Sunday, 30 October 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum - Episode 16

Given that she's been an important part of the series for a little while now, I suppose it's about time that Masako Natsume got an episode largely to herself to delve into her particular background a little more - an what an "interesting" episode it is too....

In short, this week's instalment gives us a window into Masako's current place at the head of her "clan", and perhaps more importantly how she came to be there - left in the care of her grandfather on account of her father not agreeing with his own dad's way of doing things and moving away, Masako becomes determined to pave the way for her father's return no matter the costs.

At least, that's the plan in her head, although in reality her attempts at removing her grandfather from his role prove to be little more than dreams.  Ultimately however, this company president engineers his own downfall by preparing his own blowfish (don't try this at home kids) - or does he?  Perhaps he lives on within the body of the sickly Mario.  More importantly however, the question remains as to just what is expected from Masako by the ever-mysterious Sanetoshi, and although we get a few glimpses of Masako's formative relationship with Kanba there is still much yet to be learned as to his shadier dealings.

This rather strait-laced synopsis however hides an episode which was utterly, utterly bizarre and more than a little surreal - it played some of its aspects for comedic purposes with glee, including a somewhat twist take on its "survival strategy" motif and Masako's attempts on her grandfather's life, to the point where this almost felt like a filler episode for a while before the realisation sunk in that important plot points where also being made here.  The problem here is that so layered in whimsy and dream sequences is this episode, that come the end of it you're not entirely sure what you should and shouldn't extract from it - this is, perhaps, the point but it's a little hard to swallow from a series that already occasionally threatens to become impenetrable on account of its numerous unanswered questions, while its light-hearted nature threatens to trivialise some of the potency of the show's story in places.  I just hope this is a one-off, rather than this series picking up more of Revolutionary Girl Utena's bad habits...

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