Penguins, Apples, Turtles ... this show had it all.

I haven’t posted anything about Mawaru Penguin Drum in a while, so some might have wondered if I dropped it. No. I have been eagerly watching each week, but found myself perennially at a loss for words.

Normally, especially for a series that I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed this one, this post would be my “Final Thoughts”. I would be summing up what I thought about it, and telling you why I think you should watch it, or at least who might enjoy it the most. But with Mawaru Penguin Drum, I am by no means ready to express “Final” thoughts. I strongly feel the desire to go back and watch the series over from the beginning. In fact this, I think is key to understanding the experience of watching Mawaru Penguin Drum.

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The bird cage rusted shut that day.

Episode 18 of Mawaru Penguin Drum continues the nearly unbroken string of impossibly brilliant artistic experiences this show has presented us. I said, when commenting on the first episode that this show has the potential to challenge my favorite series of all time. Somehow Kunihiko Ikuhara delivers a mind bending experience week after week. Not only is the subtext intense and frankly disturbing, the presentation is often visually stunning, and the whole thing is suffused in symbolism.

This week the focus is on Tabuki, but there is so much more that it is really worth remarking upon. Justin does a great job of collecting links to the various perspectives people have offered through blog posts, so I would urge you to stop by his blog and see where things take you.

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Ringo heads out on a date with Tabuki.

Episode 7 of Mawaru Penguin Drum is full of Ringo’s delusions. She is, after all a girl who has grabbed fate by the horns and is actively wrestling it to the ground. Unfortunately for Shouma, he seems to have gotten in the path as Ringo’s crazy train comes barreling through.

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Ringo Oginome.

Episode 2 of Mawaru Penguin Drum was heavily anticipated. One question on people’s minds was would the show be able to maintain the sense of wacky intensity when it started to reveal the contours of a real plot. Fortunately episode two is still a delicious blend of ridiculous fun and outrageous mystery.

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Wait, that's not Utena. Nice hat, though.

It has only been a few days since the airing of the first episode of Mawaru Penguin Drum, and the reaction has been intense. I think it is fair to say that a lot of people had high hopes that this latest effort by Kunihiku Ikuhara, who is rightly praised for earlier contributions (Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena). The reaction across the aniblogiverse has been a fairly consistent, “WTF? I love this!”.

Today I found out through TheAkiba that this same reaction is being felt even in surprising places. YoU, in the linked TheAkiba post, mentions that legendary Type-Moon author Nasu Kinoko (Tsukihime, Fate/stay Night) had praised the first episode in his blog. Now, through the magic of Google Translate, I present an excerpt:

Is that we have a taste. That is still small compared to the impact damage. Maybe.

No, Really Datte. Seriously Seriously.

Not at all I’m addicted to watching the scene again transformed into more than ten times.

🙂 He also says, “the transformation of the last scene was a kill”. It is nice to know that even a well-respected author can have his mind blown by an anime. Good job, Ikuhara-sensei! I, along with fans around the globe are eagerly awaiting the release of episode 2.