only Momoka knew, wouldn’t a phallic organ be pretty evident?

      1. I agree. Don’t forget that Tabuki has all of those scars on his fingers that haven’t been explained. Momoka had a bandage over one of her fingers when he was talking about the “price” she pays.

        Jack Spicer
      2. Yeah but her having one…I don’t know, what she says doesn’t make sense with the fact the other actor says he loves her and kinda knows about it …so if only Momoka “knew” but this guy knows AND loves her ¿?. Dunno. And Shouma doesn’t react weirdly to her naked body…I don’t think there’s much to suggest THAT was what happened. Rape and something else. I thought it might be even the father destroying her chance to be a mother, since he says his mother became ugly after giving birth. Thus destroying her female organs…but not replacing them. He was also making female sculptures so he seems to like both alike IMO, but since men can’t give birth they are “beautiful forever”.

  11. Well, all I can say at this point is that if there’s one thing that is consistent about this show, it’s how effed up it manages to get with every episode. At this stage, I feel like even Momoka should be twisted herself, granted that almost every character (save for Shouma) has some dark/twisted secret hovering behind their cheerful vibrant faces.

  12. I think it is kind of obvious (in my opinion) that Momoka used her diary to save Tabuki’s life. Two possibilities:
    1. Making him wake up later so he didn’t ride the subway sixteen years ago or
    2. Something to do with the scars on his hand.

    I can sorta see dots floating out there, but I can’t quite connect them or see the ending. I think some interesting things to consider is when the main trio’s father was on the phone a couple of episodes ago and said something along the lines of ‘So it’s a boy,’ and everyone was confused as to why it wasn’t indicating twins? Why couldn’t the diary have something to do with that?

    -shrugs- sorry for the butchering of the English language and El Psy Congroo

  13. Only gets weirder and weirder. After this episode, I really can’t tell what exactly Yuri’s father was doing to her. He’s an artist (sculptor specifically, from the looks of it) so genetic reassignment surgery seems wrong though 14 highly implied that Yuri could be a hermaphrodite of some sort.

    I’m thinking in the previous fate, Yuri was a true girl being abused by her father while in the current fate, Yuri got a punishment. Her father and his building are now gone, in exchange for this safety, she’s been given a male reproductive organ. This could be wrong, depending on just how the diary operates, but for now, will probably be the hunch I’ll go with.

  14. I’m sorry, but the “penis theory” is completely ridiculous. The dad is a psycho, and he’s using his chisels on Yuri, damaging her arm, leg, and face. “Parents treat their children as objects, abusing them”. And he was going to kill her before Momoka changed fate. There’s not a shred of evidence toward anything but mutilation, and I can only attribute this obsession with penises as evidence of peoples’ minds stuck hopelessly in the gutter.

    1. Yeah, it’s definitely extreme and I’m kind of hoping to be proven wrong. The thought did cross my mind that Yuri’s father may have just chipped away at her like a sculpture, but she doesn’t seem to have any scars on her arm, leg, or cheek to suggest she was mutilated.

      1. Personally I think it’s meant to be ambiguous and we aren’t supposed to know exactly what he did to her (and I am not sure I want to know). I think knowing that it was something sick is quite enough for me. So in this case I am really hoping Ikuhara won’t divulge any more details.

      2. I had exactly the same reaction when I watched it, Divine, and reached the same conclusion. I’d like to be wrong, to be honest, but any way you slice it that man is one sick fuck.

        I really feel like Ikuhara is trying to top himself for the sake of doing it now. It’s compelling, but sometimes I feel as if this show is slowly destroying my soul…

      3. Consider though, that after what Momoka did, Yuri is now in a fate or timeline where her father DIDN’T do any of these things. Notice that at Momoka’s bedside she no longer has the cast on her arm? She still has the memory which has her messed up, but no longer was there to be killed and the implication is some/most of what was started has gone away as well.

      4. I don’t think what Yuri’s father did with her was erased – I think she just stopped idolizing him. He was accomplished, and he was her father, so she felt very inferior to him.

  15. The chisel represents her father’s penis… come on, Divine. It means Yuri’s father was a monster who was having sex with her or even raping her. I don’t know how the physical abuse ties into it. I guess her father might have been angry at her for having girl parts.

