Friday, 23 September 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum - Episode 11

After Natsume's games brought her very much to Kanba's attention last week, it seems that it's time for our wannabe lothario to pay her a visit in the hope of finding out what she's really after.

As has now become pretty much Mawaru Penguindrum, what he does find out doesn't really provide any obvious answers to what's going on.  What is clear however is that, just like Ringo and Tabuki, Natsume is intent upon stalking Kanba as part of her own "Project M", courtesy of an infatuation that seems to go back some time into both of their pasts.  Of course, this isn't just about Natsume, as we're introduced to Mario's, Natsume's very own penguin hat-sporting director of survival strategy.  Who is this girl?  We have no real idea, but what we do learn is that Natsume seems, in fact, only to be in possession of half of Ringo's highly-sought diary.

Speaking of Ringo, it seems that even the loss of her diary won't put a stop to her own "Project M", as she sets out on her latest hair-brained scheme to win over Tabuki - another frog-centric plan which, incredibly, actually works, setting Tabuki into raptures over his new-found "princess" and filling Ringo's heart with joy... or does it?  Despite her assertions that she wants, nay must, win over Tabuki for the sake of her lost sister, her heart appears to be wavering somewhat, and as Tabuyki's lust grows even greater to the point where Ringo has to flee, Yuki's return brings the answer of just why Ringo might be hesitating at this critical moment.  Finally, as the episode comes to a close, we get a little closer to what might be the core tenet of the series - an incident in 1995 that caused the death of Ringo's sister Momoko, on the same day as the birth of both Ringo and the Takakura brothers.  Take your pick from the two major incidents which rocked Japan in real-life that year, although the allusions throughout the series to date suggest that the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway is the incident in question.

If nothing else, Mawaru Penguindrum certainly seems to be enjoying its sense of mystery, dealing out facts and plot points in a decidedly miserly fashion to keep us guessing and leave almost everything in a decidedly uncertain state.  Not that this is a bad thing - it continues to do enough to keep my interest, even if it is deliberately dancing around anything which might give us a major clue as to what's going on in a suitably stylish manner.  With the half-way point of the series hitting next week though, perhaps this will be the moment where the show really moves on to its next level?  It can't dally around for ever surely, fun though that might sometimes be...

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