Friday, 18 November 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum - Episode 19

Having failed in his bid for revenge, it seems that Tabuki has done a runner, but in the aftermath of that intense scenario we do get confirmation of a couple of things that had felt somewhat obvious from recent episodes - firstly, that Kanba is still in touch with his parents despite his protestations last week, and secondly that Tabuki and Yuri's relationship was only forged under the shared memory of Momoka and nothing more.

With all of that out of the way, this episode quickly moves on to the joyous return home for Himari, as she gets to enjoy a lavish meal with her brothers and Ringo to celebrate the occasion.  All is not quite well in Himari's world however, as she's come to the inevitable conclusion that her illness is incurable despite its current remission, while her heart seems to be wavering about something else entirely - something that Sanetoshi seemingly can't help with.

Things are about to get a whole lot worse for Himari however, as she finds herself visited by Natsume - after visiting Sanetoshi herself with regard to the importance of the diary of which she owns half, she seems to have redoubled her efforts to win back Kanba's love.  While Himari and Natsume talk at crossed purposes for a while, Natsume's love for Kanba finally comes out into the open - it isn't the only thing either, as Natsume suggests that Himari isn't even officially part of the Takakura family at all.  Is this really truly?  It seems impossible, but with Natsume threatening to force the truth into Himari's eyes so it appears in her own volition, as we pay another visit to the child broiler and find out both Himari's true origin as well as her saviour.

After such an emotive instalment last week it was always going to be tough to keep things moving along at that level, and despite its best efforts at shocking the viewer its revelations all felt too cold and calculated to really generate any organic emotions from myself around them.  Perhaps it's simply that the series had done too good a job of subtly hinting that Himari isn't the sister she initially seemed to be to Shouma and Kanba, while similarly the knowledge of Kanba's link to his parents and the truth of Tabuki's relationship with Yuri all felt too predictable to bring anything more than a mild "yeah, that figures".  After spending so long setting up and teasing so many questions, I can't help but wonder whether Mawaru Penguindrum has spent so much time toying with my emotions and expectations that it's proved to be counter-productive in the long-term by rendering me immune from any real surprises - either way, this week's episode had only a fraction of the impact I'd wager it was designed to.

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