  16. Shouma and Ringo must really be bound by fate. I had nearly forgotten about Shouma’s “best friend”, but here he is, back just in time to win a raffle, the prize being tickets for the exact same resort Yuri and Ringo are staying, the exact same night, in the room directly next to theirs, and said friend (as a well used version of the classic perverted buddy), who just happens to invite Shouma along happens to be listening to said room and reciting what Yuri is saying back while Shouma happens to be listening to the same words on his cell phone. No way it can be anything other than fate. Or bad writing.

      1. @fencedude

        Certainly Shouma being at the inn too was a little silly but I hardly see it as a ludicrous plot contrivance. I think it was just meant to show the “connection” between Ringo & Shouma again. Without even meaning to he was at the place Ringo needed him to be. This is a story about fate after all.

        Heck if anything Ikuhara could have just had Natsume show up a little earlier and she could have saved Ringo (we knew she was going after the diary). So I think Shouma showing up at the inn was not just to devise a way to save Ringo but something more.

    1. Deus Ex stuff like Shouma conveniently staying in the right place seems fine. The circumstances felt pretty tongue in cheek as they seemed to highlight the silliness of Shouma’s presence and poked fun at it. When writers do that, it at least shows some awareness of tripping up in the planning department.

    2. You know what this reminded me of? Life of Pi. Everything in that novel happens due to a series of coincidences that are either fate or bad writing (and I refuse to accept the latter because I adore that book, in all its twisted glory).

    3. Come on, you guys forgot the existence of diary?
      Can’t you see why Shouma conveniently stayed in the next room?
      It’s because it was written in the fucking diary!

      Every “destiny” has been written in this show already from eating curry to kissing. All of these events have actually happened between Ringo and Shouma, though she thought the man of destiny was Tabuki, in fact it’s Shouma.

  17. I still think that if Yuri had a penis, Shouma would’ve reacted to it.

    He did not though, and neither did Ringo when bathing – Yuri’s gotta be a woman.

    I think the father just raped her and worked on statues with the tools. I think there would’ve been blood SOMEWHERE if he was mutilating her that way.

    Also, sculptors don’t add or move things – they subtract from the mass. Those tools, if used on her, cant be used to attach things on to other places, and I don’t think we ever saw a tool that could be used for attaching, shaping, etc in the manner of a penis.

    I think some viewers just want Yuri to be a hermaphodite, and are really stretching here.

  18. Ah, finally watched the episode~

    Divine, do you have any idea as to what happened with Yuri’s father? I mean, while the fate was changed and the statue was replaced, Momoka just revealed that ‘he wouldn’t be coming back’ and that he too, was ‘replaced’ or had gone to where the statue had gone. Does anyone think that this implies a more sinister aspect of Momoka’s behavior, or rather the fate diary’s rules? I think an overall theme that’s branched out in this show is how fate can be completely unpredictable, and can lead to unforeseen consequences, and while Momoka’s ‘price’ could be one part of it (something I feel like she paid in order to save Tabuki’s life at the gas station that day) I also feel like the act of the exchange itself has unforeseen complications- see the theory about how Momoka might be the Princess of the Crystal (though I will admit, the whole difference in personality is kind of weird, but maybe that’s her ‘true’ side? Just speculation)

    I also strongly, strongly believe (almost confirmed to me, personally) after this episode that Kanba really is an adopted child. The whole conversation with Sanetoshi and how ‘if [his family] really wasn’t his family he wouldn’t really have to care for them’ talk kind of showed it off. That and the idea that Kanba is so desperate to protect his siblings (of course, namely Himari, whom he loves) but to me that kind of shows that sort of same theme Natsume had addressed to Yuri- kids who are desperate to be loved and will do anything for their family. (Which in turn, comes full circle back to Kanba with the Sanetoshi talk)

    I’m glad that Yuri didn’t rape Ringo, because damn, that would have been immensely problematic for me- and with the introduction of a very crazed artist (kind of goes to show how many artists have gone off the deep edge though) father, all I can say is that I hope Mawaru Penguindrum really doesn’t go off the edge- though in some aspects it has, and yet still remains extremely addicting.

