Mawaru Penguindrum: Absurdly random…or maybe not as much

Since its very first episode, Mawaru Penguindrum may have already established a sort of form for itself: sheer unpredictability. Others may disagree though, and say the show is not unpredictable as it is just a montage of crazy random sequences. Well, it wouldn’t matter how you look at it; you will almost always wind up clueless after an episode. With sixteen episodes in, the mystery still remains as a mystery, despite the latest revelations and such. I feel that the series is just begging us to speculate, only to have our guesses flipped around stomped on. So why am I pointing out something that is already so apparent from this show?

Two words: Uncrushable Man

That would be the title of the sixteenth and latest episode of Mawaru Penguindrum. To summarize, the episode sheds some light on Masako’s past, mostly about her family, her desire to kill her grandfather Sahei, her subsequent desire to bring back her father and how she ended up the way she is now. The “Uncrushable Man” (I think) refers to Masako’s grandfather who claims that men of the Natsume clan must not be crushed at all costs. This also attributes to Masako’s catch-phrase, “I must crush him soon”. All this would be well and good, but this particular episode was so random in so many ways.

First off, we have some dream sequences wherein Masako kills off her grandfather in various covert and/or comedic ways – poisoning, blow-dart to the neck, and golf ball to the head – to name a few. The reason for doing so, was so that her father could return to their household. However, Masako was yet to do anything remotely close to actually killing her grandfather. I think this was how Masako saw her grandfather. A man who won’t be crushed, and would still be alive the next morning. Well, it’s that, as well as comic relief. You’ve got to admit, Sahei Natsume is funny (along with that American business associate who actually speaks proper English).

When her grandfather really does die (due to being poisoned by eating a blow fish he stripped himself), crazy randomness reaches a whole new level. He possesses Mario, Masako’s brother, since, well, he can’t be crushed. This leads to an odd stand-off which involved two plates of stripped blow fish, one of which was stripped and poisoned by Sahei himself. The challenge was to pick the right one. However, that would mean that Mario, controlled by grandpa Natsume, would be the one to be poisoned instead. This led to Masako pushing aside Mario (to a pond, of all places) and eating both plates. Of course, eating both plates meant that she would surely be poisoned, and well, she was. She became paralyzed shortly after. This scene may have well been the actual death of Mario, which sucks for Masako, since she was still fully conscious for some time, before she blacked out.

Which leads to a more serious, but still confusing scene. Masako was now aboard a mysterious train with Sanetoshi and Mario, and her father, Kanba, and a bunch of suited guys on the next cart. Sanetoshi explains that her father and Kanba were one of the chosen ones to “put the world back on track” and asks (more like blackmail) Masako to be a chosen one too, for the sake of her brother. Masako ends the episode by waking up from a three-day coma (well, she was between life and death, so I would assume so)

After the episode I found myself speculating every bit of what I can and can’t understand. That led to a bunch of questions that popped in my head – How can Sahei be able to possess someone? Is Masako’s father related to the Takakura family, since they work for the same organization? Is Kanba related to Masako’s father, since his hair is kinda Kanba-like? and in that matter, are Shouma and Kanba really brothers? Where the hell does Sanetoshi stand in all this?

I left out some other scenes, like scenes with Shouma and such, but the events above are more than enough to prove my point. No matter how random they make it (this episode being the best example of it) Mawaru Penguindrum makes it work (I think Ikuhara gets the credit for this one). I don’t think there are a lot of shows that could utilize randomness to actually advance a plot, and in such a colorful way at that. At first I thought this episode was pretty bad, but after thinking some of the things over, and actually paying attention to the craziness, I was proven wrong.

Seizon Senryaku!

I mean come one, can you blame me? The episode was full of puns (which I admit are totally funny) One of my favorite lines being, “I like my blow fish like I like my women: stripped by me!” ^^

13 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum: Absurdly random…or maybe not as much

  1. You know, when boshi-sama possessed Himari shouted the silent “Seizon Senryaku!”, I laughed hard.

    Anyway, I was absolutely puzzled by the 16th episode mostly because I felt that it didn’t fit into the things that had happened for the last 15 episodes. Just when I thought I understand a little of what is going on, now I’m totally at lost. I guess I need some time to digest the latest episode. >.< Besides your list of questions which are similar to mine, I wonder how Kanba managed sneak into what I think it's her own house to find Masako. I do feel that Kanba and Shouma aren't blood brothers though.

    • An epic return of “Seizon Senryaku!” indeed ^^

      This episode just opened up a whole lot of other possibilities, underneath all the crazy shizz they cooked up this episode. I did like that Shouma and Ringo moment in there. Not much of a fan of Sanetoshi talking to Himari. The possibility that Kanba and Shouma aren’t blood brothers might’ve been hinted early on – as in the very first episode. If you’ll remember a certain line Shouma said.

  2. Same here, when the Penguin hatter put-up the Survival Strategy board, I laugh hard.

    Looks like this series is carefully laying all its back story cards to prepare us for the grand finale. Until now, I’m still guessing who the real villain/s is/are. Sahei, possessing Mario is still mindboggling. For me, once again it opened up the possibility that Ringo is Momoka’s reincarnation or perhaps Himari… Even from other episodes I’m still left hanging with loads of questions. In fact, I still have a hangover on how Yuri will bring Momoka back to life.

    • Best “Seizon Senryaku!” ever ^^

      The lines get blurry after each episode. I do believe that Sanetoshi is bad news, and he has something to do with Sahei possessing Mario. Can’t wait for Tabuki’s part in this. He’s the only one left I think.

  3. Awesome survival strategy sequence this week. It seems both the Takakura and Natsume fathers were involved with Sanetoshi and both might have sufferred the same fate. I also wonder if Masako’sfather involvement with Sanetoshi might be the reason why her grandfather had disowned.

    • There’s also a possibility that there are two Takakura fathers, twins maybe. It’s either that or the Takakura father may have been talking to the Natsume father on the phone on that one scene where he was talking about his new born son.

      Everything seems to point that Sanetoshi is the “big bad” in all this. Though, there’s still the “goddess”, but who’s to say it’s not him as well, lol

  4. Pingback: Notes of Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 16 « Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

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