Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

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Mawaru Penguindrum Ep 2

Final impression – inconsistent

Kanba and Shouma have been given the task of retrieving the Penguin Drum by the hat that has possessed their sister, Himari.  They really don’t have much of a choice in the matter since the hat is keeping her alive.  The hat thinks the Penguin Drum is in the possession of a girl named Ringo, so the brothers decide to stalk her throughout the day in order to gather information about where she might be keeping it.  However, during the course of following her from the train station in the morning, to her girls’ school during lunch, through a lingerie shop in the afternoon, they find out something strange.  She’s stalking a teacher and has planned how to win his heart and spend the rest of her life by his side.

Mawaru Penguindrum continues its unexplained escapades through a weakly developed plot.  Even after episode 2, there’s still so much unexplained stuff going on.  For starters, why doesn’t the hat just possess Himari and go get the Penguin Drum by itself?  What is the Penguin Drum the brothers are even looking for?  Why would Ringo be in possession of the Penguin Drum in the first place?  The lack of explanation might not have hurt the anime if it wasn’t so pervasive.  There is such a thing as pacing, but Mawaru Penguindrum’s development makes a snail look like a rocket.  The wacky style and colorful visuals make the anime fun, but it’s fun without substance.

Mawaru Penguindrum Ep 1

Himari does a Lady Gaga impressionInitial impression – unimpressed

Himari and her two brothers Kanba and Shouma haven’t drawn the best lot in life.  They live in a run-down, tiny house and Himari’s poor health has her constantly in and out of the hospital.  One day they decide to forget their troubles by visiting the aquarium where Shouma buys her a penguin hat.  Later that day Himari’s illness accelerates and her life ends before the eyes of her shocked brothers.  But just as they begin to plan the burial rites, Himari awakens in the morgue to the brothers’ jubilation.  However, there’s a catch.  Himari’s penguin hat has possessed her body and now demands compensation from the brothers for extending her life.

Mawaru Penguindrum has a glaring lack of tone control.  One minute the anime is dealing with the serious vicissitudes of free will and fate while Himari lies on her deathbed.  Then the next scene involves Himari marching down a flight of stairs dressed like Lady Gaga; possessed by said penguin hat, talking about finding “strategies for survival.”

I have little hope for the future of this anime producing anything entertaining after that glaringly inconsistent first episode.  I’m willing to give it a little generosity because there’s a few redeeming gimmicks.  The style is at least attempting to go somewhere with a plot, which is more than can be said for other wacky anime of this caliber.  But what may just keep my attention is finding out what is to become of Himari when the penguin hat has fulfilled its goal.