    1. The exact words were,”I mean for you, if they and their family weren’t there, it would be easier for you wouldn’t it?” The they and family is ambiguous as to who its referring to, the easier means its a relief. The point the doctor is making, is that family is a burden sometimes and it’s tying down Kanba. He could be adopted, I wouldn’t be surprised. But then if there were other possibilities, like step child, illigitimate child, etc., I wouldn’t be surprised either.

  19. I’m not really buying your and Enzo’s phalloplasty angle. It just seems a huge stretch.

    The real problem is that whatever he was doing clearly couldn’t be shown in an anime that airs on TV, even late night otaku anime.

    However Yuri’s arm, leg and face seem perfectly fine now, and I find it odd that whatever he was doing would damage those areas so little that she bears no further scars, so I’m thinking that when Momoka switched world lines, the physical effects on Yuri were removed.

    Also, and this is really getting a bit too into the weeds in terms of “thinking logically about Penguindrum”, but…if it really was phalloplasty, it could be at least pretty much be undone. She would probably bear scars, but there’s no reason she’d have to spend her entire life with a non-functioning penis attached to her crotch. You know?

    1. That it could be undone is a given, but consider the other problem. Would you go to a doctor and explain to him that you have a penis attached to you because your father was a sick little fuck?
      Social stigma can be a powerful deterrent.

    2. I like to think maybe Momoka inherited Yuri’s injuries as a price for changing her fate. In the scene with the hospital, Yuri looks completely fine, but some of Momoka’s injuries match with Yuri’s like the bandage on her face and a broken left arm.

  20. After watching the episode with subs, I think that the phalloplasty theory is way too stretched and there is nothing to suggest it. I think that the father just abused Yuri with his chisels and possibly raped her. Another proof is that Shouma didn’t react strangely to Yuri’s full naked body.
    It’s still sick as hell but I want to believe that Yuri is 100% a woman.

    Son Gohan
    1. That was actually my initial thought, but a second watch through made me think that the chisels are a figurative/symbolic thing. I get the feeling it’s purposely vague so that those who didn’t suspect phalloplasty and only rape won’t realize how twisted the implications really are. e.g. Younger audiences.

      1. Maybe it seems like a stretch but he could be right. Ever read Animal Farm? Kids read it and see a sad story about animals. Adults read it and they see an allegory to communist Russia.

        And seeing as Ikuhara is a “Little” crazy, you never know what he could be thinking.

  21. I concern about mental state of the author, Is he gone nuts already? He try so hard to make story look reasonable but why no try to use an alien or satanic cult it will make story feel better than this.

  22. As much as I love this show and its dark setting, it’s just on the verge of being to much on the sick side. I mean, I can handle some pretty nasty stuff IF it’s a setting that has the potential for it; but all this rape and stuff is just out of the blue.

    If there’s going to be any kind of revelation that Yuri is a man and actually impregnated Ringo ( or raped her for that matter ), I’m dropping this show fast, never to look back.

  23. “I like how he goes against the norm and provides something different, taking viewers out of their comfort zones, but I feel there’s a limit to that before entertainment becomes a distant second in the overall delivery and he tends to exceed my limits. Striving to be different could be perceived as odd just as well as it could be a unique perspective on “art””

    I agree with Divine here. A couple messed up events would’ve added a flare to the interesting story behind the three siblings,their parents, Sanetoshi, and the diary. But Ikuhara’s overdoing it in regards to how crazy you can get.

    I did find that this episode was full of answers now though, in contrast to the millions of questions in previous episodes. Perhaps things will start to be stringed together and we’ll see something fascinating

    1. I feel like this is as dark as Mawaru Penguindrum is going to get. But I still feel that showing how ugly society can be when someone with influence is visibly abusing their child is not even questioned by the school because of of their influence is not just something Ikuhara is putting in for shock value. Victims of rape up to only a decade ago in Japan the public still had the mentality that it was the victims fault that the rape had occurred. The same with ignore the signs of child abuse as to how a child was punished was that a teachers duty to report or interfere in. Teachers that were whilst blowers on possible abuse also faced being fired especially when there was financially or political backing involved(this is also not exclusive to Japan however.

