Wildly hilarious, mind-numbingly complex, and brutally emotional. These are the three core things that make up Mawaru Penguindrum, an animated series (based off of the light novel series) that recently finished airing. It's been a few weeks since I collected my thoughts and--more importantly--my
after finishing this anime, and before I go into any depth, I'm throwing in the conclusion: You have to watch this. I don't care who you are or what kind of shows you usually like. You need to watch it.
The show starts off by introducing us to some of the most important characters of the show. Shoma, Himari, and Kanba live together as siblings independent from the rest of their family. On the outside, they look like normal kids. Unfortunately, Himari is very sick, and this has left the boys doting on her and doing everything they can to keep her healthy in mind and body. The trio go on a trip to the aquarium where we get to see lots of penguins. Himari even gets a cute penguin hat. Penguins are goddamn important.
She collapses, and just when all hope is lost, she suddenly comes back to life thanks to the penguin hat. Through the hat, the boys meet a woman who looks like Himari but acts nothing like her. She tells them that in order to save their sister's life, they need to find the Penguindrum.
IMAAAAAGIIIIIIIIIINE--wait, what the hell--
The beginning episodes start on a much lighter note than the second half of the series. The boys find out that a girl named Ringo from their school has the penguindrum. As they start stalking her, they learn more about her.
Namely that she's also a stalker--a legit stalker.
Camping-out-under-your-house-because-I-love-you kind of stalker.
The boys have to get as close to her as possible in order to find the penguindrum, which they suspect to be her diary. She goes on and on about fate and how it's
fate to marry their homeroom teacher. Curry is also serious business.
If this all sounds ridiculous, it's because it is. Mawaru Penguindrum is hilarious in the beginning. There are some weird moments, but you can't help laughing because "What is wrong with this girl?!"
The show becomes much more serious. Each episode expertly provides more information, but not enough to answer your questions. The more you know, the more you need to know. Characters are fleshed out through flashbacks and back stories, and each character has a story to tell. Everyone has conflict; no one is puppies and rainbows.
This goes double for Himari.
The second half of Mawaru Penguindrum is literally darker than the first. The art is more defined and there are fewer ridiculous faces thrown everywhere. While I was definitely not expecting the change, it felt so effortless.
The art is beautiful. Especially in the second half, the viewer can really tell the artists
. The music sets the mood and never felt out of place. Both openings are especially good, though it took some time for me to start liking the first opening song by Etsuko Yakushimaru. The endings change a few times, often to fit with the mood of that episode. Songs are both ridiculous and sad. Like everything in Mawaru Penguindrum, it is multi-faceted.
The story is extremely complex. With metaphors, symbolism, and archetypes at play, you're going to stumble through the plot. But you'll be stumbling with all of the different characters spinning in circles. You'll enjoy the ride--believe me.
Also, this anime has an amazing antagonist. Watch it for him.
Yes, I said