Daydream Sanctuary Features

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum - Episode 1

Before this seasons shows have started to air, there is very little information on this show. I only see the penguins on the trailers... even if they're cute, they're not exactly enough to excite me since... err... I'm not that into penguins I prefer unicorns.

But now that I've seen the first episode....

....... HOLY SH!T

..... It's The Anime of the Season.

Now THIS is my type of series. It stands out for its creativity, brilliance, and madness!

This show is no doubt amazingly stylish and imaginative.... in every way. It's trying out so many new things... and all of them so far seem to work.

I might've been praising this show a bit... too much... BUT, it's first episode is just that stunningly amazing that it would honestly be quite tricky to think of what's horrible on it.

Unless it's absolutely not your type of thing.

Like with the scene that screams "incest" in this episode. Incest phobics are gonna freak out.

As for me, I'm not pro-incest (I have a brother, you know. That's kinda disturbing.) but I don't really have problems in shows that have characters who are into such.

(1) This show is crazy. Expecting a show with penguins on the streets to be 100% normal seems absolutely stupid.
(2) It's a freakin' cliffhanger. Its sole purpose is to drive the fans who highly look forward to what will happen next crazy, in in whatever manner/method.

Moreover, there had been a scene where Kanba's heart was taken (that was so WTF but it was awesome~) so that might have something to do with it. There's also the possibility of the siblings not being related by blood (and the "playboy" characters are sometimes those with undying love to a particular someone). And if Himari got possessed, what if Kanba was posessed as well? So yeah, I don't think it could be considered as incest (at least not yet). Pfft, that particular scene might just be some bluff/illusion as well. So many possibilities!

The show may appear silly, but there's actually quite a number of thought-provoking lines and interesting allusions and symbolisms in it. Most of them are things you won't even bother with or don't seem to make sense... like the train stations and the penguins themselves.

There was someone (I don't know who ;_;) who had summarized the possible themes that the series may or may not tackle, but I would like to quote him/her (but I added something on items 1 & 2):
1. Man versus fate – there's so much "fate is bullsh!t" type of talk, isn't there~?
2. Death and the afterlife – our heroine was brought back to life after all
3. Survival Strategy – which I assume is the survival of the species by mating. I read up on penguins and I think it’s worth a mention that penguins tend to form monogamous couples for the breeding season. Ikuhara loves dabbling on sexuality so I’m convinced he has this in mind when he used penguins in the story. And then, the incest– which human society frowns upon. Unless that’s your kink, you dirty otaku!
4. Nihilism – “Those of you who won’t amount to anything, There is no god etc.”
5. The fragile state of reality – It seems that there’s a huge gap between the siblings’ home and their surroundings. Also, the fact that other people can’t see the penguins gives me doubts on whether anything happening here is real.
I highly doubt that the themes will be limited to those.

At first I thought it was more of a magical girl-ish show with those fancy transformations... to my surprise, it's quite rich in literary references as well, many of them on fairy tales. This series reminded A Day Without Me of the a kid's novel entitled Night on the Galactic Road: the apple and the train stations have a connection; while E Minor had been very observant on seeing the titles of the books... and some of those titles are even the unusual/unpopular ones (like the Snow White adaptation. Come to think of it, fairy tales actually consist of dark themes... even though they are generally believed to be something kiddie and colorful.

Back to the episode, I find it impressive that in just one episode... it already proved to me that it can cover various genres, and can also mix them very well. The timing's not off; they're executed well. The characters weren't overreacting; neither did they lack emotion.

There had been great characterization on the cast introduced so far. Good job on the character development too. Every one of them had been interesting... and even the side characters get to say such intense lines. It's quite amusing that the show has exagerated the insignificance of the "crowd people" and the "main character's school friend". Haha! Those are the types of characters that the viewers would usually not even bother to look at... but seeing them faceless or so off-camera actually got my eye. This style reminded me of Durarara!!, hehe.

I see many people find similarities on it with Revolutionary Girl Utena.... I couldn't relate to it however, because I'm such a loser =P Haha! (I think the reason why I no longer bothered to watch it in the past was because it has yuri themes... but I'm not that disturbed on such stuff anymore so I'm hoping to be able to watch it soon~) I could relate with Star Driver and Sailormoon though.... and Mawaru is hell more fabulous and sexier than those two, haha!

Yeah, yeah, the show's quite perverted. But I think the camera focused more on the poses... rather than the boobs or the panties. So on those scenes with the heroine in her "magical girl outfit", they don't make me see her as the typical perverted fanservice... but a chick with sex appeal. Oh how to explain this... think CanCan or Bellydances... or Moulin Rogue or Chicago. They're entertainment media with women being so sexy, but they're not exactly pr0nz. Penguindrum's like that to me... sa putting it together with most of the perverted anime shows nowadays is like underrating it.

Oh this show is fun to watch... the fantastic art made doing so even more enjoyable. The episode had been so well drawn that even the household kitchen is illustrated in great detail (as noticed by Joojoobees).

It's not only visually stunning, but the music also rocks! When it comes to background music, it's on the same level as Kamisama no Memochou. As for the Opening theme, it's on par with Kamisama Dolls, both on the song and the visuals.

I'm so happy that my favorite anime studio, Brains Base, is working on this. Very thin chances of this series going epic fail, haha!

In the previous season, [C] was my top favorite for its uniqueness and the awesome directing. But I think Mawaru has surpassed it in both aspects.. even if we just compare their first episodes. Moreover, I really can't resist shows that highlight sibling love (guh, family love. Not all love has to be romantic T_T), hehe~

Sorry Ikoku, I still adore you for the cute, and the culture/historical stuff, but incredible shows like Penguindrum make me more hyper xD
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