      Sanetoshi commentary realty does reflect the “evil” that can be done in the name of family bonds.

      Masako I feel was also starting to shine in her own right this episode. It also harks back to what Revolutionary Girl Utena was trying to show. I’m expecting the next 2 or 3 episodes to reveal more of Masako history. Coming from a noble “clan” I’m expecting she grew up under a patriarchal status quo with how the family behaved.

  24. Some bits are making sense but kind of confuse me, like momoka being burnt by fire for saving yuri..from both openings doesnt ringo disapper from the flames and the second opening the flames engulf her but she seems to expect it? ringos going to die…or disappear.

      1. Sure, if you’re Amish. Or three.


        That said, BeatsAngel, I think most of the replies concerning “disturbing” etc are just social reflexes done by members of society who think they need to respond that way in order to appear like they are normal human beings. I very much doubt many, if any, of these people are truly disturbed.

        You wouldn’t be able to operate in today’s modern media world if these type of things really affected you deep down beyond a surface layer superfluousness that prompts pre-programmed responses. 🙂

        I can’t wait to see what depravity Tabuki is likely hiding behind those glasses of his. I think anyone who’s watched anime for more than two seconds knows it’s those glasses-wearing guys you have to really look out for. 😀

      2. I can’t wait till the Tabuki bomb drops in this show. O___o We really only scratched the surface with him and the intro with him kissing Momoka’s feet/shoe in a form of worship speaks to how attached he is to her still..

  25. Urg. Sorry, wrong about the diary and I suspect you’ll be wrong about the fake penis, Divine.

    That’s a place not too many people are going to and it’s one hell of a stretch longer than anything in Utena, BTW.
    In Utena, the worst was Show Spoiler ▼

    The chisels appeared to be phallic in nature. Particularly the gesture he makes with his new one (running his hand over it). The implied nudity, the “pounding”, and the subtractive nature of his chosen language and tools doesn’t scream penis surgery; it screams sexual, mental, and emotional abuse of a child. While that shouldn’t be less disturbing it should be far less shocking. That would fit much more into Ikuhara’s style.

    Yuri is scarred emotionally and mentally, as such, I’m no longer convinced something is physically “wrong” with her. It may be similar to how slim girls often think they’re “fat”; Yuri thinks she’s ugly and defective. The comment made by her spurned lover last ep might have been a desperation ploy thrown by a lover from whom Yuri was unable to hide her own insecurities (even if she thought she had).

  26. “I’m also more indifferent to watching Revolutionary Girl Utena than I was before”

    Divine, the cool thing about the Utena TV series was that it used a very recognizable shojo formula and –gradually- subverted it. Utena was subtle while Penguindrum is over the top. Episodes in Utena went from normal to creepy to just plain wrong over the course of 30+ episodes, and it’s worth watching for that reason. FWIW I thought the Utena OVA was more empty symbolism than anything profound and I didn’t care that much for it.

    1. With the exception of subverting shoujo I would say Penguin drum is very similar to Utena in structure. I honestly don’t see how Penguindrum is more over-the-top than Utena was in the end.

      And I think we can also grasp the allusions & symbolism of penguindrum: the train motifs of heading towards a fixed fate, the diary having the power to change fate, and the apple as the symbol of something you get when you make a sacrifice purely for the sake of others (keeping in mind that this is also might symbolize Ringo herself). If anything I think Penguindrum is a dark & somewhat twisted homage to Night on the Galactic Railroad.

      Sanetoshi & the black bunnies (who are not in Galactic Railroad) feel like characters who try to tempt characters to not accept fate and lead them to a path of destruction.

      In the end my theory is the story will lead to the characters to just live the course of their life to the best of their ability: neither worrying about fate or attempting to change what must happen (death for example).

      The sexual stuff now that was definitely in BOTH Utena and PD…

      1. Ah I just realized it was the commenter below you who mentioned about the symbolism (oh well)

        But another thing to consider about the difference between Utena and PD. Utena was 39 episodes, PD is 24. Utena did get gradually weirder & darker as the series went on but it could take more time than PD because it had more episodes to play with. Utena’s last saga (when things started to get really twisted and weird) starts at episode 34 when we have about 5-6 episodes left. PD now has only a few more episodes left than that. In the end I would say Ikuhara is very similar in his storytelling approach with both series.

