Friday, 25 November 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum - Episode 20

Last week's Mawaru Penguindrum did its darndest to turn things on their head, outing Himari as an adopted daughter of the Takakura family rather than a biological part of that unit while positioning Shouma as her saviour and "soul mate".  A cat has well and truly been set amongst the pigeons, to put it mildly.

It's this revelation which reverberates heavily through this episode - most directly in Shouma's inability to keep up the happy family façade any longer (something which Kanba also struggles with) while also heaping pressure upon himself as the sole person capable of being punished for his family's sins.

Much of the rest of the instalment is delivered via flashback, as we see through Shouma's eyes his initial meeting with Himari and the friendship which develops as they spend time together before Himari is snatched away to face her end at the hands of the heavy-handed metaphor that is the Child Broiler.  Of course, as we now know Sho rescues her from this fate, yet it's Kanba who continues to fight for her physical well-being in the present day against the backdrop of an organisation which claims to fight for the have-nots of the unjust world they purport to live in.

There's certainly a lot to pick up on and mull over from this week's episode, which makes the most of the surprise of last week's episode to fill in some more of the many, many blanks on show within the structure of the series.  Yet again however, this leads to more questions, whether it's about the righteousness of the Kiga group (whose cultish obsession belies a devotion to tackling the inherent unfairness not just of society, but of the world), thoughts about love which effectively encompass the age-old "better to have loved and lost" argument within its own framework, plus Kanba's exact place in the Takakura family and by extension exactly how Natsume fits into the picture given the way she and Kanba refer to one another and those around them here.  It seems as if there shouldn't be time to ask more questions at this juncture but it feels like Mawaru Penguindrum is determined to keep as much as it can up in the air until the very end, which will promise an end to the series that is either a disaster or a spectacular success.  As for the subject of the show's title.... Penguindrum?  What Penguindrum?  Perhaps it's as false as the ability to change the world that Revolutionary Girl Utena promised...

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