      2. Hi Kim. I was responding to Divine’s comment on misgivings about watching Utena following MP – I agree with you that they have a lot in common including sexual taboo but I still think MP is more over-the-top than most of Utena. Stuff in Utena isn’t explicit until near the end, when it serves a kind of reveal – the series itself develops, and enters sexual maturity as Utena does. Ringo was a stalker when we met her, already sneaking into Tabuki-san’s bedroom by ep.7, and by 8 she had him drugged and stripped and she was all nekkid and rapey. And that all seems like nothing now.

        Also, Utena was set more in a symbolic world than MP which so often references actual events. When people get swords taken out of their chests in Utena, it’s really striking but it doesn’t feel literal. When Yuri’s dad chisels his daughter, the action is symbolic but it also is literal – she’s literally being abused and disfigured. I think that’s a big difference in terms of people’s comfort levels. I don’t think that people turned off by one of these series should necessarily avoid the other.

  27. I think Ikuhara may be trying to outperform himself, but in trying to do that, he kept adding elements that enhanced the shock/titillation value of the show instead of improving on the thematic aspects of the show. I actually enjoyed Revolutionary Girl Utena, because you could at least kind of grasp the allusions, symbols, and the themes of the show. The plot and the fights were well thought out and had direction. Mawaru Penguindrum seems to be heading in the direction of pushing the limits of anime with the risque.

  28. So, not sure I buy this whole “Yuri had (homemade?) gender reassignment” theory. But it isn’t at all beyond the realm of possibility, given the giant David sculpture, the father’s obsessive dislike for the mother and dislike for Yuri’s resemblance to her, and
    the pipe — obvious Magritte reference (as is the reoccurring image of the window with the floating chisel), Magritte’s pipe in turn is a Freud reference, and did you notice the pipe was all veiny? Umm, yeah. So Ikuhara may be teasing us. But these things could also just refer to the centrality of the father to Yuri’s life. Like they say, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    Also, include Yuri’s towel flying away for no reason
    and our point of view seems away from the (camera) lights implying a spectacle that we aren’t invited to see.

  29. There is no way that there is a penis on Yuri. I think people just want to believe it. If there were Shouma would’ve noticed and reacted. He flinched and hid his eyes over a simple panty shot in episode 2

    People here just need to calm down lol

  30. Yeah, I don’t buy the penis-theory either. If it weas purposely vague, then it was even more than needed, since I doubt that more than a few ppl will think about that possibility after having watched the episode.
    I have a small request: Could someone who understands japanese, translate what is said by Himari on those illustrations those past two episodes?
    She always starts with the trademark words “Let’s initiate the Survival Strategy”. But what does she after that on ep. 14 & 15? Thanks

      1. Seconded…was wondering what these past two eps. said as well. I look forward to hearing what she’s going to relate back to. There have been some good ones, but nothing will ever beat “Seizon senryaku! Fabulous Max!”

  31. I don’t have much to add but I do think those of us who did see Utena knew what we were getting into with Mawaru Penguindrum. I was a little worried when the series focused a little too much on Ringo for the first half but the last five or so episodes more than made up for it by delving into the backstories of the established cast and introducing darker and more disturbing aspects. I can understand why people would find this discomforting but then the series wouldn’t have any personality.

    I’m actually surprised he changed the OP since I feel this one uses more still shots and seems slightly less elaborate than the first.

    1. The new op is a lot catchier imo (dat “teh” rhyming) and I’ve always been a sucker for catchy, but it very noticeably reuses a lot of footage from the first opening and a tiny bit from Himari’s transformation scene. I find it more surprising that they changed the OP in the middle of the revelation period as this one doesn’t seem to fit very well with the show’s current mood, which the first one did quite well.

  32. Theoretically speaking, the chisels symbolizes the male reproductive organ. The new chisel from Florence might just be the finished product of an artificial penis Yuri’s father was making from using Yuri’s skin graphs since he did say something along the lines like “today is the last…” and “you will be something Daddy will love for eternity”. While the sexual abuse is plausible, I still can’t see the connection between that and the chisel from Florence, becoming something that her father will love if Yuri is just getting raped by him, Yuri’s secret and her towel flying away with blasting light as if there is something on her body.

    Anyway, that dad is one sick man.

  33. First of all, let’s not forget that the whole genital reassignment surgery is only in OUR own heads. Secondly, it’s not important at all — and I don’t think Ikuhara was aiming for that — to know exactly what happened. The fact is that Yuri went under child abuse, both physically and emotionally, which contributed to building the person she is now. Sanetoshi’s comments especially highlighted the fact that some children are stuck in the family trap: no matter how they are mistreated, family is family and you must love it. THAT is the sick part, THAT is one of the central messages here, and not discuss the implications of genital remodeling.

    So think twice before saying stuff like “Ikuhara is insane”. As a side note, no, I’m not a fanboy and haven’t yet seen Utena or any other work of his. It just bothers me why people must pursue the most outrageous/complex paths and think their interpretations represents what the author was thinking with all details, when the message is so evident. Maybe there are insinuations, maybe not, but that’s for you to decide individually.

    1. It could represent a pulse beat. That would match up with the pulse that beats when it cuts to Seizon Senryaku. In other words, since the diary is necessary to everything, it’s like a pulse.

  34. Uh…. I didn’t get the give her a penis vibe from the sculpting stuff, I figured it was in place of whatever abuses were going on there and isn’t the tower literally her father? Didn’t whatsherface Ringo’s sister basically just kill the father, and the price was her life? I have to admit, half the fun of this show is just waiting to see what kind of crazy territory the guy is going to go to next.

  35. i dont think the aspect of yuri’s gender is that important to make u do a post talking basically about it, instead commenting the episode. So here’s what i think about epi 15:
    -loved the new opening;
    -finally momoka appeared. I think the anime showed her at the right time, cuz its clear that she is the center of the story and ties all characters;
    -so, it’s now cleared that the diary is something special, not a nonsense thing of ringo’s mind;
    -yuri is not a vilain and wants the diary for a noble reason;
    -deep inside i think the sanetoshi is not that cruel. Guess he gaved the scars for hikari and hibari without second intentions. Also we could see that himari is still dear to them;
    -Shouma being at the right place and right time proves that he and ringo are tied by destiny;
    and finally, about yuri’s gender and whatever, guess u are overthink to much. To me seems more that her father raped her and mutilated her body without a project in mind. I mean, he is not a surgeon and also, when Shouma saw her body he wasnt surprised, so she is probably a normal woman.

  36. Okay, so for one thing I feel a bit dense. I didn’t catch any of the symbolism/hinting in regards to what was being done to Yuri, but the way you explained it here makes it seem glaringly obvious.

    Much of the revelations in this Yuri-centric ep. were truly twisted. Some interesting questions are raised in my mind as to the whys of her Papa’s actions: Did he resent her mother so much for “not understanding his art” that he rejected real women altogether and so could only accept them as lifeless statues, and by extension – ‘transforming’ his daughter into another male like himself?

    Aside from the big shockers involving Momoka (Being Sanetoshi’s first love, her relationship w/ Yuri, and the world laws of the Diary/Drum), what shocked me more than anything was something I perceived: Momoka’s first display of the Diary’s physical punishment for changing someone’s fate is a band-aid on her finger. Seeing that, my mind immediately jumped to the heavy scarring on Tabuki’s fingers. My thinking is now thus: Is he ALSO someone capable of altering others’ fates at his own physical expense? Was that what connects him and Momoka beyond just “being childhood friends”? (Since he was curiously absent in these flashback scenes)

    Can. Not. Wait. To own this twisted, funny, heart-wrenching, endearing series. Someone hurry up and LICENSE IT ALREADY!! Then you can take my money.

  37. I have applied on a variety of online websites for a used car loan. They will deny me as I have no credit history. I tried CapitalOne and eLoan as well. My income is about $1400 monthly. I want a 10k loan to buy a used RSX from someone. I even tried getting the same car from a dealer but the guy told me to apply at CapitalOne which as I already said denied it. I don’t have anyone I could use as a co-signer either. Any ideas how I can get the loan for this car without having to wait for better credit history?.

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